Alcoa introduces new aluminum truck wheel, Dura Bright EVO
Alcoa, the inventor and global leader of forged aluminum wheels, has rolled out its most durable, easy to maintain commercial truck wheel. New surface treated Dura-Bright EVO wheel; Alcoa’s new surface treated Dura-Bright EVO wheel maintains all the benefits of its predecessor, the Dura Bright wheel with XBR technology, while taking the wheel’s performance to a new level. The Dura Bright EVO wheel is 10 times more resistant to corrosion primarily caused by road salts and weather elements. In addition, the wheel is up to three times more resistant to chemicals, including hydrofluoric acid, found in the toughest truck wash cleaning agents. This enables the use of a wider variety of cleaning solutions to simplify maintenance, while preserving the integrity and brightness of the wheel. Mr Tim Myers president, Alcoa Wheel and Transportation Products said that “Since inventing the forged aluminum wheel, Alcoa has continuously innovated stronger, lighter, and more durable wheels to increase payload and enhance sustainability. The Dura-Bright EVO wheel is Alcoa’s easiest to maintain wheel yet, meaning it can stand up against the harshest weather, road salts, grime and cleaning agents that can corrode and dull standard commercial truck wheels.” Mr Scott Kerns VP and GM Commercial Vehicle Wheels Europe, Japan and South Africa said that “Demand for Alcoa’s aluminum wheels continues to grow in Europe, as emissions regulations and maintenance costs drive up the need for stronger, lighter and easier to maintain wheels that increase payload, reduce costs and enhance sustainability.”
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Aluminium wheels in industry to grow at 8.48%
The global automotive aluminium wheels industry will grow at a CAGR of 8.48% over the period 2012-2016, says a new report.
One of the key factors contributing to this market growth is the increasing demand for vehicles across the world. The global automotive aluminium wheels industry has also been witnessing an increasing manufacturing of wheels in the APAC region. However, the availability of other lightweight wheel material could pose a challenge to the growth of this market.
“Many large global firms are nowadays outsourcing manufacturing activities to low-cost destinations in the APAC region to reduce manufacturing costs,” said an analyst from Research and Markets, which published the report.
“In fact, many automotive manufacturers have started product development operations in developing countries to leverage the talented and low-cost labour available there. For instance, in 2011, several automotive companies in Western Europe and North America outsourced a large number of manufacturing operations to China. As a result, the global automotive aluminium wheels industry is growing at a faster pace in developing economies as compared to developed economies.”
One of the main challenges in the market is the availability of other light weight wheel materials such as micro alloyed HSLA steel. This is expected to have a negative impact on the usage of aluminium in automotive wheels.
Jaguar SUV concept points to an all-aluminium future
Jaguar Land Rover is being coy about whether we’ll ever see the Jaguar C-X17 again. The company unveiled its first SUV concept in Frankfurt in September. Last month, a slightly altered version made its Asia debut at the Guangzhou Motor Show, ahead of its preview in Hong Kong.
The latest version of the concept is different in two ways, according to Bob Grace, president of Jaguar Land Rover China. It has five rather than four seats and, to appeal to Chinese tastes, it has gold-coloured bodywork and a tan leather interior. While the introduction of an SUV to a premium carmaker’s line-up has proven controversial in the past – think Porsche’s Cayenne when it was launched, or Bentley’s concept EXP 9F – in Jaguar’s case, it appears to work.
Design elements such as the XJ’s large grille and slender headlamps sit well with the concept’s large air dams; the F-type’s rear “cat’s claw” lights don’t look out of place on a bigger product. The sophistication of the interior design – contemporary hi-tech, without feeling cold – is a well-crafted work of art. “Jaguar is now over 75 years old. It’s got a lot of sporting heritage. We wanted a vehicle that could stand as being a Jaguar, not a Land Rover that was converted into a Jaguar,” Grace says. “So if you look at the car, you can see Jaguar proportions – the stance of the vehicle, the imposing front end. [It’s] the car that almost looks alive.”
But he stresses that the C-X17 is a concept car, primarily intended to showcase the aluminium technology that will underpin the whole range of Jaguar vehicles in future. Any crossover vehicle made by Jaguar will not necessarily look the same as the C-X17, Grace says. “The first car with that aluminium technology will come on the market next year.”
Aluminium has been used in a limited capacity in the past, such as in the XJ, and some of Jaguar’s sports cars. Moving forward, all new models will be aluminium. As a concept, the C-X17 is a lightweight aluminium monocoque with body panels also made of the alloy. “So it’s a true aluminium product,” Grace says. The first all-aluminium car will probably be a smaller sedan, he adds. “The greater plan is to have a crossover vehicle off that same platform. So we’ll probably have three or four different Jaguars off the same platform.”
Grace says the company has been using the previews in Guangzhou and Hong Kong to gauge the reaction of Chinese consumers, although he added it was too soon to come to any conclusions. Meanwhile, Grace says the company has sold about 200 F-type sports cars across Greater China since sales began just over four months ago. “It’s making its mark. It just won the Golden Steering Wheel award in Germany.
“So in the backyard of one of the big German sports car manufacturers, we’ve stolen the prized Golden Steering Wheel, which I could imagine has caused a few feathers to flutter in Stuttgart,” he says, referring to the hometown of Porsche and Mercedes-Benz. The company is halfway through building a new factory in Changshu, north of Shanghai. It is expected to be operational towards the end of this year, and will start delivering cars to showrooms in China, where its partner is Chery, next year. Normal production capacity is about 130,000 cars a year, with a maximum capacity of 180,000 a year, Grace says.
Ford F-150 to get new aluminium body
After more than 100 years, Ford Motor Company is getting ready to unveil it's biggest gamble yet, at next week's Detroit Auto Show. The F-150, the best selling pick-up truck and the best selling vehicle in the U.S. for the last 37 years, is trading in its steel body for aluminum. Mike Baines of Jones Ford on Rivers Avenue says the company is "...trying to get better gas mileage. The easiest way is to use a high strength military grade aluminum that reduces the weight of the vehicle ... there in gives you better gas mileage."
The new aluminum F-150 body will be about 600 pounds compared to the current Steel F-150 which is roughly 1,000 pounds. Other changes that are top secret, until the unveiling, will help to make the popular truck even lighter. "What I can say is it'll drop about 700 pounds off of the vehicle. And it says it's going to get about 30 to 31 miles to the gallon," states Baines.
Currently the EPA for the F-150 is 13 miles per gallon in the city and 19 on the highway.There are reports that Ford has approached Alcoa about it's high-strength aluminum but as of right now there's no word on wether the companies made a deal. Baines says "it's had a lot of tests and it's been crashed many times to see how that's going to with stand. And this military grade aluminum is going to with stand a lot better. Everybody says aluminum is going to wrinkle up but it's stuff they make planes out of."
Use of aluminium in automotive sector set to boom
Demand for lighter weight cars is likely to lead to significant growth for the aluminium sector, according to the Aluminium Federation (ALFED).
It expects that there are £3 billion of supply chain opportunities for the aluminium sector as light weighting of road vehicles means that the UK’s seven volume car manufacturers and their 2,500 component suppliers in the UK see the benefits of aluminium.
Analysts expect that there will be 5 per cent year-on-year growth in aluminium demand for the foreseeable future, with transportation demand growing closer to 7 per cent per annum.
Speaking at the ALFED Aluminium in Road Transport conference, ALFED chief executive Will Savage said: “This growth presents a huge opportunity for companies to enter the supply chain providing a whole range of products and services to car makers, from processing to design.
“Currently, on many cars made in Britain, only 30 per cent of components are produced in the UK but over the next few years, we will be working with industry and the Government to change that.”
‘World’s first’ cost-efficient coating solution for AC piping
K’2013, Solvay Engineering Plastics demonstrates efficient fluid barrier material in application for air conditioning systems.
Used as a protective coating for aluminium refrigerant piping, TechnyleXten is claimed to provide cost and ecological benefits by helping to replace copper. David Kim, CEO at GMS Korea said: “Aluminium has a better surface-to-weight ratio, melts at lower temperatures and is far less expensive than copper. Consequently, we were seeking a coating material to support our initiative for replacing copper by aluminium without trading off these benefits and compromising the high surface quality expected by our customers.
“The TechnyleXten material from Solvay exhibits excellent flowability and metal adhesion. This and its high chemical, UV and temperature resistance coupled with low humidity absorption ensure the long-term corrosion protection required by our products. Moreover, the polymer used for TechnyleXten is partially bio-sourced, helping us to lower our environmental footprint in comparison to the use of more conventional, fully petrochemical-based PA 12.”
The new metal coating grade - TechnyleXten D 236AL - is produced in Asia but commercially available worldwide. This special formulation is claimed to help to speed the adoption of aluminium in key application areas from heat exchangers to refrigerant and cooling pipes.
Aluminum cars lightweights in more way than one
So the auto industry is going to use aluminum to make autos lighter to increase gas mileage. That sounds like some things the government would do, like raise the taxes to help the people. In the early 1930s that was tried by aauto(maker) named Pierce Arrow. A big beautiful auto, and it had a lot of aaluminum in it, and folks who had one were quite proud until they drove it on a winter street that had been salted.
The salt ate that aluminum like a 5-year-old eating Tootsie Rolls. I don't remember seeing many on the roads after that. An ultralight auto would be hard to control in a strong crosswind, too, and think what it would be like to be hit by any kind of other vehicle except a bike. One that I know is that me and my wife are going to hang on to are our Kias. They do not put drivers at risk and even use some stainless steel, have a great warranty and lots of driver protection.
Novelis' Karen Renner Named Georgia CIO of the Year
Novelis, the world leader in aluminum rolling and recycling, announced today that Karen Renner, Novelis Vice President and Chief Information Officer, was named Georgia CIO of the Year® by the Georgia CIO Leadership Association. Renner was presented with the award for top technology executive in Georgia in the global category at a ceremony today in Atlanta.
"Karen's leadership has been critical to the company's successful transformation into a globally integrated industry leader over the last few years and this impressive recognition is so well deserved," said Novelis President and Chief Executive Officer Phil Martens. "She is a technology executive who is a strong business partner, an innovative and strategic thinker and an advocate for her employees. We are very fortunate to have Karen on our team."
Renner was honored by the Georgia CIO Leadership Association for her leadership, business value creation, innovation and community involvement. Finalists for each of the four categories were selected from 125 nominations and winners were chosen by a panel of distinguished judges including prior Georgia CIO of the Year® award winners.
Responsible for the development and execution of the global information technology and business information strategy at Novelis, Renner joined the company in 2010 from GE, where she spent nearly 20 years in progressively senior IT leadership roles. Under her leadership, Novelis has undergone a significant technology transformation, including the deployment of global standards, introduction of new tools and support to enable employees to work more efficiently and the implementation of an enterprise resource planning platform.
Alcoa to Forge an Single Piece Aluminum Hull for aTracked Armored Vehicle
Aluminum manufacturer and processing company Alcoa has teamed with the US Army Advanced Research Laboratory (ARL) to develop a hull for a Ground Combat Vehicle armored vehicle hull made of a single piece of aluminum. Today, such hulls are manufactured from several metal plates welded together to form the hull structure.
The seams are often becoming weak areas, becoming susceptible to blast damage. Replacing today’s assembled plates hulls, a single piece aluminum hull would offer a lighter, better protected structure, offering higher resistance to IED blast, be more durable to deformation, offering overall lower acquisition and life cyclecost.
“Our collaborative effort to develop a continuous and seamless aluminum hull has the potential to become a game changer for how armored vehicles are designed and made, to better protect our soldiers.” Dr. Ernest Chin of the ARL said.
The single hull structure will eliminate the use of welded armor plates, providing a single structure covering the entire vehicles’ lower hull. Alcoa plans to use advanced blast absorbent alloys, to further improve the structure’s tolerance to damage.
The forging process will also enable designers to tailor the three-dimensional design and the structure’s width to meet specific protection and strength requirements in certain areas, while reducing the overall weight of the entire structure.
Reduced weight also means lighter vehicle weight, which further contributes to lower fuel consumption, and wear over the entire life cycle of the vehicle, thus contributing to lower life cycle cost. Once production processes are proven, it can be expected that the production of a single piece hull will become more economical and faster, further improving manufacturing cost.
ARL and Alcoa Defense have launched the program after Alcoa has modeled the advantages of the single piece large aluminum hull. The company already has the capabilities to forge the largest aluminum structures. Under the 18 month program ARL will coordinate the research efforts at the Alcoa Technical Center, to refine the hull design and develop the alloy requirements.
Alcoa Defense will then work with Alcoa Forging and extrusions in Cleveland to produce a 20 by 7 foot demonstrator hull with the company’s 50,000 ton forging press, one of the two heaviest forging presses in the USA, to validate the performance benefits of the new hull.
How aluminium can reduce energy consumption
Wondering why car manufacturers are turning away from high strength steel and looking towards aluminium for body construction? Look no further than the massive reduction in lifecycle energy consumption. According to a study by Oak Ridge National Laboratory, aluminium intensive vehicles can reduce lifetime energy consumption by 32 per cent compared to a typical vehicle that uses traditional or high-strength steel. In addition, CO2 emissions can be reduced by as much as 29 per cent.
The study featured a full cradle-to-grave analysis of three modelled vehicle types, including: a lightweight steel vehicle; an aluminium intensive vehicle; and a baseline steel vehicle.It found that a lightweight steel vehicle has lower production phase environmental impact: but those initial savings are wiped out by higher energy use and carbon emissions during the use of the vehicle. Indeed more than 90 per cent of energy consumption and carbon emissions occurs during the use phase with manufacturing, production and mining accounting for just 10 per cent of emissions or even less.
With vehicles that are aluminium intensive, the break-even point occurs at 9,300miles compared to the baseline vehicle: which would generally be reached during the first year of driving. Meanwhile, compared to the lightweight steel vehicle, the break-even point occurs at 27,340 miles.According to Sujit Das, who led the research, the report definitively documents why aluminium is the most promising material for reducing carbon emissions and energy use in vehicles.
Rs 15,000 cr alumina project to come up near Mundra Minister
An alumina plant and aluminium smelter project worth Rs 15,000 crore would be set up near Mundra in Kutch district of Gujarat, Union Minister of State for Mines Dinsha Patel said. “The plant will come up near Mundra in Kutch district of Gujarat. It is a joint venture between National Aluminium Company Ltd (Nalco), a PSU with the Gujarat Mineral Development Corporation (GMDC),” Patel told PTI over phone. “I had discussed this project with Gujarat Chief Minister NarendraModi and he had instructed the GMDC to speed up the process,” he said.
The minister expressed hope that this project would get its nod from the Gujarat cabinet soon and that the foundation stone of this project would be laid in a month. According to him, Nalco would have 51 per cent equity, while the GMDC will hold the remaining.
“Earlier, the GMDC was willing to hold only 26 per cent equity in the project and wanted the Centre to make more investment,” he noted. Rs 6,000 crore are required for the initial investment into the project, which will be raised to about Rs 15,000 crore at a later stage, Patel said. According to Patel, some other companies like Hindalco, JSW Aluminium and Adani group had also evinced interest in the project, though Nalco emerged as the sole qualified final bidder for the proposed plant.
The project is for one million tonne alumina and 0.5 million tonne aluminium smelter. GMDC will supply bauxite for the project from its group of mines in Kutch. In 2005, the Gujarat government had signed a MoU with Ashapura Group to set up the plant and smelter unit in Kutch.
However, the government did not extend the MoU, following which GMDC invited EOIs for the project in 2010. Aluminium smelting is a process of extracting aluminium from alumina, while alumina is extracted from the ore bauxite by means of a process at an alumina refinery.
Aluminium price recovery hinges on global revival
A supply glut amid continued sluggishness in the global economy continues to depress prices of aluminium. The metal is currently trading at $1,836 a tonne on the London Metal Exchange. Even production cuts by major global companies have failed to prop up aluminium prices, with a dip in automobile purchases primarily responsible for capping demand worldwide. Any recovery will hinge on an upswing in the global economy’s fortunes.
RISE AND FALL
Primary aluminium prices had touched an all-time high of $3,271.3 a tonne in November 2008, but crumbled to a five-year low of $1,251.8 a tonne by February 2009 as the global economic recession battered commodity prices. Aluminium made a recovery in subsequent years, clawing its way back to 2,758.75/tonne in April 2011. But prices began to stagnate once again on demand concerns as the Euro Zone sunk deeper into an economic quagmire and the US growth engine struggled to break out of its inertia. Demand concerns have been further compounded by the slowdown in China. The metal has lost 34 per cent since that recent peak and is down 10 per cent this year so far.
In contrast, spot aluminium prices on the MCX have risen by 0.1 per cent in 2013 to Rs 111.90/kg. This can be primarily attributed to a sharp spike in aluminium prices in August, with the metal surging by 17.9 per cent during the course of the month to Rs 124.9/kg, its highest level since 2008. This can be attributed to an uptick in demand from the automobile sector, which has reported record passenger vehicle and two-wheeler sales in September. Nevertheless, investors should view this burst as an anomaly, rather than a concrete direction for aluminium prices, especially since aluminium has lost 11.1 per cent since that five-year peak in just a matter of two months.
Aluminium smelters globally are expected to operate at 84 per cent capacity this year, with production pegged at 47.6 million tonnes against capacity of 56.9 mt a year. This translates into greater curtailment of production than in 2012, when smelters operated at 86 per cent capacity. Production stood at about 46.2 mt in 2012, against operational capacities of 54 mt a year. In addition to primary aluminium, recycled metal accounts for around one-third of global consumption. Demand is expected to rise to 49.4 mt this year, a 7 per cent growth compared with last year, according to a projection made by aluminium giant Alcoa. Most of the demand will come from China, the world’s biggest consumer, which is projected to witness 11 per cent growth in consumption to 23 mt, despite the slowdown.
At the same time, China is on its way to becoming self-sufficient in aluminium. In such a situation, it may limit itself to strategic imports of aluminium, thanks to massive capacities built at home. However, it will continue to rely on overseas suppliers for its bauxite requirement.
