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Alcoa and Spirit AeroSystems Show the Future of Next Generation Jetliner Production is Now with an Advanced Aluminum Fuselage Panel at the Paris Air Show
NEW YORK & PARIS--Alcoa and Spirit AeroSystems will debut for the aerospace industry a
revolutionary fuselage panel at the 2011 Paris Air Show to highlight the
promise of new aluminum-based production solutions for commercial
airliners that are dramatically lighter, lower-cost and have lower
production risks than composite-intensive aircraft. And importantly,
which can be built using existing industry infrastructure.
This full-sized panel was produced with Alcoa’s third-generation Al-Li
2060 aluminum-lithium alloy, then stretch-formed by Spirit AeroSystems
into the final curved shape for use in a jetliner’s fuselage. It
demonstrates the compatibility of advanced aluminum alloys with the
existing manufacturing supply chain of new commercial jetliners,
delivering the strength, damage tolerance, and corrosion resistance of
metallics at the lighter weight inherent in Alcoa’s new solutions. This
new combination of performance attributes and aircraft operating costs
available with advanced metallic solutions stands in contrast to earlier
assessments that drove some airframers to increased use of composites.
To be unveiled on Alcoa’s exhibit stand at the Paris Air Show (Hall 5,
Stand F220), the 200 X 78-inch fuselage panel was stretch-formed by
Spirit AeroSystems using existing production tooling, underscoring the
compatibility of Alcoa’s third-generation aluminum-lithium alloys with
today’s supply chain. This major advantage is particularly attractive
for single-aisle jetliner programs that demand quick production ramp-up
and high output rates, and offers a lower risk solution to the much more
complex supply chain for composite material manufacturing.
In addition, Alcoa’s Al-Li 2060 is representative of the new-generation
aluminum alloys that have even better strength qualities and further
improved resistance to corrosion, which match or exceed the promise of
composites in allowing increased passenger cabin pressurization and
higher humidity levels for improved comfort – factors that also have
been cited by airframers in their move to composite-intensive aircraft.
“When Spirit AeroSystems came to us in exploring the future of metallic
solutions for new single-aisle jetliners, we were able to demonstrate
the capabilities of our third-generation aluminum alloys that bring all
the advantages of weight, strength and durability without the many risks
of composites,” said Mick Wallis, President of Alcoa North American
Rolled Products who is responsible for Alcoa’s aerospace sheet and plate
Responding to Spirit AeroSystems’ request, Alcoa rapidly provided
production-quality Al-Li 2060 aluminum-lithium alloy sheet, which was
used in the stretch-forming process for a final curved panel typical of
those used in aircraft fuselage barrel sections. Alcoa also applied its
proprietary surface treatment processes to create fuselage panel
sections with the polished qualities of traditional aluminum alloys –
which the company also will display at the Paris Air Show.
Earlier this month, Alcoa launched a new portfolio of new metallic
solutions – including its third-generation aluminum-lithium alloys;
hybrid aerostructures; low-aerodynamic drag, self-cleaning skin sheet –
that will enable the development and production of new short-range
aircraft which meet or exceed airframer targets for corrosion
resistance, aerodynamic drag, maintenance requirements, and fuel
efficiency, along with improved buy-to-fly ratios. These solutions are
expected to provideup to 10% in weight savings over
composite-intensive aircraft, while lowering their costto
manufacture, operate and repair by up to 30%.
About Alcoa Aerospace
Alcoa aerospace comprises 4 businesses with operations across the world
totaling approximately $3 billion in revenues and #1 share positions in
their markets: Alcoa Global Rolled Products and Alcoa Forgings and
Extrusions serving the structures market; and Alcoa Fastening Systems
and Alcoa Power and Propulsion. Alcoa’s aerospace solutions run from
nose to tail and from wing-tip to wing-tip. Alcoa has been at the
forefront of every major milestone in aerospace history based on its
commitment to continually innovate and a “beyond materials” philosophy –
where materials, structures, and designs work in concert to provide
optimal solutions for customers.