We Are More Than Aluminum
Although the majority of Alcoa’s business involves the production of aluminum products, we are also a leader in several multi-material businesses that substantially contribute to sustainability in the industrial and engineered sectors.
We are the world’s leading producer of blades and vanes made of advanced super alloys for the high-temperature environments in jet engines and industrial gas turbines. Our innovative blade, vane, and cooling designs, along with our thermal coatings, allow these engines and turbines to run at hotter temperatures. This improves overall energy efficiency and reduces noise, emissions, and the overall carbon footprint.
In the high-altitude mining industry, our investment castings made of titanium aluminide produce a lighter, more durable turbocharger rotor that allows heavy mining trucks to achieve maximum velocity quicker and run at higher revolutions per minute. These rotors contribute to a 20% increase in output for this type of mining and help meet emissions standards.
To minimize the environmental impact of our casting process, we sell some of our used ceramic slurry and ceramic mold shells to a recycler for use in a number of downstream products. In 2012, this recycling helped us avoid sending more than 1,000 metric tons of waste to the landfill while also providing a revenue stream.
We are also a leading manufacturer of fastener systems made of aluminum, corrosion-resistant steels, titanium, super alloys, and more for the aerospace, automotive, and commercial transportation markets. A million of our aerospace fasteners fly on every Airbus A380, the world’s largest passenger plane.
Our lightweight yet strong fasteners help reduce the weight of aircraft, cars, trucks, and railcars, allowing for increased load capacity and reduced fuel consumption. For example, a leading truck manufacturer was able to downsize from 16-millimeter to 14-millimeter lockbolts used on frame construction by using our vibration-resistant Huck® fasteners. The switch eliminated more than 30 pounds from the vehicle’s overall weight.
Our industrial fasteners are used outside of the transportation industry to assemble a range of products, including solar fields and wind towers. Our vibration-resistant, DIBt-certified BOBTAIL® fasteners are enabling manufacturers to build 100-meter (328-feet) lattice-structure wind towers. This places turbine blades in full velocity wind streams and achieves the 20% European wind power efficiency goal.
Based on its unique combination of high strength and light weight, our Aluminum Alloy Drill Pipe (AADP®) is quickly gaining traction in the rapidly expanding deepwater and extended reach drilling markets.
This advanced drill pipe consists of a tapered, high-strength, 9.1-meter (30-foot) aluminum tube, which is typically extruded using our best-in-class 2014 aluminum alloy. These tubes are fitted with a variety of steel tool joints using a proprietary thermal connection technology.
Approximately 40% lighter than conventional steel drill pipe, AADP allows existing drilling assets (both land and offshore rigs) to drill deeper and farther by reducing the overall weight load of the drill pipe. The pipe is extending the range of existing assets that, in many cases, would require expensive capital upgrades using conventional technology.
Because it reduces drill rig torque, drag, and hook loads in the drilling process, AADP also can reduce the power required to drill a well, resulting in less fuel usage and emissions. In addition, the pipe is easily recycled, adding to its overall sustainability.
Product Design and Life Cycle