NEW YORK -- Aluminum producer Alcoa Inc. will see its advanced shipbuilding techniques paying off in an initial $2.1 million U.S. Navy contract.
Alcoa has been working on improving defense uses of aluminum and alloys and, in a statement, said its involvement will "provide a critical advantage to the Navy, allowing ship builders to streamline manufacturing and build a better ship at a lower cost."
Alcoa said the processes give the company an edge over competitors and saves procurement costs. The company also said the contract will enable it to develop advanced welding techniques, which are seen likely to reduce costs of aluminum-intensive shipbuilding.
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, the company said.
"With tightening government budgets and growing demands, this kind of project plays an important role in helping our service men and women meet their mission requirements," said Alcoa Vice President Daniel Cruise. "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, which reduces weld passes, reducing labor costs and improving weld quality. The process will be applied to the Navy's Littoral Combat Ship and could also be transferred to the Joint High Speed Vessel 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 Alcoa Executive Vice President and Chief Technology Officer Ray Kilmer.
Alcoa has received $8 million in new research and development contracts over the past year. The company employs about 61,000 people worldwide. (UPI.com)