Delays in the Boeing Dreamliner 787 continue to propel major ripples throughout the airplane’s supply chain.
The latest pain came yesterday when titanium supplier RTI International of Pittsburgh announced an operating loss for the fourth quarter of $86.9 million versus operating income of $5.4 million for the same period in 2008.
CEO Dawne S. Hickton, commented: “In addition to the global economic upheaval, our commercial aerospace customers experienced extended program delays, resulting in significantly reduced current need for titanium mill products and fabricated parts. These issues had a profound adverse impact in the year on our Fabrication Group, primarily related to the 787 Dreamliner.” Most affected are the company’s extrusion facility in Houston and machining unit outside Montreal.
In addition, Airbus’ challenges with the A400 military transport and the A380 contributed to RTI’s Titanium Group operating at less than 50 percent capacity. Airbus has advised RTI that during 2010 it will require less than half of its 5 million pound contract minimum. RTI’s mill product shipments for the fourth quarter were 2.2 million pounds at an average realized price of $20.86 per pound, compared to mill product shipments of 3.0 million pounds in the fourth quarter of 2008 at an average realized price of $22.04 per pound.
At the JEC Europe 2015 composites show in Paris last month, makers of composite materials, software, and process equipment showed off their latest innovations. This year's show saw some announcements related to automotive applications, but many of the improvements came in the world of aerospace.
The DuPont-sponsored Plastics Industry Trends survey shows engineers want improved performance in a broad range of plastics and better recycling technology. These concerns top even processing enhancements that improve productivity.
Plastics leader SABIC recently announced a global initiative to help its customers take advantage of additive manufacturing (AM) and also advance 3D printing (3DP) technologies in several application areas. The company's plans go way beyond materials, and also include design, processing, and part performance.
A theme that was reflected in several ways at NPE 2015 was the use of 3D printing to assist in, or improve on, injection molding, as well as improvements in 3D printing materials and processes that are making better functional prototypes and end-use parts.
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