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P&W sues titanium supplier

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posted on Sep, 3 2014 @ 05:04 PM
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Pratty & Whitney is suing A&P Alloys, the supplier of the titanium used in their engines for an amount to be determined. The suit alleges that A&P illegally purchased titanium from Russia, and supplied substandard titanium to be used in P&W engines, including the engines of the F-35. P&W has learned that 900 pieces of titanium were smelted in Russia, which is banned by the US law. Foreign titanium is banned for use by the Defense Department.

The lawsuit alleges that A&P should have knew, or should have known that P&W needed accurate information about the titanium and its supplier. An industry wide alert has been issued for A&P materials, because the false statements extend to other suppliers as well.

P&W is planning to test a fix for the F-35 engine this week. They impounded any parts supplied by A&P, and removed and replaced them where necessary, as well as finding a new supplier for their titanium.


The sole manufacturer of engines for the Lockheed F-35 Lightning II discovered in May 2013 that it had used substandard titanium alloy that might have been illegally purchased from Russia.

Pratt & Whitney halted delivery of F135 engines that contained the suspect titanium and has subsequently sued the supplier, A&P Alloys, of West Bridgewater, Massachusetts.

Titanium is popular in aircraft manufacturing for its strength and light weight. In May 2013, P&W learned a majority of an order of 900 pieces of the metal was originally melted in Russia, according to the lawsuit filed on 29 August in the US District Court of Massachusetts.

The discovery last year of conflicting documentation of the metal’s origin resulted in a “quality hold” on delivery of the F135 engine, the company says. The titanium was used to manufacture some parts used in engines made by Pratt & Whitney Canada.

www.flightglobal.com...




posted on Sep, 3 2014 @ 05:25 PM
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a reply to: Zaphod58

Probably just the tip of the iceberg if such shenanigans are that easy to do and conceal.



posted on Sep, 3 2014 @ 05:38 PM
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Everybody has problems with subcontractors. Not sure if any of my stories are share-able, but there've been some interesting ones. This is a pretty big no-no though.



posted on Sep, 3 2014 @ 06:17 PM
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a reply to: _Del_

I don't know what happened, but around the time that Boeing had to buy Spirit because of the 787 problems, more and more problems with subcontractors have started to crop up, getting worse and worse. It's really bad the last couple of years though. I fully expect a major smack down to occur before long.



posted on Sep, 3 2014 @ 06:21 PM
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It says there was 'conflicting documentation' which sounds to me like they were playing with the origin certs.

A very big no no and can open them up to serious criminal prosecution.



posted on Sep, 3 2014 @ 06:25 PM
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a reply to: Zaphod58

How big of a company is A&P Alloys?
I wonder if they can survive a multi million dollar law suit. It hasn't been the first law suit against A&P either.



posted on Sep, 3 2014 @ 06:33 PM
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well that's gonna leave a mark...
(size to be determined but I going with "really big")..



posted on Sep, 3 2014 @ 06:37 PM
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originally posted by: Sammamishman
a reply to: Zaphod58

How big of a company is A&P Alloys?
I wonder if they can survive a multi million dollar law suit. It hasn't been the first law suit against A&P either.



Or what suppliers can even fill the void. Anyone have any ideas on who could handle the orders or even how big those orders annually are on average?



posted on Sep, 3 2014 @ 06:37 PM
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a reply to: Sammamishman

It's a single owner company. I can't find a lot of information about them, but they seem like a small company. This is at least the third lawsuit against them though.



posted on Sep, 3 2014 @ 06:38 PM
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a reply to: Rosinitiate

Pratt has said that they have a new supplier already, but hasn't named them. As for the order size, they're pretty substantial. The order that A&P was sued over had 900 pieces shipped in from Russia.



posted on Sep, 3 2014 @ 07:01 PM
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According to another article, A&P screwed up in a huge way. A P&W rep, and the president of an East Hartford machine shop visited A&P, and the president of A&P, John Palie Jr met them in the parking lot and refused them admittance, or any documentation about the titanium. They made numerous phone calls, email attempts, and reached out to other companies in the supply chain with no result before the visit attempt.

