Aerospace Edition 2013
Issue 2, No. 1
J. Landis Martin to Receive ITA Lifetime Achievement Award
When Kurt Faller nominated J. Landis Martin for the International Titanium Association’s (ITA) 2013 Lifetime Achievement Award, he did so to pay tribute to Lanny’s distinguished career as well as acknowledge that Martin maintains an active role in the global titanium market. “Lanny is as involved as ever in the titanium business,” Faller, the chief executive officer of Monaca, PA-based MetCon LLC, pointed out. “He was at the forefront of transforming the titanium industry from a number of small, disparate producers to an industry of global significance, and he remains an agent of change in the industry today. That’s what I wanted people to know when I nominated him for the award.” Last year the Colorado Business Hall of Fame also cited Martin’s ongoing status as a business executive when he was tapped for that group’s Hall of Fame. In 2005, Martin stepped down after serving 16 years as chairman and chief executive officer of TIMET, Titanium Metals Corp., Dallas. He chose not to bask in his emeritus status as an industry leader; instead, he formed Platte River Equity, a Denver-based firm that invests in companies involved in the metals, chemicals, and manufacturing, infrastructure and energy services sectors. MetCon, which is commercializing a novel yield-enhancing, conditioning process for titanium, is one of 10 companies in the Platte River Equity portfolio. Martin said he was “very pleased” to be recognized by his peers and most honored to receive the Lifetime Achievement Award, which will be presented at the ITA’s TITANIUM 2013 conference, which will be held Oct. 6-9 in Las Vegas. Established in 1984, the ITA is based in Denver, CO. Max P. Schlienger, the retired president and owner of Retech Systems LLC, Ukiah, CA, was the 2012 recipient of the ITA’s Lifetime Achievement Award, which recognizes exceptional career contributions to technology and applications in the titanium industry. “Lanny Martin, has had an extraordinary impact on the industry during his almost 25 years of involvement,” Brett Paddock, president of the ITA board, and the president and chief executive officer of Titanium Industries Inc., Rockaway, NJ, said. “Starting with his position as chairman of TIMET and his leadership roles with the ITA, Mr. Martin remains engaged in the industry today and continues to be dedicated to its growth and development. We could not be happier to honor his career in the titanium industry with this year’s award.” “I enjoyed working in the industry and have made many friends,” Martin said. Recalling the early days of his career, he said he had a “fascination” with titanium’s superior properties as an industrial material of choice, especially for commercial and military aerospace applications. “It remains essential,” he said. “Today there’s still nothing that can replace titanium in the aerospace market.” Martin remains “bullish” for titanium’s aerospace applications during the next five years, but also hopes efforts to reduce the metal’s premium price will help cultivate applications in other industries. This is a thrust for Platte River’s current investment strategy. He also took pride in titanium’s emergence in the global market place. During his years of leadership at TIMET, Martin’s moves to invest in technologies and production capacity in Japan, the United Kingdom, France and Italy helped to elevate titanium’s international profile. Born in 1945 in Grand Island, NE, Martin graduated from Northwestern University, Evanston, IL, in 1968. He served two years in the Army and then graduated from Northwestern Law School in 1973. He spent 14 years practicing law and entered the titanium business when he became the chief executive officer of NL Industries. At the time NL had three distinct business units: oil field services; chemicals (primarily titanium dioxide); and titanium metals, which involved a 50/50 joint venture with Allegheny Steel. He said that, at the time, the titanium metals division was the smallest of the three NL units, in terms of value. Spurred by his fascination with titanium’s potential, Martin in 1989 led the effort to buy out Allegheny’s share of NL’s metals business, a move that eventually led to NL’s 100-percent ownership of TIMET. “The company had a lot of potential, but it also had a lot of debt,” Martin recalled, adding that most industry sectors were mired in a slump during the late 1980s. Undeterred, Martin’s vision to grow the business for the titanium producer led to a series of key acquisitions. Among its many moves, TIMET obtained vacuumdistillation capabilities from Japan, which led to new TIMET sponge production facilities in the United States. The company invested in titanium hearth capabilities by purchasing a Morgantown, PA-based company, Titanium Hearth Technologies, from Sweden-based Axel Johnson, Inc. TIMET then substantially expanded the electron-beam hearth melting facilities in Morgantown. TIMET also acquired two titanium producers, IMI in the United Kingdom and Cezus in France, which provided entry into the growing European aerospace market. In addition, Martin focused the company’s research and development investments in thin-wall titanium tubing; automotive components such as engine valves, suspension springs, and connecting rods; and components for geothermal and oil and gas drilling. It’s one thing to make acquisitions; it’s another thing to make them work as cohesive divisions that embrace a corporation’s over-arching culture and objectives. How did Martin make it work at TIMET? “All the acquisitions and alliances we made already had good management teams in place,” he said. “That made the transition into TIMET smoother. They saw the advantages in combining their efforts for the benefit of the company. Many of those managers went on to have top-level positions in TIMET.” Faller cited Martin’s “transformational” leadership, crediting his training as a lawyer to provide insight and anticipate near-term opportunities. It was a style that empowered managers, enabling them to take ownership for their operations or functions. “The management responded well to Lanny,” Faller said. “He posed challenging questions, often as if cross-examining in a court room. He guided managers to reach a best business decision by deliberating the pros and cons of alternative approaches. Lanny’s style was that of captain steering a ship, while letting the manager take ownership and responsibility for the execution of details.” Faller said Martin had the wisdom to accept difficult short term situations in order to grow the company. “He didn’t like the cyclical nature of the titanium industry,” he said. “He maintained a long-term perspective. At TIMET, he structured the acquisitions to minimize the risk during downturns and then reap the profits in the upturns.” Along with MetCon, the Platte River portfolio includes TSI Titanium, Derry, PA, and Sierra Alloys, Irwindale, CA—two companies that specialize in forging and rolling titanium and specialty alloys. As for the years ahead, Martin maintains a positive outlook for the titanium industry and plans to be an active participant in its ongoing global growth. Aerospace will remain the dominant market for applications, but he expects to see steady growth in other sectors as well. He also hopes titanium will continue to make strides to bolster its global infrastructure for production and supply-chain management—delivering consistent, high-quality alloy grades when and where they’re needed. “Titanium is a specialty metal,” Martin acknowledged. “It always will be, unless we find a way to lower the cost of producing sponge.”
2013 Aerospace Trends – Implications for Titanium
One of the most important recent trends in the aerospace industry is the worldwide growth in commercial air transport,” observes aerospace consultant Kevin Michaels. “This growth has caused an upturn in production and a shift to more twin-aisle aircraft.” Total aerospace raw material consumption has reached 1.2 billion pounds per year, with air transport aircraft consuming 77% and military aircraft only 9%. Another new trend is the growing dependence of the energy and the oil & gas industries on the same raw materials as aerospace. As these industries develop, advanced materials are needed for power generation and for drilling and production of oil and gas. For example, today’s aerospace maintenance practices and standards are the same as those required to keep equipment functioning in land-based gas turbines. Similarly rigorous standards are in place for nuclear power plants and supercritical coal-fired power plants, which are also based on advanced materials technology. A third trend is the new economic reality caused by changing fleet demographics, historically low interest rates, historically high fuel prices, and advanced aircraft structures and engines. In particular, high fuel costs have spurred a wave of engine development programs and technology spending. Aeroengines make up 18% of the $151 billion aircraft production market, and they are forecast to exceed 10,000 by mid-decade. “We predict that the aeroengine market will expand from $28.0 billion in 2012 to $41.8 billion in 2022,” asserts Mr. Michaels. “These advanced engines will drive future improvements in fuel efficiency.” Economic drivers are also tilting fleet decisions toward new, more efficient aircraft, and as a result, average retirement ages are trending down. “ICF projects more than 6400 retirements through the year 2022, and this will drive nearly 50% of deliveries. This compares with retirements that historically drive only 20% of deliveries.” Based on these developments, ICF’s current forecast anticipates annual production rates exceeding 1650 aircraft by the year 2022, with a mid-decade lull. A longer term trend influencing the titanium market is vertical integration amongst sub-tier suppliers. There are numerous examples, but the most significant to the titanium community is Precision Castparts’ acquisition of Timet in 2013. This is part of a broader trend for raw material suppliers to produce higher value, near net shape parts for downstream customers. Possibly more significant is the onset of additive manufacturing, headlined by GE’s acquisition of Morris Technologies and Rapid Quality Manufacturing, both specialists in additive manufacturing. This technology, which began as a prototyping method, has matured to the point that it has the potential to strongly influence the way aircraft parts are made. Companies that are based on the conventional ‘subtractive’ manufacturing, such as machining and milling, will be the most affected. Current subtractive manufacturing techniques result in more than one billion pounds of raw material scrap per year. Additive manufacturing would drastically reduce the amount of scrap, hence the amount of raw material needed. It also means that OEMs will buy more materials in powder form, and less in the form of ingots and sheet. “GE plans to invest a staggering $3.5 billion in this technology over the next five years,” notes Dr. Michaels. Another significant result of additive manufacturing technology is its impact on labor costs. Because computer-controlled machines build these parts, less labor is needed; hence the importance of locating manufacturing facilities in low-labor-cost regions is reduced. It is part of a trend in which aerospace manufacturing overall is becoming less labor-intensive. For example, automation of precision machining considerably reduces labor content, and future advances in cutting tools should improve machine productivity even further. While labor costs are declining, oil prices worldwide have increased four-fold since 2000, increasing the cost of transporting goods from countries such as China. On the other hand, North American natural gas is now half the price of that in Europe, and only a quarter that of Asia. The confluence of these shifting manufacturing economics is the basis for growing interest in bringing manufacturing back to the United States. “Overall, the civil aerospace production outlook is bright,” he concludes. “It is underpinned by record numbers of aircraft retirements, and the prospect of reduced manufacturing costs, improved aircraft structures, and more efficient aeroengines. But successful titanium suppliers must pay attention to the key structural trends that are reshaping the aerospace supply chain
Material Threats to the Titanium Industry