DOMESTIC DEMAND TO RISE
Among the other top aluminium consuming regions, Indian demand is expected to rise by 7 per cent to 3.8 mt this year. The country’s aluminium industry comprises four primary producers, namely Hindalco, Nalco, Balco and Vedanta Aluminium. The cumulative capacity of these firms amounts to around 1.6 mt. Demand from Europe, on the other hand, is expected to decline by 1 per cent to 6.5 mt, even as consumption from North America is projected to rise by 4 per cent to 6.2 mt.
Nalco's alumina exports in rise by 50% the first half
State-run National AluminiumCo's alumina exports in the first half of the current fiscal vaulted 50 per cent from a year ago, mainly on account of the capacity expansion undertaken by the company. In the six months to September, Nalco exported 638,000 tonnes of alumina compared with 425,000 tonnes in the same period of fiscal 2012-13, the company said recently. The jump was largely because the blue chip company has expanded production capacity.
"We have exported nearly 50 per cent more alumina during the first half of this year. It has led to good realisations," Nalco chairman and managing director Ansuman Das said. "Our production has increased by nearly 11 per cent and it has been driving up exports of alumina." Late last month, the alumina major decided against selling surplus alumina to domestic companies, saying it would be "against the long-term interests of the company".The move is likely to affect Anil Agarwal-led Vedanta Group's plans in India.
London-listed Vedanta had requested the Odisha government to urge Nalco to sell its surplus alumina to its bauxite-starved refinery at Lanjigarh. According to Das, Nalco is likely to produce 2 million tonnes of alumina this fiscal, of which the company will use up 800,000 tonnes and convert it into metal, leaving a surplus of 1.2 million tonnes.
Bhubaneswar-headquartered Nalco is focusing more on exports of alumina, which offers higher premium compared with metal aluminium, which is stuck in a low price band on the benchmark London Metal Exchange (LME). In the international market, alumina is moving in the $320-325 per tonne range, which in rupee terms comes to about Rs 18,500 per tonne. The rupee depreciation has also helped Nalco make higher gains.
The LME price of the metal is hovering around the psychologically low of $1,800 per tonne, close to a price at which large producers are forced to take a call on whether or not to rest capacity and shun losses. Nalco's metal production is estimated to touch 3 lakh tonnes this year, of which a significant portion is earmarked for exports.
While Nalco's focus remains on exports, the company is also pursuing plans to set up a 0.5-million tonne greenfield smelter in Odisha's Sundergarh district to utilise its surplus alumina. The plan, however, hinges on the company being allotted a captive coal block.
Novelis completes Asia’s largest aluminium beverage can recycling centre
Novelis has completed its two-year, $400m expansion program in South Korea that includes the largest recycling centre for aluminium beverage can in Asia. The expansion of its Yeongju and Ulsan plants increases the company’s production capacity in the region by more than 50% to approximately 1m metric tons of aluminium sheet per year.
The company began the expansion of its aluminium rolling and recycling facilities in 2011 to meet the rising demand for flat rolled aluminium in high value-added products in the Asian market such as consumer electronics. The expansion includes a hot rolling finishing mill, cold rolling mill, pusher furnace, high-speed slitter and annealing furnaces, in addition to the previously commissioned fully-integrated recycling center at Yeongju.
The demand for aluminium in the Asian automotive market is expected to exceed the 25% compound annual growth rate projected globally over the next five years, as more auto manufacturers move to build lighter, more fuel-efficient vehicles. Novelis says its expansion in South Korea will help it meet this growing market. Novelis opened its aluminium recycling and casting center at its Yeongju facility in October 2012. This new operation has the capacity to produce 265,000 tons of sheet ingot. The Yeongju Recycling Center is one of a series of recycling and casting expansion projects launched by Novelis over the past two years to increase its recycling and casting capacity to 2.1m tons globally by 2015.
Earlier this year Novelis announced the commercial availability of what it says is the industry’s first independently certified, high-recycled content aluminium designed specifically for the beverage can market. With a minimum of 90% recycled aluminium, the Novelisevercan aluminium beverage can body sheet allows beverage companies to deliver soft drinks, beer and other beverages in a low-carbon footprint consumer package, the company says.
Novelisevercan aluminium sheet has been certified for high-recycled content by SCS Global Services. The company says its efforts to increase the recycling of beverage cans is a key component of its aim to increase the recycled content of its products across its global operations to 80% by 2020.
Aluminum beats steel on product's life cycle
A Sept. 23 article about automotive steel suppliers pushing for more regulation of the auto industry included incorrect statements about the aluminum industry’s environmental impact.
The article quoted a steel industry spokesman making inaccurate claims about the relative carbon emissions associated with both steel and aluminum in the auto industry. A more unbiased source would be the U.S. Department of Energy. The DOE’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory just published results from its study of steel and aluminum’s full lifecycle emissions from production to end of life.
The report concludes, “As the U.S. works to reduce dependence on foreign oil, promote clean energy and combat climate change, aluminum offers the most promise for cutting total automotive-related carbon emissions and energy use.” Specifically, an aluminum-intensive vehicle can achieve a 29 percent reduction in total lifecycle carbon emissions, compared to steel vehicles on the road today.
Kumar Birla wants Debu Bhattacharya to stay on as Hindalco managing director
Debnarayan ‘Debu’ Bhattacharya, who turns 66 on Friday, works seven days a week. Clearly, this is not a man who believes in the concept of a lazy Sunday.
Although past the 62-year retirement age for senior directors at the Aditya Birla group, chairman Kumar Mangalam Birla wants Bhattacharya to stay on as Hindalco BSE 1.21 % managing director and vice chairman of Novelis as the companies undertake a massive expansion plan. The chemical engineer from IIT Kharagpur will lead Hindalco for another five years with shareholders and the board approving his reappointment on Tuesday. The board had given him a five-year extension in 2008, which will come to an end on September 30.
Birla wants Bhattacharya to stay on as this will ensure continuity in leadership as Hindalco implements BSE -4.65 % its biggest capital expenditure programme, having spent close to $2.6 billion in the last financial year. "Given the intensive leadership style of Debu Bhattacharya and his ability to lead from the front, backed by his enormous capacity to work long hours, he presents the most optimal choice to head Hindalco as it goes through a transformational process," said Vimal Bhandari, MD and CEO, Indo Star Capital Finance, and an expert on family-managed conglomerates.
Hindalco turned itself into a global corporation with a steep jump in turnover to Rs79,705crore from Rs6,400 crore over the last 10 years under Bhattacharya's leadership, during which it also made a large acquisition. Net profit rose to Rs3,026.2 in 2012-13 from Rs670.5 crore a decade ago. Net profit rose by a compounded annual growth rate of 16.4%.
Armed with a deep understanding of the metals business which he learnt through the painstaking route of managing operations after joining the group from Hindustan UnileverBSE 0.68 % in 1998, Bhattacharya's strategies have all been aimed at preparing Hindalco to be a future-ready, global company. Hindalco's ongoing investment plan, for example, is aimed at creating a production base that can withstand the vagaries of business cycles.
Bhattacharya joined the $40-billion group as he felt Unilever was not giving him enough opportunities for risk taking. During his early years in the Aditya Birla group, he took chances that paid off handsomely. One such instance related to the captive jetty in Dahej the core strategy group had decided to sell in 2004. It had even appointed an investment banker to manage the sale. Outsourcing to a third party was seen as being more profitable than operating a captive jetty. Bhattacharya asked Birla and the strategy team to give him a chance to turn things around even though the group had received many proposals from buyers. Two years later, the captive jetty became profitable and was later expanded to meet the larger needs of the group. But Bhattacharya doesn't believe in taking risks that aren't backed by business instinct.
When the group was considering the takeover of Novelis for $6 billion in 2007, Bhattacharya feared that a buyout funded by debt will bog down the parent's growth in India just as rival Sterlite was racing ahead with its expansion. He extracted a promise from Birla that the Novelis purchase wouldn't compromise the Indian unit's plans. Birla agreed and gave the green signal to Bhattacharya's core team to go ahead with the Novelis acquisition.
Though the acquisition of Novelis initially turned out to be a big drag on Hindalco'sbottomline, Bhattacharya showed unwavering composure to restructure operations and make it profitable. Bhattacharya spends 15 hours at work everyday and prefers a hands-on approach. "l have my finger on the pulse of every major job," he said in an interview to the group's management journal. He's also passionate about details, said SumantSinha, former Aditya Birla group CFO. "In one of their trips to Kazhakhstan to purchase a copper mine, Bhattacharya went down almost one metre under the ground in one of the wells. We did not know what safety standards they had,'' said Sinha.
Hero Cycles inaugurates “all-aluminium” bicycle plant at Ghaziabad
The world’s largest bicycle maker has added the new facility within the premises of its existing plant. The move will enable Hero to produce indigenous aluminium frames for its premium light weight bicycles.
Hero has two high-end bicycle brands namely Urban Trail and Sprint. So far, the aluminum frames for Hero’s premium bicycle brands were imported but now the local plant will help the company in cutting down production costs.
Inaugurating the plant, Pankaj Munjal, Co-chairman, Hero Cycles, said –Hero Cycles Ltd will bring greater technological advancement in its production at every level in tune with our past record of being a market leader, not just in terms of sales but also in terms of innovation.
Our plans to go global and make a foothold in Africa, parts of Europe and South-east Asia will get a major fillip, with the advent of this hi-tech unit and our renewed vision to serve our customers in the best way possible.
With its all-aluminium “Octane” series of bicycles, Hero is targeting customers who seek adventure. The cycle maker also plans to locally manufacture critical components like internal gear hubs, electric drive units and front forks.
Hero Cycles has also laid foundations for its new plant at Bihta Industrial and Logistics Park, near Patna, Bihar, which will have an annual capacity of one million units. The plant will be operational in 2014.
Sumatra Industrial Park and Maritime Sector Get Rp 7t Govt Investment
The Industry Ministry plans to expand an aluminium-based industrial park in Kuala Tanjung, North Sumatra, as well as maritime-based industry in Tanggamus, Lampung, at a combined cost of over Rp 7 trillion ($680 million).The government hopes the two industrial zones will spur investment outside of Java. Over the next 15 years, the government aims to increase the proportion of investment outside Java to 40 percent from the current 27 percent.
Dedi Mulyadi, director of industrial zoning and development at the Industry Ministry, said the central government would cooperate with local governments and state-owned enterprises to build the North Sumatra complex and rent space in it to private companies. “The government is aware that industrial areas are now developed based on a particular industry. This is what the government wants to develop,” he said on Tuesday.The 1,500-hectare Kuala Tanjung industrial park is 40 kilo meters from Sumatra’s second largest port. Dedi said the government plans to expand the park to 6,000 hectares and equip it with roads and power lines. The Kuala Tanjung expansion is expected to cost Rp 2.45 trillion, he said.
“Development of Kuala Tanjungpark was in anticipation of a government takeover of Inalum in October. Companies in the park can make use of Inalum aluminium as raw material,” Dedi said, referring to Indonesia Asahan Aluminium, an Indonesian and Japanese joint venture that has a smelting plant in Kuala Tanjung.In Lampung, the government will establish a 4,000-hectare industrial area in Tanggamus. In the project, the government will cooperate with state energy company Pertamina, which holds half of the land. Dedi said that acquiring additional land and developing infrastructure is budgeted to cost Rp 4.6 trillion.
Dedi declined to reveal the timing for the two projects. An Industry Ministry document said there was typically a four-year gap between an industrial park securing its principal license and it starting operation.
Indonesian Employers Association (Apindo) chairman Chris Kanter said the government needed to ensure the availability of infrastructure outside Java to attract investors.
'Body In White' Expansion Opportunity For Aluminum Manufacturers
There is a stage of development in the manufacturing of automobiles known as "Body in White." This refers to the stage in automotive design and manufacturing of a car body's sheet metal components having been welded together before the moving parts (such as doors and hoods) the motor, chassis assemblies or trim have been added and also before painting. It's during this time that a transition is taking place and aluminum is becoming more important as manufacturers look at ways to increase fuel efficiency.
This transition is expected to increase the revenue base of aluminum manufacturers as the automotive industry looks to add more of the lightweight metal to the manufacturing process of its cars. A company like Alcoa (AA), which has an automotive division, could see this division grow substantially from where it is today. The automotive business makes up $700 million of Alcoa's $13 billion in revenue and the opportunity for growth has never been better.
Alcoa's aluminum contribution to the auto manufacturing industry runs bumper-to-bumper. Aluminum is now being applied to "platforms" for mainstream production in what used to be strictly high-end applications. It's exciting to see volume pickup.
The automotive industry is projected to grow globally, but the significant growth will take place in China. In 2010, China's automobile production is expected to double by 2020.
Even though growth in North America is not expected to be as large because of a saturated market, the "aluminum body sheet content" in North American vehicles is expected to quadruple by 2015 and grow to 10 times the size by 2025.
East Manufacturing Introduces New All-Aluminum Flatbed Trailer
East Manufacturing is introducing its new all-aluminum flatbed trailer with narrow-neck design. East has combined its new flatbed trailer with Sliding Systems Inc. all-aluminumCurtainside unit, resulting in one of the lightest weight trailers in the industry.
From crates of merchandise to steel coils, the new all-aluminum flatbed trailer with the SSI Curtainside is designed to haul freight heavy enough for a flatbed with the load capacity and enclosure of a van. The newly-designed, 8-inch neck on the East aluminum flatbed offers the same durability, strength and payload of the East BST Aluminum Flatbed Trailer along with the ability to be equipped with an enclosure, providing more load versatility and protection.
The van configuration of the new all-aluminum flatbed trailer has a 106-inch clear height – just 4 inches short of a van – and 101-inch inside load width. It also accommodates up to 50,000 pounds concentrated load in 4 feet on a 48-feet spread axle trailer. The flexibility of the curtain side offers load access from both sides as well as the rear door.
A typical van has a nominal 5-3/8-inch neck depending on the floor material. The 5-3/8-inch neck design along with the lack of main beams down the middle of the trailer means the van cannot provide enough strength to haul heavy concentrated loads. The East design uses high-tensile aluminum in its composition. The main beams and the structural cross-members use 6061-T6 aluminum, offering all the durability of high-tensile-strength steel at less than half the weight.
Welded Double T main beams balance load stresses more evenly for longer life and less maintenance.
Fully-enclosed hollow-core floor planks and tubular cross-members mean less wind resistance. East’s floor design provides greater strength in supporting the load. The SSI Curtainside maintains all the flexibility of loading and unloading of a flatbed with the protection of a van. The Curtainside uses the exclusive Versa rail, (6061-T6) all-aluminum, one-piece extrusion, which is lighter weight than standard rail and offers superior strength and less “sag” when all roof supports are out of the way for loading.
Curtains are constructed with a 26-1/2-ounce PVC-coated polyester (double top finish – face and back) fabric manufactured by Mehler fabric. It is horizontally and vertically reinforced with webbing to provide added strength, resulting in a taut curtain with no wrinkles. This heat sealable webbing is made of high tenacity polyester yarn with a PVC coating for abrasion resistance and welding ability. The webbing is 1-7/8-inch wide and .04-inch thick. Its breaking strength is rated at 2,900pounds at 68 degrees F.
The Curtainsides non-removable rolling post roof support device stays attached to the post roller which is mounted inside a track of the rail. Operation is very simple: Un-pin; roll it away to any position; then roll it back; and pin it again to lock it. The aluminum Quick Closer, a one-piece aluminum extrusion wall and wing, is mounted at all four corners of the unit and is an integral part of the wall construction. No more winding curtains with cumbersome poles, the Curtainside Quick Closer is simple: Snaps to open and snaps to close.
Bangalore among top 8 tech clusters
India's IT capital figures among eight largest technology innovation clusters in a global rating by MIT Technology Review, a magazine on innovation brought out by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, US. The other seven innovation clusters are Silicon Valley, Boston, Israel, Beijing, and three government-supported ventures — Tech City in London, Paris-Saclay in France, and Skolkovo Innovation City, near Moscow.
India's IT capital figures among eight largest technology innovation clusters in a global rating by MIT Technology Review, a magazine on innovation brought out by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, US. The other seven innovation clusters are Silicon Valley, Boston, Israel, Beijing, and three government-supported ventures — Tech City in London, Paris-Saclay in France, and Skolkovo Innovation City, near Moscow.
Innovation clusters are places with dense webs of interconnected technology companies, customers, and suppliers. The magazine looks at four key factors that improve a cluster's chance of flourishing — strong IP protection, liberal immigration laws, entrepreneurial culture, and good weather.Silicon Valley is seen to be the benchmark, and its technology cluster is strong in all four respects. Bangalore's strongest point is its weather, which helps foster a culture of optimism and openness. The magazine notes Bangalore received $300 million in venture funding in 2012.
Bangalore's close link with Silicon Valley is a major contributor to its innovation culture. An MIT Technology Review article quotes AnnaLeeSaxenian, dean of the University of California, Berkeley, School of Information, as saying: "Where global technology centres have successfully developed — as in Bangalore — it's been because people 'marinated' in Silicon Valley and then returned home to start companies."
Sanjay Anandram, venture partner with Seedfund, notes that Bangalore's entrepreneurial culture can be seen in the activities of networking organizations like Open Coffee Club, Barcamps, Startup Saturday, and Mobile Monday.
In elite league
Silicon Valley tops in all parameters considered for rating — strong IP protection, liberal immigration laws, entrepreneurial culture, good weather Bangalore's strongest point is its weather, which helps foster business culture of optimism and openness India's IT capital has received over $300 million in venture funding in 2012.
'Bangalore city has the right depth of technical talent'
Mukund Mohan, chief executive officer of Microsoft Ventures in India, says Bangalore has the right mix of talent, great entrepreneurs and a thriving ecosystem that nurtures innovation. "It has great support from a growing list of venture investors, early-seed investors and smart capital. The city has the right depth of technical talent to scale an organization. The city has many grassroots networking organizations for startups. All these bring together a dynamic, consistent and ever-learning startup ecosystem that makes it easy for new entrepreneurs to take the plunge," he said.
In November 2012, global research firm Startup Genome had ranked Bangalore among 20 influential startup ecosystems around the world. Bangalore had scored its best rank in Mindset Index, measuring entrepreneurs' high risk appetite, strong work ethic and ability to overcome challenges faced by startups.
