12. April 2017 | Branche, Technologie, Anwendungen

Arconic commissions world-record plate stretcher

Arconic has announced that the installation of a new plate stretcher is complete. The stretcher produces highly-differentiated aerospace and industrial plate. The USD150 million investment in the machine is backed by customer contracts, including one with Airbus, valued at around USD1 billion. The plate stretcher stands for multiple world records: it is the longest (over 26 yards, 24 m), widest (over 14 feet, 4 m), thickest (over 12 inches, 30 cm) and heaviest (over 40,000 lbs, 18 t) stretcher ever built, and equipped with a world-record pull force of 35 million pounds (15.9m t).

Located at the company’s facility in Davenport, Iowa, the new stretcher improves the performance of thick aluminium and aluminium-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 not only enable Arconic to service the existing plate market, but also 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 aluminium plate from this stretcher will allow aircraft manufacturers to make aluminium wing ribs to address that issue. In the industrial market, plate from the stretcher can be used in manufacturing moulds and chambers for applications such as semiconductors.