Titanium capacity utilization at RTI International Metals Inc.
has dropped sharply from earlier this year, but its not
all bad news for the producer.
Pittsburgh-based RTIs new electron-beam (EB) furnace came
on-stream, "we were almost at full capacity," vice chairwoman,
president and chief executive officer Dawne S. Hickton noted
during a recent earnings conference call.
"Now that were
on, clearly we have more capacity," she said, referring to the
new furnace, which is located at the companys RTI Alloys
unit in Canton, Ohio.
RTIs overall capacity utilization at 60 to 70 percent
with the new furnace included. She pointed out that RTI as of
the end of June had produced 1 million pounds of material in
the EB furnace, which has annual capacity of 8 million
of the furnaces output is due to begin in the current
quarter, "and correspondingly, we expect to see improving
operational performance comparable to the first half of 2013,"
The company has mill
product capacity of 22 million to 23 million pounds per year at
its Niles, Ohio, facility, where it houses its vacuum-arc
remelt (VAR) capacity; and 14 million pounds per year at its
$135-million plant in Martinsville, Va., where the company
began commercial production at its new forging cell last year
amm.com, Oct. 12).
Based on RTIs
expected mill product shipments this year of about 16.5 million
pounds, and on its normalized product mix, its annual capacity
could now be estimated at about 25.5 million pounds.
facility was originally designed to also include rolling
capacity, but Hickton said it would be a "couple of years"
before it was installed.
The EB furnace is a
key element in RTIs drive to reclaim a larger share of
the aircraft engine market, which previously had accounted for
no more than 20 percent of its aerospace business vs. airframe
applications. The furnaces output of rotor-quality
titanium will support an agreement to supply the Pratt &
Whitney division of East Hartford, Conn.-based United
Technologies Corp., RTIs first long-term supply contract
with an original equipment engine manufacturer (
amm.com, June 17), Hickton noted.
RTI expects the
contract to support Pratts new family of geared turbofan
jet engines to bring in more than $100 million.