Ravi Gururaj, chairman of Nasscom's product council, says there is no question that Bangalore has innovated tremendously. "Most people tend to think of products when they think of innovation. But there is also innovation in business processes and models — that's the kind of innovation Bangalore has done for the global software industry. Now, we have a high-potential product innovation ecosystem emerging, with a lot of folks feeding off each other, and the emergence of investors and successful entrepreneurs," he says.
VentureIntelligence estimates that startup incubators in Bangalore can incubate and mentor up to 60 companies a year, almost twice the number Delhi does. According to Anandram, Bangalore is still capital starved and there is very little local money available to entrepreneurs. "The exit scenario for investors is abysmally poor, and policies are not favourable to entrepreneurs," he says.
Global research firm Startup Genome had in November last year, ranked Bangalore among 20 influential startup ecosystems around the world Bangalore had scored its best rank in Mindset Index, measuring entrepreneurs' high risk appetite, strong work ethic and ability to overcome challenges faced by startup companies.
Novelis Asia chief seeks to expand partnership with Korean carmakers
Carmakers are focusing considerable resources on meeting new fuel efficiency regulations to be implemented by governments in the coming years. And they know more efficient engines and electric Powertrains cannot carry the whole load, turning their eyes to new alternative materials to make lighter auto platforms.
“Aluminum is a rational choice,” said Shashi Maudgal, president of Novelis Asia, in a recent interview with The Korea Herald. “It is more fuel efficient and three times lighter than steel. It also absorbs more crash energy in accidents.” For Novelis, the Atlanta-based leading producer of rolled aluminum, most sales come from beverage cans for Coca Cola or IT for electronics firms such as Korea’s Samsung and LG. Amid stringent emissions rules globally, the company now is pinning high hopes on the automobile sector that made up 6 percent of its total shipments last year.
Reducing a car’s weight by 10 percent can improve fuel economy by 6-8 percent, according to industry data. Car manufacturers, in the course of downsizing their cars, have switched from steel to aluminum for wheels, hoods, transmission cases, heat exchangers like radiators, and other components. More recently some luxury brands like Jaguar and Audi have been adopting aluminum for the basic shell and skeleton of their high-end models to maintain driving agility while downsizing the engines. “Currently, aluminum’s penetration rate is less than 1 percent in the automobile sector. But I believe the segment will grow in the next years,” said the regional chief, who also oversees the Korean market.
Novelis sees that aluminum adoption by the automotive industry will increase to 5 percent in the coming three years, while the annual growth rate reaches 25 percent by 2016. Maudgal acknowledged that using aluminum doesn’t come cheap. But he said aluminum vehicles can pay off their higher car prices after three years of driving. Novelis is currently providing its aluminum products to 117 car models, including Hyundai’s luxury sedan Equus, while joining the all-aluminum car projects of luxury brand such as Jaguar and Audi.
When the company’s first automotive sheet manufacturing plant in China starts production next year, the Korean unit, which operates two plants in Youngju and Ulsan, is also expected to benefit directly from the emerging sector. “Our Ulsan plant would produce basic materials to be sent to China for finishing,” Maudgal said.
Maudgal reaffirmed the company’s commitment to nurturing Korea as its production hub in Asia. “Korea is a very good production spot exporting to the rest of Asia. We have highly qualified and disciplined manpower here,” he said, adding that product quality offset relatively high labor costs here. In recent years, Novelis has already poured $400 million into its Korean production plants whose output will surge 50 percent to 1 million tons per year after expansion work. Of the new investment, $80 million will go to build Asia’s largest aluminum recycling center that will be located within the Youngju plant.
The Asia head, who has stayed in Korea since May last year, recently took office as chairman of the Indian Chamber of Commerce in Korea. He also pledged to expand t the presence of Indian businesses here. “I hope to help identify opportunities for some 30 members companies to do business in Korea. I especially want to support smaller ones to get a vibrant platform,” he said.
Jaguar plans all-aluminium entry-level models for 2015
It comes to no one’s surprise to hear that Jaguar is developing a new entry-level model range. It’s losing traction next to other premium brands, and even within the Jaguar Land Rover group, it’s fast becoming an also-ran. JLR racked up a healthy 14% sales increase in the first half of this year, but less than 20% of the 210,190 vehicles were Coventry cats.
A new range of more affordable models is likely to be the best solution for the British brand, especially considering that Land Rover’s two best sellers are its cheaper Freelander and Range Rover Evoque models (affordable and cheaper here are all relative, of course).
Financial Times reports that Jaguar’s new entry-level range will arrive in 2015, consisting of a sedan, an estate and the brand’s first SUV/crossover. The compact sedan, rumoured to carry the XS moniker, will mount an attack on the BMW 3 Series first, with the rest to follow.
In an unprecedented step, however, it looks like Jaguar will be using an all-aluminium architecture (or at least use a large amount of the lightweight material) for its new range. That’s a big departure from the long-dead X-Type compact sedan that used a modified (and old) Ford Mondeo chassis – a move that won it few favours.
Jaguar is no stranger to utilising all-aluminium constructions, having already done so for two generation of the flagship XJ sedan (current model pictured here), as well as the XK and F-Type sports cars. Land Rover too has started to move away from conventional steel architectures, with the latest Range Rover and RR Sportbuilt around all-aluminium monocoques.
Ansuman Das takes over as full-time NALCO CMD
Ansuman Das, who was holding additional charge as chairman-cum-managing director of state-run National Aluminium Company Limited (NALCO), Friday took over the post full-time, a company statement said.
Das, who took additional charge as CMD in August 2012, has graduated in mechanical engineering from Rourkela engineering college (now National Institute of Technology) in Odisha and has done his MBA from Britain's University of Hull, the statement said.
He started his career with the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited and joined NALCO in 1982. He was instrumental in formation of various marketing policies and strategies both for domestic and overseas sales and launching almost all the company's value-added products.
Global Automotive Aluminium Wheels Industry Scenario
Bharat Book Bureau presents the new report, on 'Global Automotive Aluminum Wheels Industry 2012-2016' forecast the Global Automotive Aluminium Wheels industry to grow at a CAGR of 8.48 percent over the period 2012-2016. One of the key factors contributing to this market growth is the increasing demand for vehicles across the world.The Global Automotive Aluminium Wheels industry has also been witnessing an increasing manufacturing of wheels in the APAC region. However, the availability of other lightweight wheel material could pose a challenge to the growth of this market.
The key vendors dominating this space include Central Motor Wheel Co. Ltd., CiTiCDicastal Wheel Manufacturing Co. Ltd., Ronal Group, and Superior Industries International Inc. The other vendors mentioned in the report are Accuride Corp., Alcoa Inc., BORBET GmbH, Enkei Wheels India Ltd., and United Wheels Group.
The Global Automotive Aluminium Wheels Industry 2012-2016, has been prepared based on an in-depth market analysis with inputs from industry experts. The report covers the market in the Americas, and the APAC and EMEA regions; it also covers the Global Automotive Aluminium Wheels industry market landscape and its growth prospects in the coming years. The report also includes a discussion of the key vendors operating in this market.
Iran Increases Aluminum Production
Aluminum ingot production in the first quarter of this year stood at 89,300 tons, up 5.4 percent compared to the same period last year.Aluminum ingot production was 30,100 tons in the third month of this year, showing 9 percent growth compared to the corresponding period last year. In the first three months of this year, alumina powder production rose by 11 percent to 61,900 tons compared to the same period last year.
Iran produced 308,000 tons of aluminum ingots in the first eleven months of the last year. Iran also produced 207,089 tons of aluminum powder in the first eleven months of the last Iranian calendar year.In May 2012, Iranian Deputy Minister of Industry, Mines and Trade VajihollahJa’fari said Iran’s aluminum output would hit 1.5 million tons by March 2025. Ja’fari noted that the Iranian Mining and Mineral Industries Development and Renovation Organization would implement various projects across Iran to reach the aluminum output target set for the current year.
The official noted that Iran’s world ranking in production of aluminum had risen to 22nd rank which was four steps higher since 2005.Ja’fari also stated that Iran plans to become the world’s 14th leading aluminum producer by the end of the 5th Economic Development Plan, which began in 2010 and ends in 2015.
SOCC starts aluminium alkyls production
Saudi Organometallic Chemicals Company (SOCC), a joint venture equally owned by units of US-based Albemarle Corporation and Sabic, has announced the initial start-up of its aluminum alkyls facility located in Jubail. At capacity, it will manufacture 6,000 metric tons per year of tri-ethyl aluminum (TEA), a Ziegler Natta co-catalyst used in the plastics industry. An ultra-low hydride grade of TEA (TEA-ULH) will also be produced at the SOCC plant.
This new facility is designed to meet the growing needs for TEA and ULH-TEA in the region, using raw materials supplied from member countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council."This state-of-the-art facility clearly demonstrates SOCC's commitment to providing a dependable supply of these essential products to the Middle East," said Al Saurage, executive general manager of SOCC. "This is a great achievement for our team and truly demonstrates the power of collaboration."
"Together with Sabic, we are bringing the production of our value-added products closer to the end-user," said Luke Kissam, CEO of Albemarle Corporation. "Successful expansion into high-growth regions such as Al-Jubail enables closer collaboration with our customers and supports our strategy for smart, sustainable growth." Mohamed Al-Mady, Sabic vice chairman and CEO, added: "The SOCC start-up is yet another milestone in Sabic's growth strategy in a highly competitive plastics market. We once again demonstrate our commitment to stimulate national economic growth, and build long-term relationships with our global customers."
The first batch of TEA, which was successfully completed in mid-April, met or exceeded all commercial specifications. Full commercial production is scheduled to begin in the third quarter of 2013 once customer qualifications are completed.
MIP Pro4mance 5-40 aluminium nuts
MIP introduces their ultra-lightweight 5-40 aluminium locknuts for all TLR and Losi SCTE vehicles. Included in the set that scrubs around 9 gram of weight, are 26 nuts for the Losi SCTE and TLR SCTE 2.0 as well as MIP Pro4mance converted trucks. The nuts are made from aircraft grade aluminium and are of course also usable on all other vehicles with imperial hardware.
Zero Carbon Green Orchard Home Boasts Operable Aluminum-CladWall Panels
Paul Archer Design has given green housing a high-tech touch with his new zero carbon Green Orchard home in the UK. Located in the "green belt" of southern Gloucestershire, this 200 square meter single family dwelling boasts all kinds of clean technology to ensure the smallest possible carbon and water footprint, including a highly-insulated envelope that features operable wall panels.
Vedanta Resources plans major expansion in Balco
Vedanta Resources, a London Stock Exchange listed globally diversified metals and mining company, plans a major expansion in its subsidiary-Bharat Aluminium Company Limited (Balco). "The group plans to expand the capacity of power plant to 2000-Mw besides producing 1 million tonne of aluminium in Balco," Vedanta Resources Chairman Anil Agrawal said. The expansion projects would be taken up once the on-going projects go on stream, he added. Balco, which has major aluminium facility in Korba district of Chhattisgarh, would become the first plant in the world to produce a million tonne of aluminium from a single facility. The company is presently operating a 245,000 Tonnes aluminium plant and 810-Mw captive power unit.
After the Vedanta Resources acquired 51 per cent stake in Balco, the group went for a major expansion plan in the plant that had 100,000 tonnes capacity. A new plant with a capacity of 325,000 Tonnes is ready for operation besides a 1200-Mw power plant set up in Balco. Both the plants would generate employment opportunity for about 5000 people. "We are hopeful that we would soon get the consent to operate for the power plant that would power the new aluminium plant," Agrawal said. He had a wish to even set up a 2-Million Tonne alumina plant in Chhattisgarh, the Vedanta Chairman said, adding that he had deep sentiment associated with Balco.
When he purchased Balco, Agrawal recalled, he was nothing in the metals and mining industry. "Balco gave me a big credibility and the group prospered to become a name in the industry," he added. Despite pumping in more than Rs 8,000 crore in Balco for expansion and upgradation, the group had not taken a single penny from the company. "The money that we earned from Balco is spent on the company here itself," Agrawal said. Even the power produced in Balco would be used by the facilities located here.
Boeing and Alcoa to streamline aluminium recycling
Boeing and aluminium producer Alcoa have formed a closed-loop programme that will 'significantly increase the recycling of internal aluminium aerospace alloys used during the production of Boeing airplanes', the two companies have announced. The initiative will entail the transportation of aluminium scrap - including advanced alloys - from Boeing facilities in the US states of Washington and Kansas to Alcoa’s plant in Louisiana for melting and recycling into new aerospace products.
According to an Alcoa news release, the programme involves the recycling of aluminium used to produce Boeing's wing and fuselage components, including extrusions, sheet and plate products. Around 8 million pounds of aluminium is expected to be recycled annually. Alcoa says the recycling programme also creates a blueprint that could be expanded: to the recovery of scrap from Boeing subcontractors; and to other forms of aluminium scrap, including that created by the machining of parts.
Novelis Announces Price Increase on Painted Aluminium Sheet Products in Europe
Novelis announced price increases on its painted aluminium sheet products in Europe. The fabrication price will increase by 100 Euro per ton for painted products and selected specialty sheet. The price changes are effective immediately for all new orders not covered by current supply agreements. “This price adjustment reflects the prevailing strong demand for aluminium painted products combined with increasing production costs,” said Erwin Mayr, Senior Vice President, Novelis and President, Novelis Europe.
Novelis provides a variety of specialized aluminium products designed to meet the exacting requirements of the construction industry, while enabling architects to bring their most innovative and ambitious designs to life in an eco-friendly and cost-effective way. Novelis architectural aluminum is featured in such recent structures as the iconic Titanic Belfast attraction in Ireland and the striking Dalian International Conference Centre in China.
Alcoa completes capacity upgrades for 3rd gen aluminium/lithium alloys
US-based aluminium refiner Alcoa has completed the second-phase expansion of aluminium/lithium alloy capacity at its Kitts Green facility, in the UK, to better serve the growing demand for the company’s third-generation aluminium/lithium alloys. The company on Tuesday said it expected aluminium/lithium revenues to quadruple over the next six years to nearly $200-million.
The Kitts Green expansion is the second phase of a three-part expansion programme to satisfy customer demand for advanced aerospace products and patented alloys, which allows airframers to build more fuel efficient and lower-cost aeroplanes than was possible if composite alternatives were used. Alcoa upgraded and expanded the casting capacity at the Kitts Green plant and also expanded capacity at its technology centre at Alcoa Centre, in Pennsylvania, by 30%.
The third phase of the expansion entailed the construction of a new $90-million facility next to the company’s Lafayette, Indiana, plant that would provide an additional 20 000 t of aluminium/lithium alloys. The new facility would supply round and rectangular ingots for rolled, extruded and forged applications, in sizes compatible with the largest aluminium aerospace components in service today.
The Lafayette expansion was scheduled to be completed and on line by the end of 2014. Alcoa’s new aluminium/lithium alloys provided it the best strength-to-weight performance in its aerospace-alloy portfolio, combined with better stiffness, damage tolerance and corrosion resistance. The alloys were used in extrusions, forgings, sheet and plate applications across aircraft structures, including aeroplane wings and fuselage components.
The expansions followed discussions with airframers following the launch of the next-generation alloys. “We introduced our third-generation aluminium/lithium alloys at the last Paris Air Show and demonstrated their potential to increase fuel efficiency, reduce inspection intervals, improve passenger comfort and lower capital costs for aerospace manufacturers,” Alcoa aerospace, transportation and industrial rolled products president Mark Vrablec said.
“The response was phenomenal. In fact, the response indicated demand that exceeded our production capacity at the time, so we launched initiatives to expand our aluminium/lithium operations at three locations around the world. The initiative also provided us with the opportunity to increase our aerospace recycling capability for customers to benchmark status in the industry,” he added.
Aluminum seen winning ground over steel, copper
Aluminum demand is strong despite record-high inventories of the metal, and will be further buoyed in coming years by increased usage in the automotive and aerospace industries, where it is winning ground over steel and copper in a bid to lightweight vehicles and products, participants at CRU's World Aluminum congress in London said.
"Demand's a great story," said Tim Reyes, president, Alcoa Materials Management, part of aluminum producer Alcoa Inc. (AA), which is investing heavily in expanding its rolling and processing facilities, even while considering cuts to its primary metal production capacity amid global oversupply. Processor Aleris International Inc. and smelting and processing group Hindalco Industries Ltd. of India are also investing in downstream production capacity in a bid to meet demand which is expected to grow eightfold in the next decade in segments such as auto body sheet. Global consumption of aluminum is expected to continue growing for three to four years at the current rate of 6% annually, led by China, up from 5% growth in 2012 when total usage reached 47.26 million metric tons, according to CRU. Growing demand should help whittle down global stockpiles of as much as 12 million tons, as some aluminum producers cut metal production amid weak prices.
"Demand [for aluminum] is the bright spot; it's growing faster than for the other major metals," said CRU Strategies managing consultant Colin Pratt. "This is because of lightweighting in cars and aeroplanes and rapid growth in emerging markets. Aluminum is going into wheels, radiators, engines, including in luxury cars, and replacing steel in body panels." Aluminum usage is booming in automobiles and airplanes due to legislative drivers to reduce emissions and increase fuel efficiency, said Philippe Meyer, vice-president and chief technology officer of Aleris Rolled Products Germany GmbH, an aluminum rolled and extruded products producer.
"In the U.S. the Cafe legislation will introduce mileage targets [per liter of fuel for cars] to reduce emissions by 2016 and we will have the same kind of norms in the EU in coming years, and there's similar moves in India and China," Mr. Meyer said. "Aluminum autobody sheet consumption will multiply eight times over the next ten years." Current global consumption of autobody sheet is around 350,000 tons a year and the expected expansion will need to be supported "with active investment," he said. Aleris is currently investing $200 million in expanding capacity to meet demand, including in a new aluminum cold rolling plant in Belgium.
