Boeing Co. expects to be "in balance" on titanium by 2015, but
it is unclear if this would trigger a surge in demand as it
also targets significant reductions in its buy-to-fly rate.
John Byrne, vice
president of aircraft, structures and materials for
Boeings commercial airplanes unit, told the International
Titanium Association (ITA) this past week that the company
expects to have "ordering and consumption balanced out" by
For the past few
years, Boeings inventorywhich the Chicago-based
company has declined to quantifyhas been seen as one of
the key barometers of the titanium supply, due principally to
the amount of stock accumulated by the three-year delay on its
787 Dreamliner and a resulting market overhang. This spurred
Boeing to renegotiate its required minimum annual purchases
under its system of long-term supply agreements with the mills,
but also extended the duration of these agreements, according
to market sources.
Byrne noted this past
week that Boeing usually likes "to go out 10 years" on its
long-term supply agreements, either with agreements already in
place or on the path to negotiation.
"We like where we sit
today," he told the ITA.
Meanwhile, Byrne said
Boeing aims to cut its titanium buy-to-fly ratio by as much as
25 percent from where it was in 2012the "mid- to low" 8:1
rangeby 2015. "We intend to take that to the high 6s or
the mid-6s," in the next 18 months, he said.
Part of this effort
involves converting about 600 parts that are machined out of
plate into parts and components that are closer to net shape,
such as forgings and extrusions.
last public estimate of the buy weight on the airframe of its
largest titanium-consuming aircraft, the 787 Dreamliner, was
about 180,000 pounds three years ago compared with an earlier
220,000 pounds (
amm.com, Oct. 7, 2010). Byrne declined to quantify
the planes current titanium buy weight following his
presentation, but acknowledged that it has continued to decline
although the reduction hasnt been "huge."