[Image: Alcoa’s Tony Morales (at left) is interviewed by Dan Thisdell, the Business Editor for Flight International magazine, in front of the large stretch-formed aluminum-lithium panel on display at the Paris Air Show. Thisdell’s reflection is shown in the surface finish of a smaller aluminum-lithium panel that underwent Alcoa’s propriety surface treatment processes.]
The Paris Air Show unveiling of a revolutionary fuselage panel has literally opened the aviation industry’s eyes to the attributes of Alcoa’s advanced aluminum solutions for a new generation of commercial aircraft. [Read press release]
The 78-inch wide X 200-inch long fuselage demonstrator panel – which is sized for a large jetliner application – is included on Alcoa’s exhibit stand in Hall 5 at Le Bourget Airport, and attracted significant attention even before the show’s official opening this morning.
It was produced with 2060 (Alcoa’s newest third-generation aluminum-lithium alloy for the fuselage application), which was stretch-formed by Spirit AeroSystems using existing production tooling and fabrication practices into a full-size panel shell. The panel includes a partial cutout area for a passenger door – adding a dimension of complexity to the production of any such fuselage section.
“Visitors to the Alcoa exhibit stand are impressed that our aluminum-lithium products are full size and production-ready. We can deliver all the advantages of third-generation alloys – including low weight and high strength, along with excellent damage tolerance and corrosion resistance – while being totally compatible with cost-effective and highly precise stretch-forming operations in existing production tooling,” explained Tony Morales, the Global Marketing Director - Aerospace Aluminum, Rolled Products. “We are very pleased to be working with Spirit AeroSytems on this technology demonstrator – and look forward to further validations of our aerospace value proposition.”
In addition, a smaller Al-Li 2060 Enhanced panel included on the exhibit stand, sized at 36 inches X 36 inches, has a highly reflective surface finish – the result of Alcoa’s propriety surface treatment processes.
“It is an absolute eye-opener for the industry to see the level of surface quality and appearance that is possible with Alcoa aluminum lithium fuselage sheet,” Morales added. “We know what our airframer customers, as well the airlines, need and have come to expect with fuselage sheet – and we are confident that our 2060 (C24S) Enhanced fuselage sheet product on display here in Paris absolutely raises the bar to a whole new level for aluminum lithium sheet targeting the next generation of single-aisle aircraft.”