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RTI lands engine OEM deal

Keywords: Tags  RTI, titanium, P&W, Dawne Hickton, electron beam melting, VAR melting, electron beam furnace, Frank Haflich

NEW YORK — RTI International Metals Inc. has landed its first long-term supply contract with a major original equipment manufacturer (OEM) under a program unveiled nearly two years ago aimed at rebuilding its engine business, RTI said, announcing a 13-year deal with Pratt & Whitney Corp. (P&W).

P&W is the “engine launch customer” for production of RTI’s electron beam furnace, the Pittsburgh-based company said. The furnace, a key part of RTI’s effort to increase its role in the market for rotor-quality mill products for jet engines, recently started commercial production in Canton, Ohio (, May 1).

Neither the amount of titanium nor the financial terms of the contract with East Hartford, Conn.-based P&W were disclosed. The products supplied to P&W, a division of United Technologies Corp., are for the engine maker’s new family of “geared turbofan” jet engines.

The P&W agreement “marks the re-emergence of RTI as a competitive supplier in the rotor-quality, jet engine market for titanium, a market currently estimated to be approximately 30 million pounds annually,” according to Dawne S. Hickton, vice chairwoman, president and chief executive officer of RTI.

In 2011, when RTI announced it was building the electron beam furnace, Hickton said less than 20 percent of the company’s aerospace business came from engine-related sales vs. the airframe sector (, Aug. 9, 2011).

RTI two months earlier signed a long-term engine supply deal with MTU Aero Engines GmbH, under which it would provide rotor-grade billet through 2021 to the German manufacturer (, June 23, 2011).

The P&W supply agreement also validates RTI’s decision to invest in electron beam technology and strategically positions the company for further successes in this market, Hickton said.

Electron beam melting—along with another cold-hearth process, plasma-arc melting—in some cases carries a number of advantages over the more traditional vacuum-arc remelt (VAR) process, industry sources said.
Cold-hearth technology generally can use a higher proportion of scrap than VAR, is considered more reliable for eliminating inclusions in the furnace mix, and certain alloys that require triple VAR melts can often be produced with an initial cold-hearth melt followed by one subsequent VAR melt.
RTI’s VAR melting capacity is located at its Niles, Ohio, facility.

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