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Alcoa’s $100-Million Investment Casting Expansion Completed

Nov. 17, 2015
Project adds 320,000 sq.ft., doubles capacity for casting jet-engine structures for commercial aircraft Larger, singular parts 3D-printed resin patterns Automated casting furnaces
Alcoa offered a general illustration of the types of jet-engine structural parts to be produced at its expanded casting operation in La Porte, IN.

Alcoa has completed the $100-million expansion project announced last year for its La Porte, IN, investment casting foundry, a project conceived to increase production of larger, unitary structures for commercial aircraft engines.

“Innovation is at the heart of the La Porte expansion,” stated chairman and CEO Klaus Kleinfeld at a ribbon-cutting event. “We combined some of the world’s best metallurgists, product engineers, and manufacturing experts to broaden our capabilities and deliver the highly advanced components our customers need to build jet engines at high volumes.”

The Indiana plant previously produced compressors and turbines for aerospace and industrial gas operations, the former mainly for manufacturers of business and regional jets. Now, the expanded capabilities there will allow Alcoa to address increasing demand from engine manufacturers supplying wide- and narrow-body aircraft construction.

The expanded La Porte operation includes 3D-printed resin patterns for metal prototypes, automated furnaces for investment casting, and digital x-ray and blue light technology for quality assurance

The Indiana Economic Development Corporation provided tax credits worth up to $4 million, conditioned to Alcoa’s job creation progress. The city of La Porte approved tax incentives worth $7.1 million over 10 years for the project.

Alcoa offered its 10-year, $1.1-billion contract to supply engine structures to Pratt & Whitney as one example of that demand.

Aerospace has become a particular strategic focus for Alcoa in the past three years, and it will be a primary market for the new company to be created when the group splits late next year.