Alcoa is investing $300 million in a new automotive sheet production facility in Iowa and $275 million in a similar facility in Tennessee to meet North American demand that should quadruple by 2015, Mr. Reyes said. Alcoa is also investing in automotive sheet production at Ma'aden, a joint venture with the Saudi Arabian government, he said. Despite the emergence of ultralight steels for automotive applications, aluminum is winning ground against steel among some car producers. "We're coming in with a hurricane on aluminum," Adrian Tautscher, a project leader at Jaguar/Land Rover, told the congress. Steel rivets will nonetheless stay in cars, he said.
The aircraft industry meanwhile currently uses some 360,000 tons a year of aluminum extruded products and this will grow 5% a year over the next five years as manufacturers also seek to reduce weights and boost fuel efficiencies, Mr. Meyer said. Urbanization in emerging nations is also boosting aluminum demand, CRU said. In India, demand for the metal is growing 11% to 12% a year--similar to annual growth rates for aluminum in China-- particularly due to rapid electrical sector growth as new aluminum-bearing transmission lines are built, said Hindalco's chief marketing officer, Sachin Satpute.
"In India, the economy is growing 6% to7% a year, and aluminum consumption is growing way above this because the power industry is growing 12% to 15% a year, and that's still not enough [to meet infrastructure demand]" Mr. Satpute said. Hindalco is investing $9 billion to boost alumina output and triple its primary aluminum capacity to 1.8 million tons a year in an expansion to be completed 2015, which will also involve new rolling mill capacity to meet demand from sectors including energy, transport and packaging. "Aluminum will be growing faster than copper at Hindalco," said the executive of the Indian diversified industrial group.
India’s aluminum can market faces five-fold growth by 2020-Hindalco
India's appetite for aluminum drinks cans could increase five-fold over the next seven to eight years, playing an important role in increasing the country's stake in global aluminum demand, the chief marketing officer of Indian aluminum producer Hindalco Industrial Ltd. "The aluminum can has only just arrived in India," Sachin Satpute told Dow Jones Newswires in an interview at CRU's World Aluminum Conference in London. Currently, less than 5% of India's drinks market uses aluminum cans, compared with over 50% of the U.S. drinks market, said Mr. Satpute.
India's beverage market is currently dominated by plastic PET bottles and glass, he said. Things are changing, however. While the Indian drinks market currently uses around 1 billion aluminum cans each year--or 15,000-16,000 metric tons of aluminum--this could increase to 5 billion cans--or 90,000-100,000 tons of metal--in seven to eight years, said Mr. Satpute.
Driving the growth in the Indian aluminum can market is the popularity of drinks cans among India's young, growing middle class and a rise in domestic production, said Mr. Satpute. "In India, there is nothing more western than holding a drinks can," said Mr. Satpute. "The young generation is very attracted to aluminum cans. As the middle class grows, we're seeing more demand for aluminum cans." The recent development of domestic aluminum can production in India also supports growth in this sector, said Mr. Satpute.
U.K.-headquartered can maker Rexam PLC (Rexam PLC) opened an aluminum can production line with Hindustan Tin Work in December last year, and Polish can maker Can-Pack has also been expanding its can-making facilities in India in recent years. Hindalco, which is a unit of India's Aditya Birla Group and one of the largest producers of primary aluminum in Asia, is also preparing to start producing aluminum cans at Hirakud plant, which is currently under expansion.
"Three years back, people were importing cans from Dubai and India," whereas can lines are now operating on Indian soil, said Mr. Satpute. "If aluminum cans become economical in India, there is great potential for demand growth. This is just like what we saw in the mobile phone space, where demand took off once phones became more affordable."
This year, India is expected to consume around 2.7 million tons of aluminum, a small fraction of the 65.5 million tons of estimated global demand, said Mr. Satpute. But while industry estimates peg global aluminum consumption growth at 4%-6% annually, India's consumption of the metal should grow at a rate of 11%-12%, according to Hindalco.
Aluminium production down 16.5% against target in FY13
Non-availability of bauxite on time for some of the units, falling global prices contribute to non-achieving targets
India's aluminium production was lower by 16.5% at 1.72 million tonne in 2012-13 fiscal as against the target of 2.06 million tonne, a senior official of the Department of Mines said.
However, it was 3% up compared to 1.67 million tonne produced in 2011-12, he said. "There are various reasons for not achieving target. Non-availability of bauxite on time for some of the units has crippled production and falling global prices also contributed to non-achieving targets," the official said.
"Aluminium prices at London Metal Exchange have fallen by 15 to 20%. We expect the prices to go up by the latter half of the year. It is common for the countries. The more they produce now, the higher the losses they incur," he said.
Major producers of the metal in the country include state -owned National Aluminium Company Ltd (NALCO) and private sector units - Bharat Aluminium Company Limited (BALCO), Hindustan Aluminium Company Ltd (HINDALCO) and Vedanta Aluminium Company Ltd (VAL). A senior NALCO official had earlier said the aluminium maker may operate its sole smelter at 75% capacity until global prices of the metal recover or availability of cheap domestic coal increases.
The 4.6 lakh tonne per annum capacity of the NALCO plant at Angul in eastern Odisha has been operating at a reduced capacity since May 12 after its coal supplier Mahanadi Coalfields Ltd shut a mine following an accident on April 21. NALCO production director S S Mohapatra had said the company may review the situation and consider using imported coal to increase the output if the LME prices are up beyond $2,200 per tonne.
BALCO, with 3.45 lakh tonne per annum capacity, has closed down its old smelter of 1 LTPA capacity and hence the present installed capacity of the company is 2.45 lakh tons, the official added. BALCO had achieved 2.47 lakh tonne production against target of 3.6 lakh tonne during 2012-13.
Hindalco and Vedanta produced 5.75 lakh tonne and 4.33 lakh tonne as against target of 6.07 lakh tonne and 6.66 lakh tonne respectively, the official said.
Aluminium Association of India's honorary general secretary K S S Murthy said the metal demand in India is expected to grow at 10-12% per annum and this will be driven by growth in sectors like electricity, transport, building and construction and packaging.
Replying to a query, Murthy said with the expansions lined up by primary producers, which will be operationalised during 2013-14, the fresh production availability in India can cater to the domestic demand. Murthy said the total aluminium import during 2012-13 in India was 1.32 million tonne.
India's aluminium consumption of all products (excluding scrap) in 2012-13 was 1.97 million tonne. The aluminium consumption with scrap in 2012-13 was 2.7 million tonne, Murthy explained.
Ramesh Nair new head of BALCO
Bhubaneswar, June 2 (IANS) Bharat Aluminium Company (BALCO), a Vedanta Group company, Sunday announced it has appointed Ramesh Nair as its chief executive officer replacing Gunjan Gupta. Ramesh Nair has over 20 years' experience in the metals industry and has worked in the group for 11 years in multiple functions before assuming overall leadership role at Sterlite Copper as its chief operating officer, the company said here in a statement.
BALCO, which has major operations in the Korba area of Chhattisgarh currently operates a modern 2.45 lakh tonnes per annum integrated aluminium smelter with 810 MW thermal power plant. It is also in the final stages of commissioning a new state-of-the-art 3.25 lakh tonnes per annum aluminium smelter with 1,200 MW thermal power plant at an investment of about Rs.10,000 crore. "I am glad to have Ramesh Nair as BALCO CEO and have strong belief that he will be able to steer BALCO to its full potential," Vedanta Group chairman Anil Agarwal said.
Commission approves merger in the soft-alloy aluminium extrusion market
The European Commission, under the EU Merger Regulation, approved the creation of a joint venture between two Norwegian aluminium companies, Norsk Hydro ASA and Orkla ASA's wholly-owned subsidiary Sapa Holding AB. The new entity will be named Sapa.
The new merger has already been approved by the U.S. Department of Justice and relevant competition authorities in several other jurisdictions. The parties are waiting now the approval from the Chinese competition authorities (MOFCOM). The Chinese authorities are currently evaluating the new acquisition which is expected to be completed by the third quarter of 2013. The European Commission’s approval is conditional on the sale of Sapa’s multiport extrusions (MPE) business in the Netherlands and Hydro's largest soft-alloy extrusions plant in Norway. The parties have started to sale these businesses in line with the Commission’s decision.
Commission Vice President in charge of competition policy Joaquín Almunia stated: "This case shows again that European merger control is able to both, protect customers from price rises fuelled by undue market power through effective remedies, and allow companies to combine their forces to become industry leaders at the global level."
Flexible Aluminum Conduit is UL Listed and CSA Certified.
Formed from heavy-gauge aluminum strip, Type ABRH non-jacketed conduit features profile and helical shape that provide resistance to impact and crushing forces. Product comes in sizes from 3/8–3 in., with respective min/max ID ranges from 0.375–0.393 in. to 3.000–3.200 in. and OD ranges from 0.560–0.610 in. to 3.360–3.560. Suitable for use with connectors intended for Flexible Metal Conduit (FMC), Type ABRH is intended as metal raceway for wires and cable.
Electri-Flex Company offers Type ABRH, a non-jacketed flexible aluminum conduit that is now both UL Listed and CSA Certified. Type ABRH is similar to Type ABR except it is formed from a heavy-gauge aluminum strip, providing superior crush resistance. It has many universal wiring applications and is available in sizes 3/8” to 3”. Electri-Flex’s line of unjacketed flexible steel conduits carry high impact and crush strength, make tight bends, are non-combustible and are ideal for high temperature applications. Type ABRH compliments this line as being the only one to offer both UL and CSA Listings on all sizes, while providing superior construction for tough environments.
Alcoa to Expand North American Aluminum Sheet Production
Fabricated aluminum producer Alcoa recently announced a major North American expansion to meet the growing demand for light, durable and recyclable aluminum sheet metal for automotive production. Alcoa will invest $275 million over the next three years to expand its rolling mill in Alcoa, Tenn. The goal is to support automotive manufacturers’ plans to use more aluminum sheet in order to increase vehicle fuel efficiency, safety, durability and performance. Klaus Kleinfeld, chairman and CEO of Alcoa, said auto manufacturers are expected to quadruple use of aluminum by 2015. He anticipates a tenfold increase by 2025.
During the expansion project, Alcoa will also convert some of the plant's can sheet capacity to high-strength automotive aluminum capacity. Alcoa said the project will incorporate its proprietary "Alcoa 951" pre-treatment bonding technology, which enables adhesive bonding of automotive structures and facilitates more cost-effective, mass production of aluminum-intensive vehicles. The “Alcoa 951” technology has become the new pre-treatment bonding standard for aluminum sheet, extrusion and casting suppliers throughout the automotive industry.
"Our technology solutions are helping to drive the continued penetration of aluminum into the automotive market," said Ray Kilmer, executive vice president and chief technology officer for Alcoa. "We are enabling not just increased penetration, but we are working with OEMs to do it cost effectively in high-volume automotive applications, which necessitates our automotive expansions." The expansion will begin this month, and is scheduled to be completed by 2015. The plant will add roughly 200 full-time jobs upon completion.
Govt imposes import duty on steel, aluminium, brass scraps'
EW DELHI: The government has imposed 2.5 per cent import duty on various types of scraps - melting steel, stainless steel andaluminium scraps, and has withdrawn exemption of special additional customs duty on brass scrap. The measures were taken through two different notifications issued on Wednesday by the Finance Ministry. It did not give reasons for making changes except saying that it is in public interest.
"In exercise of the powers conferred by sub-section (1) of section 25 of the Customs Act, 1962, the Central Government, being satisfied that it is necessary in the public interest so to do, hereby makes the following further amendments...," said the notification, imposing 2.5 per cent import duty on steel and aluminium scraps.
Since 2003, import duty on melting steel scrap was nil, while on stainless steel scrap, the duty was reduced to zero in the Budget of 2011. Besides, withdrawal of exemption of special additional customs duty (SAD) on brass scrap means that importers of brass scrap will now have to pay 4 per cent SAD on imports.
According to industry data, India imports about 7 million tonnes (MT) of melting steel scrap and about 1 or 2 MT of stainless steel scrap. However, no such data could be secured for aluminium or brass scrap as it is scattered and belong to medium and small scale industries. The scrap is used as raw material largely by medium and small scale industries. As per the industry estimates, secondary steel producers account for about 40 per cent of India's total steel production at about 32 million tonnes.
Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG
THERE'S more to the SLS AMG than the gullwing doors that will stun the bystanders who are already marvelling at the dramatic retro styling. Its aluminium construction, balanced weight distribution, advanced transmission and braking systems and highly tuned engine combine to make this the most comprehensively engineered Mercedes supercar we've seen for a while.
We're dealing with a thoroughbred supercar here, one with a chassis and body fashioned from aluminium and a low kerb weight of 1,620kg including the driver. The 6.3-litre V8 engine that's found in so many models that carry the AMG badge rears its head again, but fine tuning has liberated 571bhp and 650Nm or torque. With that kind of thrust, the SLS could be nothing but brutally quick and a 0-62mph sprint of 3.8s along with a 200mph top speed confirm its entry into the VIP room of the supercar club.
The engine is mounted as far back as possible behind the front wheels to preserve the 48/52 neutral weight balance, and power is directed rearward via a carbon-fibre driveshaft similar to that found in the Mercedes C-Class DTM race car. The seven-speed dual clutch transmission is next to the rear axle and incorporates a Race Start function that optimises traction off the line.
There's a huge amount of drama in the way the SLS looks. Its length and width are instantly apparent and so is the way it hugs the road. Visually, it's unlike anything else on the road and it clearly owes more than a little to the classic Mercedes 300 SL, the car that also gives the SLS its most evocative design feature.
Gullwing doors are everywhere in the fantasy land of motorshow concept cars but as rare as repentant politicians in real life, mainly because they look spectacular but are fearsomely expensive to engineer. They do make getting inside a challenge as once sat inside, it's difficult to reach up high enough to pull the door shut. With a price tag in the £150,000 ballpark, the SLS is positioned right in the faces of some of the world's top supercars.
We might just be witnessing something very special from Mercedes-Benz. The brand's usual recipe for ultimate performance has involved shovelling in gargantuan reserves of power and hoping that the electronics and the chassis can deploy it all successfully.
This is a model that was designed as a lightweight supercar from the ground up by AMG themselves. In addition to extreme performance, it harks back to the SL 300 with its retro styling themes and party-piece gullwing doors, while also offering the luxury and technology we expect in a Mercedes. The supercar elite may be forced to make room for a newcomer.
SYNERGIES CASTINGS LIMITED, one of the active members of Aluminium Association of India, has been awarded ” Superior Quality Performance Award 2012" by Toyota Kirloskar Motors Limited at the 15th Annual Supplier Convention held in Bangalore on 26.04.2013.
Synergies Castings Limited engages in the manufacture of alloy wheels and other precision aluminium castings. It manufactures and chromes alloy wheels for cars. trucks, and sports utility vehicles. The company also produces specialized precision aluminium castings. It manufactures and finishes alloy wheels and other aluminium cast components through its low pressure die casting (LPDC) and customized copper-nickel-chrome electroplating technology. The company also offers solutions for pressure die cast components, LPD components of all types of aluminium cast alloys plastics, and assemblies.
Novelis launches ‘high-recycled content’ aluminium
Aluminium rolling and recycling company, Novelis, has announced the launch of the ‘industry’s first independently certified, high-recycled content aluminum designed specifically for the beverage can market’. The ‘evercan’ body sheet, developed to lower the carbon footprint of consumer packaging, contains a ‘minimum’ of 90 per cent recycled aluminium and is now commercially available to operators in the beverage can industry. It is hoped the new aluminium sheet will help manufacturers reduce their carbon footprint as the production of recycled aluminium is said to consume as much as 95 per cent less energy that of ‘primary aluminium’, and result in the emission of approximately 95 per cent less greenhouse gas.
According to Novelis, when used in conjunction with a can end composed of a different alloy, beverage can manufacturers will be able to produce 12-ounce beverage cans made from ‘at least’ 70 per cent recycled metal. The aluminium has been certified by SCS Global Services, which specialises in environmental, sustainability and food quality certification, auditing, testing and standards development. Currently available in Europe and North America, the recycled aluminium sheets, will be made available worldwide later this year.
‘Important step’ toward 100 per cent recycled content
Speaking of the launch of evercan, Novelis President and Chief Executive Officer, Phil Martens, said: “We are excited to be able to deliver yet another tangible result of our commitment to sustainable aluminum product innovation. “Our Novelis evercan high-recycled content beverage can body sheet, backed by the industry’s first independent certification program, represents tremendous progress in sustainable consumer products packaging.
“As the world’s leading supplier of aluminum beverage can sheet, this is an important step toward delivering on our ultimate vision of an aluminum can with up to 100 percent recycled content.”
SCS Global Services Managing Director, Stowe Hartridge-Beam, added: “We are pleased to have independently certified the exceptionally high levels of recycled content in Novelis' aluminum can sheet, which represents a new benchmark of performance in an industry that has been long known for its recycling efforts. “Novelis' proven performance is evidence of its commitment to preserving natural resources, reducing waste and advancing sustainability.”
‘A critical catalyst’
According to Novelis, the production of ‘high-recycled content aluminium’ sheet is a ‘key component’ of their global operations plans to increase the recycled contents of its products to 80 per cent by 2020. Furthermore, Novelis has announced that its global recycling capacity is expected to double to 2.1 million metric tonnes by 2015, following capital investments totalling $500 million (£321 million).
Novelis Chief Sustainability Officer, John Gardner, said: “This first phase of the Novelis ‘evercan’ high-recycled content initiative serves as a critical catalyst for Novelis to work more closely with consumer brand customers, our supply chain partners and other community stakeholders to increase end-of-life recycling of used beverage containers. “We encourage wide participation from other aluminum suppliers, beverage and packaging companies, retailers and distributors, recyclers, municipalities, environmental groups and consumers themselves in promoting the use of more sustainable consumer packaging through aluminum recycling.”
U.S. buys majority of aluminum foil export of Armenian-Russian production
The export of the 0,2 mm aluminum foil from the Republic of Armenia to the U.S. during the period of the first three months has recorded a growth of about 24 percent in comparison with the same period of the previous year. The State Revenue Committee of the Government of the Republic of Armenia informed "Armenpress" that during the first three months of the current year 6,830,500 kg aluminum foil have been exported to the U.S. This amount equaled to 5,516,800 kg in the same period of 2012. The total customs value of the aluminum foil exported to the United States during the first three months of the current year exceeded USD 21 million. The total amount of Armenia's export of aluminum foil during the first three months of 2013 equals to 6,984,100 kg.
