New York-based Alcoa, a lightweight metal manufacturer, will invest $22 million in an improved hot press technology at its facility in Whitehall, a city just north of Muskegon, to produce more advanced titanium, nickel, and 3-D-printed parts for jet engines.
“As aerospace growth soars, Alcoa continues to invest in the latest technologies, creating added capacity to capture fast-growing demand,” says Olivier Jarrault, Alcoa’s executive vice president and group president of engineered products and solutions.
Alcoa has expanded its 3-D printing capabilities through expansions in LaPorte, Ind. and Hampton, Va. The company expects to see global aerospace sales growth of 9 percent to 10 percent this year.
Alcoa will install hot press technology at the facility in Whitehall, and expects it will be ready for product qualification by 2016. Jarrault says the technology involves the application of high pressure and temperatures to improve the mechanical properties and quality of casting products, such as blades and structures for jet engines. He says the process increases the density of the 3-D-printed parts, which improves the product strength and lifespan.