TITAL, Europe’s largest titanium casting manufacturer, will exhibit at Aero India 2009. TITAL has high expectations and will show mid-size titanium and aluminium casting at their stand in hall C, booth C26.15.
In January TITAL began operating its new titanium investment castings furnace in Germany, an investment of about $14 million. TITAL is a specialist in the high-end investment casting of aluminium and titanium. Customers include internationally renowned companies from the aerospace industry, including EADS, BAE Systems, Rolls Royce, Airbus, SNECMA and others.
TITAL’s castings are used in all aircraft of the Airbus fleet, the Boeing 737, 747, 777, the Dreamliner 787 and in most of the aircraft designed and made by Embraer from Brazil. With the new titanium foundry, TITAL becomes the only European manufacturer of large and complex castings of titanium with a capacity to produce investment castings with a size up to 60in in diameter and weight up to 660lb.
Until now TITAL’s capacity included in the titanium castings sector a maximum width of 20in diameter and a parts weight of up to 90lb.
Managing director of TITAL Philipp Schack said: “Our aim was to combine measurable quality and cost advantages for our customers with maximum flexibility and reliable delivery.”
In order to compete in the current competitive market environment, TITAL executed this largest-ever investment of its more than 30-year company history. The entire project includes a 46ft-high building for the furnace, a new production hall and a new heat treatment furnace as well as a range of new manufacturing machines and equipment. For this to materialise it took two years of extensive research and development.
The casting process as an alternative to machining saves valuable raw material. Especially in the case of titanium castings, the cost of the final product is significantly lower due to the much better input ratio compared with the machining route, where up to 90% of remnants have to be scraped. In the case of the investment casting process, if any wastage occurs in the production or machining stages, the material can be melted. This is not possible in machining.
Philipp Jerusalem, head of sales and marketing at TITAL, said: “It is possible to integrate large and complex parts with many functions in a single casting without increasing weight and saving assembly costs. For customers of the aerospace industry, this means highly complex castings for the fuselage, wing or engine require minimum raw material input and in effect can be manufactured ‘in one shot’.
“Here TITAL goes one step further. Increasingly, we are offering our castings including mechanical finishing as well as surface treated. The percentage of installation-ready castings in our production has increased greatly so that in future it would be set as the standard. During the past 18 months we have set the stage so we could also sub-assemble cage nuts, bearings or bushes in our castings. Most of our large customers are already benefiting from this service.”
With the establishment of this large casting factory, the German company will also double its production capacity. In the next two years about 100,000lbs of titanium investment castings will be produced. Before the establishment of the new castings factory two steps were necessary.
Mr Jerusalem said: “We had established a 43,000sqft production hall with new machines on our existing land. This was necessary to enable raw material flow and to manage inventory and delivery time lines efficiently. The production hall has been in use for the past year. During this time the foundry was constructed, which started operation in January. The 5,400sqft building had to have different multiple floor levels in order to bring in the 46ft-high castings equipment.
Titanium can be cast only under vacuum conditions, therefore the equipment has a vacuum chamber. The crucible in the vacuum chamber can hold up to 1,100lb of molten titanium. Until now TITAL’s maximum crucible capacity in Bestwig was 275lb of titanium.
Mr Jerusalem said: “We have quadrupled our new castings equipment and production capacity.” The facility has two production units (including the required technology) so that small and large castings can be manufactured in parallel. Small castings parts would be produced by the spinning mould process and the large parts using the gravity process.
With its new facility TITAL offers a competitive alternative for large titanium castings, and therefore the company hopes to achieve increasing customer inquiries and interest.
Mr Schack said: “Our customers primarily include German and European aerospace manufacturers, as well as aircraft and engine manufacturers from the US, Brazil and China. I think there are quite a few who hoped and waited for more players to enter the castings market internationally.”