In a conversation with "Armenpress" the Press Secretary of "Rusal-Armenal" company Alexander Melkumyan stated that the aluminum foil of Armenian production is in line with the international standards and is much in demand in the USA.
Aluminum Remains Material of Choice to Reduce Vehicle Body Mass and Boost Fuel Economy
A new study released today shows that an all-aluminum vehicle can shed more than 40 percent body mass, boosting fuel economy by 18 percent when combined with secondary mass savings and other design changes. The study helps explain why car and truck makers are shifting away from steel to aluminum, and supports projections that aluminum-intensive vehicles will become more common in the marketplace with continued demand for more fuel efficient vehicles.
The research, conducted by EDAG Group and commissioned by the Aluminum in Transportation Group of the U.S. Aluminum Association, was presented today at the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) World Congress during a panel discussion on advances in lower weight materials. It comes at a time when automotive aluminum use is at an all-time high, with automakers announcing plans to incorporate more of the metal into vehicle designs - doubling aluminum's 2008 share of the automotive metals mix by 2025.
"Automakers are putting cars and trucks on a major diet to get better gas mileage, and are saying they're reaching the limits of using advanced steels to lose weight," said Randall Scheps, chairman of The Aluminum Association's Transportation Group (ATG) and automotive marketing director for Alcoa, Inc. "This study reinforces that aluminum is the material of choice to reduce body mass and boost fuel economy - which consumers list as their primary concern when buying a new car or truck - while providing the safety, performance and durability that consumers also demand."
The study built upon research EDAG performed last year for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) examining mass reduction, safety and cost variables in a mid-size crossover Toyota Venza. The EPA study aimed to reduce vehicle mass by 20 percent while meeting all NHTSA and IIHS safety standards, and maintaining or improving performance, handling and braking. It found that using a maximized high-strength steel (HSS) Venza body resulted in a body mass reduction of only 14 percent over the baseline production vehicle body, and that the study's total vehicle mass reduction target could not be met without the use of aluminum closures and chassis components.
The new EDAG research uses a full aluminum body and closures to achieve almost three times the body mass reduction over the EPA study's HSS vehicle, while still conforming to the same stringent safety and performance standards. This was done at a modest cost increase - about a dollar per kilogram of weight saved - which consumers will recoup in fuel savings in less than two years of operating the more efficient vehicle. Aluminum is critical to a holistic approach in achieving higher fuel economy targets. Aluminum intensive vehicles -like Audi's A6, the Tesla Model S, and Land Rover's Range Rover, the first all-aluminum SUV - are already on the road today, with more expected to be in showrooms in the next few years.
Constellium Announces Name Change to Business Units
Constellium has announced today that it has renamed its three core business units to reflect increased proximity to customers and to show more accurately the business and commercial sector focus of each unit. The renamed business units, which retain their existing scope of activities and products, are: * Aerospace and Transportation (formerly Global Aerospace, Transportation and Industry, which provides technologically advanced aluminium and specialty materials products with wide applications across the global aerospace, defense, transportation and industrial sectors. The business unit offers a wide range of products including plate, sheet, extrusions and precision casting products which allow Constellium to provide tailored solutions to its customers; * Packaging and Automotive Rolled Products (formerly Specialty Sheet), which develops, provides and recycles aluminium sheets and coils for packaging applications (beverage and food cans, closures, foils) as well as automotive solutions, including high-performance products for automotive body-in-white and heat exchangers; * Automotive Structures and Industry (formerly Extrusions and Automotive Structures), which produces (i) advanced solutions for the global premium automotive industry including crash management systems and other structural and safety parts and (ii) extrusions and large profiles mainly for road and rail transportation, energy and other industrial applications.
Constellium complements this product range with a comprehensive offering of downstream technology and services, which include pre-machining, surface treatment and logistic support services. The new business unit names take effect immediately. "Having a clearly defined offer for our customers and all outside observers of our company is critical", explained Pierre Vareille, Chief Executive Officer of Constellium. "These new names reflect more accurately the proximity of our company to its customers and demonstrate the breadth of our solutions."
Constellium is a global sector leader that develops innovative, value added aluminium products and solutions for a broad scope of markets and applications, including aerospace, automotive, packaging and industry. Constellium is owned by affiliates of Apollo Global Management (51%), Rio Tinto (39%) and the "Fonds Stratégique d'Investissement" FSI (10%). With around 8,900 employees Constellium generated EUR3.61 billion of revenue in 2012.
Constellium Set To Meet Aluminum-Lithium Demand
A new aluminum-lithium foundry in Issoire, France, opened March 26 by aluminum specialist Constellium embodies the latest effort to regain ground lost to composite materials in aircraft construction. Dedicated to a new line of alloys dubbed Airware, the new casthouse has the capacity to produce 14,000 metric tons of aluminum-lithium per year, making it the world’s first large-scale production facility of the alloy.
Two furnaces have begun operating, marking the start of Constellium’s production ramp-up for Airware’s first two customers. Airbus and Bombardier each use the alloy for the A350 XWB long-haul twinjet and 100- to 160-seat CSeries, respectively. Both manufacturers plan to fly their new airplanes for the first time this summer.
Plans call for another two furnaces to enter into service in Issoire in 2016. At that point, Constellium expects to have invested €52 million ($68 million), including funding of a pilot phase at its research and development center in Voreppe, France. Issoire is slated to produce enough Airware aluminum for 140 A350s per year–Airbus’ stated goal–and an undisclosed number of CSeries jets.
Airbus buys some 75 to 80 metric tons of Airware per A350. The buy-to-fly ratio stands at close to 20 percent, meaning that machining processes produce more than 60 tons of turnings, all of which get carefully collected due to the high value of the alloys. New recycling processes, part of Airware’s proprietary techniques, keep the metals’ properties intact.
While the new alloys yield significant benefits in weight and strength, Constellium has already started working on the next generation. “Future alloys will be much more customized; we’ll ask our customer what properties he wants and we’ll create a suitable material,” research and innovation director Bruno Chenal explained.
Studies by Constellium’s engineers thus center on developing lighter and more corrosion-proof formulas for, the company hopes, the successor to the A320neo, for example. Future wing skin panels have reached a test phase. Engineers are also working on “function integration,” such as optic fibers for structural health monitoring. The Airware factory employs 40 people. Last year, Constellium’s aerospace revenues totaled about €650 million ($845 million).
Top Gulf honour for the Premier
MANAMA: The Premier has been conferred a prestigious shield by the Gulf Aluminium Council (GAC) in recognition of his pioneering role in establishing the aluminium industry in Bahrain and the region. This came as the Premier received Emirates Aluminium chief executive and GAC board of directors member Saeed Fadhel Al Mazrooei, chief executives of major aluminium smelters in the region and officials at the Gudaibiya Palace. Receiving the shield, His Royal Highness Prime Minister Prince Khalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa said Bahrain has succeeded in developing the aluminium industry - thanks to its belief in the importance of the sector in diversifying revenue sources and creating more job opportunities for its citizens.
"In the 1970s, Bahrain didn't have a clear vision and relied on oil as the only source of revenue. However, we soon realised the need to create an industrial base and found that aluminium was the best as it provided ample opportunities for growth and jobs for citizens. "We went around the world to bring companies that export aluminium to us - including Australian companies - and we started from that point. "Today, we are reaping the dividends."
The Premier asserted that aluminium industry has been - and is still - one of the most promising sectors in the region.
"We have provided a strong foundation for aluminium industry across the region, in general, and in Bahrain in particular," he said, praising "ambitious and hardworking Bahrainis whose efforts have given the kingdom its pioneering position in the aluminium industry." He called for the need to take advantage of GCC's energy potential and fiscal surpluses to develop manufacturing industries further. Mr Al Mazrooei hailed the Premier for laying the foundation for the aluminium industry in the GCC by establishing a factory in the 1970s."The aluminium industry in the GCC region was his brainchild," he said."The $30 billion (BD11.3bn) industry has generated numerous jobs for GCC nationals and has become a main pillar of the GCC economy," he added, thanking the Premier for his wisdom, farsightedness and sound initiatives to advance GCC economy.
Triton Systems and Specialty Materials Partner to Manufacture New Lightweight Fiber Reinforced Aluminum (FRA(TM)
Designed for applications requiring wear resistance, light weight and elevated temperature strength properties in defense, transportation and aerospace Triton Systems, Inc. (Triton) of Chelmsford, MA and Specialty Materials, Inc. (SMI) of Lowell, MA today announced they have partnered to manufacture an advanced material, FRA(TM) (fiber reinforced aluminum) that offers a lightweight alternative to steel and aluminum components in defense, transportation, and aerospace markets.
FRA's unique combination of weightsavings, superior wear resistance, and high temperature strength offers a higher performance alternative to traditional steel and aluminum for products such as pump and actuator housings, bushings, wear inserts, internal combustion engine components, high temperature heat exchangers and bearing liners.
FRA(TM) was developed by Triton for use in military programs for turbopump housings and helicopter gearbox components. Under the agreement, Triton will continue to develop FRA(TM) for next generation products at their pilot production plant. SMI has designed a high volume FRA(TM) production facility with the capacity of 20" in diameter which will be online in late 2013 for delivery of production quantities of FRA(TM).
"This partnering makes perfect sense for both companies. Triton has an established relationship with SMI and they are a trusted source in the industry for composite materials," said Triton President and CEO, Ross Haghighat. "We believe FRA(TM) offers lightweight, high strength alternatives that the industry demands and SMI can deliver qualified production to meet aerospace, commercial and industrial requirements."
"We're excited to work with Triton on this endeavor. SMI is the industry leader in providing high strength, high modulus fiber and preforms to the composites industry. This partnership allows us to provide more solutions to our customers and beyond," said Monte Treasure, SMI's President and CEO. "FRA is a complementary material to our suite of products and we're geared up to take this product to volume manufacturing."
Autos may soon be fastest growing end-use aluminium segment
Tepid demand for metals, particularly in China recently, sent copper below a seven-month low of $7,500 a tonne. Copper prices have moved forward since on signals of improved inquiries from Chinese importers and users. But overall, copper has taken less beating than aluminium, which remains under twin pressure of surplus production and mounting warehouse stocks with the London Metal Exchange and the Shanghai Futures Exchange. The problems besetting aluminium are not going to go away too soon, the pace of laying off of smelting capacity across the globe falling short of requirement.
"The world aluminium industry is caught in difficult times, with over 30 per cent capacity rendered unviable at current prices. At the same time, with copper costing close to four times more than the white metal and the automobile industry in developed and emerging nations pressured by law to make more fuel efficient vehicles leaving very low traces of carbon footprint have opened up many new application opportunities for aluminium," says Vedanta Aluminium Managing Director Sushil Roongta. By an uncommon coincidence, here is one who till the other year a leading light of steel industry, is now part of a global campaign to give a push to substitute use of both the ferrous metal and copper by aluminium.
High fuel prices and also environmental concerns are the principal drivers in the move to lightweight vehicles from cars to trucks. Lesser the weight of a vehicle, the better is its fuel efficiency. Like for every 10 per cent reduction in vehicle weight, up to seven per cent improvement in fuel efficiency is achieved. Government intervention besides, buyers themselves are also insisting on lighter vehicles. In a path-breaking move, the Obama Administration is pursuing a programme of improving the fuel economy of vehicles and reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, which is to save consumers over $1.7 trillion at petrol stations. The corporate average fuel economy (CAFE) standards in the US, born in response to the Arab oil embargo of 1973, have been revised to add teeth, the last revisions came as recently as August 2012. Oil shocks on several occasions in the past and unpredictability of the OPEC response to a crisis situation will also explain the progress in biofuel production and extraction of oil and gas from shale.
Globally, the transport sector accounted for nearly 30 per cent of the total aluminium use of close to 47 million tonnes (mt) in 2012.The use percentage varies from country to country. In India, it is 14 per cent where, however, the transport segment, according to Roongta, holds much promise. This is in spite of production setbacks across the automobile industry - from passenger cars to medium and heavy commercial vehicles. Whether it is the US or Europe, the economic slowdown continues to negatively impact automakers. World aluminium use last year was up 4.5 per cent, which if China is excluded, where consumption growth was nine per cent, would amount to a measly 1.1 per cent. No wonder then that the volume of metal used in cars fell in 2012. What is encouraging is that difficult times have not proved to be a deterrent for marquee to mass automakers from pursuing the goal of light weighting vehicles, in the process creating increasingly large scope for substituting steel, mainly by aluminium.
Audi and other producers of luxe cars are in the forefront of replacing heavier steel by lightweight aluminium. Progress that Audi is making in using ever increasing quantities of aluminium is a result of its collaboration with Novelis, the world's largest producer of rolled aluminium and part of Hindalco since 2007. Now, under a multi-year agreement, Novelis will remain sole supplier of aluminium sheet to Tata-owned Jaguar Land Rover and as part of a closed loop recycling arrangement it will recover and recycle aluminium scrap generated in JLR plants. Mass car producers in the US and elsewhere are also investing heavily in aluminium welding technology to allow them to use greater quantities of light metal in future vehicles. An analyst with Barclays says aluminium content in vehicles is growing at an annual rate of about five per cent and the growth should accelerate. This is to happen on the back of R&D breakthroughs in aluminium applications and compulsion to make vehicles lighter and lighter. Let the world automobile industry come out of low demand phase, it will have the potential of becoming the fastest growing end-use segment for aluminium.
As we go forward, we will see greater focus on aluminium-intensive vehicles, with the light metal replacing steel in more and more areas - from body panel to chassis to bonnet and tailgate. In the 12 years to 2012, aluminium used in a car produced in Europe rose by 90 kg to 140 kg. The 2020 European target is to take it to 180 kg a car. In the US a car made now will have close to 160 kg of aluminium components. The US-based Aluminium Association says global automakers are likely to lift aluminium content in a car to 249.5 kg by 2025. The volume of North American use of aluminium in cars is estimated to rise 66 per cent to 3.7 mt by 2025. The Indian automobile industry has much catch-up to do.
Aluminium air car achieves 1,000 mile range
An Israeli company called Phinergy has successfully produced a working prototype of an electric car which runs on metal air batteries and is capable of a range around 10 times long than a conventional electric vehicle. What makes this concept special is that it offers big improvements over previous metal air concept vehicles, thanks to its use of aluminium as a fuel, granting it a range of around 1,000 miles.
The process works by oxidising the aluminium to give off energy. Ambient air and water is fed into the battery to start the reaction, with the aluminium essentially consumed in the process, to create an electrical charge. One of the major advances of Phinergy’s system being that the air is filtered to provide pure oxygen to the battery, preventing carbon dioxide from causing corrosion to the aluminium fuel.
All the car needs is topping up with water every 200 miles or so. There are some drawbacks, however. As good as a 1000km range is, the battery essentially needs replacing as the 50 aluminium plates are all used up by then. But Phinergy say replacing the battery plates will be much quicker than recharging.
Using a Citroen C1 as a demonstrator model for its battery tech, Phinergy have been test driving it on real roads, as the video above demonstrates. The company’s research demo is part-funded by the Israeli Ministry of Energy and Water Resources. According to ExtremeTech.com, ultimately the success of this idea will depend on the price of aluminium. Market costs today suggest that replacing the plates would cost around $50 (£32.60)-that’s a cost of around 3 pence a mile-similar to a conventional battery electric car.
Aluminum Association Announces Four New Member Companies At Annual Spring Meeting
The Aluminum Association announced the addition of four new member companies during its Spring Meeting in South Carolina. Representatives from AkzoNobel Coatings, G2USA (GVA Krefeled GmbH), Hunter Douglas Group and SMS Millcraft were all in attendance to formally accept membership. "We are thrilled to have these companies come on board to strengthen the Aluminum Association's impact," said Layle "Kip" Smith, Aluminum Association Vice Chairman and CEO of Noranda Aluminum. "The Aluminum Association works diligently to enhance the competitive position of aluminum. We look forward to working with these new members on issues that impact the aluminum industry and promote its sustainability."
The four new member companies are all joining as Associate members, firms that supply goods or services to the aluminum industry. These additions will bring total membership of the Aluminum Association to 95 consisting of 51 producer and 44 associate members, a record for the Association. With locations throughout the United States, AkzoNobel Coatings produces, markets and distributes some of the world's finest coatings and specialty chemicals. G2USA is a Coral Gables,FL-based subsidiary of GVA Krefeld GmbH, a German engineering office concentrating on foundry technology, mechanical engineering and plant construction. GVA designs and supplies cast products such as dross pots, sow and pig molds, channels, anode yokes and other spare parts.
Hunter Douglas Metals, headquartered in Homewood, IL and a wholly owned subsidiary of the Hunter Douglas Group, is a key supplier and consumer to the aluminum industry of aluminum scrap, prime and value added products. SMS Millcraft LLC, a subsidiary of the German-owned OEM SMS Siemag, is based in Pittsburgh, PA and is one of the largest suppliers of off-line maintenance for metals producers in the United States. "Our greatest strength is our membership," said Aluminum Association President Heidi Brock. "It's always an honor to have companies of this caliber join and strengthen the work of the Association." The announcement was made during the Aluminum Association's Spring Meeting at Wild Dunes Resort in Isle of Palms, SC. Those interested in learning more about Association membership.
The Aluminum Association, based in Arlington, Virginia, works globally to aggressively promote aluminum as the most sustainable and recyclable automotive, packaging and construction material in today's market. The Association represents U.S. and foreign-based primary producers of aluminum, aluminum recyclers and producers of fabricated products, as well as industry suppliers. Member companies operate approximately 180 plants in the United States, with many conducting business worldwide.
Cadillac To Feature Aluminum Doors
According to a recent article in Automotive Engineering Online, the 2014 Cadillac CTS will be the first GM vehicle to feature all-aluminum doors. In moving the CTS to the lightweight Alpha architecture, the roof line and cowl are about an inch (25 mm) lower than those of the outgoing model, which enabled design director Mark Adams’ exterior team to “shrink-wrap the vehicle around its mechanicals.” He said the overall “lower, longer, and leaner” form heralds Cadillac’s new design language.
