Aircraft Demand Hikes Titanium Fastener Use

DN Staff

January 4, 2011

2 Min Read
Aircraft Demand Hikes Titanium Fastener Use

CarpenterTechnology Corp. is expanding capacity to produce aerospace fasteners as partof a repositioning to high-value metal alloy markets.

The $5million investment will boost capacity for Dynamet titanium wire and bar inClearwater, FL. A wholly-owned subsidiary of Carpenter Technology,Dynamet is a leading specialty producer for the aerospace fastener industry.

"Thisinvestment will include construction of a new building and installation ofproprietary manufacturing facilities to produce close tolerance, highperformance wire for manufacturing titanium aerospace fasteners," saysWilliam Kent, vice president of Dynamet. "The capacity increase willaddress our customers' increasing demand for titanium aerospace fastener wire,which is projected to escalate with the introduction of new airframes and theincrease in wide-body aircraft production during the next decade."

One exampleof new airframe design is the Boeing Dreamliner 787, which will use eight timesmore titanium fasteners that the single-aisle Boeing 737.

The Dreamlineris best known for its use of lightweight carbon composites in the fuselage andwing. But titanium is also a big player in the aircraft's design because of itshigh strength-to-weight ratio. According to data supplied by Boeing to DesignNews, titanium makes up 15 percent of the materials in the Dreamliner byvolume.

CarpenterTechnology, which was founded in 1889, has accelerated efforts in recent yearsto focus on specialty alloys, which represent only 2 percent of total industryvolume, but more than 9 percent of total revenue. The average selling price ofcarbon steel is 28 cents per pound versus $1.28 per pound for stainless, $7.25per pound for superalloys and $25 per pound for titanium.

Specialties grow
In recentyears, even stainless markets have become commoditized. In 2004, stainlesssteel represented 48 percent of Carpenter Technology's total revenue, while specialtyalloys were 40 percent. By last year, specialty alloys represented 53 percentof the company's market share, while stainless had dropped to 34 percent.

Anotherhigh-value platform for Carpenter technology is powder metals.

Late lastyear, Carpenter Technology announced plans to acquire a 40 percent interest inSandvik Powdermet AB and Sandvik AB is acquiring a 40 percent interest inCarpenter Powder Products AB.

The jointventure will provide Carpenter with access to Sandvik Powdermet AB's market fornear-net-shape powder products, and will ensure Sandvik's long-term supply ofhigh quality powder.

According toa report from BCCResearch, sales of powder metal components are growing 14 percent per year.Injection molding permits design of complex shapes not possible throughtraditional metal forming approaches.

High-growthmarkets targeted by Carpenter Technology are aerospace, energy and automotive.

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