Alcoa announced a $190 million investment at its Davenport Works in Iowa to expand its product offerings in the aerospace and industrial markets. The company will install manufacturing technology to enhance the performance of thick aluminum and aluminum-lithium plate in various applications, including wing ribs and fuselage frames. The investment in the Davenport rolling mill is the installation of a new very thick plate stretcher. Construction on the project will begin in 2015, and first customer production is expected to begin in 2017.
The stretching process reduces stress introduced into the plate as part of the manufacturing process, resulting in a part that can more easily be machined and processed. This advancement will enable Davenport Works to produce the largest high-strength monolithic wing ribs in the industry. The addition will enable Alcoa to serve the existing plate market while also providing airframe builders with the ability to make large wing ribs, fuselage frames and bulkheads using Alcoa thick plate.