RTI International Metals, Pittsburgh, Pa., supplies various titanium alloys for applications in aircraft. At TITANIUM 2013, RTI is hosting a session dedicated to Material Threats. Oscar Yu, Senior Director, Advanced Innovation and Technology; and Ronald Schutz, Fellow, R&D-Advanced Innovation & Technology, RTI International Metals, Inc., focus primarily on competition between titanium and chromium-containing alloys such as super duplex stainless steels and nickel-base alloys. In aircraft, high strength titanium alloys are competing with super-high-strength steels for landing gear beam applications. For example, Ti-10-2-3 is now in the landing gear for the Boeing 777 and Airbus 350, and is being considered for the 777X. Titanium aluminide is replacing superalloys in the low-pressure turbine blades of the GE GEnx engines for Boeing 787 aircraft, because it has lower density and similar hightemperature capability. On the other hand, Airbus and Boeing have typically used Ti-6242 for SPF and hot-formed components near engine pylons. However, the newer, more efficient engines run hotter than before, and the parts close to pylons will be required to withstand higher exhaust-gas temperatures. Although manufacturers would prefer a lighter-weight titanium alloy, they may have to use a nickel-base superalloy because of its superior heat resistance. Titanium metallurgists are working to develop a suitable alloy that can withstand the higher temperatures. Advances in duplex stainless steels have made these alloys another significant threat. Super duplex stainless steels provide a major improvement in properties. They include 25% chromium, and offer considerable enhancements over standard duplex steels, especially in corrosion resistance. The ability to function in high temperatures and corrosive environments makes them suitable for a range of applications that previously were beyond their capabilities. Another benefit that adds to the threat is their ready availability due to the large size of the industrial base. Repair is an especially important concern because although titanium can be welded to itself, it cannot be welded to other materials. This means that, for example, an entire piping and heat exchanger system with all its connectors must be made of titanium. Without a reliable source that can supply titanium parts on short notice, engineers are reluctant to specify it. Therefore, the industry must position itself for reliability. A titanium supplier may have everything a manufacturer needs, but if the supplier cannot provide what the manufacturer needs exactly when he needs it, some other material will win the application. Alcoa, Pittsburgh, Pa., supplies much more than aluminum, says Anthony Ashe, Vice President – Business Development, Marketing, and Engineered Structures, Alcoa Forgings & Extrusions. “When most people think of Alcoa, they think only of aluminum, but we are highly involved in titanium too, with castings and forgings. And we use a tremendous amount of titanium in our fastening systems.” Alcoa Aerospace, Alcoa Engineered Products and Solutions, Alcoa Howmet, and Alcoa Forgings all deal with design and production of titanium and titanium products. There is a possible threat to the current balance between composites, titanium, and aluminum. Epoxy/carbon-fiber composites have been very beneficial to titanium applications over the past decade, because titanium is compatible with composites, and is used in fasteners, connectors, and structures. As composite applications on aircraft have grown, so have those for titanium. Although aluminum cannot be joined to composites because of the risk of galvanic corrosion, it still has many applications on aircraft. “In fact, today we have a healthy balance of composites, aluminum, and titanium in skin, structures, and airframes,” notes Mr. Ashe. “However, we are concerned that as composites become more prevalent in wing, body, and fuselage sections, they may replace both aluminum and titanium.” Hexcel Corp., Stamford, Conn., produces many different composites, but epoxy/carbon-fiber composites are the choice for almost all commercial aircraft composite applications. Following the precedent set with military aircraft, these composites have emerged as the “materials of choice” for primary structures in the latest generation of large commercial aircraft. Low density, high strength, and corrosion resistance drive the application of composites over metals. However, once the builder decides on composites, he cannot use aluminum parts unless they are coated, because of the risk of galvanic corrosion between aluminum and carbon. However, if aluminum is coated, the parts must be inspected regularly to check the integrity of the coating. On the other hand, corrosion is not an issue with titanium. “You can bolt titanium directly to composites with no problem,” says Michael Canario, VP/GM Americas for Hexcel “and titanium is a very complementary material in areas where composites do not have their strength.” In fact, composites do have high strength, but only in one direction. “High strength allows you to design a very light structure, “ he emphasizes, “but its anisotropy means that if there are areas where the loads could change, or if you do not know where the loads are, you need metals.” Oscar Yu, Ronald Schutz, Anthony Ashe, and Michael Canario, will all be presenting at TITANIUM 2013 in October. The latest advances in composites manufacturing will be covered, and how this could impact the future of aluminum and titanium aerospace applications will be addressed.
ITA Taps Susan Abkowitz, Edward Newman, Henry Seiner to Join Board of Directors
Susan M. Abkowitz of Dynamet Technology Inc., Burlington MA, Edward J. Newman of Keywell LLC, Chicago, and Henry Seiner of Titanium Metals Corp. (Timet) have been appointed to the board of directors for the International Titanium Association (ITA), Northglenn, CO. The executives will be formally inducted into the board at TITANIUM 2013, the 29th annual North American conference and exhibition, which will be held Oct. 6-9 at Caesar’s Palace Hotel in Las Vegas. Abkowitz is the chief operating officer and vice president of technology for Dynamet, a producer of titanium powder metal materials and components. Five years ago she was the recipient of the ITA’s Titanium Application Development Award. Newman is the executive vice president for Keywell, a leader in specialty metals recycling. Seiner is Timet’s vice president of business strategy. Abkowitz and Seiner will be serving the ITA board for the first time, while Newman previously was a board member—a six-year term that ended in 2011. “I’m excited about the opportunity to help lead the ITA into the future,” Abkowitz said. She anticipates serving on the ITA’s Medical Applications Committee. An executive at Dynamet for more than 20 years, Abkowitz has had managerial responsibilities in the company’s research and development and manufacturing operations. Dynamet, established in 1972, specializes in the production of titanium powder metal technology and products for military and aerospace, industrial, and biomedical applications. She has published and presented numerous papers at technical society conferences and holds five patents, with additional patents pending. In 2008, she garnered the ITA’s Applications Development Award for her work in the development and commercialization of Dynamet’s CermeTiR product line of high wear resistant, titanium matrix composite materials. A graduate of the Management and Technology Program at the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Abkowitz simultaneously earned a Bachelor’s of Applied Science Degree with a concentration in Materials Science Engineering from the School of Engineering and Applied Science and a Bachelor of Science degree in economics with a major in management from the Wharton School of Business. Newman said he looks forward to reconnecting with board associates to support the ITA’s global agenda of promoting titanium as a material of choice in a variety of business sectors. “The ITA is a great vehicle to promote the use of titanium throughout the world. It’s an honor for me to be asked to serve again on the board.” Based at Keywell’s installation in Frewsburg, NY, Newman has been involved in the titanium recycling business for the last 25 years. During that time, he has held various positions related to the purchasing, processing, and marketing of titanium and high temperature alloy scrap for both Keywell and the former Vac Air Alloys. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in business administration and has spoken at various metals conferences on subjects related to the scrap metal industry. Keywell, which opened in 1924, is a processor of titanium, high temperature aerospace metal alloys, and stainless steel scrap products. Seiner oversees Timet’s marketing, product management, purchasing and production planning operations. He has responsibility for all aspects of Timet’s supply chain. Based at Timet’s Toronto, OH, facility, Seiner has held various executive positions in during his 22 years with the company. Timet, a major titanium producer, was acquired earlier this year by Precision Castparts Corp., Portland, OR. He received a master’s degree from Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, and a bachelor’s degree from Duke University in Durham, NC. Brett Paddock, the president and chief executive officer of Titanium Industries Inc., Rockaway, NJ, is the chairman of the ITA board. Titanium Industries, one of the largest independent providers of high performance metal mill products. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Engineering, a Master of Science degree in Structural Mechanics from Lehigh University, Bethlehem, PA, and is a licensed professional engineer.
Dawne S. Hickton, the vice chair, president and chief executive officer of RTI International Metals Inc., Pittsburgh, serves as the vice president of the ITA board. RTI is a global supplier of advanced titanium mill products, fabricated components and engineered systems for the aerospace, defense, energy and medical markets. Hickton has over 25 years of diversified metals experience, including more than 14 years in the titanium industry. Michael G. Metz, president of VSMPO Tirus U.S., Highlands Ranch, CO, is the ITA’s past president. Metz joined VSMPO in November 2003 as vice president, commercial, and was named president of the organization in 2007. Metz graduated from Hamilton College, Clinton, NY, in 1981 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Economics, and earned a Master of Business Administration degree from Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, in 1983. The roster of ITA directors includes Lawrence D. Buhl III, chief executive officer, Lawrence Holdings Inc., South Wallingford, CT; Hunter R. Dalton, executive vice president, ATI Long Products, and president, ATI Allvac, Monroe, NC; Dr. Markus Holz, president, AMG’s Engineering Systems Division and chief executive officer, ALD Vacuum Technologies GmbH, Hanau, Germany; Donald E. Larsen, plant manager, Alcoa Howmet’s, Ti-Ingot operation, Whitehall, MI; Jerry St. Clair, president, Vulcanium Metals Inc., Northbrook, IL; Edward Sobota, Jr., president, TSI Titanium, Derry, PA; and Graham P. Walker, vice president, sales and marketing, AMETEK –Reading Alloys, Robesonia, PA. Jennifer Simpson is the executive director of the ITA.
Status of Current and Future Boeing Airplane Programs
John Byrne will discuss the current aerospace business environment, and will provide a status update on the various Boeing aircraft programs, including the Boeing 737, 747, 767, 777 and 787 airplanes at TITANIUM 2013. He will report on new product development relative to the Boeing 737 MAX, the 787-10, and a new airplane, the 777X, which is expected to enter service near the end of the decade. Central to all of these aircraft is the new business environment in which cost control is the major issue. “Until recently, performance and engine efficiency were the primary focus of the aerospace industry,” says Mr. Byrne. “Now, suppliers and builders alike must focus on driving the cost out of making airplanes.” Cost reduction efforts must address both materials and processes. Suppliers must find ways to reduce raw material costs, and must work with airplane manufacturers to develop more efficient fabrication technologies. One example of this approach is the new Boeing 777X, a future variant on the 777 long-range wide-body twin-engine jet airliner. Promising a 20% improvement in fuel efficiency, the 777X will feature a new composite wing as well as all-new engines. In the nearer term, the Boeing 787-10 will be approximately 36 feet longer than the current 787-8 version. It will carry up to 80 more passengers, depending on the configuration, and is designed for the international market. “We expect this plane to open up additional demand from overseas operators,” predicts Mr. Byrne. “In fact, we have the potential to increase production from the current ten per month to higher rates in the future to meet market demand. Therefore, we will need more titanium.” Although structures represent the majority of titanium aerospace applications, engines are a growing area of opportunity. Engine makers are continuing to improve fuel efficiency, and titanium applications are growing. For example, the inner wall on the nozzle of the engine for the Boeing 737 MAX is made of titanium. “This is a really big deal. It is a new application, a large part that is pretty sophisticated. And it points the way to other possible engine applications.”
