LOS ANGELES A
joint venture between Alcoa Inc. and VSMPO-Avisma Corp. would
combine two of the worlds largest forging press
capacities and deepen the Russian titanium producers
involvement in the global aerospace supply chain.
Alcoa and VSMPO signed
a "cooperation agreement" this week in Moscow that they said
marked the "first step" toward establishing a joint venture for
downstream titanium and aluminum aerospace products at the
formers ZAO Alcoa SMZ plant in Samara, Russia.
"This agreement will
add to our current manufacturing capabilities, as the company
gets access to unique forging equipment," VSMPO general
director Mikhail Voevodin said.
Industry sources said
Alcoas 75,000-ton press at Samara is the "sister" press
of VSMPOs own 75,000-ton press.
Forgings are typically
among the longest lead time raw materials in the aerospace
supply chain. Unlike a number of titanium mill products, where
demand has not yet fully caught up with current growing
airliner production rates, forgings are feeling the "pull" of
these growing rates, sources said.
is also a major producer of aerospace forgings in the United
States. Among its operations is its Cleveland plant, whose
forging capacity goes up to a 50,000-ton press, one of the
largest in the country. However, there was no indication the
Cleveland plant is included in this weeks agreement.
The Alcoa agreement
also increases VSMPOs profile across the aerospace supply
chain, where it is already a major titanium supplier to
aircraft builders Boeing Co., Chicago, and Airbus SAS,
VSMPO is one of three
major sources of titanium mill product to Boeing under a system
of long-term supply agreements, while the companies joint
venture, CJSC Ural Boeing Manufacturing, performs primary
machining of titanium forgings for such airliners as the 787
Dreamliner and the 737 in Verkhnaya Salda, Russia.
Reports earlier this
year in Russia indicated that Ural Boeing intends to boost its
capacity by 60 percent.
VSMPO, already responsible for 60 percent of semifinished
and titanium forgings requirements of Airbus and its parent
company, the European Aeronautic Defence & Space Co. NV,
signed a memorandum of understanding with Airbus this summer
calling for an "end-to-end strategic collaboration" that covers
processing, recycling and development of new material (
amm.com, Aug. 27).