Arconic has announced that the installation of its new manufacturing technology – the Very Thick Plate Stretcher (Stretcher) – is complete.

The Stretcher produces highly-differentiated aerospace and industrial plate. The investment in the Stretcher is backed by customer contracts, including one with Airbus, valued at approximately $1 billion. The project was completed on time with an investment of approximately $150 million, approximately $40 million under budget.

Located at the company’s facility in Davenport, Iowa, the Stretcher improves the performance of thick aluminium and aluminium-lithium plate in aerospace and industrial applications. The stretching process reduces stress introduced into the plate as part of the manufacturing process, resulting in a part that is more easily machined and processed by customers.

In aerospace, the Stretcher will not only enable Arconic to service the existing plate market, but also allow airframe builders to make large wing ribs, fuselage frames and bulkheads in new sizes and thickness. For example, one of the challenges composite wings face as they get larger is strength and stiffness, and the aluminium plate from this Stretcher will allow aircraft manufacturers to make aluminium wing ribs to address that issue. In the industrial market, plate from the Stretcher can be used in manufacturing moulds and chambers for applications such as semiconductors.

“This investment was made to expand Arconic’s leadership in the aerospace market and create profitable growth in attractive industrial markets,” said Arconic Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Klaus Kleinfeld. “The Stretcher allows Arconic to offer a variety of new products: in aerospace, we can now help aircraft engineers push the boundaries of design and performance. In other industrial applications, such as semiconductors and consumer electronics, Stretcher material helps increase productivity and reduce cost. In both cases, Arconic will help create demand that we are uniquely positioned to meet. And making all of this possible is our team in Davenport, who delivered this massive project on time and $40 million under budget.”

Arconic’s Davenport facility is currently commissioning the Stretcher, and has begun qualifying material for its customers.