No matter what the application, the challenge remains for airplane builders, who have a huge need to drive cost out of manufacturing. The aerospace industry is bearing the burden of composites industrialization, and much of this burden falls to titanium suppliers who provide the alloys that are compatible with this complex material. “In the past, titanium suppliers solved problems based on performance,” notes Mr. Byrne, “but now they must solve the cost side of the equation. This effort will be challenging for all involved.” One way to mitigate costs is to become more efficient in extracting value from scrap. Titanium manufacturing generates a significant amount of scrap, and typically only 30% of the initial ingot ends up in the finished product. The other 70% includes chips, forging flash, casting gates, bar ends, and similar fragments, much of which could be remelted and reused. Designing a recycling loop that maximizes the utilization of internally generated titanium scrap would be a big opportunity to drive costs down. “Airplane builders need to find ways to increase performance and cut costs for both new and old aircraft,” he concludes. “However, we will continue to see growth, and we will continue to build more airplanes over the long haul. The commercial airplane market looks good both now and into the future.”
Application Development Award
The International Titanium Association (ITA) is currently seeking nominations for an individual, group of individuals or organization within the titanium industry who has shown significant achievement towards improving and expanding the use of titanium. This award is intended to distinguish and remunerate commendable work in an area too little rewarded as well as potentially help support the continued development of the application. Applicants are encouraged to nominate any person(s) within the titanium arena (ITA member or non-member) who would be considered an excellent choice for receiving this valued award. All nominations will be presented to the ITA Grant Committee for consideration and final approval will be made by the ITA Board of Directors. APPLICATION DEADLINE: April 1, 2014 Contact ITA for more information at 1-303-404-2221 or firstname.lastname@example.org
DYNAMET TECHNOLOGY RECEIVES ITA’S 2013 TITANIUM APPLICATIONS DEVELOPMENT AWARD
Dynamet Technology, Inc., has announced that it has won the International Titanium
Association’s (ITA) 2013 Titanium Applications Development Award. The founder, President and Chief Executive Officer of Dynamet Technology, Inc., Stanley Abkowitz, will accept the award at the Titanium 2013 conference, October 6-9, Las Vegas, USA.
Located in Burlington, MA, USA, Dynamet Technology has pioneered the development and application of titanium Powder Metallurgy (PM Ti) technology for some 40 years. Acceptance of PM Ti as a substitute for conventional Ti-6Al-4V mill products or forgings for use in aerospace components has been a long-sought objective that marks a breakthrough for the PM titanium industry, stated the company. Ti-6Al-4V is the most widely used titanium alloy for both aerospace and non-aerospace applications. The annual ITA award recognizes exceptional contributions to the advancement of technology and applications in the titanium industry. Brett Paddock, President of the ITA board, and the President and Chief Executive Officer of Titanium Industries Inc., Rockaway, NJ, USA, stated, “As a result of more than 40 years of sustained effort, Dynamet Technology, Inc. has achieved acceptance for use of the technology in commercial aircraft manufacturing. The ITA is pleased to honour this significant achievement, which promises to promote the use of titanium in many future applications through efficient production of near-net shapes using this innovative technology.” Dynamet Technology, Inc. recently garnered approval from Boeing Co., through Boeing Commercial Aircraft (BCA) after an extensive evaluation of Dynamet Technology’s Ti-6Al-4V alloy product and development of a Boeing Materials Specification for powder metal titanium alloy manufactured by Dynamet Technology’s PM Titanium processing approach. This effort resulted in Dynamet Technology, Inc. becoming the sole qualified supplier for Ti-6Al-4V powder metal products, meeting the requirements of the recently released Boeing Material Specification. This qualification, along with Dynamet Technology’s receiving AS9100C certification, includes all the requirements of ISO 9100:2008 plus further requirements relating to quality and safety. It was issued April 29 after successful completion of the quality-system audit performed by TUV Rheinland of North America Inc., Newtown, CT, an accredited third-party certification company. This qualification enables Dynamet Technology’s titanium powder metal products to be used as an alternative to conventionally processed titanium for manufacture of commercial aircraft components. “Dynamet’s proprietary discovery of a more affordable and a faster-to-market titanium powder metal process enticed Boeing metallurgists and engineers to design qualifications around these results,” stated Robert Hill, President of Solar Atmospheres of Western PA, USA, in his letter that nominated Dynamet Technology, Inc. for the application award. Meeting the Boeing specification opens the door for the production of PM Ti-6Al-4V aircraft parts, from fuselage to landing gear components, stated the company. The manufacturing technology offers the capability to create near-net-shape parts, which can reduce production costs and scrap rates as well as speed delivery. According to Abkowitz, this represents a significant business opportunity for the global titanium market as the aerospace sector accounts for 55%of all titanium business. The Dynamet Technology, Inc. EBS (Elemental Blend Sintering) process involves cold pressing, vacuum sintering plus an optional hot-isostatic pressing (HIP) step, all of which yields low-cost, high-density, preformed titanium alloy shapes. Abkowitz said there are two key breakthrough aspects in Dynamet Technology, Inc. process. First, the company’s Powder Metallurgy process achieves tensile properties comparable to conventional wrought titanium products. Second, the process utilises special tooling technology, developed by Dynamet Technology, Inc., to produce near-net shapes. Abkowitz added that the process also supports the development of novel alloys. Since part production involves sintering rather than melting, entire new titanium alloy families, incorporating the advantages of high-performance metals such as tungsten, zirconium, tantalum and niobium as alloying elements, can be created.
Outlook for Commercial Airplanes
“The most important thing to know about the commercial airplane market is that there is strong demand for commercial airplanes,” says Michael L. Warner. In fact, Boeing has ramped up production, and expects to manufacture 25% more airplanes in 2014 than this year. However, many look at the slow global economy and wonder how Boeing could think the market will grow. “Market drivers today have changed,” explains Mr. Warner. “Today’s three primary market drivers are geographic balance, business model balance, and replacement demand. These drivers are much more prominent today than ever before.” Geographic balance refers to the effects on the airline industry of the growth in emerging markets. Historically, the commercial aircraft market has been driven by Europe and the United States, but the sheer size and fast growth of countries such as China and India have moved the ‘center of gravity’ to the East. “These countries have incredible growth in middle class consumers who have moved out of the lower class up to middle class, and who can now travel,” he says. “This will add 100 million passengers per year, just from Asia. In fact, we think that by 2032, nearly half of all passengers will either get on or get off the airplane in the Asia-Pacific region.” As a result, a sluggish U.S. economy does not affect airplane sales as much as it once did. The second major driver is business model balance. Global airlines such as Lufthansa and British Airways used to dominate the market, but now low-cost regional airlines such as Southwest and Ryan Air have sprung up around the world, in regions such as Southeast Asia, Australia, and South America. They carry passengers on relatively short routes, within regions and also to adjacent regions. They enter the market with low costs and low prices, and they compete with cars and trains for passengers who now can afford to fly. These are faster, more dynamic business models, and they are driving demand for Boeing’s 737. Replacement demand is the third growth driver. Because of the high cost of fuel, domestic airlines are looking for more efficient aircraft to replace their aging fleets. Fuel prices are much higher than ten years ago, and they have a significant impact on operating costs. As a result, airlines are looking to replace their aging aircraft with more efficient models. “With such high fuel costs, it does not make economic sense to hang on to less fuel efficient, older airplanes,” says Mr. Warner. “The magnitude of this is 400 to 500 airplanes that need to be replaced every year this decade. In the 2020’s, replacement demand will increase to 700 to 800 airplanes per year.” This level is so high because the global fleet has grown so much bigger over the past decade. As a result of the changing market drivers, Boeing did not have to cut production rates in 2008-2009 in spite of a slower economy in the United States. “In past recessions, cancelled orders meant we had to cut production,” says Mr. Warner, “but this time we did not because demand was still high. Domestic airlines would call us and say they could not take delivery, but we had customers in China and India who still wanted the airplanes.” To deal with all of these new market drivers, Boeing’s strategy is to focus on the most efficient airplanes possible. This means building airplanes with new designs, more efficient engines, and lighter-weight materials. The 787 Dreamliner is a prime example of this strategy. Another example is the ongoing improvement in the efficiency of the 737. Boeing forecasts a $4.8 trillion market for more than 35,000 new airplanes over the next 20 years, as the current world airline fleet is forecast to double in size. “Both near-term and long-term, we see a strong and growing aviation market,” Mr. Warner concludes. “Our backlog is large and growing, and this is why we are increasing production rates.”
TITANIUM EUROPE 2013 – EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
More than 450 delegates from 30 countries, representing titanium producers, manufacturers, suppliers, distributors, users and researchers, gathered at TITANIUM Europe 2013 in Hamburg Germany on March 6, 2013. The forum, sponsored by the International Titanium Association (ITA), enabled industry leaders to share inside expertise and offered attendees a chance to network across disciplines. Panel presentations covered titanium global supply and demand, medical and emerging markets, raw material usage, melting technologies, fabrication techniques, commercial aerospace trends and the industrialization of ti aluminides. There was a special focus on industrial applications and a market outlook from an Airbus featured speaker.
World Industry Demand Trends Panel
Opening the conference, Brett Paddock, President & CEO, Titanium Industries, Inc. and 2013 ITA President, introduced the World Industry Demand Trend speakers. Wade Leach, Vice President of Sales, Marketing, & Product Management, ATI Allvac, examined the history, trends, and potential expanded future uses of titanium in Military Airframe, Land & Sea Based Applications for Titanium. He explained that a balance of performance, payload and protection benefits makes the metal a military material of choice. However, it presents challenges arising from initial raw material cost and uncertain demand that can affect supply. After presenting examples of titanium’s successful military use, he analyzed specific weight savings it realizes in an Abrams M1A2 Main Battle Tank. Leach reviewed a new MIL spec for an ATI titanium armor alloy that the Army Research Lab believes “offers the best potential to increase applications for both commercial and military platforms.” Titanium demand in the jet engine market should remain strong over the next five to seven years, according to James Buch, Executive Vice President, Commercial, TIMET, Titanium Metals Corporation. His presentation looked at historical trends in engine build rates and the resultant titanium shipments and demand since 2003, with an overall growth rate of
6% 5% annually in spite of the 2009 recession. Over the next five years, Buch expects titanium demand to increase 25%, based on strong fundamental demand drivers (backlog, traffic, fuel efficiency and spares), program delays that have shifted demand, and technological innovations like large high-bypass turbofans. Engines for commercial twin aisle aircraft, re-engined single aisle and regional jets, and military programs should contribute to the growth. In projecting titanium commercial aerostructure demand, Patricia O’Connell, Executive Vice President, Commercial, RTI International Metals, reported that global and regional economic outlooks project modest growth, but lower than anticipated just months ago, with economic risk factors, from terrorism to debt issues. Passenger travel is expected to increase about 4.7% a year through 2031, but factors such as communications technology and ticket prices could threaten that. However, fleets are aging and new programs are on the horizon. For titanium usage, there is also good and bad news. Buy-to-fly ratios are down but weight considerations are driving more parts to be produced from titanium. In summary, O’Connell said RTI is forecasting a doubling of demand for the metal in commercial aerostructures by 2016.
