Alcoa contract with Airbus could be worth up to US$1 billion

alcoaU.S.-based Alcoa has signed a contract to supply high-tech, multi-material aerospace fastening systems to Airbus, a deal that it said was valued at approximately $1 billion. A press release said that the contract is Alcoa’s largest fastener contract ever with the aircraft manufacturer, which it notes uses Alcoa’s fasteners on every Airbus platform.

Per the release, Alcoa’s fasteners will be used to assemble some of Airbus’s latest high-growth airplanes, including the A350 XWB, Airbus’ newest commercial airplane (pictured) and the A320neo as well as longer-running platforms such as the A330. As part of the deal, Alcoa will supply advanced fastening systems, such as those that enhance the assembly of aircraft panels and engine pylons on newer airplanes with sophisticated design features.

An article on the new plane in Composites World said that the A350’s composite panels incorporate an outer copper mesh to manage the direct effects of lightning. They work with the ESN to maintain the Faraday cage principle, channeling the electrical current around the fuselage harmlessly rather than letting it pass through to damage fasteners and operational structures.

Alcoa’s fasteners are made from stainless steel, titanium and nickel-based superalloys, which improve fatigue life, enable lightning strike protection, and improve wear and reusability on conventional and composite aircraft. They will be made 14 of its global manufacturing facilities.

Alcoa notes that the company has been seeking to capture growth in the global aerospace market in support of its broader transformation. That goal has seen it acquired global titanium leader RTI International Metals, aerospace components manufacturer TITAL and global jet engine parts leader Firth Rixson.

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