LOS ANGELES Boeing
Commercial Airplanes (BCA) is stepping up its titanium scrap
recovery efforts, as it expects todays surpluses in both
secondary material and mill products to disappear by 2014.
Jeff Carpenter, senior manager
for raw materials for BCAs supplier management
group, said at the International Titanium Association's
(ITA's) annual meeting in Atlanta that the Seattle-based
Boeing Co. subsidiarys revert program will prepare the
aerospace giant for the time when surpluses end.
Carpenter described the current
soft market for titanium scrap as "temporary" and said he
expects demand for not only scrap but also titanium metal to
"tick up" in 2014.
Boeing is still carrying "a lot"
of titanium mill product inventory, he observed. Moreover, its
rising airliner production is chewing up an increasing amount
of metal, generating ever more titanium scrap.
"That will start to correct," he
said of surpluses.
He pointed out that BCAs
overall build rates will have risen some 30 percent from
todays levels by 2014. Much of that increase will come
from rising production of the 787 Dreamliner, which is due to
reach its targeted monthly build rate of 10 planes per month by
By that time, the 787 Dreamliner
will consume more titanium than all of Boeings other
models combined, Carpenter said. He also noted that the
Dreamliners build rate was slated to reach five per month
shortly, up from the current three and a half.
Chicago-based Boeing Co. has
already almost phased out its periodic auctions as it seeks to
"close the loop" on titanium scrap (
amm.com, March 20). Carpenter said that it is also
making progress in bringing machine shopsan industry
sector which outsiders have described as one of the most
resistantinto the revert flow. He noted that when Boeing
started its revert program a few years ago, it included just a
"handful" of participants; today, 70 out of 200 machining
operations are in the fold.
Although this is still a
minority of the targeted machine shops, Carpenter told
AMM after his presentation that this represents
significant growth over the past year. He expects Boeing to
essentially reach its goal by the end of 2014.
Suppliers to Boeings
commercial airliner programs largely buy their materials from
Boeings own "exclusive service provider"Kent,
Wash.-based TMX Aerospace Inc.in the first place.
Still, aerospace industry
sources said that some machine shop owners have balked at
relinquishing the right to sell their scrap, viewing this as a
traditional profit center.
"It doesnt matter. We have an aggregate metal
strategy," Carpenter told AMM, pointing out that the
revert provision has always been in the contract that these
shops sign as suppliers to Boeing.