Industrial consumption of titanium, primarily in power generation, process and desalination, is expected to increase in 2013, according to Gilles Dussart, COO, VALTIMET. Over 6000 MT is expected to be used in desal, notably in three middle-eastern plants. In power generation, nuclear plants are the major consumer, especially in China, with demand expected to reach 1500 MT per year in 2020. In the processing industries, titanium use is being driven by large PTA projects in China and India, and additional opportunities are emerging as copper-nickel prices rise. In general, Dussart said, industrial markets are demanding product innovations that increase efficiency and equipment lifespan, and that quality will be the industry’s future. In the Russian Federation, titanium demand is expected to double between 2010 and 2017, stated Michael Metz, President, VSMPO Tirus US, with the aircraft, helicopter, rocket and aero engine industries being the primary growth sources. Together, those aero-related industries accounted for 60% of the Russian market in 2011, and in 2017 they are expected to consume 9000 MT of the metal. Industrial markets include shipbuilding (the largest industrial consumer), chemical processing, non-ferrous metal and oil and gas production. In addition, titanium demand for Russian atomic power generation, from four plants under construction, is expected to jump 70% from 2013 to 2014 and hold steady through 2017, Metz said. China is now the world’s largest titanium supplying country, according to Yali Zhou, company representative for Baoti and speaking on behalf of the Chinese Titanium Association. From 2001 to 2011, Chinese sponge production increased an average of 38% annually and mill product output grew an average of 22% per year, to reach historical records. Chemical processing applications account for the bulk of consumption, but rapid development of civil aviation and nuclear energy industries should drive greater demand in the future. Import/export of titanium (both sponge and mill products) is declining, Zhou commented. In 2012, the Japan Titanium Society (JTS) celebrated its 60th anniversary. In recognition, Masayuki Okano, Vice President, Japan Titanium Society and Senior General Manager of Kobe Steel, Ltd., reviewed Japan’s titanium history, highlighting the 50% growth in sponge production capacity from 2009 to early 2012. This growth was in conjunction with a shift to the use of lower grade titanium dioxide feedstock. In mill products, Okano forecasts demand, which has fluctuated in the past five years, could remain weak until 2014. Steady growth in demand will depend, he said, on resurgence in shipbuilding, desalination projects, nuclear power plant development and new markets. Marcus Holz, President of AMG’s Engineering Systems Division and CEO of ALD Vacuum Technologies GmbHAand the TITANIUM Europe Conference Committee Chair, summarized the Demand panel contents before the conference shifted attention to address World Industry Supply trends.
World Industry Supply Trends Panel
Opening the Supply session, Sylvain Gehler, Managing Director, Specialty Metals Company S.A., addressed sponge production by country (Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Russia, Japan, China and the US. Worldwide, Gehler observed, titanium sponge production almost doubled between 2009 and 2012. The overproduction and resulting overpurchase by melters was due to overrated forecasts and a fear of a titanium feedstock shortage due to pigment demand. Melters have now switched feedstock to cheaper scrap. More expensive sponge remains overstocked in 2013, Gehler explained, due to flat aerospace demand and industrial project delays. Production, therefore, must decrease by some 21,900 MT from 2012 levels. Titanium dioxide (TiO2) is the building block used to manufacture sponge. According to David McCoy, Managing consultant – Markets & Strategy Team, TZ Minerals International Pty Ltd., the supply situation of that mineral, which occurs naturally in a high-quality form as rutile, is prompting sponge producers to face a new paradigm. Approximately 92% of TiO2 is used as white pigment and short term undersupply has led to significant price increases in the past 24 months. Future investment in mining will require a mineral pricing level that is above long term historic values, so for now sponge producers will look to alternatives, perhaps in lower quality feedstocks or continuing increased utilization of scrap. Molybdenum and vanadium are key alloying elements in titanium, typically used in the 2% - 6% range to enhance heat resistance and strength. Phillip Dewhurst, Associate Consultant, Roskill Information Services Limited, reviewed their supply patterns. Both are mostly a by- or co- product and used mainly in steel alloys. China dominates their production and consumption. Both metals saw significant price increases in the mid 2000’s, due to growing Chinese demand, but prices have since settled and remain at pre-surge levels, said Dewhurst. The molybdenum market is forecast to grow 3.1% per year (compounded); the vanadium market 6.5% per year, by 2018. The strategic role of scrap recycling and revert management were addressed in depth by Nils von Stromberg, Key Account Manager Scrap Revert Programs / Production Manager, ELG Utica Alloys International GmbH. As mentioned earlier, fluctuating prices and limited availability of sponge raw materials strengthen the importance of scrap. Recycling can generate cost savings by stabilizing raw material supply and prices, and reducing energy consumption. He emphasized that the scrap price may sometimes exceed that of sponge, but long term, scrap is a cheaper raw material. It is also environmentally friendly. The need for scrap supply strategies for melters, and for vertical integration of scrap management between melting, forging and manufacturing companies was also covered.
Industrial use of titanium, specifically in seawater applications, was a focus of TITANIUM Europe 2013, with presentations hosted by Uniti Titanium, a leading manufacturer of titanium pipe, tubing and other mill products for industrial, automotive and consumer markets. Titanium, with its inherent corrosion resistance and high density, is rapidly gaining favor in seawater service over copper-nickel, the historical workhorse, explained Rob Henson, Manager Business Development, Uniti Titanium. Copper-nickel prices are rising, he said, and when weight and space considerations on floating production systems are factored in, titanium is more economical. Titanium’s erosion corrosion resistance coupled with high strength permits use of smaller diameter piping, and its lower density means fewer pounds must be purchased. It has also demonstrated life expectancy of more than 40 years in seawater use for power generation and desalination plants. Henson stressed the metal is an abundant, highly available, sustainable choice. New energy generation projects in seawater, which could require significant amounts of titanium, was the topic of Thierry Millot, Senior Expert Material, DCNS. The firm has a 20-year track record using titanium tubing on warship propulsion systems. It is pursuing diversification in a marine renewable energy technology (Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion or OTEC) and a subsea nuclear plant (FLEXBLUE). OTEC converts the temperature differential between surface sea water and deep sea water into electricity using high capacity titanium heat exchangers with very long tubes. FLEXBLUE could power cities near shore and would use titanium in circuits, heat exchangers and nuclear condensers. For industrial processes requiring corrosion resistance and high temperatures and/or pressures, titanium clad construction is often a cost-effective solution, said Stephane Pauly, Business Development Manager – IWE, DMC Nobelclad. It explosively welds a layer of corrosion resistant titanium alloy to a sheet of lower cost steel for pressure containment, providing a more durable, reliable alternative to non-metallic linings. Clad performance is proven in pressure vessels, autoclaves for acid leaching metal ores, heat exchangers in urea processing and nuclear components, and in reactors and columns for PTA manufacture. Pauly also described how explosive welding can be used for transition joints between dissimilar metals to improve tightness or mechanical/thermal performance.
Titanium remains the material of choice in orthopedic and dental applications, stated Hans Schmotzer, Senior Partner, Medtech Consulting SigmaRC. He summarized that this is due to excellent biocompatibility (notably biologic fixation), high strength, low modulus and low x-ray attenuation. Its sole drawback is low wear resistance under sliding conditions. As a new product consultant, Schmotzer forecast challenges affecting a mature market, including increased regulatory and pricing pressure, and individualized medicine. He anticipates development of alternative manufacturing technologies that allow patient-specific solutions, such as near net shape and additive processes (e.g. laser/EB sintering) and power metallurgy/injection molding.
Distributors also face challenges in serving medical device manufacturers, according to André Hempel, CEO, Hempel Special Metals. The titanium market is relatively small yet fragmented, requiring many different product forms and specifications, delivery logistics and quality controls. As manufacturing equipment changes, different mill product shapes and profiles are required. Distributors play an increasingly important role as the mill-to-OEM go-between, especially as OEMs seek to concentrate business with fewer distributors to increase volumes, control capital and receive value-added services. Premium dental product innovation is driven by alloy development in the case of Institut Straumann AG, stated Francisco Faoro, Head Product Development Business Unit Surgical. The firm’s new high-performance dental implant material for North America, Roxolid™, is a titanium/zirconium alloy with higher strength and an improved surface for superior osseointegration performance. It is formulated for smaller diameter implants in narrow spaces where the tooth must endure high chewing forces. Faoro said it facilitates simplified, minimally invasive procedures, reduces the risk of failure and cuts healing time in half.
Emerging Markets Panel
Sports car exhaust systems made from titanium were compared to dimensionally equivalent stainless steel systems in a study of technical features done by Akrapovič d.d. and reported by the firm’s Jaka Klemenc, Head of Research & Testing. He observed that the titanium exhaust offered a 31% mass reduction over stainless, which impacted car handling and drivability. He then detailed temperature, vibration and sound tests and compared the benefits and disadvantages of using titanium exhausts. Anodic spark deposition, a technology that holds promise for expanding titanium’s suitability for biomechanical, marine, automotive and industrial applications, was presented by MariaPia Pedeferri, Associate Professor, Politecnico di Milano. The simple process thickens titanium’s native oxide film, responsible for its corrosion resistance, to improve the metal’s poor wear resistance, limited load bearing capacity and high friction co-efficient. She concluded the low-friction coating resulting from the enhanced oxidation can improve performance in applications where corrosion resistance together with wear resistance under low load conditions is required. Lighter and stronger military equipment for the changing battlefield is being realized today using investment cast titanium, said Sarah Mott, Marketing Manager, and Bret Clayton, Business Development Manager, PCC Structurals (Precision Castparts). Benefits over traditional fabrication include the ability to cast large monolithic structures to save weight, cost, material and labor, and accommodate complex geometries. Unmanned air vehicles, ground vehicles, artillery, missiles and rockets use the cast components, which can help increase survivability while expanding mission capabilities, decrease footprints and reduce fuel required to fly into theater and maneuver.
Raw Materials Panel
One of the raw materials for producing titanium is titanium scrap. The Metalinx Material Management System (M3S) is a game-changing system for dealing with this valuable commodity, according to Bert Erdel, President, Metalinx. M3S ensures precise collection, accurate real-time monitoring, accountable maintenance and timely, transparent delivery of titanium scrap, chips and smarf. Erdel said the self-contained, autonomous system transforms management of this material into a transparent, disciplined profit center that maximizes value for manufacturers. It guarantees the best market price at any time and accommodates “Green” and “Blue” mandates. Pursuing multiple paths in additive manufacturing to produce titanium near net shapes is a focus of CSIRO Titanium Technologies, according to John Barnes, titanium technologies theme leaderfor the company. He reviewed developments in three technologies, part of the Australian Additive Manufacturing Initiative, seeking to build a more efficient, affordable industry with a larger application space. Efforts include applying what’s understood about powder characteristics from the ARCAM EB process to powder beds; predicting and managing distortion in Sciaky EB Direct Manufacturing (jointly with Boeing); and accommodating cold spray’s continuous production requirements that are, by their nature, disruptive to current manufacturing methods. To meet commercial and military aerospace demand, titanium ingot manufacturers will see increased requirements for alloyed metal, which means the need for master alloys must keep pace. Michael Royer, Director – Operations, AMETEK – Reading Alloys, reviewed the manufacturing process for master alloys, which provide a lower melting point than elemental metals, and high yield and quality at a low cost. Challenges facing the master alloy supplier include maintaining safety and quality, managing costs of raw materials that are also used in steel and predicting aerospace demand, which could – or could not – double in five years.
