U.S. Navy has awarded a $2.1 million contract to Alcoa to develop advanced welding techniques designed to reduce manufacturing costs on aluminum-intensive ships. Under the program, developed through a collaboration by Alcoa’s Government Affairs team and researchers at the Alcoa Technical Center in New Kensington, PA, Alcoa will adapt high-deposition gas metal arc welding technology to marine structures, enabling the Navy to reduce the cost of shipbuilding.
Total projected savings for the Navy could be as much as $200 million under current shipbuilding plans.
“With tightening government budgets and growing demands, this kind of project such plays an important role in helping our service men and women meet their mission requirements,” said Daniel Cruise, Alcoa Vice President, Public and Government Affairs. “Alcoa’s Government Affairs, Alcoa Technical Center and Alcoa Defense teams are working together to make sure key leaders in government understand Alcoa’s advantage in research and our manufacturing expertise.”
High-deposition gas metal arc welding is a semi-automated welding process that reduces weld passes, thus reducing labor costs and improving weld quality. The process will be applied to the Navy’s Littoral Combat Ship (LCS). It could also be transferred to the Navy’s Joint High Speed Vessel (JHSV) and other aluminum-intensive ships.
“Alcoa’s materials knowledge and technical expertise provide a critical advantage to the Navy, allowing ship builders to streamline manufacturing and build a better ship at a lower cost,” said Dr. Ray Kilmer, Alcoa Executive Vice President and Chief Technology Officer.
In the past 12 months, Alcoa has received $8 million in new research and development contracts to help the nation’s military become lighter, faster, stronger and more efficient.
“We see a growing opportunity in all the services to use Alcoa’s technical expertise to help the United States stay on the cutting edge of military science through advanced materials, designs and manufacturing techniques,” Kilmer said.
Alcoa is the world’s leading producer of primary aluminum, fabricated aluminum and alumina. In addition to inventing the modern-day aluminum industry, Alcoa innovation has been behind major milestones in the aerospace, automotive, packaging, building and construction, commercial transportation, consumer electronics and industrial markets over the past 120 years. Among the solutions Alcoa markets are flat-rolled products, hard alloy extrusions, and forgings, as well as Alcoa® wheels, fastening systems, precision and investment castings, and building systems in addition to its expertise in other light metals such as titanium and nickel-based super alloys.
Source: alcoa, March 8, 2012