15/7/10 – Titianium Conference to Focus on Aerospace
15 July 2010
At TITANIUM 2010, the 26th annual conference and exhibition, one focus will be on the emerging titanium applications in commercial and military aerospace. The US-based conference will be held between October 3-6 at the Gaylord Palms Hotel and Convention Center, Kissimmee in Florida.
Hosted and sponsored by the International Titanium Association (ITA), TITANIUM 2010 is bringing together a range of aerospace industry experts to look at the opportunities for titanium makers.
Marion C. Blakey, the president and chief executive officer for Aerospace Industries Association (AIA will share her insights on the aerospace industry including the potential impact of new technologies, such as the Next Generation Air Transportation System. Blakey will talk about future challenges for the aerospace workforce and suggest steps needed to enhance education and training at various levels of the industry, along with its strategic supply chain and vendors. For the titanium industry, she will point out this means working to develop young science majors who can pursue rewarding careers in metallurgy. AIA is heavily involved in a coalition to build the U.S. science and engineering workforce for the future.
Dawne S. Hickton, vice chairman, president and chief executive officer of titanium producer RTI International Metals Inc., Pittsburgh, will share her perspective on the state of the commercial aerospace industry and its titanium suppliers. Just three years ago, financial markets were booming and the stars were perfectly aligned for titanium suppliers as lucrative new commercial aerospace programs, such as the 787 and A380 were ramping up. The titanium supply chain had signed long-term agreements and funded major capital investments–all of which were justified by forecasts that proved demand far exceeded supply for years to come.
In her remarks, Hickton will ponder how forecasters and industry leaders could have missed the economic meltdown of 2008-2009. Where were the warning signs for the looming sub-prime mortgage crisis, the global recession, 10-percent unemployment rates, or the 50-plus million pounds of excess titanium inventory created by the once-popular, take-or-pay contracts?
Hickton will analyze the run-up and decline in titanium during this turbulent period and put this recent business cycle into perspective relative to other cycles in the industry. According to the conference organisers, She will examine the current state of the commercial aerospace segment and the anticipated demand for titanium over the next 12 months. Hickton also will assess threats to long-term titanium growth in the commercial aerospace segment, including demographic drivers, buy-to-fly trends, new titanium airframe applications and the challenge from competing materials.
Bill Bihlman, senior associate with AeroStrategy LLC, , a management consulting firm , will discuss the relationship between the titanium industry and the aerospace sector. Bihlman sees a move to align sourcing of raw materials with production, as production moves towards low-cost countries. "Understandably, this has been a bit problematic for the various commodity groups, including titanium," he hassaid. "Since there is a current overstock of titanium, it’s hard to predict if there will be a significant future shortage. There’s a general trend towards near-net shape (part design). This is especially true for nickel-based alloys and titanium due to the high commodity prices over the last five years."
As for applauding titanium’s "showcase" applications on the Boeing 787, Bihlman has identified landing gear, which was driven by weight savings, and fasteners, driven by the compatibility with the carbon fiber-reinforced polymer (CFRM) fuselage. Regarding how titanium business may be affected in the near term from the recent mega-mergers of commercial airlines (Delta/Northwest; United/Continental), Bihlman said the general trend is to reduce capacity and, in many cases, permanently retire old, fuel-inefficient aircraft. "It’s likely that there will be more new orders with the economic recovery. However, due to the enormous backlog, it is unlikely that there will be any significant capital investments in the near term."
A speaker panel, moderated by Paul G. Allen, vice president of quality assurance for Dallas-based Titanium Metals Corp. (Timet), one of the world’s largest suppliers of titanium products, will provide a platform to discuss recent advances in aerospace materials and manufacturing processes. Dr. David Rugg, a Rolls-Royce engineering associate fellow, will focus on trends for titanium alloys used in gas-turbine engines. While titanium alloys have a remarkable history in facilitating gas-turbine evolution, Rugg will point out significant issues remain for the management of current jet fleets (and their engines), supply chains and the introduction of new alloys and processes. Of particular significance, he will consider how improved predictive engineering models for demanding load regimes in engines may pave the way for advances in alloy and process route improvement. Rugg holds a Royal Society industrial fellowship based at Oxford University where he has a visiting chair with the Department of Engineering.
Dr. Yoji Kosaka, manager of metallurgy at Timet’s Henderson, NV, Technical Laboratory, will present a technical paper on the superplastic forming (SPF) properties of "TIMETAL®54M" (Ti-5 Al-4V-0.6 Mo-0.4 Fe alloy), a new titanium alloy developed by Timet. The paper will compare SPF properties of Ti-54M to those of Ti-64 and potential benefits in practical SPF operations will also be discussed. According to Kosaka, the Ti-54M alloy is well suited for SPF and exhibits strength comparable to that of Ti-6Al-4V along with superior machinability under most machining conditions. Ti-54M fine-grain sheets exhibited SPF capability at temperatures as low as 1300 F showing elongation higher than 1000 percent. Flow stress of the fine-grain sheet at slow-strain rates is two to four times lower than that for Ti-64, which is beneficial in SPF operations.
In a separate speaker panel, David Bryan of Allegheny Technologies Incorporated (ATI), Pittsburgh, will discuss "ATI 425® Alloy for Aerospace and Defense Applications." ATI 425 Alloy, specified by AMS 6946 (UNS R54250), is melted and wrought-processed like typical alpha/beta titanium alloys. According to Bryan’s abstract preview, this alloy has several advantages over current flat-rolled titanium sheet products, such as improved gauge tolerances over pack-rolled Ti-6Al-4V sheet; a cold-rolled surface finish that is brighter than the ground and pickled surface finish of pack-rolled sheet; and improved fabrication productivity by eliminating joints for longer and larger complex parts. For current applications where commercially pure titanium grades are used, ATI 425 Alloy sheet offers higher strength with good formability–a combination that provides weight-savings opportunities.