A need to lower costs and improve quality has driven cold hearth furnace technology improvements over recent years, stated Jochen Flinspach, Manager EB-melting service, ALD Vacuum Technologies GmbH. He said the company is supplying furnace systems for melting VAR, investment casting and plasma) and improving EB cold hearth systems for single, double and double double casting. Compact furnace design minimizes downtimes, doublecasting improves slab production yields as much as 5%, advanced power distribution reduces power consumption, and inline weighing and blending eliminates pre-compaction. Electron beam cold hearth remelting (EBCHR) benefits include the environmental and economic aspects of utilizing titanium scrap, stated Jürgen Kiese, Head of Department for Process Development of Titanium for Outokumpu VDM. He reported on the performance of the company’s new EBCHR furnace, made by ALD. Feedstock can be any mixture of sponge, scrap, master alloys and microcomponents, automatically weighed and mixed. Six EB guns and a two-ingot withdrawal system yield a 5000 MT/year capacity. Typical products are rectangular and round ingots; the rounds, especially, can be re-melted. He also discussed the firm’s work in controlling aluminum content and high-density inclusions. The results of a test program seeking to optimize fracture toughness and crack propagation behavior of Ti-6-4 investment castings by beta annealing, were reported by Christian Stocker, Research & Development, TITAL GmbH. Cast Ti-6-4 has found application in a wide variety of aerospace and fracture-critical parts, he said, and as aircraft are exceeding design service goals, inspection programs must consider probable damage and crack behavior. After reviewing the casting and experiment details, he summarized that no fracture toughness improvement was detectable after beta-annealing compared with conventional cast Ti-6-4. However, the annealing process may lead to dimensional deviations.
Recent welding advancements that improve productivity without sacrificing quality were the focus of Richard Freeman, Aerospace Industry Sector Manager, TWI Limited, UK. Work on linear friction welding, in conjunction with a major aerospace OEM, he said, is concentrating on welding preforms to produce parts that were previously machined from forgings. This could substantially reduce raw material and machining costs. He also compared the advantages of using a high brightness fibre laser source to conventional Nd:YAG lasers. Developments in high frequency pulsed Tungsten Inert Gas (TIG), and reduced spatter Metal Inert Gas (MIG) welding were presented, as was the status of laser additive manufacturing. Capabilities in seamless titanium tube production in Ukraine at OSCAR Production Group were discussed by Paul Barker, International Sales. The company emerged from the former Nikopol YuzhnoTrubny Plant, providing tubes to more than 1000 specifications. It now has hot extrusion and cold-drawn production capacity and supplies tubing to nuclear, aerospace, shipbuilding and chemical industries. Regarding potential future growth, he spoke about adding a VAR melting facility in order to control quality and assure traceability, in adherence with ISO 9100. Owning its melt plant would allow the firm to use readily available Ukrainian sponge. Understanding microstructural mechanisms during hot working of Ti-6-4 is crucial for parts used in aerospace, stated Christina Schmidt, Material Development Titanium, Outokumpu VDM. For rotating turbine components especially, material properties requirements for homogeneity and lack of inclusions, which depend on microstructure, are constantly increasing in order to guarantee component reliability. Her presentation described hot compression testing parameters, simulations and evaluations that mimic the forging process to develop microstructural models. The results enable the microstructural transformation during single forging steps to be described and simulated.
Commercial Aerospace Distinguished Speaker and Panels
As at all ITA conferences, aerospace was a prime topic. TITANIUM Europe 2013 Distinguished Speaker David Velupillai, Airbus, overviewed the company and six speakers, discussed commercial aerospace. Airbus planes comprise the world’s most modern aircraft family, stated David Velupillai, marketing director of the company. He elaborated on the Airbus heritage since 1970, when it united Europe’s airline manufacturers, and outlined its 40 years of aircraft innovation and market strategies. Today, it is the largest element of EADS, with steady increases in aircraft deliveries since 2003. It leads the industry with around 600 deliveries a year and backlogs are at a record level. New programs include the A320 with the addition of sharklet wingtip devices and a 15% fuel-saving A320 with sharklets and a new engine option. The company is also increasing its use of titanium in its latest aircraft, the A350, to 14%. In the commercial aerospace arena, a new European integrated titanium company, UKAD, was formed in December 2008, said Yves-Charles Ricci, Director Strategic Developments, Aubert & Duval, one of the participating joint venture companies and a leader in melting and closed-die forging of titanium and other special metals. The other firm, UKTMP of Kazakhstan, is a fully- integrated sponge producer. The new company has a long-term commitment from Airbus to be a new integrated supplier of titanium semi-finished products for parts and fasteners. UKAD has a new 4500 t forging press, is producing bar, billet and bloom and is approved for aerospace parts, medical applications and industrial equipment. Production of titanium aluminide LPT blades using single piece flow, near net shape casting, for the GENEX™ engine was presented by Tobias Schubert, Process Engineer/Quality Engineer/Metallurgy, GE Aviation Deutschland GmbH. The engine represents a major advancement in propulsion efficiency with reduced fuel consumption, noise and emissions. The TiAl blades represent the first FAA certified commercial aviation application of gamma TiAl (GE48-2-2). The single piece flow, near net shape spin casting process also achieves a 7% reduction in raw material. Microstructure and creep resistance testing of powder metallurgy alloys for aerospace applications was discussed by Nokolay Lopatin, OOO Commetprom. Despite powder’s high cost and intensive labor requirements, near net shape processing, including spraying and sintering of these alloys (VT18Y, VT25Y and ST6) has emerged as an alternative to wrought processing, with its high waste and machining cost. Thus, microstructure and mechanical behavior of these alloys needed study. The results demonstrated, in general, that the mechanical properties of the powder alloys were almost equal to the wrought alloys, with good or better creep resistance. In commercial aircraft landing gear, Messier-Bugatti-Dowty is gaining a world-leading position, especially in equipping the twin aisle segment, according to Gaspar Lamoureux, Raw Material & Forging Purchasing Manager for Landing Gears. He noted the trend toward the use of greater amounts of titanium, specifically high-strength titanium, explaining it is becoming a new “standard” and the firm’s own “MDB-controlled” specification metal is its strategic choice. The vision for the company is to consolidate its leadership position in landing systems and on- ground movement, enhance customer focus and develop technological innovation. For Airbus, titanium has evolved to a strategic area of development, from a niche metal commodity, related Alexis Gonzalez Chiappe, Head of Titanium, Steel & Special alloys Raw Material Procurement. He reported that as air travel grows, Airbus foresees its aircraft program growth will exceed 50% in 5 years and use of composites (CFRP) and titanium will increase. Within a decade, EADS’ (of which Airbus is a part) consumption of titanium could increase 300%, exclusive of engines and landing gear. Since titanium alloys and processes are still at an early phase of maturity, this provides significant leverage for Airbus to optimize costs, to influence titanium supply chain evolution in ways that add value, and to participate in joint research and collaboration. Passenger aircraft fleet size is anticipated to grow 3.8% per year through 2013 and this will present challenges for the titanium supply chain that were detailed by Michael Behnke, Director Procurement, Logistics, IT, Leistritz Turbinentechnik GmbH. The company is a core supplier of complex compressor airfoil forgings, engine discs and turbine blades. Across the supply chain, flexibility and service will increase in importance. For melters, change management and innovative logistics concepts will be critical; for forgers, costs will become more important. Strategic partnerships between forgers and melters will evolve, melters will take on more of a role of service providers and a reduced number of suppliers will be available for the forger.
Titanium Aluminides Panel
New aero engine developments put titanium aluminides at a new threshold says Robert Guntin, Managing Director, Access. European ACARE requirements require TiAl low pressure turbine blades to improve efficiency and environmental impact. Intermetallic TiAl alloys save 50% in weight compared to nickel-based alloys, which contributes to both advances. However, as a substitution technology, with a new material requiring a new process, it must bring substantial advantages and economic benefits. This will require new production methods which only OEMs can realize as a commercially viable serial process. The supply chain will rely on OEMs to minimize its considerable risk when establishing the new methods. Titanium aluminides for the new generation of gas turbine engines fulfill the requirements for light weight, high creep and oxidation resistant alloys, with higher temperature potential than nickel-based superalloys. Wilfied Smarsly, Representative Advanced Materials, MTU Aero Engines, explained that these multi-phase alloys can be processed by powder, ingot, casting and forging technologies. He examined the temperature, cost and weight (TCW triangle) balance of properties for TiAl and nickel alloys, production options, and challenges and weight saving benefits of TiAl alloys. Successful industrialization of titanium aluminide manufacturing and processing has been a major obstacle for 20 years to widespread use of the promising material to replace heavy nickel superalloys, said Volker Güther, Manager Advanced Materials, GfE Metalle und Materialien GmbH. He traced evolution of its application from F1 racing engines to the pioneering GENX™, Pratt and Whitney, and SNECMA engines. He noted the TiAl alloys exhibit well-balanced properties, but technologies are still expensive. Production of TiAl ingots can be costly and manufacturing semi-finished products can be complex. GfE, he said, has pioneered centrifugal casting TiAl, with the homogeneity of semi-finished parts exceeding that of metallurgical ingots. Jennifer Simpson, executive director of the ITA, said TITANIUM Europe 2014 will be held May 19-21, 2014 in Sorrento, italy. Consult the ITA’s Web site (www.titanium.org) for details or call the organization at (303) 404-2221.
