LOS ANGELES The problems that have grounded Boeing Co.s 787 Dreamliners havent hurt Allegheny Technologies Inc. (ATI), the companys top executive said this week.
"We have not seen any demand impact for our products due to (the Dreamliners) current operating issues," ATI chairman, president and chief executive officer Richard Harshman said.
Most of the approximately 50 Dreamliners that Boeing has delivered so far have been grounded due to potential fire hazards associated their lithium batteries. Boeing has said that it wont deliver any more 787s until a Federal Aviation Administration probe is resolved. However, a Boeing spokesman stressed to AMM that despite the recent suspension of deliveries, "production of the 787 continues" (amm.com, Jan. 23).
Pittsburgh-based ATI is one of three global titanium producers that supply mill products under long-term supply agreements with the Chicago-based aerospace companys Boeing Commercial Airplanes subsidiary. The other producers are Portland, Ore.-based Precision Castparts Corp.s Titanium Metals Corp. subsidiary in Dallas and Verkhnaya Salda, Russia-based VSMPO-Avisma Corp.
While these producers supply titanium for all of Boeings airliners, the 787 by far consumes the largest amount of metal on a per-plane basis.
Meanwhile, titanium shipments for ATIs High Performance Metals group, which includes Monroe, N.C.-based long products unit ATI Allvac Inc., topped 5.7 million pounds in the fourth quarter. Thats up 1.1 percent from the same period a year earlier, due mainly to higher demand from airframe customers, which offset lower volume from the jet engine aftermarket, the company said this week.
The groups average titanium price fell 5.2 percent in the same comparison to $22.65 per pound due to a decline in raw material surcharges, ATI said.
Shipments of flat-rolled titanium products, which include ATIs non-aerospace Uniti LLC joint venture with VSMPO-Avisma in Moon Township, Pa., rose 22 percent quarter on quarter to 3.2 million pounds in the fourth quarter, as shipments for previously delayed projects began, ATI said. While the company didnt identify the projects, they are believed to include shipments of pipe skelp for Middle Eastern desalination facilities.