The CTS features the first aluminum doors ever on a GM production vehicle in addition to the many lightweight chassis and suspension components carried over from the ATS – including cast-magnesium engine mounts, high-pressure die-cast aluminum front strut towers, aluminum crush cans on the frame-rail ends, and aluminum front cradle, suspension links, bumper beam, and hood.
The fully aluminum front and rear door structures save about 17 lb (7.5 kg) per closure – 66 lb (30 kg) total – versus a set of comparable steel doors. Dave Leone, GM's executive chief engineer, luxury and rear-drive vehicles, told AEIthat his “every gram every day” mass-reduction mantra that kept the ATS engineering team sweating over their FEA models was carried over into the CTS program. The body structure also features tailor roll-formed B-pillars that measure 1.4 mm (0.06 in) at their ends, increasing to 1.9 mm (0.08 in) in the centre. The design removes unnecessary mass and puts strength where it’s needed most. The pillar structure includes more than 200 spot welds for added stiffness.
The CTS also uses an isolation-mounted fabricated steel cradle similar to that of the ATS to support the car’s five-link rear suspension and drive axle. At 54 lb (25 kg), it is 15 lb (7 kg) lighter than the previous CTS’s rear cradle. And being steel, it’s also not overly light as to add unwanted mass in the rear of the vehicle while damping noise more effectively than an aluminum cradle. The car shares the ATS’s nearly 50/50 front/rear weight balance despite its longer length and overhangs, Leone said. The lighter, longer unibody is approximately 40% stiffer overall than the incumbent CTS and achieves the best torsional stiffness in the luxury D segment, he claimed.
UAE's Mulk commissions $10-mn aluminium plant in India
UAE-based diversified conglomerate Mulk Holdings has commissioned a $10 million manufacturing plant for Alubond USA Composite Panels in Mumbai, which on completion will create over 2,000 jobs. Spread over a 10-acre land, the plant hosts a state-of- the-art Alubond USA Composite Panels manufacturing facility that will primarily serve the growing Indian construction market, a company statement said.
The move is part of a 300 million dirham (over $ 81.74 million) expansion plan by the UAE-based conglomerate that owns the US-based Alubond USA brand. Once completed, these projects will create more than 2,000 jobs in India. The $ 10 million investment marks the development of the first phase of the plant. The manufacturing plant has a production capacity of 1 million square meters of Alubond USA Composite Panels. The plant, which hired 35 professionals, will also create significant job numbers in the fast growing Indian construction landscape and support a greater number of indirect employment opportunities for the local communities in the long run, said the statement.
"We are pleased to commission Mulk Holdings' latest venture in India, which reflects our strong commitment to the growing Indian market where Alubond USA composite panels would fulfil a major gap and meet growing demands for such products," Nawab Shaji Ul Mulk, Chairman of Mulk Holdings said. Commissioning of the India plant is part of a larger expansion plan launched by Mulk Holdings in 2011 that will see the company spread its footprint across Asia, Europe and African continents. It has already commissioned its European manufacturing plant in November, 2012.
"Despite the challenging economic situation, we are still expanding our business. We are investing in seven manufacturing plants in India, Serbia, the UAE and other parts of the world, with a total investment outlay of around $ 210 million in the next three years," Shaji Ul Mulk said. These expansion projects will consolidate Alubond's global position as the world's largest aluminium composite panel brand and further strengthen the UAE-Turkey investment and economic relationship.
Mulk Holdings had earlier formed a joint venture with Enpar Group in India called Mulk Enpar to expand its Indian operations. According to the agreement, Mulk Enpar plans to invest over USD 81.74 million in a diversified expansion programme which will result in the creation of a group of six companies strategically located in India, Sri Lanka, Europe and the UAE. Mulk Holdings, a $ 762 million annual turnover company, has diversified business interests in manufacturing aluminium composite panels, solar panels, development of solar power plants as well as a wide network of high end diagnostic centers with telemedicine capability.
The demand for aluminium composite panels (ACP) cladding is increasing in urban areas owing to the fact that the procedure is less time consuming and more aesthetically appealing. Most com-mercial and office buildings are now seen using ACP cladding for the front façade, though people also use it for interior walls, partitions, false ceilings, et cetera. ACP is a type of flat panel that consists of two thin aluminium sheets bonded to a non-aluminium core.
“The trend of using ACP cladding in commercial buildings is gaining momentum as it can be completed in one-third the time it would take to construct using plaster. Hence, more people are opting for this technique despite the high cost,” says Shyam Sundar Maharjan, managing director of Ganesh Aluminium Structure Pvt Ltd. ACP is gaining popularity as the colour does not fade, the panels are readymade, come in numerous colour options and look very stylish. However, experts warn that if it is not installed properly by qualified and experienced professionals, it can invite seepage, and leakage that could even cause problems for the whole building.
ACP can be installed in two ways — wall cladding and tray bending system. Wall cladding is the most popular installation practice in Nepal, where the panels are placed between hallow metal tube section by taking support from a brick wall. Silicone is used to join the panels. “Wall cladding is easier to install and the rate is comparatively lower than tray bending system. Since, people here are more conscious about the cost than the quality, wall cladding is mostly preferred in Nepal,” opines Maharjan. However, he adds that the builders need to use high quality silicone because otherwise the building will face problems of seepages and leakages within three to four years of time. This is because low grade silicone tends to peel off after a certain year.
Agreeing with Maharjan, Binod Rajkarnikar, chief engineer at Sky Light Pvt Ltd (SLPL), says, “We import and work with ACP from Thailand which is 25 to 30 per cent costlier than similar products that can be procured in India.” Stating that they only use the tray bending system to ensure durability and quality, Rajkarnikar says, “For tray bending system or box system, we bend ACP to a match box like structure and place it in the aluminium section. This system is relatively more time consuming and costlier but comes with the assurance that the construction will not be riddled with any kind of problem for at least 15 to 20 years.” He further informs that they only use high-quality special silicone for proper sealing.
The price of the Indian ACP brands cost Rs 300 to Rs 350 per sq ft whereas the Thai brands cost Rs 400 to Rs 500 per sq ft. ACPs are available in different colours and sizes. According to Maharjan, bright silver is the most liked colour in the market, although many shades like off-white, brown, silver blue, copper, champagne grey, silver, et cetera are also readily available. The thickness of the panels varies from one mm, 2.5 mm, three mm, four mm, five mm and six mm. For the façade, Maharjan recommends three mm panels with 0.25 mm thick aluminium sheet. Panels of five mm and six mm are recommended for partitions. While Alright, Alestone, Whinsui, Alutuff, et cetera are the Indian ACP brands available in the market, the Thai brand that is imported by SLPL is Atis.
ACP is a relatively new technique that was introduced to Nepal some years back, finding skilled workmen for installing the panels poses a major challenge according to the businessmen. “Due to a lack of qualified professionals in the country, most companies in this business hire workforce from India. We, however, have our permanent staff trained in Thailand,” explains Maharjan.
Ravi Khetan, CEO of Doors ‘n’ Windows, claims that they are the first company to offer ACP installation in the country. Stating that the work of ACP installation sped up some three years ago, Khetan says, “With the real estate sector and the national economy in turmoil, the business has been badly affected. Hence, the momentum has slowed down a bit these days.”
Because of the unfavourable situation facing the realty and the entire nation, Rajkarnikar says they have put their plans to introduce stainless steel composite panels (SSCP) on hold for now. Such panels would be priced double the cost of ACP, but would be more durable and more attractive as one can have it engraved with their choice of designs.
Qatalum and Hydro unveil aluminium research facility
DOHA: Qatalum and Hydro — the Norwegian aluminium producer — unveiled Hydro’s newly established facility dedicated to researching and testing aluminium used in curtain wall solutions (facade) in support of creating energy, emission and carbon neutral buildings in the Middle East. The ‘Zero Energy and Emission Building’ lab is located on site at the Qatalum smelter (Mesaieed) and was officially opened by Hilde Merete Aasheim, the Vice Chairman of Qatalum and the Executive Vice President of Hydro. Present were Qatalum CEO Tom Petter Johansen and Qatalum Deputy CEO Khalid Laram.
Aasheim said: “Today, around 40 percent of the world’s energy consumption is related to operate buildings, especially to cooling and heating of the buildings we work and live in. Hydro has delivered solutions in aluminium to a large number of energy-efficient and energy-positive buildings. If by using various devices the temperature inside the room can be lowered by one degree Celsius, then a saving of 5-10 percent in terms of energy used for air conditioning can be realised. Delivering such solutions requires high competence, and the solutions will to a large degree depend on the climate where you are.”
The inauguration ceremony continued at Qatar Science and Technology Park (QSTP), where Hydro and Qatalum have established a Technology Centre. A seminar was organised at QSTP with key speakers from the aluminium industry. Opening the event at QSTP, Dr Chris Devadas, Head of the Technology Centre, welcomed the delegates and highlighted the research and technology undertaken at this entre. Underscoring the importance of Hydro and Qatalum in driving research and bringing international best practice to the region, Devadas argued that Hydro Technology Centre “will build competence and cooperation with other institutions in Qatar in important areas that impact the global climate”.
“Research will be conducted to make assessments of the impact of the Middle East climate on building envelopes and how building envelopes can be developed to influence the long term sustainability of buildings. The ‘Zero Energy Emission’ facilities will enable us to provide environmentally sustainable products and knowledge on options for building design and layout,” he said. Johansen also made a presentation on the role of aluminium as a part of the solution to climate change: “A zero energy building is a building with zero net energy consumption and zero carbon emissions annually. While no such building currently exists in Qatar, the potential to achieve this is great.”
He added: “The zero energy goal is becoming more practical as the costs of alternative energy technologies decrease and the costs of traditional fossil fuels increase.” Johansen gave various examples of how aluminium has been used to provide elegant solution to the complex and urgent issue of climate change. Jean-Marc Luvisutto, General Manager of Technal Middle East said: “In Europe, Hydro already supplies aluminium solutions to reduce energy consumption by implementing smart facade systems, which can significantly reduce the need for heating or cooling.
Audi involved in standard for sustainable aluminium
AUDI AG is a new member of the Aluminium Stewardship Initiative, which is developing a global sustainability standard. Board of Management Member for Procurement Dr. Martens: “Acting responsibly in the supply chain is an important goal at Audi.” Ultra-lightweight construction: Aluminum is an element of an intelligent material mix.
AUDI AG is joining the Aluminium Stewardship Initiative to help develop a global standard for sustainable aluminum. As a pioneer of unitary aluminum car bodies, the company is taking the opportunity to influence the entire value chain of one of its most important materials – one of the objectives of Audi’s corporate-responsibility strategy. “As a pioneer for lightweight construction, we are very interested in establishing a global standard for sustainable aluminum. This will allow us to further improve the environmental impact of our cars by using certified aluminum in the future,” explained Dr. Bernd Martens, Audi’s Board of Management Member for Procurement, with regard to joining the Aluminium Stewardship Initiative.
The Aluminium Stewardship Initiative was founded in the autumn of 2012 and aims to develop a sustainability standard for aluminum by the end of 2014, with the support of the environmental organization IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature). It sets environmental and social criteria that apply to all stages of extracting the raw material as well as producing and processing aluminum. “Active responsibility is firmly anchored throughout our company. Also in our supply chains, we place priority on the integration of environmental protection and social responsibility,” emphasized Dr. Martens.
The new standard fits in well with Audi’s holistic approach to product responsibility: The premium manufacturer not only ensures that its automobiles are highly fuel efficient, but also analyzes the environmental impact of its products over their entire lifecycles – from the extraction of raw materials to production to operation to recycling. For each new model series, Audi has a certified environmental analysis prepared in order to assess the impact on the environment; the objective is to reduce it compared with each model’s predecessor. For example, the company has been able to demonstrate that both the current Audi A6 and Audi A3 have improved in all relevant environmental categories. The new Audi A3 has a better environmental footprint than its predecessor right from the first kilometer. In addition to sustainable materials and manufacturing processes, ultra-lightweight construction plays an important role. This makes the Audi A3 up to 80 kilograms lighter than the previous generation; the A3 Sportback is actually up to 90 kilograms lighter.
Audi has positioned itself as a pioneer for lightweight construction. At the Frankfurt Motor Show 20 years ago, the premium brand presented the Audi Space Frame, a shimmering silver show car with an unpainted body made of polished aluminum. In 1994, the first Audi A8 went into series production. The car was based on a unitary aluminum body with a weight of just 249 kilograms.
With its ultra-lightweight construction today, Audi applies an intelligent material mix – according to the motto of “the right material in the right place in the minimum required quantity.” Lower weight enhances driving pleasure, improves safety, and has less impact on the environment. After all, every kilogram saved means less fuel is consumed and less CO2 is emitted. Corporate responsibility is firmly anchored as a guiding principle in the Audi strategy. As well as financial success and international competitiveness, equal priority is placed on responsibility for employees and society, as well as on protecting the environment and resources along the value chain. Audi’s vision is to make CO2-neutral mobility possible.
Another Ullrich Aluminium Facility Makes The Solar Switch By Energy Matters
Ullrich Aluminium produces a vast range of aluminium products for marine, industrial, commercial, domestic and designer applications. Ullrich Aluminium is among the advance guard of a new technology... Improvements in aluminium metallurgy, quality, and finish promise to revolutionise this industry.
Ullrich Aluminium have announced the completed installation of its second Energy Matters designed, supplied and installed solar power system; this time on their distribution centre in Pooraka, South Australia.
Solar electricity generated by the system has also helped Ullrich avoid 13 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions to date. It's estimated the array will offset 38 tonnes per year, the equivalent to taking 10 cars off the road.
This is the second commercial-scale solar panel array for Ullrich Aluminium, which is also the manufacturer of Energy Matters’ SunLock solar mounting system. The first solar power system is installed at Ullrich’s manufacturing facility in Hume, ACT.
New Weld New Welding Technique Helps Acura Integrate More Aluminum In Its Cars
Acura engineers have come up with a new welding technique that allows them to join ordinary steel components with lightweight aluminum pieces in a much simpler process than traditional methods. The key is a new “3D Lock Seam” structure, where the steel and aluminum pieces are layered and hemmed together twice, preventing them from detaching. In addition, the welding technique relies on the use of a special adhesive agent that assures the complete filling of any gap between the two pieces, helping to prevent corrosion. Acura has already started using the technique, with the doors of its latest 2014 RLX featuring aluminum outer panels welded to steel innards. The benefits of the increased use of aluminum in vehicle construction (over steel) are obvious. By using more of the lightweight stuff, Acura is able to improve the fuel economy and dynamics of its vehicles.
Taking the RLX as an example, the switch to aluminum outer panels for the doors has helped save weight of around 17 percent per door compared to a conventional all-steel design. In addition, weight reduction at the outer side of the vehicle body concentrates the point of gravity closer towards the center of the vehicle, contributing to improved stability.
From a production standpoint, the advantages of these new technologies include elimination of a spot welding process required to join conventional steel door panels. Moreover, these technologies do not require a dedicated process; as a result, existing production lines can accommodate it. The automaker will eventually expand the technology to other models, including those from mainstream brand honda.The latest announcement follows a similar one from General Motors, which last September said it had developed an industry-first welding technique for aluminum to aluminum components.
JAPAN: Honda develops steel-aluminium jointing to cut weight
Honda has developed a technology to join steel and aluminium that will enable the use of aluminium rather than steel outer door panels to reduce vehicle weight.
Using the technology, the combined weight of the four door panels of the new Acura RLX luxury sedan, headed for US showrooms next month, has been reduced by 11kg, or 17%, helping to improve fuel economy, Honda told Kyodo News. As for models sold in Japan, the new '3D lock seam' technology will first be applied to the next Legend luxury sedan to be released in 2014, Honda said.
Can Budget 2013-14 save the Struggling Aluminium Industry in India?
Aluminium Industry is the largest non-ferrous industry in the world economy and one of the leading industries in the Indian economy. Aluminium is the third most abundant metallic element in the earth’s crust after silicon and makes up about 8% of the weight of planet’s solid surface. In 1900, annual output of aluminium was only 1000 tonnes. By end 2005, annual production had reached 31 million tonnes (mt), making aluminium the world’s second most used metal.
It is one of the most affordable and versatile metal as it can be used as alloy with other metals. It can be easily recycled with minimal energy consumption thereby making it environmentally friendly also. It is widely used in automobile industry, aerospace, printing, construction, manufacturing of various household articles like lamps, vessels, furniture, electronics, manufacturing of jewellery and accessories etc. The usage of aluminium is on constant increase and so is the demand. Its utility and versatility coupled with its affordable production cost makes it one of the hot commodity in the market.
India is among, one of the largest producer of aluminum along with China, Russia, Canada , USA brazil and others and also one of the major consumers. The main operation of the Indian aluminium industry is mining of ores, refining of the ore, casting, alloying, sheet and rolling into foils. The Indian aluminium sector is primarily run by large integrated players such as Hindalco and National Aluminium Company (Nalco). Other producers of primary aluminium include Indian Aluminium (Indal), now merged with Hindalco, Madras Aluminium (Malco) and Bharat Aluminium (Balco) the erstwhile PSUs, which have been acquired by Sterlite Industries. Consequently, mainly there are only three primary metal producers in the sector namely Balco (Vedanta), National Aluminium Company (Nalco) and Hindalco (Aditya Birla Group).
