The AP (6/10) reports Alcoa “said Thursday that it has developed newalloys and engineering techniques that will give it a chance to compete against the non-aluminum partsincreasingly used by airplane makers.” The article notes plane makers like Boeing and Airbus are using “acarbon fiber composite” in their newer planes instead of aluminum. Under the new process, Alcoa has reducedthe weight by 10%. The company “said the new improvements are targeted at short-range aircraft.” John Byrne,Boeing’s director of aircraft materials and structures for commercial airplanes, “said Boeing is ‘delightedto hear about the investments and advances Alcoa and other raw-material suppliers are making.'” According tothe article, while Boeing has made no decision about its materials for future planes, it is always looking atthese types of developments.

According to the Wall Street Journal (6/10, Matthews, Subscription Publication), the new technique is part of Alcoa’s effort to reclaim aerospace market share. Under the new process, Alcoa has mixed alloys like titanium to reduce the weight, make it less corrosive, and increase the time needed between maintenance checks.

Also covering the story are Reuters (6/9, James), the Pittsburgh Business Times (6/10, Spencer, Subscription Publication), and Air Transport Intelligence (6/10, Ostrower).

Big Ass Fans Succeeding Through Savvy Marketing, R&D Focus

Bloomberg News (6/9, Gonsalves) reports on fan manufacturer Big Ass Fans,which has succeeded in “wooing homeowners, companies, and government buyers” while “selling all manner of fans,from ceiling behemoths up to 24 feet in diameter to portable versions on wheels.” Experts say that the company’ssuccess stems from a combination of savvy marketing, reliability, and a focus on innovation. According toPresident and CEO Carey Smith, the company spends “about 8 percent of its annual revenue on research anddevelopment,” something analysts say has been key to its success. “Companies like Big Ass Fans have figured outthat the best way to be competitive is to do more product differentiation — through branding, variety, andquality — and put something unique in the market that cannot be commoditized,” said Georgia Institute ofTechnology economics professor Vivek Ghosal.

Innovative Die Castings Wanted!

To be a winner in today’s economy, you must meet and even exceedexpectations. In a competitive global market, customers take notice of the best. NADCA knows that competitionimproves the competitor. With its annual International Die Casting Design Competition, it recognizes andrewards the outstanding casting designs of the year. Each entry is judged on its design, quality, cost savings,ingenuity, innovation and industry-changing potential.

Entering and winning is one of the best ways to gain visibility with leading decision-makers. The competition is open to aluminum, magnesium and zinc die castings. Any number of castings may be entered. However a separate entry form is required for each casting or assembly of castings. In addition, the metal surface cannot be improved or concealed by tumbling, shot blasting, coating or other surface treatments.

Judging is conducted by an independent panel of experts from the die casting industry, with no ties to eligible companies. The four equally weighed criteria are ingenuity of casting/product design; overall quality; cost savings; and market-expanding potential.Winning castings will be displayed during the 2011 Die Casting Congress & Tabletop in Columbus, OH and winners will be honored during the Die Casting Design Luncheon.NADCA’s Die Casting Engineer Magazine,Website and the Design Website will also feature the winning castings.

This competition helps promote increased use of die castings by recognizing and publicizing outstanding designs. For more information on the 2011 International Die Casting Design Competition please visit, or contact Alex Monroe at for more details.

NADCA’s 2011 Die Casting Shipment Report Provides Insight on Current and Future Shipping Data

NADCA’s 2011 Die Casting Shipment Report is now available. This report detailsthe shipments, by alloy, of die castings in 2007 through 2010.It also includes a custom versus captive breakdown,and industry sales estimates. The report includes projections for shipments in 2011 and a forecast for 2012.

NADCA conducted its annual shipment survey of die casting operations in the United States and Canada in March, 2011. This survey is the fourth annual comprehensive attempt to gain industry trend data from as many die casting operations as possible.Over 150 aluminum die casters provided their data for 2010.Over 75 zinc die casters sent in their data and ten magnesium die casters provided shipment levels for 2010.The data was reviewed for consistency and calculations were made on the total shipment data for each type of metal (aluminum, zinc and magnesium.The report indicates that in 2010 there was a:

  • 40% shipment increase of aluminum die castings
  • 34% shipment increase of zinc die castings
  • Slight drop in shipments of magnesium die castings

This report assists in providing the most current insight on the North American die casting industry while also enabling companies to forecast future shipments in specific markets and overall.The 2011 Die Casting Shipment Report is now available for the modest price of: $30 for Corporate Members, $45 for Individual Members and $60 for Non Members. Visit: publication # 880-2 to download your copy today!

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