Innovation, Including Use of Titanium, Drives Airbus Success
A culture of continuous innovation is fundamental to the success of aircraft manufacturer Airbus, said David Velupillai, the company’s marketing director, in his presentation at TITANIUM EUROPE 2013 in March. Velupillai was the Distinguished Speaker at the International Titanium Association’s spring conference in Hamburg, Germany. “Airbus has today, after more than forty years of innovation, the world’s most modern aircraft family, covering the whole spectrum of aircraft sizes and ranges,” he explained. “We’ve had to innovate since we were formed in 1970, when our first sales guys started knocking on the airlines’ doors and they said ‘Why do we need Airbus?’ We had to innovate to get our foot in the door.” Airbus’s first aircraft, the A300, was designed to target a market gap, providing a 250-seat alternative to the existing Boeing, Douglas and Lockheed options. Since then, Airbus has introduced the first widebody twin aisle, the first widebody two-man cockpit and the first carbon fiber primary structure, the tail. Those aerospace advances characterize the company’s philosophy. “The main thing for an airline is the economics of an aircraft, and that essentially comes from two things: one is economy of scale, for example having two pilots fly 525 people instead of just 100, and the other is technology.” Velupillai went on, in a recent interview, to detail how technology innovations can improve the weight of an aircraft structure. “A lighter airframe, of course, burns less fuel, and one of the ways to get a lighter structure is to use new materials. We’ve made steady and progressive steps in the use of materials such as weightsaving carbon fiber. In our A350, which made its first flight earlier this year, 53% of the airframe is carbon fiber.” The A350 is the first Airbus aircraft with a carbon fiber wing and fuselage. “And one of the metals that works very well with carbon fiber is titanium,” Velupillai continued. “There is no corrosion that results from having titanium up against carbon fiber, whereas there is with many other metals.” Titanium can be used in carbon fiber airframes for brackets, fasteners, attachments, fittings and so on. “For anything butting against carbon fiber, titanium is something you would consider,” he said. “And titanium is important in its own right, of course, in the airframe parts that are highly loaded. With its high strength-to-weight ratio, the metal is very good when you have loads pulling in different directions.” Titanium is also used in aircraft engines, the pylons that attach the engines to the wing and in landing gear. The A350 airframe contains about 14% titanium by weight, where the Airbus A380 doubledeck airliner and the A320 family aircraft contain about 6% titanium. “There’s a big increase in the use of titanium in our new A350, brought about largely by the greater use of carbon fiber, but also by more use of titanium in areas such as the landing gear and other parts of the airframe.” Airbus will begin deliveries of the A350 in the second half of next year. Along with the re-engined A320, it will serve airlines’ increased demand for fuel-saving aircraft. “Fuel is something like 40 – 50% of airline’s operating cost. We’ve been introducing models such as the A350 and the A320neo (new engine option) because of high oil prices.” The A320neo, which also features ‘sharklet’ configured wingtips, performs with a 15% fuel savings compared to the traditional model with the current engine option (A320ceo). Velupillai observed, “Airlines are very focused on renewing their fleets with modern aircraft and at Airbus we do have the world’s most modern aircraft family. So we are well placed to capitalize on that demand.” The company’s current fleet offers aircraft to suit every airline need: the hub-to-hub A380 with 500+ seats, the point-to-point A330/340 family and A350, and the single aisle A320 family. The aircraft are assembled around the world. The first US assembly line, in Mobile, AL, will begin production in 2015. Looking ahead to 2031, Airbus forecasts a market for 28,200 airliners, worth about $4 trillion. Historically, the firm has captured about half of the market, and, in fact it has delivered the most aircraft of all manufacturers in 9 of the last ten years, with steady increases each year. The A330/340 family is currently at a build rate of ten per month (the highest production rate of any widebody program in world); the A320 family is at 42 per month, or one every 7 1/2 working hours. Even with such strong production, the Airbus backlog in single aisle and widebody planes is estimated at 7 years. “So with the 600 or so aircraft we are building each year we do need a continuing and assured supply of titanium,” Velupillai noted. “One of the things we look at is how we can get the material, in terms of forgings, plate, sheet, to insure our continued high production rates. And clearly, with the backlog for our A320 family, there is a case for increasing the rate if the supply chain is able to follow.” Airlines are interested in the economics of the technology, but also, Velupillai observed, economies of scale, which can mean flying more passengers in each plane. The number of people flying doubles every 15 years, as we live in an increasingly global world, and at Airbus “passenger comfort hasn’t been forgotten. When you fly in an Airbus aircraft, chances are you’re going to get a wider seat,” he said. Airlines choose the distance between rows in an aircraft, but manufacturers choose fuselage diameter, which directly influences seat width. “In the A320 family, about 80% of our customers have chosen to use that extra fuselage width to give you a 1” wider seat in economy. We’ve taken a similar approach in the A350, and in the A380 it’s even better because you’ll get a 1.” wider seat in economy. “So Airbus aircraft have a reputation, if you like, not only for a culture of innovation but for passenger comfort,” Velupillai concluded. “While the number of people flying is getting bigger, the people themselves are also getting bigger. Airbus has the most modern aircraft family, it’s better adapted to comfortably carry that population, and it incorporates the light-weight technology to burn less fuel.”
Titanium and Combustible Metal Safety
The ITA Safety Committee will sponsor a one hour lecture at TITANIUM 2013 providing a general overview of the National Fire Prevention Association Combustible Metal Standard (NFPA 484), the importance of housekeeping, and the proper handling of fires involving titanium and other metals in a combustible form. “Metals in a combustible form, including titanium, can present fire and explosion hazards,” says Redding Fire Chief Kevin Kreitman. “However, risks can be minimized through proper housekeeping, planning, engineering, and training.” The size and shape of the titanium products are key in determining the combustibility risks of the metal. Large castings and ingots are generally not combustible under ordinary circumstances. Housekeeping is one of the key factors in preventing fires and explosion hazards. It is critically important to minimize titanium dust and to isolate titanium in combustible forms. The importance of dust control cannot be overstated, as it is a significant component when dealing with titanium or any metal in a combustible form, to prevent incidents that can result in tragic outcomes. Proper operation and maintenance of equipment, and minimizing the amount of product that can become involved in a fire, are also important aspects of an effective housekeeping program. Any fire involving titanium presents significant risks. The primary goal is to limit the potential of an event, but should an event occur, the goal is to successfully limit its impact and risks. “The most dangerous forms of combustible metals, with the exception of molten metal, are dust, powders, and machining swarf, all of which have large surface areas relative to the amount of metal,” says Chief Kreitman. Therefore, good housekeeping is a must: A large number of incidents can be mitigated with proper housekeeping and by minimizing the amount of product that can become involved. Planning for incidents with local emergency responders is also critical; this is important not only for primary manufacturers, but also for any facility handling titanium in a combustible form, such as secondary users, machine shops, and recycling facilities. “The proper handling of fires involving titanium and other metals in a combustible form does not occur by happenstance,” the chief emphasizes. “It is the result of detailed planning and a close working relationship between facility personnel and emergency responders.” One of the most important concerns is to ensure that personnel alert local emergency responders prior to an event about titanium’s specific risks and hazards. These include the forms of the material that may become involved in an emergency incident, such as powders, dusts, or molten metal; as well as the potential involvement of chemicals that may be associated with processing. Together, plant and fire department personnel should develop policies and procedures to ensure the safe handling of any incidents. In addition, it is important that these policies and procedures be followed up with training for both groups. This training is covered in NFPA 484, which details the proper actions to be taken during an emergency: Improper handling of these materials in fire incidents place personnel and responders at great risk. “When a titanium fire is in its incipient stage, it is still possible to deal with it,” says Chief Kreitman. “However, titanium very quickly reaches extremely high temperatures, and the ability to extinguish a spreading titanium fire becomes very limited.” Because titanium’s burning temperature is over 7000°F, a titanium fire can result in a structure quickly becoming untenable. The high temperature results in the breakdown of water to its constituent elements of hydrogen and oxygen, resulting in hydrogen explosions. Therefore, the application of water to titanium fires (and most metals in a combustible form), is the same as adding an oxidizer and fuel source. The burning metal will also pull water out of concrete and any other material with which it comes in contact. Chief Kreitman’s presentation will cover several case histories of titanium and combustible metal fires, including why they happened, how they could have been prevented, and the procedures for dealing with them. He will provide a list of materials that absolutely should not be used against a titanium fire, and will describe the limited materials that are effective. Copies of a policy procedure for properly handling fires will be available to attendees.
Commercial Aerospace Market Segment to Benefit from
Business and Technology Developments in Titanium Industry
New developments in capacity and technology were presented during another TITANIUM EUROPE 2013 panel by titanium industry companies that supply the commercial aerospace market and its subcontractors. The evolution of the new integrated titanium producer UKAD, a joint venture between European forger Aubert & Duval and Kazakhstan-based sponge-producer UKTMP, was discussed by Yves-Charles Ricci, General Secretary of the company and Director Strategic Development, Aubert & Duval. UKAD, which was formed in 2008. The firm will focus on aerospace manufacturers, and has in place a long-term agreement to supply titanium semi-finished products for parts and fasteners to EADS programs including Airbus. “For us, it was very clear that there will be a need for more and more titanium for aerospace. We are very close to Airbus and we have a very large press to make big parts. They were very interested in this project and in having a new integrated supplier,” Ricci said. Like Airbus and the aerospace industry in general, UKAD foresees continuing growth in air travel, revenues, and therefore the demand for new aircraft. The amount of titanium per aircraft is also increasing, according to Ricci, who cited the growth of titanium content in closed-die forging parts in Airbus planes and the effect of growing composite use on titanium consumption: “With composites in airframes, manufacturers are obliged to use titanium fasteners,” he said. UKAD also plans to serve the medical industry and nuclear power generation “in rotating applications.” UKTMP will produce ingots for the new firm. It is fully integrated upstream with compaction press, welding equipment and VAR furnaces. UKAD’s new plant will deliver bars, billets and blooms. The plant was built with an investment of 50 M€, as “a lean manufacturing facility with a 4500t forging press and all the equipment for heat treating, peeling, machining and NDT testing. UKAD is approved for aerospace parts and fasteners, medical applications and industrial equipment,” Ricci said. From GE Aviation Deutschland, Tobias Schubert, Process Engineer/Quality Engineer/Metallurgy, addressed piece flow casting advances with titanium aluminides for low pressure turbine (LPT) blades in GEnx™ engines. “The GEnx engine is GE’s most efficient engine,” Schubert said. “It represents a major advancement in propulsion efficiency, while reducing fuel consumption, noise and NOx emissions, compared to the engines it is replacing.” (The GEnx engine and its TiAl LPT blades were also discussed by Volker Guther, GfE Metalle und Materialien, in the Ti Aluminides panel.) Schubert explained “the GEnx is an ‘ecomagination’ product. It’s a result of technologies that give the customer what he wants. Early in the process, we met with customers and airframers to better understand and clearly define those requirements. They told us that they wanted an engine with better fuel efficiency, lower emissions, less noise, and higher reliability. But all of this new technology had to come with reduced cost of ownership.” The GEnx meets those objectives using advanced materials and processes. One of those materials is GE48-2-2 gamma ti aluminide for LPT blades. “It represents the world’s first FAA certified intermetallic material application in commercial aviation,” said Schubert. Approximately 50,000 TiAl LPT blades have been manufactured to date for the GEnx engine using conventional gravity casting plus machining. Now, GE Aviation Deutschland (Regensburg) has developed and implemented full-scale, lean flow horizontal spin casting to produce the blades. Schubert explained in his presentation the preliminary subscale process development, which resulted in selection of the mold/crucible system, validation of the process models and the definition of the spin cast process. He then outlined the manufacturing sequence that’s in place today, including the one piece flow philosophy and lean manufacturing methods. The full scale process lines have yielded more than 600,000 pounds of GE TiAl48-2-2 ingot and about 30,000 LPT blades. “The near net shape casting achieves a seven-fold reduction in raw material usage compared to the conventional gravity casting,” according to Schubert. The TiAl LPT blades now being produced are for entry into service in 2013 on Boeing’s 787 (GEnx 1B) and 747-8 (GEnx 2B). Near net shape technologies also include spraying and sintering of alloys, said, Nikolay Lopatin, LLS Commetprom. He addressed the mechanical properties and creep resistance of three such aerospace alloys when they are manufactured with powder metallurgy (P/M) techniques. “The cost of titanium alloy powders is relatively high and the spraying/sintering process is laborious, but the powder technology is promising as a cost-saving alternative compared with wrought alloys,” Lopatin said. That is because the large drafted surfaces and machining allowances of the forgings reduce production efficiency when making complex parts, he explained. The alloys tested were VT18Y and VT25Y, used for Russian jet engines due to superior creep resistance and high-temperature properties, and ST6, which would be used for rocket engine parts undergoing loads at high temperatures. Lopatin concluded, “The results demonstrate that the properties of the three P/M alloys were almost equal to those of wrought alloys with the same chemical composition. The P/M alloys have higher strength than wrought alloys, but their ductility is slightly lower than one of the wrought alloys. The specific strength of the P/M alloys is higher than one of the nickelbased alloys that is promising for rocket engines. Thus the P/M alloys have a promise to replace nickel-based alloys in some parts of rocket engines where high strength should be achieved.” He went on to say the creep rupture stresses and tensile stresses of the VT18Y powder samples exceeded Russian industrial standards for turbojet components, while the VT25Y powder samples satisfied the Russian industrial standard, but only at ambient and 600°C temperatures. Further research will conducted on heat treatment of the powder alloys and on alloy design.
