Arconic brings advanced stretcher online

Arconic brings advanced stretcher online

Customer-backed investment enables large, high-strength monolithic wing ribs, design freedom for OEMs.

April 13, 2017
Edited by Eric Brothers

New York & Davenport, Iowa – Arconic officials have announced that the installation of very thick plate stretcher manufacturing technology is complete. The stretcher produces highly-differentiated aerospace and industrial plate. Arconic’s Davenport facility is currently commissioning the stretcher, and has begun qualifying material for its customers.

The project was completed on time with an investment of approximately $150 million, approximately $40 million under budget.

Located at the company’s facility in Davenport, Iowa, the stretcher improves the performance of thick aluminum and aluminum-lithium plate in aerospace and industrial applications. The stretching process reduces stress introduced into the plate as part of the manufacturing process, resulting in a part that is more easily machined and processed by customers.

In aerospace, the stretcher will enable Arconic to service the existing plate market, and allow airframe builders to make large wing ribs, fuselage frames, and bulkheads in new sizes and thickness. For example, one of the challenges composite wings face as they get larger is strength and stiffness, and the aluminum plate from this stretcher will allow aircraft manufacturers to make aluminum wing ribs to address that issue.

Material from the stretcher will also allow aerospace engineers to design aircraft in new ways, because plate of this size and scale is currently not available on the market. For example, Arconic’s stretcher material allows airframers to create single-piece parts, which eliminates the need to join multiple pieces together, resulting in better production efficiency and lower weight.

Product shipments to aerospace customers are expected to begin in Q4 2017.

Airbus was the first aerospace customer to include material from the new stretcher in the $1 billion contract announced last year. Stretcher material is also a part of an agreement Arconic has with AMI Metals to support their contract with Lockheed Martin for production of the Joint Strike Fighter.

Very Thick Plates Stretcher records
Longest plate stretched: >26yards
Widest plate stretched: >14ft
Thickest plate stretched: >12"
Heaviest plate stretched: >40,000 lb
Greatest stretcher pull force used: 35,000,000 lb (= to 550 modern locomotives)

Source: Arconic