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Aircraft manufacturer Boeing and aluminium producer Alcoa have signed a closed-loop programme deal to recycle the alloy scrap material used during the production of aeroplanes.

Under the programme, Alcoa will recycle 2XXX and 7XXX-series aluminium alloys, including extrusions, sheet and plate products used by Boeing in the production of wing and fuselage components of its aeroplanes.

Eight million pounds of aluminum is estimated to be melted and recycled annually into new aerospace materials as part of the programme, which is also expected to expand to the scrap produced by Boeing’s sub-contractors.

Alcoa Aerospace, Transportation and Industrial Rolled Products director of supply chain Leslie Shuman said: "This programme will maximise the value of aluminum scrap materials throughout the supply chain while also reducing waste."

Alcoa plans to work closely with Boeing to maintain the quality of the recycled aluminium. The company, which has been in aluminium recycling business since 1888, says that the metal can recycled infinitely without losing its characteristics or durability.

The scrap material, including advanced alloys, will be transported to Alcoa’s facility in Lafayette, Indiana, US, from Boeing’s plants in Auburn and Wichita and third-party processors in Auburn.

The company is expanding its Lafayette site by building a $90m facility with a capacity of 20,000mt of aluminum lithium.

"This programme will maximise the value of aluminum scrap materials throughout the supply chain while also reducing waste."

The facility is scheduled to be completed by the end of 2014 and will produce round and rectangular ingot for rolled, extruded and forged parts to be used in aerospace components.

The company is in the process of a three-part expansion to meet the demand for advanced aerospace products and patented alloys, and the construction of the Lafayette facility forms the third phase of it.

The aluminium manufacturer has increased the capacity at its Technology Center in Pennsylvania by 30% under the first phase and completed the expansion of Kitts Green facility in the UK in the second phase of the programme.

Alcoa introduced its latest aluminum lithium alloys at the recent Paris Air Show.

Image: Under the closed loop recycling programme, Alcoa will recycle aluminum alloy scrap material from Boeing facilities in Auburn and Wichita into new aerospace materials. Photo: courtesy of Boeing.

Defence Technology