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June 16, 2003

Alcoa Howmet Castings To Supply Two Components for A380; Mil-Handbook-5 Also Accepts New Casting Data for Spring 2004 Publication

PITTSBURGH--(BUSINESS WIRE)--June 16, 2003--Alcoa Howmet Castings has been picked by CESA to provide two components for the Airbus 380. The parts are a hydraulic vessel and cover. "These are large, complex, high-property aluminum castings," says Sylvain Poissant, general manager of Howmet Laval. "Howmet was the only company able to handle production of the newly designed hydraulic vessel as a single-piece casting."

The spherically shaped hydraulic vessel is 800 millimeters (approximately 28 inches) in diameter. The near-net-shape casting was designed to fit into a contoured space in the wing. According to Peter Budkewitsch, product-engineering manager, "The casting presented difficult technical challenges, in that the part required both thin- and thick-walled sections in the same piece. The new design called for a high level of strength, while meeting weight targets. Our high-strength, high-property aluminum investment casting process was able to produce castings that met customer requirements."

Hydraulic vessels represent a new category of parts that have opened up for conversion to the investment casting process, Poissant says, adding: "The cost-effectiveness and technical excellence of the aluminum investment casting process is appealing to OEMs. With the growing acceptance of investment castings in structural applications, these OEMs will now be able to take advantage of benefits the process offers across a wide spectrum of structural parts."

Mil-Handbook-5 Accepts New Casting Data for Spring 2004 Publication

Alcoa Homet Castings also announced that an industry-wide consortium, made up of representatives from government, casting-supply-chain original equipment manufacturers (OEM) and their suppliers, has established a static database for cast, HIP'ed and mill annealed Ti-6Al-4V. According to Mario Longhi, president of Alcoa Howmet Castings, "The acceptance of this data is a significant milestone in the application of investment castings in structural applications for commercial and military airframes. Now aerospace engineers have access to data that make castings 'design allowable.' This development removes a long-standing barrier to the conversion of fabrications to single-piece investment castings."

The Mil-Handbook-5 committee, which meets twice yearly and whose membership includes end-users in government, Boeing, Howmet and other major casting suppliers, has worked for four years under the auspices of the Engine Supplier Base Initiative (ESBI). Within the continuous-improvement environment created by this initiative, the group developed the room temperature tensile, compression, shear, and bearing data that satisfy Mil-Handbook-5 requirements for static data. The mechanical property database the committee developed also provides a comparison with wrought product. In addition to its contribution to the static data, Howmet has independently developed dynamic data for strain-controlled low cycle fatigue, fatigue crack growth and fracture toughness. The company expects this data to be included in a future edition of Mil-Handbook-5.

Michael Pepper, vice president of Alcoa Howmet Casting's aero market sector, says "The affordability and relatively fast manufacturing of the investment casting process have long offered attractions to OEMs. With the establishment of this database, these OEMs will now be able to take advantage of these benefits across a wide spectrum of structural parts that are prime candidates for conversion to the casting process."

According to Stewart Veeck, senior development engineer, at the Howmet Research Corporation, "Howmet used Mil-5 guidelines to generate the dynamic data. The committee subsequently used both direct and indirect statistical procedures to calculate the design-minimum mechanical requirements for Mil-Handbook-5. Design engineers can use the data with confidence."

Alcoa is the world's leading producer of primary aluminum, fabricated aluminum and alumina, 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 as a single solution to customers. In addition to aluminum products and components, Alcoa also markets consumer brands including Reynolds Wrap(R) aluminum foil, Alcoa(R) wheels, and Baco(R) household wraps. Among its other businesses are vinyl siding, closures, precision castings, and electrical distribution systems for cars and trucks. The company has 127,000 employees in 40 countries. For more information go to www.alcoa.com