Advances in Titanium Aluminides for Aero Engine LPT Blades Discussed
Today, aero engine manufacturers and the titanium industry are working to advance the use of light weight titanium aluminides in the next generation of turbine engines, to improve power and fuel efficiency, reduce emissions and lessen noise. As with the emergence of any new material, there are issues with the technology and the implementation of large-scale production of TiAl components. TITANIUM EUROPE 2013 featured three presentations focused on the status of the material in aero engines. Wilfried Smarsly, Representative Advanced Materials, MTU Aero Engines, addressed the benefits of gamma phase ti aluminides in temperature potential, creep and oxidation resistance and weight compared with nickel-based superalloys now common in gas turbine engines. “Weight is the driver,” he summarized. “And this is a very important driver.” Smarsly first explained how aero engines have evolved from the turbojet in the 1950s, through three turbofan generations, to the geared turbofan (GTF) in MTU’s Clean Air Engine program, which reduces CO2 emissions up to 15% and noise by half. In the GTF, titanium aluminides can be used for blades in the last stage of the low-pressure turbine (LPT) and the last stage of the highpressure compressor, he said. “Gamma ti aluminides have roughly half the density of nickel, so the turbine blades are lower weight than nickel blades. If a blade weight is lower, stresses on the disc are lower. That means you can also have a smaller disc and save weight. And perhaps you can also save weight with the shaft, and with the casing. So you can save a remarkable amount of the whole LPT module weight. And no other design, means or whatever is capable of meeting this weight saving goal. So there is no other alternative for ti aluminide. It’s a must.” He went on to discuss the roles of different materials for aero engine compressor and turbine stages, highlighting the properties of advanced, multi-phase ti aluminides as a “niche metal,” including low density, good strength and creep resistance, as well as good oxidation and burn resistance. Ti aluminides can be processed by ingot or powder metallurgy, precision casting or forging. “Each process leads to specific microstructures which can be optimized by thermo-mechanical processing and/or subsequent heat treatments,” Smarsly explained. Volker Güther, Manager Advanced Materials, GfE Metalle und Materialien, elaborated on the progress of incorporating titanium aluminides into aero engines, saying TiAl blades will be used in the last stage of the LPT (via collaboration with MTU Aero Engines) in the PurePowerR PW1000G. Its use was pioneered by General Electric two years ago in the GEnx™ engines for the Boeing 787 Dreamliner and the B747-8. (The GEnx engine and its TiAl LPT blades were also discussed by Tobias Schubert, GE Aviation Deutschland, in the second Commercial Aerospace panel.) Guther said that for many years, TiAl had shown promise for replacing heavy nickel-based superalloys in the LPT but until recently “insufficient quantity and quality of material, coupled with a lack of industrialized manufacturing and processing technologies, were major draw-backs.” Indeed, while VAR-processed gamma TiAl ingots, based on standard Ti-alloy technologies, have been commercially available at GfE for 12 years, manufacturing semi-finished products was complex and expensive. In fact, in the early 2000s, realworld applications were limited to TiAl valves in F1 race car engines. “But,” Guther observed, “technical progress often goes from the ‘exotic’ applications to the more commercial ones.” “Now, beta-solidifying TiAl alloys, such as TNMR, have been developed that have a much better processing capability. Semi-finished products can be made by relatively simple casting processes,” Guther explained. GfE has pioneered the centrifugal casting of TiAl based on VAR skull melting techniques. “The homogeneity of the semi-finished cast parts far exceeds the homogeneity of the metallurgical ingots,” he said. He also pointed out that GfE offers TiAl ingots and semi-finished products of varying alloy compositions and sizes. “Our long-term experience on titanium aluminide technologies and Ti master alloy production is a key to being able to supply the best quality materials,” Guther stated. Challenges and risks in realizing large scale industrialization of titanium aluminides were also addressed by Robert Guntlin, Managing Director, Access Technology. “We are at the threshold of a new realm for TiAl components,” he stated, “especially with the introduction of TiAl LPT blades to save weight, improve power and meet ACARE environmental goals.” He projected more than 1.2 million TiAl LPT blades will be manufactured over the coming years. However, he continued, “this is a ‘substitution technology.’ TiAl is competing against nickel-based superalloys, which everyone feels comfortable with. As a new technology, TiAl must bring substantial technological and economic advantages.” Serial production will require new approaches and production methods along the entire process chain. There is a certain aversion to the risks associated with “new,” due to the high investment required, Guntlin said. To successfully industrialize TiAl, Technology Readiness Level 6 must be passed, which encompasses significant technological and financial risks. “So, the question is who should move first?” he continued. “Who has the financial means to invest in industrial equipment against the background of a technology level yet to be matched?” Guntlin outlined a number of uncertainties that must be overcome across the supply chain – by OEMs, alloy suppliers, melters, casting vendors, and forging and machining houses, among others. “In the end, only the OEMs have the power to bring the entire technology to a commercially viable serial process.” He believes the supply chain must rely on support from the OEMs to minimize the risks associated with establishing its new production methods. Access Technology has taken an approach of integrating the best practices of casting and machining, with a nearnet-shape casting process that leverages its alliances with ALD Vacuum Technologies, GfE, TITAL and Leistritz. With this unique effort, sophisticated component designs for both aero engine and automotive turbocharger applications have been realized.
ATI-Sponsored Commercial Aerospace Panel Examines Titanium Supply Chain Trends
The role of titanium melters and mills as suppliers to aircraft manufacturers and their subcontractors is changing as new technologies and service demands increase pressures up and down the supply chain. The changes also present opportunities for the titanium industry. A Commercial Aerospace panel, sponsored by specialty metals producer ATI, discussed the trends at TITANIUM EUROPE 2013, the ITA’s spring conference in Hamburg, Germany. From Airbus, Alexis Gonzalez-Chiappe, Head of Titanium and Steel Raw Material Procurement, stressed the importance of the aircraft manufacturing base to the titanium industry and outlined how that status offers partnering opportunities for both. “The aerospace industry today consumes around 40% of the worldwide titanium. Or, put another way, the titanium industry is working almost half time, 146 days a year, just to deliver material for aerospace,” Gonzalez-Chiappe said. He also pointed out that as air travel increases, aircraft production rates rise. The amount of titanium in planes is also growing. Airbus alone has a roughly 7-year, 4500-aircraft backlog and projects a 300% titanium consumption increase within this decade. Simultaneously, aircraft market conditions are evolving. As fuel costs are higher and margins lower, planes must be more efficient. New competition is emerging and manufacturers are embracing series production. “So aerospace represents a great, stable, guaranteed market for titanium. If you combine that with the market needs, it’s a perfect opportunity for collaboration between the titanium industry and our industry,” he said. “We need contributions from both the materials and processes standpoints.” Those could include cost improvements through vertical integration of mills, new design initiatives, new processes that reduce production time, new technologies that could lead to lighter or stronger alloys, and waste reduction efforts, he said. This represents “a significant business opportunity for the titanium mills to grab added value. The market potential is huge,” Gonzalez-Chiappe summarized. An example of such supply chain collaboration, in this case between Messier-Bugatti-Dowty (MBD), and titanium supplier ATI (the panel sponsor), was addressed by Gaspar Lamoureux, MBD’s Raw Material and Forging Purchasing Manager for Landing Gear. Two of the three components on the Main (largest) Landing Gear of the largest new twin-aisle Airbus are made by MBD from some of the largest titanium forgings in the world, Lamoureux stated. “All of our echelons in the supply chain for these forgings are critical. There are some big barriers to entry on each step, so we are building the supply chain ‘brick-by-brick,’ if only to ensure, above all, effective risk management.”Melting of MBD-controlled-spec, high strength Ti10-2-3 alloy is the first step. “The MDB ti alloy is our strategic choice, to not be dependent on another given alloy and to not compromise safety. It requires quite specific chemistry and highly developed purity that are difficult to reach. My presence here on the ATI panel is linked to the melting development we are conducting with them.” Lamoureux then outlined the additional echelons in the MBD supply chain from the viewpoint of a Frenchman who enjoys food, drawing the analogy of each supplier serving a dish in a multi-course meal. “Melting is our appetizer, then our next course is open-die forging. Due to the size of our part, not everyone can prepare our ingot. Then comes our main course: closed die forging. Here some forgers are not qualified as their presses are not powerful enough. Finally, dessert is the decisive machining knowledge of MBD, to remain cost efficient. “So our cooks all have their specialties,” he concluded. “But if the meal is not what we expect, we want to switch cooks if needed. We prefer the menu ‘a la carte’, but as challenging French guys, we do not see why it should come with a higher price than the full menu!” Lamoureux explained that MBD, a high technology group within Safran, anticipates its controlled-spec titanium will become a new standard for heavily-loaded parts in twin-aisle landing gear, and will contribute to lighter weight, more cost-efficient and environmentally-friendly systems. Michael Behnke, Director of Procurement, Logistics & IT for Leistritz- Turbinentechnik, a core supplier of aero engine components, offered a perspective on the advanced supply chain challenges and needs faced by a manufacturer that is buying titanium from melters, then providing its forgings downstream. Leistritz supplies complex forgings (among other technologies) for its fast-growing market of aero engine airfoils and discs, as well as in its largest market of stationary turbines for power generation. For aero engines, lead times and development cycles are shortening, Behnke explained. “That means we need rapid prototyping, reduced batch sizes, tighter lead times, on-time delivery and greater flexibility. On the other hand, Leistritz needs cost-effective production. We have to optimize our work in process, have lean manufacturing and total cost reduction. So that is what we face. Our customers pressure us on deliveries, but we have to be cost-effective.” “In addition, traditional supply chain requirements are shifting,” Behnke continued. “Price and quality are mandatory, but cash flow is increasing in importance and service is most important. It’s not enough for us just to deliver a product.” Similarly, it will not be enough for melters just to deliver titanium, Behnke said. He pointed out that arising from the aero engine builders’ more stringent requirements are increased logistical challenges for the melters that supply Leistritz with metal. “In the future, strategic partnerships between forgers and melters will be more important. We need a service provider who will be able to make material available (through buffer stocks, consignment stocks and so on), and able to provide change management and flexibility (in formats, melt sizes and multi-certifications, for example). And we’d like to have innovative logistics concepts, like warehousing and transportation. And perhaps prefabrication of product, so you don’t just get the metal, you could get it in finished sizes that you can directly forge… things like KANBAN delivery directly on demand into our shop.” In Behnke’s opinion, these are goals that melters can realistically fulfill, especially if they are responding to a reliable demand that’s informed by aero industry forecasts. “These things are already in place for the auto industry. But for forgings for the aero industry, we are at the beginning. We need increased flexibility and supply of service, and we need to reduce lead times and administration. Because the aero industry is our fastest growing market,” he concluded.
