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Portraits of the 500: How Alcoa makes high-tech metal

June 11, 2014, 5:59 PM UTC

The 125-year-old aluminum giant (No. 130 on the Fortune 500) is seeking to capture more market share in the aerospace and automotive industries by developing new high-tech, lightweight metals. Much of the company’s innovation is happening at the Davenport Works plant in Riverdale, Iowa, pictured here. Home to Alcoa’s 220-inch-wide aluminum rolling mill–the widest such mill in the world–the factory is at the center of Alcoa’s $4 billion aerospace operations, producing metal used in the Airbus A380, the Boeing 777, and other major aircraft. Alcoa (AA) recently invested $300 million in Davenport over two years to expand its automotive capacity. The company estimates that greater use of aluminum sheet metal by the automotive industry will drive $1.3 billion in revenues for Alcoa by 2018.

Watch Alcoa discuss their techniques in the video above.

This post has been updated from its original version to reflect the correct size of Alcoa’s aluminum rolling mill.