The view from the US

The past two years have been challenging for us all: the impact of COVID-19 on the American workforce saw unemployment rates rise to a high of 14.7 percent in April 2020.

As we enter 2022, it can be hard to remember what the US economy looked like before the pandemic. However, the latest Bureau of Labor statistics show the unemployment rate is down to 3.9 percent, the lowest since February 2020, which points to a fast-recovering economy and strong demand for labor.


The impact on the aerospace industry

The aerospace supply chain, in which IMET operates, was severely impacted by the pandemic as aircraft travel was almost completely shut down overnight. Although the world is starting to move again, country-specific travel restrictions are still affecting demand. That said, there are encouraging signs.

We are seeing aircraft build rates improve, positively impacting manufacturing and increasing demand for the high-tech metals and technology-critical materials used to manufacture aircraft components.


How IMET is supporting the recovery

As the world recovers from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, businesses in the US have started to rebuild. However, if they are to compete successfully on a global scale, they must maintain a strong focus on costs and be agile in meeting the challenge of low unemployment and a shortage of skilled labor.

Businesses also face the challenge of reducing their impact on the environment. The aviation sector is recognized as one of the ‘hard-to-abate’ industries and is under social and political pressure to reduce its environmental impact and help meet international emissions targets.

I spent the early part of my career in the aerospace forging world, which saw revert as a waste stream with no opportunity to create value. I’m pleased to say that my view has since changed. Working with IMET Alloys allows me to promote the benefits of working in partnership to create closed-loop supply chains that create value for our partners.

What does this mean in practical terms?


The value of a circular economy

IMET’s processes and technology make it possible to minimize the environmental impact of mining for raw materials while maximizing the value of materials already in the supply chain.

Our expert team works with our customers to create bespoke revert materials management programs that provide the foundation for capturing hi-tech metals and technology-critical materials for reuse. These tailored revert management programs give manufacturers raw material resilience and help them continue to rebuild their businesses.

Titanium and nickel-based superalloys are the building blocks of the aerospace world. With the nickel price at a five-year high in January 2022, creating a closed-loop supply chain will help provide low-cost melts for the mills and ensure these critical materials are reused for their intended applications.

As the US economy becomes more buoyant and the aerospace industry recovers, IMET is ideally placed to help the industry deal with the environmental pressure it’s under and implement processes that maximize the value of revert within the supply chain.

At the same time, we continue to adopt and develop the most sustainable practices we can, to reduce our own carbon footprint while we help our customers reduce theirs.


Article by David Wilder, Commercial Director