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Carpenter Technology Plans Superalloy Power Facility Near Newly Completed Athens, Alabama, Plant

Area Development Online News Desk (01/28/2014)
Carpenter Technology said it strengthened its core premium metals business by recently opening a $518 million state-of-the-art manufacturing facility in Limestone County, Alabama. The firm is now building a new superalloy powder production facility adjacent to its new facility in Athens.

The manufacturer’s recently completed Athens premium metals plant facility includes remelting, forging and associated finishing capabilities along with testing services. Designed with modern technology and optimum product flow to meet customer requirements for reduced lead times, Athens Operations will ultimately be capable of producing approximately 27,000 tons per year of additional premium product, the company said. The facility was built “in response to strong customer demand for premium alloy products primarily in the fast-growing aerospace and energy industries.”

In October the company said it will also build its new superalloy powder facility in Alabama, directly across the street from its $518 million ultra-premium product manufacturing facility near Athens in Limestone County.

The news comes three weeks after Carpenter announced a multi-faceted agreement with United Technologies Corporation, through its Pratt & Whitney Division, which includes licensing technology associated with the production of superalloy powders and a supply agreement for up to 20 years.

The superalloy powder facility is expected to begin production in late 2015. Once the facility is qualified by Pratt & Whitney following construction, Carpenter will supply Pratt & Whitney with superalloy powder for use in aircraft engines. “The capital cost of this project falls within the annual $120 million capital spend guidelines that were previously outlined for the period following the completion of the main Athens plant,” said Tony Thene, Carpenter’s Chief Financial Officer.

“Alabama is proving to be an excellent region for us,” said William A. Wulfsohn, Carpenter’s President & CEO. “There were several reasons why we selected Athens two years ago, including the location being ideal for future growth and expansion. We also remain extremely impressed with our access to a strong pool of skilled workers.”

Global demand for superalloy powder is expected to grow substantially as aircraft engine operating temperatures continue to increase as airlines pursue improvements in fuel efficiency, the company said. Carpenter’s entrance into this market segment reflects its confidence in superalloy powder demand for additional applications such as those used in energy and additive manufacturing. With the addition of the new facility, Carpenter’s Athens Operations is expected to employ 250 people by 2017.

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