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CarTech pushes up launch of Ala. operation

Keywords: Tags  Carpenter Technology, CarTech, David Strobel, premium steel alloys, aerospace demand, Boeing, Airbus, Daniel Fitzgerald

NEW YORK — Carpenter Technology Corp. expects to start up its premium alloy facility in Limestone County, Ala., three months ahead of schedule.

The company now plans to start up the facility in January rather than in April 2014, as previously announced, in a bid to capture burgeoning demand in the aerospace and energy end-markets, senior vice president of global operations David Strobel told AMM. "The hope is to move up (the start-up date) by a quarter, though there are a lot of things that can happen between now and then. We’ll continue to be aggressive, because the demand for our products is there and will continue to grow."

Strobel said that much of the construction at the site has been completed, with the company expecting to take delivery of the facility’s new radial forge—previously described as the "world’s largest" (, June 14)—in midsummer. "The overall schedule is tracking well, so when that press is in place we’ll go about the work of getting it up and running," he said.

The Wyomissing, Pa.-based company has already hired 53 workers for the new facility, including 18 in the laboratory operations. "With the types of materials we want to put through with this facility, obviously the certification of the lab is very important to us," Strobel said. "These are some of the most demanding products with the most stringent qualifications."

He expressed confidence that there will be sustained demand for the premium alloys produced at the new facility, particularly from the aerospace sector. "If you look at the build rates at Boeing (Co.) and Airbus (SAS)—and from a technology standpoint with the newer engines and lightweighting—there’s going to be ongoing demand there, not just in the (United) States, but worldwide," he said.

Strobel said the company would hold to its previously announced goal of producing 10,000 tons in the facility’s first calendar year of operation, even if it does open ahead of schedule.

The new facility will have an annual production capacity of 27,000 tons.

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