It all started in May, when Lewis Machining received a shipment without proper documentation, or stamping that showed it was approved for high temp, high pressure engine operations. A&P lied numerous times about the origin of the metal, and ordered others to lie to P&W about the titanium. It was eventually used in 140 aircraft engines. According to P&W, there is enough margin built into their engines that even if the materials don't meet every P&W standard, they won't pose a safety of flight issue.

They eventually admitted that the titanium came from RTI International, and from Russia. A&P claimed that the RTI metal was refined at Valley Forge LLC, although Valley Forge later said they didn't refine any of the metal, and RTI said that none of their metal went to A&P.


Looking for answers, a Pratt & Whitney representative and the president of an East Hartford machine shop pulled into the parking lot for one of their raw materials suppliers in West Bridgewater, Mass.

For weeks, questions swirled about the authenticity and integrity of A&P Alloy Inc.'s titanium, a popular aerospace metal for its strength and light weight, according to a federal court case filed by Pratt & Whitney on Friday against the company.



The issues posed a threat to the most important project in Pratt & Whitney's military portfolio, the engine for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, the largest procurement project in Pentagon history. All the hunting for information, testing of titanium and replacement of parts that had already made it into delivered military engines cost Pratt & Whitney more than $1 million, according to court documents.

Pratt & Whitney, a division of Hartford's United Technologies Corp., made calls to A&P Alloys, sent the company emails, and reached out to other links in the titanium supply chain to run down the facts about this titanium. Then, it decided to stop by.

articles.courant.com...



posted on Sep, 3 2014 @ 07:16 PM
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Didn't we buy most if not all of the titanium for the SR-71 from Russia?



posted on Sep, 3 2014 @ 07:26 PM
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originally posted by: MystikMushroom
Didn't we buy most if not all of the titanium for the SR-71 from Russia?


That's true, and during the Cold War. Wonder what that cost us?



posted on Sep, 3 2014 @ 07:26 PM
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a reply to: MystikMushroom

H.R. 4546 passed in 2003 prohibits specialty metals from being bought for use on DoD projects. They can no longer buy Russian titanium for use on any project.



posted on Sep, 3 2014 @ 07:27 PM
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a reply to: Zaphod58

Afraid of impurities?



posted on Sep, 3 2014 @ 07:36 PM
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a reply to: MystikMushroom

A Congresscritter decided that it was better to buy American instead of helping those "foreign devils" or something.

It's under 10 U.S.C. 2533B.



posted on Sep, 3 2014 @ 07:38 PM
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You would think that p&w has metallurgist on staff to check the alloys for flaws. I have a friend at Alcoa that works in their lab and he is constantly checking the alloys.



posted on Sep, 3 2014 @ 07:44 PM
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a reply to: Hoosierdaddy71

The metals are usually refined and formed at other companies that test them. It's not so much the strength that they're worried about, as it's the legality. If the government wanted to, they could nail them for those 140 engines that were delivered that used Russian titanium.



posted on Sep, 3 2014 @ 07:49 PM
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originally posted by: Zaphod58
a reply to: Hoosierdaddy71

The metals are usually refined and formed at other companies that test them. It's not so much the strength that they're worried about, as it's the legality. If the government wanted to, they could nail them for those 140 engines that were delivered that used Russian titanium.


I get that part, but that does not explain the quality hold by p&w. It sounds more like they are trying to cover their butts over manufacturing flaws. The origin of the metal illegal or not is not the problem with metallurgy. I guess that is whats confusing me.



posted on Sep, 3 2014 @ 07:57 PM
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a reply to: Hoosierdaddy71

There were some quality issues with the metal that was delivered. It's just safer to hold the engines that haven't been delivered, and replace the problem parts to be safe, than to deliver suspect engines, and risk an accident that could potentially be blamed on P&W. P&W says that there's enough safety margin built into the engines that the risk of an accident is very small, but why take the chance?





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