Alcoa Inc.s $110-million forgings supply agreement with
Airbus SAS gives the aluminum producer a larger share of some
major commercial aircraft programs.
signed a multiyear deal to supply the Toulouse, France-based
aircraft maker with titanium and aluminum aerospace forgings
from its recently rebuilt 50,000-ton press in Cleveland (
amm.com, Dec. 16).
The agreement includes
titanium forgings used to connect wing structures to engines on
Airbus A320neo jet, which is due to enter service in
October 2015. It also includes large aluminum forgings for the
A330 and A380 airliners made using Alcoas proprietary
7085 aluminum alloy.
The volume of forgings
involved in the agreement was not disclosed.
Last year, Alcoa
signed a long-term supply agreement with Airbus valued at about
$1.4 billion for aluminum sheet, plate and hard alloy
extrusions that included more traditional and aluminum-lithium
amm.com, July 11, 2012).
contract is the companys second recent deal involving
forging activities. In October, Alcoa signed a "cooperation
agreement" with Russias VSMPO-Avisma Corp., marking 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 (
amm.com, Oct. 22). This would presumably combine
the capabilities of Samaras 75,000-tonne press with a
"sister" press of the same capacity at VSMPO, itself a major
titanium supplier to Airbus.
Some observers think
Alcoas push further into forgings reflects a move to
broaden its aerospace product base as carbon fiber reinforced
plastic (CFRP) composites take increasing shares of such market
segments as fuselage and wing sheets.
But Olivier Jarrault,
Alcoas executive vice president and group president of
engineered products and solutions, emphasized in a statement to
AMM that the company has "a strong position on both
metallic and composite aircraft."
president of South Bend, Ind.-based consulting firm Aerolytics
LLC, said the agreement underlines Alcoas "authority in
large aluminum forgings," while also positioning the company
for greater participation in titanium.
The Cleveland plant is
already a supplier of large titanium forgings for Bethesda,
Md.-based Lockheed Martin Corp.s F-35 Joint Strike
The 50,000-ton press
in Cleveland re-entered service last year after a
three-and-a-half-year shutdown (
amm.com, Feb. 1, 2012). Alcoa in August 2008
discovered cracks in the base of the press and declared
force majeure shortly thereafter.