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Arconic Adds "Very Thick Plate Stretcher"

The $150 million "Very Thick Plate Stretcher" took the company three years to prepare for production.

Arconic has made a $150 million dollar investment in the Quad Cities that it hopes will make the company a leader in aerospace manufacturing.

The company calls the new machine the "Very Thick Plate Stretcher," and says it's the largest of its type anywhere. Employees at the Davenport Works are now using it to make aluminum for buses, planes, and consumer electronics.

In a promotional video, Vice President of Operations Rob Woodall says the stretcher will set Arconic apart from the competition. 

"We can stretch up to a 12-inch thick plate with up to 35 million pounds of pull force, so we've already set world records on the heaviest plate ever stretched and the most pull force ever used on a plate."

This process makes the aluminum stronger, and easier to work with. 

It took three years to install and test the 150 million dollar stretcher before beginning production. 

"We made this investment because we saw where our customer requirements were going, and since we've made the investment we've backed it up with customer contracts. Now we can provide our customers with the thickest, the widest, the longest plates in the world to meet their needs."

The company says the machine is a key part of its new $1 billion contract with Airbus.