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Alcoa company split taking place Tuesday

Aaron Aupperlee
| Monday, Oct. 31, 2016, 6:33 p.m.
Workers place a new sign bearing the Arconic logo on Saturday, Oct. 29, 2016, atop the North Shore office of Alcoa and now Arconic.
Workers place a new sign bearing the Arconic logo on Saturday, Oct. 29, 2016, atop the North Shore office of Alcoa and now Arconic.

Alcoa will split Tuesday.

The company will separate its aluminum commodity business from its aerospace and automotive parts manufacturing business.

Pittsburghers will still hear the name Alcoa, a presence in the area for more than 120 years, but they will also start hearing the name Arconic, said Ray Kilmer, chief technology officer of the new company.

Alcoa will continue to operate as an aluminum production business, staying true to the company's mining and smelting roots. Arconic will develop aluminum and other advanced metal parts for airplanes, jet engines, cars and trucks.

The split comes as Alcoa's aluminum production business is struggling with low prices and overcapacity around the world.

Kilmer said he hopes innovations in aerospace and automotive technology will make Arconic a familiar name similar to Alcoa. When Ford announced the all-aluminum frame of its 2015 F-150, then-CEO Alan Mulally did so by saying it wouldn't have been possible without breakthroughs by Alcoa. Kilmer said to expect to see more announcements similar to that.

“You'll see an acceleration of new products coming to market with a clear connection to Arconic innovation,” Kilmer told the Tribune-Review on Monday.

Kilmer would not go into specifics but said that future Ford vehicles will use even more Micromill technology, an alloy that is 30 percent lighter and twice as malleable as the high-strength steel typically used in vehicles. He predicted Arconic will be behind advances in aerospace thanks to the acquisition of Moon-based titanium producer RTI International Metals and Firth Rixson, a British maker of jet engine components.

“You will see us all over commercial aviation,” Kilmer said. “That's a major investment we've made over the last couple of years.”

Alcoa and Arconic will be headquartered in New York. Both will have a presence in Pittsburgh and will share space in the North Shore Corporate Center. Arconic will operate the Arconic Technology Center in Upper Burrell. There will be about 1,700 Arconic employees in Pittsburgh and 300 Alcoa employees. Pittsburgh job numbers have remained stable the past two years, the company said.

Workers hoisted the new Arconic logo to the top of the North Shore center on Saturday. Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald and Mayor Bill Peduto will join executives from both companies Tuesday on the roof of the Corporate Center to unveil the new signs.

Aaron Aupperlee is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 412-320-7986 or aaupperlee@tribweb.com.

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