Alcoa is investing $22 million in hot isostatic pressing (HIP) technology at its facility in Whitehall, Mich. The investment will enable Alcoa to capture growing demand for advanced titanium, nickel and 3D-printed parts for jet engines. HIP involves the simultaneous application of high pressure and temperatures to significantly improve the mechanical properties and quality of cast products, such as blades and structures for jet engines. The process also increases the density of 3D-printed parts made using powdered metals, improving product consistency and strength.
Alcoa already owns and operates one of the world’s largest HIP technology complexes for aerospace. This investment will expand Alcoa’s capabilities even further, enabling it to process its largest jet-engine parts in-house. The company, which will now be able to process any cast jet-engine product in its current portfolio, is installing this new technology at its Alcoa Power and Propulsion facility in Whitehall and expects it will be ready for product qualification in 2016. Alcoa’s eight other HIP production systems are also located in Whitehall, where it has a concentration of engineering and technical resources.