Alcoa now confirms it will rebuild the 50,000-ton forging press at its Cleveland Works, a machine that is essential to the company’s 10-year contract to supply Lockheed Martin with critical components for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. The manufacturer says funding for the press repair and refurbishment, previously estimated at $68 million, has been approved and the project will be complete before 2011.
The press rebuild is now described as part of a broader, $110-million investment program that Alcoa said will make Cleveland Works “the world’s premier producer of large aluminum and titanium forgings for the defense, aerospace, and industrial markets.”
Other aspects of the Cleveland improvements, previously approved, are also described by Alcoa as part of its F-35 supply contract. That Lockheed Martin supply contract is estimated to be worth about $360 million to Alcoa over 10 years.
"This could not have happened without the support of our employees, community leaders and leadership of United Auto Workers Local 1050," stated Alcoa exec. vice president William F. Christopher. "When this project is completed, Cleveland Works will be the home of the most advanced, productive large forging presses in the world."
Alcoa directors approved interim funding earlier this year that allowed engineering and early lead-time commitments for the rebuild to proceed. More recently, the board committed the balance of the funding for the project.
The financing of the project includes economic development incentives from the State of Ohio, City of Cleveland, Cuyahoga County, Village of Cuyahoga Heights and City of Independence.
The 50,000-ton press was built by Mesta Machine Co. and started production in 1955. Alcoa reported that cracks developed in the foundation castings in mid 2008, forcing it to idle the operation. Alcoa’s Cleveland Works also maintains a 35,000-ton press it uses to supply large aerospace forgings.
"With a renovated press, our unique alloys, proprietary segmented-die technology, and signature stress relief, Cleveland Works will be unmatched," stated Christopher, who is also president of Alcoa Engineered Products and Solutions. "We will now combine our industry leading technology and market expertise with twice the capacity to serve markets with strong growth opportunities."