Alcoa Titanium & Engineered Products, a subsidiary of Alcoa Inc. (IW500/50) plans to expand production at its Martinsville, VA, titanium forging operation, with an $8.59-million investment that will include a new billet grinding line, and two new forging furnaces. The project is scheduled to be completed before the end of this year, and reportedly will double the plant’s forging capacity, according to one Alcoa official, allowing it to support various aerospace sector supply programs.
The Martinsville plant is among the operations acquired by Alcoa in its $1.5-billion takeover of RTI International in 2015. It produces a range of titanium billets, blooms, slabs, rounds, and rectangle products, and titanium forgings. It is among the numerous operations contributing to Alcoa’s build-up of aerospace parts and structures in the past three years.
RTI completed a $135-million expansion there in 2012, adding forging, grinding, and hot-rolling capabilities, and establishing a capacity of about 14 million pounds/year of titanium products. According to Daniel Breda, the contractor that carried out the project at that time, the installation included a 50-MN open-die forging press, ingot heating furnaces, manipulators, and related equipment. Danieli Breda also supplied a press control system that allows for fully automatic, semi-automatic, and manual operation.
A complete bar and slab grinding system developed by an affiliated company, Danieli Centro Maskin, as installed at that time, too. That process removes surface and edge defects from titanium bars and mini slabs at temperatures up to 500°C, prior to forging or rolling.