Arconic Inc. has announced plans to install a new horizontal heat treat furnace at its Davenport Works facility in Iowa.

Heat treatment is a required step in the production of certain high-strength products, and is essential for products intended for large aerospace and industrial applications.

This new furnace will enable Arconic to heat treat longer and thicker plate than ever before, including material for Arconic’s recently installed Thick Plate Stretcher, which began commercial production this year and is the largest thick plate stretcher in the world. Need for thick aluminum plate is growing, particularly as demand for composite wings, made with monolithic thick plate wing ribs, increases.

“This investment will help meet both existing and future customer demand,” said Tim Myers, President, Global Rolled Products and Transportation and Construction Solutions. “With this new capability, we will meet increasing demand for plate used for aircraft wing ribs, skins and other structural components, particularly in single-aisle builds. It also opens the door to growth in other markets, such as semi-conductors for consumer electronics and injection molding for automotive applications.”

The $137 million investment is supported by economic development financial assistance from the Iowa Department of Economic Development (IDED) and the City of Riverdale. Once the contract is finalised, the assistance will include tax, financing and R&D credits as well as training grants for the Davenport workforce and new employees.

“Arconic has been a great Iowa partner, and job creator,” said Iowa Economic Development Authority Debi Durham. “We look forward to continuing the relationship with this latest project.”

Construction on the project is expected to begin late this year with commercial production expected to start in 2019.