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May 10, 2006
Alcoa's Howmet Operation in Michigan Installs New Furnace Equipped with Latest Control Technology
CLEVELAND--(BUSINESS WIRE)--May 10, 2006--(NYSE:AA) - Alcoa's Howmet Products and Services business celebrated the "first pour" of its newly installed vacuum furnace, located at the company's manufacturing facility in Whitehall, Michigan. The new furnace - equipped with the latest control technology - will soon begin manufacturing production parts to meet a growing customer demand in the aerospace market.
"The combination of a booming market for jet engine components and growing customer demand for aerospace products has driven the need for a new furnace and full manufacturing capacity," said Michael A. Pepper, Vice President and General Manager, Howmet Products and Services. "The new furnace is one part of our capacity enhancement program which is successfully increasing our Whitehall, Michigan airfoil casting capacity. In fact, through the use of furnace additions and the Alcoa Business System, our continuous improvement method, we have expanded the output of this operation by 30 percent over the past 10 months. The new furnace will be dedicated to airfoil manufacturing - both directionally solidified and single crystal - to support the needs of our aero-engine OEM customers."
Accommodating molds up to 24 inches in diameter and 26 inches in height, the furnace can handle pour weights up to 150 pounds. The unit is equipped with the latest control technology to automate cycle times. "This furnace, custom built by Alcoa in our Howmet Research Center, incorporates the latest technologies for process capability and repeatability which helps us achieve and sustain high levels of productivity and quality," said Pepper. "It will allow us to be more responsive and flexible in supporting our customers' build schedules."
Alcoa is the world's leading producer and manager of primary aluminum, fabricated aluminum and alumina facilities, and is active in all major aspects of the industry. Alcoa serves the aerospace, automotive, packaging, building and construction, commercial transportation and industrial markets, bringing design, engineering, production and other capabilities of Alcoa's businesses to customers. In addition to aluminum products and components, Alcoa also markets consumer brands including Reynolds Wraps(R) foils and plastic wraps, Alcoa(R) wheels, and Baco(R) household wraps. Among its other businesses are closures, fastening systems, precision castings, and electrical distribution systems for cars and trucks. The company has 129,000 employees in 43 countries and has been named one of the top most sustainable corporations in the world at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. More information can be found at www.alcoa.com