Indian Aluminium Industry has witnessed substantial growth in the past decade however currently the Industry is facing lot of challenges. Similar to all other industries aluminium industry has also been hit by the global slowdown. The price of aluminium was quite high during the economic boom wherein the housing industry and industrial sector was booming however there has been fall in its prices since recession and the prices are still not as high as aluminum producers would like. The industry still hasn’t recovered from the effects of the financial crisis. Though the projections for potential demand growth are strong the industry's near-term profit outlook is still gloomy. Small players in the market are finding tough enough to sustain as they are not generating sufficient returns in comparison to the huge investments made by them. The industry has been facing pressures both in terms of costs and returns. Its competitiveness has been threatened due to sharp rise in imports of aluminum. Such rise in imports is coming when the domestic industry has already been investing heavily in the industry. Many alumina refineries (for whom bauxite is the basic raw material) in India are finding it difficult to source bauxite of an appropriate quality. Vedanta, one of the major company in aluminum industry in india has shut down its Lanjigarh alumina refinery in Odisha in December 2012 due to non-availibility of Bauxite. The situation is no different with other players who have been forced to curtail their production activity in the recent months due to non-availability of bauxite. The scarcity of bauxite can be attributed to delays in mine clearances and environmental clearances and the expansion of alumina refining capacity in India over the recent years. The problem has been further intensified by the export of bauxite from India. Also poor quality bauxite increases the conversion cost for refineries. Exporting this valuable resource which should first satisfy the need of domestic industry is hampering the growth of this industry.
The technology has to be improved further to extract the metal from the ore. The industry will have intense competition from other materials such as steel and plastics which are the substitutes to aluminium. As the global environment is becoming eco-friendly, the industry has the pressure to reduce the greenhouse gases emissions and PFC from the production process. The industry needs to increase the energy efficiency in the aluminium production process. They have to reduce the consumption of electricity consumed in producing aluminium. The demand of the aluminium is growing exponentially from the various sectors specially the automobile industry and construction industry. They have to respond appropriately according to the changing demands of global customers.
WHAT GOVERNMENT CAN DO IN THIS BUDGET TO SAVE ALIUMINIUM INDUSTRY
Protection of Domestic Aluminium Industry
Considering the growth potential of Aluminium industry Government is required to take effective steps to revive and protect the industry. Budget 2013-14 can pave way for same. Increase in Basic Customs Duty on Aluminium Products which is currently 5 % will help domestic players from competition from international market. The duty on aluminium scrap which is ‘Nil’ should be brought at par with the duty on aluminium products as this will help to reduce the imports of scrap of aluminium which is easily recycled and used. Between FY09 and FY12, import of aluminium waste and scrap has increased significantly. Scrap imports are causing an immense harm to the Indianaluminium industry and same needs to be checked.
Reducing Duties on basic inputs in manufacturing of Aluminum
Government is expected to reduce exports of bauxite in this upcoming Budget 2013-14 by way of imposing heavy export duty on bauxite in order to maintain the supply of bauxite to the domestic industries. The duty on furnance oil which is the basic input for Aluminum industry should be reduced from current 5% to NIL as the increase in the price of furnance oil is severely impacting the industry. Reduction in duty on Aluminium Fluoride and Coal Tar Pitch which are important input in manufacturing of aluminium will also provide relief to the manufactures.
Protection from substitutes
Owing to the high price of aluminum products in India, the consumption of aluminum has been declining steadily during the past few years and before the cheaper substitutes ruin the market for aluminium products and cause threat to environment as well, the use of aluminium products should be promoted. This can be done by way of reducing the excise duty on aluminium extrusions thereby reducing cost of aluminium products. Aluminium is also of relevance in the agricultural sector as aluminium extruded agricultural pipes are used in farming .However due to the increase in the rates of aluminium pipes the farmers are now opting for cheaper PVC pipes even though there shelf life is less compared to aluminium pipes. In order to prevent such shifting from aluminum extruded agricultural pipes to the cheaper PVC pipes it is suggested that the same should be exempted from the levy of excise duty to benefit farmers and agricultural sector.
The fact that India is the 5th largest producer of Aluminum and that there are huge reserves of bauxite in our nation itself proves that Indian aluminium has huge growth potential. A little attention towards it development and support of government can help it a big way to add to the overall benefit of the economy and this budget should hopefully be the start for same.
Aluminum sees shiny future on road Light metal helps automakers increase fuel efficiency
Carmakers including Ford, Audi and Jaguar Land Rover are using record amounts of aluminum to replace heavier steel, providing relief to producers of the metal who are dealing with excess supplies and depressed prices. Aluminum content in vehicles is rising about 5 percent a year, and growth will accelerate in the next decade as drivers seek improved fuel economy and lower emissions, according to Gayle Berry, an analyst at Barclays Plc.
Producers are hungry for new markets, even at the expense of steelmakers. At current aluminum prices, which are more than a third below 2008 highs, a third of aluminum companies aren’t making money, according to Moscow-based United Co. Rusal, the biggest producer. Automakers like Ford, the second largest in the United States, should help pull aluminum suppliers out of a slump, said Kirill Chuyko, an analyst for BCS Financial Group in Moscow.
Some 25 percent of demand is from the transportation industry, with cars and light trucks using two-thirds of that, or about 10 million metric tons a year, the International Aluminum Institute estimates. In the U.S., changes to the popular Ford F-150 pickup truck loom as the largest automotive threat to the steel industry. The next generation of the pickup will be redesigned, with a higher aluminum content helping to reduce the vehicle’s weight by as much as 750 pounds, Ford has said.
“The F-150 is the best-selling vehicle in North America and would likely trigger all other truck-makers to convert” to increased aluminum content, said Kenneth Hoffman, sector head for metals and mining research at Bloomberg Industries. A switch to aluminum among U.S. carmakers could add as much as 40 percent to North American demand in coming years, said Hoffman, whose speech to steel executives in Chicago last month was titled “The Death of the Steel Industry as We Know It.”
The aluminum used in each car built in Europe almost tripled between 1990 and 2012 to 140 kilograms from 50 kilograms as manufacturers pursue higher fuel efficiency, data from the European Aluminum Association show. “Tightening fuel economy regulations continue to drive the growth of the aluminum usage,” said Charlie Durant, senior consultant at metals analysis company CRU in London. For each 10 percent of reduction in vehicle weight, car manufacturers achieve a 5 percent to 7 percent fuel saving, Alcoa says on its website. A car with components made of aluminum can be 24 percent lighter than one with components made of steel, shaving a gallon off fuel consumption for each 120 miles, according to Rusal.
Only 54 percent of potential car buyers were willing to pay for more fuel efficiency in 2008, while in 2012 the number had climbed to 83 percent, Alcoa said on a conference call in October, citing a consumer study. Global automakers may increase use of the light metal to 249.5 kilograms per car in 2025 from 148.3 kilograms in 2009, the Aluminum Association said last month. The association gave its forecast as Honda presented an Accord with increased aluminum content and General Motors, which has an Allen County truck assembly plant, unveiled the Cadillac ATS and the 2014 Chevrolet Silverado at the annual Detroit auto show.
“Aluminum is an excellent material for vehicle bodies,” said Christoph Lungwitz, Audi’s spokesman for products and technology. Audi’s 1994 A8 model was the world’s first large-volume production car with a self-supporting aluminum body. The material “is roughly two-thirds lighter than conventional grades of steel, and since it is a relatively soft metal, it is easy to machine,” he said. The metal’s price peaked at $3,317 a ton in 2008 and has averaged about $2,200 in the past five years, data compiled by Bloomberg show. Prices slumped about 15 percent in 2012, while producers pared global output by 3 percent, according to the aluminum institute, a trade group in London for producers. Even so, aluminum producers may need to curb output to tackle an excess in supplies that may be the biggest in four years in 2013, according to Barclays’s Berry. Demand from automakers “alone will not be enough to offset the surplus the industry is facing over the next couple of years,” she said. “To address that, producers need to show some production discipline.
Global Aluminum Die Casting Market 2012-2016
TechNavio's analysts forecast the Global Aluminum Die Casting market to grow at a CAGR of 11.89 percent over the period 2012-2016. One of the key factors contributing to this market growth is the increasing need for superior-quality products. The Global Aluminum Die Casting market has also been witnessing the increase in outsourcing of manufacturing activities to the APAC region. However, the need for high initial investment could pose a challenge to the growth of this market.
TechNavio's report, Global Aluminum Die Casting Market 2012-2016, has been prepared based on an in-depth market analysis of the market with inputs from industry experts. The report covers the Americas, and the EMEA and APAC regions; it also covers Global Aluminum Die Casting market landscape and its growth prospects in the coming years. The report also includes a discussion of the key vendors operating in this market. The key vendors dominating this market space are Alcoa Inc., Ryobi Ltd., Gibbs Die Casting Corp., and Dynacast Inc.
The other vendors mentioned in the report are Alcast Co., Alcoa Howmet Castings, Bodine Aluminum Inc., Consolidated Metco Inc., Contech US LLC., Honsel GmbH and Co. KG, Intermet Corp., Kaiser Aluminum Corp., Leggett & Platt Inc., Los Angeles Die Casting Co., Rio Tinto Alcan Inc., and Shanghai Cosmopolitan Automobile Accessory Co. Ltd.
Production record for Gulf Aluminium smelters
The current GCC operating smelters (Alba - (Bahrain), Dubal - (Dubai), Emal - (Abu Dhabi), Qatalum - (Qatar) and Sohar - (Oman) have collectively produced 3,739,290 tonnes of primary aluminium in 2012, which constitute 9% of total world production compared to 3,488,357 in 2011. The GCC which also has thriving aluminium downstream industries has become one of the main center for aluminium production and most active regions in the world as regards to aluminium business. Accordingly, a number of industries that are associated with the aluminium business have established their base in the Gulf.
This includes power generation manufacturer, suppliers, service providers, maintenance and logistics organizations. Aluminium industry is now one of the main economic drivers for the Gulf contributing to jobs creation, establishment of small and medium size industries and contribution to the community development according to GAC Secretary General, Mr. Mahmood Daylami.
Future developments includes Ma'aden operations with an annual capacity of 750,000 tonnes per annum, Ma'aden is an integrated operation that includes Bauxite mining and Aluminium refinery as a raw material to produce aluminium in the smelter along with the Rolling mill. The project construction is completed and is in the startup phase. Emal which started its operations in 2010 has also embarked an expansion project to increase its production capacity from 800,000 in 2012 to 1.3 million tonnes by 2014.
Research and Investment Forecast of China’s Automotive Aluminum Wheel Industry, 2013-2017
At present, China’s aluminum wheel market is mainly concentrated in the Shanghai Volkswagen, FAW-Volkswagen, Dongfeng Motor, Guangzhou Honda and Changan automobile; OEM market is the main body. China’s automobile installed with aluminum wheel include limousine (more than 70% of installation ratio), mini bus (60% installation ratio), light bus (40% installation ratio in large vans and off-road vehicles), in small van (20% installation ratio). In terms of automotive type, medium and high-end limousine, micro-van, pickup truck, medium-sized van, and jeep have been installed with aluminum wheel.
In terms of production, during 2008-2012, the total output of China’s main aluminum wheel manufacturers were 32.37 million units, 48.89 million units, 75.19 million units, 99.8 million units, 105 million units respectively, having a YoY increase of 51.03%, 53.79%, 32.73% and 5.21 %. Due to the impact of the international financial crisis, the global automobile production fell sharply in 2008; the domestic aluminum wheel production also significantly decreased in the same period. After the international financial crisis, the domestic aluminum wheel production rebounded sharply in 2009. By 2012, China’s aluminum wheel production has surpassed 105 million units, far beyond the production levels before the financial crisis; but the MoM growth rate began to decline significantly.
Seen from the domestic aluminum wheel output trend, based on aluminum wheels hub superior characteristics and global automobile ownership increasing, China’s aluminum wheel output will keep the rising trend in the future. Huidian Research predicts that aluminum wheels hub industry will grow at the rate of 10% in the future in China. China’s aluminum wheels hub market supply volume will reach to115.55 million units in 2013, and will reach to 170 million units in 2017.
New Mercedes Benz SL almost entirely aluminium
The new Mercedes Benz SL has been produced for the first time almost entirely from aluminium and weighs up to 140 kilograms less than its predecessor. Its highly rigid all-aluminium bodyshell provides the basis for agile, sporty handling that has been taken to an entirely new level, coupled with exemplary roll characteristics and ride comfort. Even better driving dynamics come courtesy of the new BlueDIRECT engines; they are more powerful yet at the same time up to 29 per cent more economical than the engines in the outgoing generation. Other new features include the unique FrontBass system, which turns the luxury sports car into a concert hall regardless of whether the top is open or closed, and the highly efficient adaptive windscreen wipe/wash system MAGIC VISION CONTROL; it supplies water from the wiper blade as required and depending on the direction of wipe.
World Aluminium Inventories Increase By 22000 Tonnes In December: IAI
International Aluminium Institute has said that the total world aluminum inventories in December rose by 22,000 metric tons in December to 2.275 million tons, according to figures released on Monday. World stocks in November totalled at 2.253 million tons. December stocks were down 116,000 tons compared with the same month of 2011, when inventories totaled 2.391 million tons. LME three month forward prices of Aluminium were down $ 33 per tonne on Monday at $ 2043 per tonne. On MCX, Aluminium was stationery at Rs 108.55 per kg, down 0.32%.
Alcoa Aluminum Wheels Recognized for Safety and Energy Efficiency in China
Alcoa (AA) received a 2013 Accessory of the Year Award in the category of Best Safety and Energy Savings for the contributions of its forged aluminum wheels to China's bus manufacturing industry. The annual awards are organized by leading Chinese trade publications CNbuses.com and shangyongqiche.com and supported by the China Tourism News.
"We have been supplying Alcoa forged aluminum wheels to the Chinese bus market for nearly a decade,” said Tim Myers, President, Alcoa Wheel and Transportation Products. "This award acknowledges the important role our lightweight, durable wheels play in helping improve the performance and efficiency of commercial vehicles throughout China." In selecting Alcoa Wheels for the award, the trade publications cited three factors: Alcoa's brand influence and reputation; the application of Alcoa's advanced process and technologies in the Chinese market; and Alcoa as an industry leader in helping lightweight the commercial vehicle industry.
Manufacturers, industry experts, media and the online public voted for winners in several categories including bus power, chassis, transmission, safety and energy savings, and smart technology. Alcoa produces parts for various Chinese bus manufacturers, including Yutong, China's largest bus manufacturer, and Shenzhen Wuzhoulong Motors Co. Ltd. Alcoa's Super Single Wheels have contributed to better energy savings on Wuzhoulong's electric and hybrid buses. Alcoa has had a presence in China since 2004, when it began selling wheels out of Shanghai. Since then, the business has grown to include an employee base in Guangzhou, Beijing, Jinan and Suzhou. Last December, Alcoa opened a production facility in Suzhou, China, marking an expansion that creates a full wheel manufacturing, distribution, sales and service network in China.
About Alcoa Wheels
Alcoa Wheel and Transportation Products, headquartered in Cleveland, Ohio, serves the commercial vehicle, automotive, and defense markets with products used in a range of applications including forged aluminum wheels, premium products such as Dura-Bright®, Dura-Flange®, LvL ONE® and M-Series™ medium truck wheels, as well as a variety of other aluminum components for these markets. AWTP is composed of three divisions: Commercial Vehicle Wheels, Forged Specialty Wheels and Transportation Products. It employs 1,500 people at 13 locations worldwide. More information can be found at www.alcoawheels.com.
New norms set for Chinese Aluminum Industry
SMM reported that the Ministry of Industry & Information Technology issued January 28 the Entrance Requirement for Aluminum Industry 2012. This move suggests that the Chinese government has relaxed some in its control on new aluminum projects. The government will not continue with prohibition of all new aluminum projects. Instead, some requirement will be set for approval of new aluminum projects. The Entrance Requirement for Aluminum Industry 2007 stipulates that only aluminum projects that meet environmental protection and/or eliminate outdated capacity can be approved, while the 2012 draft sets that new aluminum projects must be in the form of coal electricity aluminum integration or aluminum electricity integration.
Only aluminum projects that meet related requirement could be approved starting in 2007. However, nine departments of the State Council called for an immediate stop to all aluminum projects in 2011. This was followed by the issuance of the Entrance Requirement for Aluminum Industry 2012 by the MIIT this year. Aluminum capacity has been soaring despite control efforts. Relaxation of control on the parts of related departments is deemed as rational.
Nine departments of the State Council including the MIIT issued an emergency notice back in April 2011 to call off all aluminum projects under planning. No new expansion aluminum projects will be approved. Nevertheless, some local governments remained aggressive in aluminum project construction by offering preferential policies to attract investments.
Roughly 3.65 million tonne per year in aluminum capacity was built in 2012, mostly in west China. Most of these projects were in the form of coal electricity aluminum integration or aluminum electricity integration. The modified entrance requirement may compound aluminum overcapacity in the short term but this will accelerate layout and adjustment of the industry as well.
All-aluminum frame of GM’s 2014 Corvette saves 99 lb
When General Motors executives unveiled the latest version of the Corvette Stingray at the recent Detroit Auto Show, they highlighted a floor display showing the C7 sports car’s new multi component, all-aluminum chassis, which they said is 99 lb (45 kg) lighter and 57% stiffer than the current C6 Vette’s hydroformed steel rail-based frame. The new lightweight base structure boosts performance and fuel efficiency, the execs claimed, while its greater torsional rigidity lessens noise and improves ride and handling. The aluminum frame gives the 2014 car “an optimal 50/50 front/rear weight balance” and a “world-class power-to-weight ratio” that they said bests those of the Porsche 911 Carrera and Audi R8.
“For the C7, we decided to go with aluminum rather than steel since aluminum can provide significant weight advantages,” said Ed Moss, Engineering Group Manager for Body Structure, as he pointed out the features of the shiny (clear-coated) aluminum chassis/passenger cell structure. “Our job was to choose the right material and part-production process for each function. In this case, we came up with a structure that includes 10 castings, 38 extrusions, 76 stampings, and three hydroformed parts,” the veteran Corvette frame engineer explained, sweeping his hand across the exhibit. Mass-efficiency was, of course, only one goal for the new chassis, he continued. “The C7, whether coupe or convertible, is basically an open-air design that has no roof structure to add extra support,” Moss said. But ensuring stiffness is the key to a solid ride and superior handling, “so we worked hard to make the frame stiffer than the C6. As always, it was a tough trade-off between stiffness and mass. Luckily, there are a couple of dials that we can turn to fine-tune the equation,” he said. materials and processes. In general, the use of extrusions avoids the need to produce costly stamping-series dies, while castings offer the prospect of parts consolidation and fewer assembly processes, he said.