Looking to Link With Global Supply Chain, India Ramps Up Titanium Sponge Production
The global supply chain for the international titanium industry continues to expand its reach as an industrial material of choice in business sectors such as aerospace, infrastructure, medical, gas and oil exploration, desalination, power generation and chemical processing. And as demand grows, India is positioning itself an important link in the titanium supply chain. A recent example of India’s burgeoning capabilities in titanium was reported on April 5 by the Times of India. Steel Authority of India Ltd. (SAIL), the country’s largest domestic producer of steel, formed a joint venture with Kerala State Industrial Development Corp. (KSIDC) and Kerala Minerals and Metals Ltd. (KMML) to produce titanium sponge and metals. A separate story posted in April on the website Metal Miner reported that the joint venture will invest (US) $458 million to launch the new production facility. According to information on its website, KSIDC, founded in 1961, is the government agency that promotes industrial and business development in Kerala State, located in the southwestern tip of India. According to the Times of India news report, the alliance marks the second major titanium project in Kerala, following the start of India’s first titanium sponge plant at KMML in Chavara, in the Kollam district. The Defence Metallurgical Research Laboratory (DMRL) developed India’s first commercial titanium sponge facility (with an annual capacity of 500 metric tons) at KMML, a site that was commissioned in February 2011. The DMRL, part of India’s Ministry of Defence, was established in Hyderabad in 1963 to “meet the needs of complex metals and materials required for weapons systems,” as stated on the organization’s website. The Times of India article indicated that, for the first phase of the new production effort, the plant will have the capacity to produce 10,000 metric tons of titanium sponge per year. Joint-venture officials explained that KMML would supply the titanium tetrachloride required for the production of the titanium sponge, which will be processed to produce titanium metal and other alloys such as rutile and zircon. Brett Paddock, current President of the International Titanium Association, based in Denver, Colorado USA, and the president and chief executive officer of Titanium Industries, Rockaway, NJ (USA), said he recognizes the value and opportunities that India brings to the titanium industry. “India continues to have leading economic growth potential as a member of the BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India and China) countries, which are predicted to have the most dominant global economies by the year 2050.” Making reference to the abovementioned joint venture, Paddock said India’s influence on the titanium industry “has taken significant shape in recent years, by establishing titanium sponge manufacturing capabilities in 2011 and announcing a new project to significantly increase the country’s sponge making capacity and eventually produce titanium mill products. Additionally, India possesses a large reserve of ilmenite, a key raw material used in the production of titanium sponge. It has been estimated that over a third of the world’s ilmenite reserves are located along the southern shores of India,” with much of it located in Kerala State. The Metal Miner article stated India has an estimated 270 million metric tons of ilmenite reserves. “There is little doubt that India’s participation in the titanium industry, along with its general economy, will continue to grow in the near term and may establish the country as a significant contributor in the titanium market, both as a consumer and producer of titanium products.” Natural resources should be a major benefit for India as it raises its profile in the global titanium market. Dr. Nagesh Chaganti, who heads the Titanium and Magnesium Group of DMRL, was slated to be a speaker at TITANIUM 2012, which was held in Atlanta (USA) and hosted by the International Titanium Association. Unfortunately, Chaganti was unable to attend the event, but his presentation was delivered by an executive from TIMET –Titanium Metals Corporation, a major U.S. metals producer based in Dallas. Chaganti’s paper provided an overview of commercial production of titanium sponge in India. According to notes in Chaganti’s paper, India possesses large reserves of ilmenite (FeOTiO2), rich in TiO2 content, located along the southern peninsular coasts. Mining and processing of these minerals to produce synthetic rutile, pigmentgrade titanium tetrachloride and titanium dioxide have long been in place in India, along with ingot melting and production of titanium alloy mill products. India’s one gap in the titanium “ore-to-product” cycle—titanium sponge production from titanium tetrachloride (TiCl4)—was bridged by DMRL, when it established the sponge plant at KMML in Chavara. Chaganti said India “traditionally has not had a widespread appreciation for the long-term benefits of industrial titanium applications, due in part to sharp fluctuations in prices and uncertain international supplies of material.” However, because of its new sponge capability, India stands ready to increase its usage of titanium in a wide range of industries, according to Chaganti. Meanwhile, India’s neighbor, China, also has emerged as a titanium powerhouse in recent years. Zou Wuzhuang, the board chairman of Baoji Titanium Industry Co. Ltd. and the chairman of the China Titanium Association, provided an outlook for the titanium industry in China. The presentation was given by Ms. Yali Zhou, Sales Manager of Import & Export Dept. Ms. Zhou said sponge output in China registered 32,000 metric tons for the first half of 2012, nearly 9 percent below the comparable 2011 period. Zhou cited a decline in global sponge prices as the main reason behind the decrease in Chinese sponge output. By way of comparison, Japan’s annual sponge production capacity, as of February 2012, was estimated at 70,000 metric tons. Japan’s sponge production in 2010 was just above 50,000 metric tons. Zhou indicated that, for the first half of 2012, the output for titanium mill products in China reached 28,000 metric tons, which is an 8-percent increase compared to the same period in 2011. Plate and sheet represents nearly half of the mill products total for the first six months of 2012, followed by bar and forging products (34 percent) and pipe and tube (nearly 15 percent). In Japan, titanium mill shipments for the first half of 2012 totaled 10,000 metric tons, compared with just under 20,000 metric tons for all of 2011. Major global markets for titanium Aerospace, commercial and military, is the dominant global market for titanium, representing 50 percent of all titanium business. Most industry observers forecast that aerospace will remain a strong, growing sector for titanium for the foreseeable future. For example, world aerospace carriers will be retiring significant portions of their fleets during the next three decades. One executive presentation at TITANIUM 2012 indicated that 34,000 new airplanes will be needed to replace aging commercial airline fleets, representing a value of $4.5 trillion. Titanium remains the critical material to produce precision jet engine components; structural assemblies in the airframe and landing systems; forged-wing structures; fasteners, springs and hydraulic tubing; and engine nacelles. In addition, the new generation of commercial jets—Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner and the Airbus A350 and A380—are titanium-intensive aircraft. Inspired by the growth of the global economy, emerging commercial aerospace markets, such as India, China and South America, will require next generation titanium components to meet the demands required by long-distance aircraft. Nuclear power generation plants are a major global consumer of titanium. For the planned nuclear power plants in China, titanium demand is expected to reach 1,500 metric tons per year by 2020. Titanium demand for nuclear power generation in Russia, with four plants under construction, is expected to be strong through 2017. Along with aerospace and nuclear power, another global market for titanium that bears watching is the desalination industry. There are two basic technology categories for desalination systems: membrane processes (primarily reverse osmosis) and thermal distillation (evaporation). Titanium’s high strength and superior corrosion resistance to seawater make it ideal for applications in the thermal desalination distillation category: tubing, valves and plate heat exchangers. By contrast, titanium has only limited use in reverse osmosis desalination systems, primarily in pump heads. Thermal distillation is the main desalination technology used in the Middle East. China currently is evaluating thermal distillation desalination projects, which would offer growth for titanium. Australia is a major global desalination market, but most plants there—such as Victorian Desalination Plant on the Bass Coast—use reverse osmosis technology, which favors the use of high-grade stainless steel. The world’s two largest thermal distillation desalination projects are located in Saudi Arabia. The Ras Al-Khair MSF desalination plant, slated for completion in 2014, will provide water to 3.5 million people in Saudi Arabia’s Riyadh region. The Yanbu 3 MSF plant, expected to come online in March 2016, will supply water to nearly 2 million people in the industrial city of Yanbu and the nearby Medina region. Each desalination plant in Saudi Arabia will use between 5,000 and 6,000 metric tons of titanium. Doosan Heavy Industries of South Korea is the prime contractor for both projects. Upcoming TITANIUM Conferences Established in 1984, the International Titanium Association (ITA) is a non-proﬁt trade organization that provides professional development for members of the titanium industry, recognizes outstanding technical achievements and business contributions of individuals and companies through prestigious awards, and connects the public interested in using titanium with sales and technical professionals throughout the world. The ITA’s annual TITANIUM Conference and Exhibition series is the premier global forum and networking event for the exchange of ideas within the industry, offering a platform for noteworthy speakers and educational workshops. The ITA will host the 29th annual TITANIUM 2013 conference and exhibition (in North America), which will be held Oct. 6-9 in Las Vegas, Nevada. In addition, the ITA will sponsor TITANIUM EUROPE 2014 which will be held May 19-21, 2014 in Sorrento, Italy. ITA welcomes participation from all titanium executives and stake holders, members and non-members alike.