MONTGOMERY, Alabama – Top Alabama officials said today that Carpenter Technology Corp.’s decision to build a $20 million facility in Limestone County to produce superalloy powder for aircraft engines is another boost for the state’s expanding aerospace industry.
Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley said the latest Carpenter project in Athens again shows that the state is an ideal location for advanced manufacturing facilities because of Alabama’s strong workforce and top-rated training programs.
“This additional investment by Carpenter reflects the quality of our workforce and the positive business climate we have created in Alabama,” Governor Robert Bentley said. “Not only do we have the best workers of any place in the world, we also have the best workforce training program in AIDT. We are committed to helping companies succeed and bring more jobs to Alabama. I appreciate Carpenter for its continued investment in Alabama.”
Alabama Commerce Secretary Greg Canfield said the Carpenter project will provide another lift to the state’s robust aerospace and aviation sector, which has more than 400 companies employing around 83,000 people at facilities around Alabama. In the past decade, more than $4 billion has been invested in Alabama aerospace projects, involving the creation of nearly 30,000 jobs.
In one notable project in the sector, construction is under way in Mobile on Airbus’ first North American final assembly line for A320 family jetliners, with production set to begin in 2015. The $600 million facility will employ 1,000 people and is expected to draw supplier operations to Alabama.
CARPENTER’S ATHENS OPERATION
Carpenter is already building a $518 million premium metals plant in Athens that will serve customers in the aerospace and energy industries when production begins in early 2014. The company announced today that it will build the superalloy powder facility across the street from the metals plant.
Together, the two facilities will employ 250 people in Athens by 2017, with 50 of those jobs associated with the new superalloy powder plant.
“Alabama is proving to be an excellent region for us,” Carpenter President and CEO William A. Wulfsohn said in the announcement. “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.”
AIDT, which has worked with companies such as Mercedes-Benz and Honda, has been involved in Carpenter’s Alabama expansion since its earliest phases.
Carpenter said the superalloy powder facility in Athens is expected to begin production in late 2015, supplying Pratt & Whitney with the material for use in aircraft engines. The company last month announced a partnership with United Technologies Corp., parent to Pratt & Whitney, that called for Carpenter to produce superalloy powder and supply it to the jet engine-maker for up to 20 years.
Carpenter said it expects global demand for superalloy powder to surge as aircraft engine operating temperatures continue to increase and airlines seek to gain improvements in fuel efficiency.