Alcoa celebrated the launch of construction of its greenfield state-of-the-art aluminum-lithium facility in Lafayette, Ind. Adjacent to its existing plant, the $90 million, 115,000-square-foot expansion will produce more than 20,000 metric tons of aluminum lithium and be capable of casting round and rectangular ingot for rolled, extruded and forged applications. The expanded facility will create approximately 75 permanent high-value jobs as well as approximately 150 additional jobs during the course of construction. Production of its first aluminum lithium is planned by the end of 2014.

Introduced last year by Alcoa, newly patented aluminum-lithium alloys will allow airframers to build dramatically lighter and lower-cost airplanes versus composite alternatives. They also provide the best strength-to-weight performance in Alcoa’s aerospace alloy portfolio combined with better stiffness and corrosion resistance. The alloys are used in extrusions, forgings, and sheet and plate applications across aircraft structures, including airplane wings and fuselage elements.