Russian company VSMPO-Avisma, which is the world’s largest titanium producer, and U.S. aircraft manufacturer Boeing have reportedly opened a new titanium manufacturing unit in the Sverdlovsk region of Russia’s Urals. The joint venture is expected to receive an investment of $82.3 million (5.5 billion roubles), stated a local official who attended the new site’s opening ceremony.
Paul Bergman, the Boeing spokesman, confirmed the launch of the new Boeing and VSMPO-AVISMA manufacturing site, which is the second Ural Boeing Manufacturing facility under the partnership between the two companies. The unit will apparently be operating alongside the existing joint venture between VSMPO-AVISMA and Boeing that has been producing titanium forgings since 2009.
Credible sources informed that the second manufacturing unit would be focused on titanium forgings for the commercial aircraft programs of Boeing, including the 777X, 737 MAX and the 787 Dreamliner family. VSMPO-AVISMA suppliers titanium to Boeing under long term-contracts and fulfils 35 percent of Boeing’s Commercial program’s demand for the metal, the sources added.
For the record, the initial signing of a memorandum for expanding Ural Boeing Manufacturing’s capacities had taken place at the Dubai Airshow in 2013, according to which the new site was planned for launch in 2016. The completion schedule had postponed to 2018 and the new plant, spanning 20,000 square meters, is vastly automated and has the capability of final as well as rough machining of components.
Industry reports suggest that after the United States had imposed new round of sanctions on Moscow in April, Russian lawmakers had advised to stop all supplies of titanium to Boeing as a reciprocating action. The Russian government, however, had rejected the proposal.
Head of VSMPO-Avisma, Mikhail Voevodin, speaking on the opening of the second site commented that it is one of the many consistent steps aimed at extending the co-operation between both the companies. He believes these steps will also help to develop new technology, boost production outputs and add manufacturing capacities.