“The new [frame] shows the balance of functionality and cost-effectiveness that’s required to do a good engineering job,” he noted, adding that “it reminds me of the Cadillac XLR space frame,” which indeed looks very similar but included both steel and aluminum components. Whereas the previous C6 Corvette featured hydroformed steel-tube main frame rails with a constant 2-mm (0.08-in) wall thickness, the C7’s chassis employs rails composed of five customized aluminum segments, each tailored to have the gauge, form, and strength properties to achieve the required properties, Moss said. Wall thicknesses range from 2 to 11 mm (0.08 to 0.43 in). The chassis is composed of two perimeter main frame rails, an enclosed box beam-like “tunnel” structure, and a cockpit assembly.
Moss noted that the freshly developed frame is produced in an all-new body shop at the Bowling Green Assembly Plant in Kentucky. GM had previously announced a $131 million investment at Bowling Green, including $52 million for the body shop to manufacture the C7 understructure using, among other methods, a new computer-controlled, precision laser welding process that can hold tolerances of 0.025 mm (0.001 in). Add in other engineering considerations such as crashworthiness and the need to be “innovative, but relatively affordable,” and the task becomes even more complex. All the design data, Moss noted, were optimized and validated using finite-element analysis.
Low-mass materials exercise : “The new Corvette frame is a good exercise in the structural materials, forming operations, and joining techniques that GM engineers have available to choose from,” said Ron Harbour, Senior Partner, Global Automotive Manufacturing at the global management consulting firm Oliver Wyman. As such, the new structure gives some idea of automakers’ palette of low-mass
Aluminum frame rail Moss then enumerated in sequence the components of one of the perimeter rails: “At the front we have a crush-zone extrusion with a double figure-eight cross-section that is made from a high-yield, high-strength 7000-series aluminum alloy,” he began. “It folds up like an accordion during a collision to absorb the impact energy.” Then comes a hollow-cast node at the suspension-cradle interface point that is composed of a high-strength A356 aluminum alloy. “Everything hangs off the node,” he said. “The casting provides good dimensional control—plus or minus 1 mm—for easier assembly.” The cast-aluminum nodes, which were fabricated by Diversified Machine Montague Operation of Montague, MI, have “little or no porosity because DMI knows how to get good mold-flow during casting.”
Next on the rail comes a hydroformed aluminum-tube center section, he said. Hydroforming is a special kind of die-forming operation that uses a high-pressure hydraulic fluid to force room-temperature metal sheet into a die. The remaining seam is then welded to form a high-strength structural tube member. Moving toward the rear, the tube is followed by another hollow-cast A356 node and “another double-figure-eight” crush-beam, this one composed of a 6000-series (high-yield, high-strength) aluminum alloy. The front and rear nodes support hollow cast-aluminum suspension cradles that are said to be approximately one-quarter lighter and one-fifth stiffer than the solid cradles used on the C6 car’s structure.
Sitting in the middle of the frame structure is an aluminum box beam-like assembly with a high-stiffness shear-wall structure that is strengthened with four thin-walled plate reinforcements. Moss said that the key support plates were vacuum die-cast at Ryobi Die Casting Inc. in Shelbyville, IN. The Corvette’s chassis assembly features part interfaces that were made using various joining methods including conventional welding, a new patented spot-welding method developed by GM (go towww.sae.org/mags/aei/11408 to read more about this process), as well as screw-bolts reinforced with adhesives. “Before this, GM had seemed reluctant to use much adhesive bonding, as, say, Ford does,” said Richard Schultz, Managing Director of the automotive practice at Ducker Worldwide.
Aluminum vs. high-strength steel
The frame is just another indication of the ongoing efforts by the steel and aluminum industries to supply the automakers with lightweight structural materials, mostly to meet upcoming new fuel-economy regulations, Schultz said. Overall, steel use in light vehicles will drop to less than 50% of the curb weight over the next decade, he continued. “In the long run, dual-phase and boron steels will contribute to that weight savings, but most of the reduction will come from aluminum,” he said. Although aluminum is lighter than steel, it also will always be more costly, he noted. “The new high-strength steel grades cost about 50 cents for each pound of weight saved,” Schultz said. “For aluminum, it’s more like $1.50 and $2 per pound.” Although GM spokesmen did not reveal the new Vette’s curb weight, they did indicate that it will weigh a bit less than the current vehicle’s 3208 lb (1455 kg).
GCC plans record aluminium production by 2014
With global demand for aluminium estimated to increase and reach 70 million metric tons per year by 2020, GCC countries are all set to boost their production capacity to 5 million metric tons by 2014, up 40 per cent from around 3 million tons in 2012, said an expert.
The GCC region has been a key aluminium producer and is set to account for 13 per cent of the world’s total aluminium production by year end, driven mainly by aggressive investments in the region’s aluminium industry, including construction of new smelters and the expansion of the pipeline network that has further reinforced the region’s position in the global market, remarked Mohammed Bader-Eddin, the show director of the upcoming 'Aluminium Middle East' expo.
A leading exhibition for aluminium products, technologies and investments in the region, Aluminium Middle East, will be held from April 23 to 25 at Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre (DICEC). According to Bader-Eddin, the Gulf region has all the right components to truly become a key player in the global aluminium production business.
"GCC countries are currently working hard to achieve their future aspirations and consolidate their leading position in the region and the world by primarily increasing their annual productivity and adding new capacity, while adopting the latest advanced technologies and the highest standards in sustainability and environmental conservation," he added.
Gulf producers tend to take their aluminium production capacity even further to address the strong demand, particularly within the GCC region, leveraging its strategic advantages including its easy access to low-cost raw materials and proximity to major aluminium markets in Europe, the US and the Far East. As estimated by the Gulf Aluminium Council, around 80 per cent of produced aluminium in the Gulf is exported to different parts of the world, reaffirming the GCC’s vital role to meet local, regional and global demand.
In 2011, a number of new aluminium smelters and manufacturing companies were established in Saudi Arabia and the UAE to drive further growth and establish the Gulf as a major player in the global aluminium industry. On the other hand, the Gulf’s aluminium investments are seeing significant movement and could hit $55 billion by 2022, with $22 billion in the UAE, $7 billion in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait and $5.7 billion in Qatar.
The recent activities in the industry, including the establishment of new smelters and production units, and efforts by manufacturing companies to expand the pipeline network, have had a great effect in promoting aluminium production and other related industries in the region. As part of the efforts to increase the Gulf’s global market share and create lucrative investment opportunities across the aluminium industry in the region, a select group of local, regional and international investors, experts and businessmen are set to discuss some of the prominent industry concerns, trends and investment opportunities during the expo.
Formerly known as Aluminium Dubai, the third edition of the event follows the huge success and the momentum generated during the previous first two editions, as it serves as an ideal platform to showcase promising investment opportunities and benefit from best international practices and the latest in aluminium products, technologies and investments. "Aluminium Middle East' will provide a world-class interactive platform for key industry players to look into the latest developments and tech-savvy innovations, as well as discuss investments in new smelters and expansion plans across local and regional markets," said Bader-Eddin.
Aluminum Association President Heidi Brock Elected to Council of Manufacturing Associations Board of Directors
Aluminum Association President Heidi Brock was elected to the Board of Directors of the National Association of Manufacturer’s (NAM) Council of Manufacturing Associations (CMA). The announcement was made during CMA’s Winter Leadership Conference in Annapolis, MD.
The CMA is made up of more than 200 industry-specific manufacturing associations that provide resources and networks to members in order to broaden the reach of the NAM’s advocacy efforts. CMA members have also been a driving force in advancing the NAM’s workforce development and skills certification programs.
“It’s a great privilege to serve on CMA’s Board of Directors,” said Brock. “Manufacturing is vital to the national economy and aluminum is a key part of that industrial base. I look forward to serving in this role with the National Association of Manufacturers, as we work to grow manufacturing in North America.”
Brock will serve a three-year term on the Board and will join Chair Donna Harman, president and CEO of the American Forest & Paper Association; and others also elected to the board of directors including: Kate Offringa, president and CEO of the North American Insulation Manufacturers Association; Connie Tipton, president and CEO of the International Dairy Foods Association; Ed Youdell, president and CEO of the Fabricators & Manufacturers Association, International; and Stephen Gold, president and CEO of the Manufacturers Alliance for Productivity and Innovation.
Brock has served as President of the Aluminum Association since October 2011. Previously, she was Vice President of Federal and International Affairs for the Weyerhaeuser Company. Prior to her time at Weyerhaeuser, Brock served as a legislative assistant to former United States Senators Daniel J. Evans and Slade Gorton, responsible for natural resource issues. She has a B.A. from the University of Puget Sound and an M.B.A. from Georgetown University.
Lighter model saves fuel
The next generation Range Rover has been put on a diet and thanks to the extensive use of aluminium in its construction will tip the scales almost half a tonne lighter than the current car. It promises enormous improvements in its fuel economy and emissions. The order books will open when the car is revealed at next month's Paris Motor Show with deliveries scheduled for early next year and company insiders say this fourth generation will be the most capable, luxurious and the greenest of its type.
It is the world's first SUV to have an all-aluminium monocoque chassis that is 39 per cent lighter than a steel equivalent and which makes a major contribution to the dramatic 420 kgs weight saving. As yet the company has not put any figures on the improvement in fuel economy and CO2 but a spokesman says it 'will be a transformation.'' From launch there will be a choice of petrol and diesels but there is no mention of the hybrid technology that JLR is developing.
In addition to the strong and rigid lightweight body, an all-new aluminium front and rear chassis architecture has been developed with completely re-engineered four-corner air suspension. While the luxurious ride will be retained the vehicle's handling and agility are said to be significantly improved.
John Edwards, Land Rover global brand director, says: "The new Range Rover preserves the essential, unique character of the vehicle – that special blend of luxury, performance and unmatched all-terrain capability. However, its clean sheet design and revolutionary lightweight construction have enabled us to transform the experience for luxury vehicle customers, with a step change in comfort, refinement and handling."
Although instantly recognisable as a Range Rover, the vehicle is new from the ground up and Gerry McGovern, Land Rover design director and chief creative officer, says it presented a challenge to maintain the lineage, saying: "Designing the next generation Range Rover, following over 40 years of success, came with a huge responsibility to protect the DNA of such an icon. Our design team worked incredibly hard to capture the elegant proportions and pure surfaces which have been a feature of the best Range Rover designs."
It will have a new version of Land Rover's Terrain Response system which analyses the current driving conditions and automatically selects the most suitable vehicle settings for the terrain. There is more legroom for rear passengers and the cabin will be even more sumptuous than before, quieter, with more driver aids and a surround sound system designed by Meridian exclusively for the car. The Range Rover will be built at a new factory at its traditional Solihull base with a special technique to minimise the amount of energy used to produce the aluminium chassis and components.
Cars go aluminium, Hindalco sees gains
Hindalco Industries, the world’s biggest supplier of aluminum to carmakers, may double group sales to $33 billion in five years as Audi AG and other European carmakers swap steel with the lightweight metal. “Automobiles are a huge prospect,” Debnarayan Bhattacharya, managing director of India’s second-largest producer of the metal, said in an interview. “The European auto market is booming. New environmental norms are an opportunity for aluminum makers.”
Billionaire Kumar Mangalam Birla’s flagship, contending with falling metal prices and rising costs, is betting on regulation to cut carbon emissions and improve fuel efficiency in the US and Europe will prompt carmakers to use more aluminum. Jaguar Land Rover plans to start selling its first all-aluminum Range Rover SUV next month, reducing the car’s weight by 39%, while Daimler AG’s Mercedes is using the metal for its €93,534 SL model.
Carmakers use about 50 million metric tonne of steel a year globally, equivalent to the world’s total aluminum capacity, Bhattacharya, who’s also the vice chairman of Hindalco’s Atlanta-based unit Novelis, said in his office in Mumbai. Stricter carbon emission norms in Europe are bound to lift aluminum demand, he said. The trend to use aluminum “was started by Audi 20 years ago, and today many automakers including Jaguar are using the alloy”, said Ferdinand Dudenhoeffer, director of the Centre for Automotive Research at the University of Duisburg-Essen in Germany. “This trend will continue for the next five years, before we see materials such as plastics and carbon fibre become more widespread.”
Hindalco’s shares fell 2.6% to Rs113.7 at close in Mumbai, compared with a 0.2% gain in the benchmark BSE India Sensitive Index. The European Union renewed its crackdown on carbon-dioxide emissions from cars by seeking a binding target for 2020, that’s 27% below the existing limit. The European Commission on July 11 proposed to cap average emissions by passenger vehicles in the EU at 95 grams a km in 2020 through varying targets for individual manufacturers ranging from Volkswagen AG to General Motors Co.
“The lightweight aluminum platform has delivered significant enhancements in performance and agility,” Del Sehmar, a Jaguar Land Rover spokesman, said in an e-mail response. “We are looking at the extensive use of lightweight vehicle technologies to all of our future products.” Aluminum content in Europe will rise by more than 25 kg per vehicle by 2025, Novelis, which supplies Jaguar Land Rover, Bayerische Motoren Werke AG, Daimler AG’s Mercedes- Benz and Audi among others, said in June. Audi, owned by Germany’s Volkswagen AG, registered a 12.4% gain in sales in the seven months to July, while BMW posted a 7.6% rise in the same period.
Alcoa, the largest US aluminum producer, in July reported second-quarter earnings and revenue that beat analysts’ estimates as a result of an increase in orders from the automakers including Ford Motor and Honda Motor. Hindalco, which bought Novelis in 2007 to gain 20% of the high-end aluminium market and customers including Coca-Cola, reported its biggest profit drop in three years in the three months ended June 30 at its Indian operations due to lower prices on the London Metal Exchange and higher costs, according to a statement to exchanges on August 14.
Novelis reported a 20% increase in net income at $91 million in three months ended June 30, according to a release on the same day. The company aims to add 900 kilotonne of capacity, it said without giving a timeline.
Aluminum for three-month delivery, which has fallen 9% this year, gained 0.2% to $1,846 a tonne as of 11:27 am in London. Benchmark hot-rolled steel, used in making cars, traded at $633 a tonne as of August 14, according to weekly price update by the Steel Business Briefing. Novelis also plans to spend $100 million to build a 120,000 tonne automotive sheet facility in China and will start construction at the end of this quarter, chief executive officer Philip Martens said on August 14. Global automotive demand for aluminum is forecast to grow 25% in five years, he said.
“At present we supply from our European unit,” Bhattacharya said. “With rising demand in both the regions we have decided to set up a new unit” in China, he said. Sales of luxury car brands took off in the last six months, Peter Jones, chief executive officer at Lookers Plc, a UK car dealership and parts supplier said on August 15. Profit per unit on new cars increased 11%, he said. Hindalco’s increasing focus on automobile makers may be affected should the governments defer deadlines for cutting carbon emissions, said Bhavesh Chauhan a Mumbai-based analyst at Angel Broking.
US auto and environmental regulators delayed, past a self-imposed deadline of August 15, the release of a final rule requiring automakers to raise the average fuel-economy of their fleets to 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025. President Barack Obama’s administration didn’t say when it will issue the rule targeting model-year 2017 passenger vehicles sold in the US. Hindalco is boosting capacity at home to meet rising demand. It is spending Rs27,000 crore ($4.8 billion) by fiscal year 2015 that will almost triple its domestic capacity to 1.7 million tonne helping boost revenue. The company, set up in 1958 by Birla’s grandfather Ghanshyam Das Birla, is building aluminum smelting capacities in the central state of Madhya Pradesh and in the eastern states of Odisha and Jharkhand with capacities of 360,000 tons each. The project in Madhya Pradesh was scheduled to start in December, according to a September report on the company’s website.
“I don’t think they will be able to finish their greenfield projects in India by 2015,” said Angel Broking’s Chauhan, who has a neutral rating on the stock. Coal needed to fuel the company’s power plants “aren’t coming on time,” he said. Bhattacharya said he doesn’t expect further delays. Hindalco, which had $16.4 billion of sales in the year ended March 31, is seeking supplies of raw materials outside India to cut production costs, Bhattacharya said. The company aims to secure raw material supplies including bauxite and coal to fire its projects, Bhattacharya said. The two materials account for 60% of the cost of producing the metal. “I don’t want to put all my eggs in one basket — that is India,” Bhattacharya said, without elaborating. “We are currently evaluating other opportunities outside. We may go for some mines or form joint ventures.”
India's aluminum export expected to increase 5%
Mukesh Kumar, president of Vedanta Aluminium Ltd, India's largest aluminum producer, expected India's aluminum exports to rise 5 percent in the current fiscal year to 325,000 tons, Reuters reported. Vedanta Aluminum, a part of billionaire Anil Agarwal-controlled Vedanta Group, produces about 40 percent of the South Asian nation's total output.
The optimist forecast came despite a slowdown in global demand and falling prices have led global producers such as Alcoa and Norsk Hydro to cut production. India exported 310,000 tons of aluminum in 2011/12, according to Kumar.
Indian aluminum producers have an edge over other global rivals, on low costs and availability of better grades of inputs such as bauxite. However, red tape and environmental delays have limited the availability of coal, the main fuel for aluminum production, Kumar said.
India produces around 1.6 million tons of aluminum, while domestic industries consume about 1.3 million tons annually. Its domestic demand is poised to grow by 7 to 8 percent a year, led by its power transmission, construction and automobile sectors.
All-aluminum Range Rover is 926 lbs lighter
All-aluminum uni-body cars are starting to go mainstream.
Like the recently announced Tesla Model S sedan, the Range Rover's 2013 model will be made from aluminum, making the car 39% lighter than if were made from steel. Total weight savings will be about 420 kg (926lbs). Alcoa and the aluminum association gushed about the launch of the Tesla, which is also made out of aluminum.
"Tesla is among the leaders driving automotive aluminum use, which will double within a decade yielding more mass produced, high volume aluminum-intensive vehicles that will hit showrooms," said Randall Scheps, chairman of the Aluminum Association's Aluminum Transportation Group in a news release. In 2001 automobile manufacturing consumed just 5.3% of the America's steel stock.