Nalco CMD inaugurates quality circle convention
BS reported that the 19th All Odisha Quality Circle convention was inaugurated at Nalco Nagar in the city by Mr Anshuman Das chairman and managing director, National Aluminium Compnay (Nalco).
Mr SS Mahapatra director (production), Mr SC Padhy director (human resources) and Ms Soma Mandal director (commercial) were present on the occasion.
This year, the theme of the convention is "In the race for quality, there is no Finish Line". In total, 34 teams are participating from 22 organisations including NALCO, TATA Steel, Hindustan Aeronautics Limited, NTPC and Steel Authority of India Limited (SAIL) are participating. The participating teams would present their case studies in the two day convention.
Light weighting: The Future of Aluminium
Carmakers are gravitating to aluminum as their metal of choice. A recent post on CarTalk.commakes this point: "Aluminum is the number one metal for making engines and wheels, and its showing up all over for hoods, trunks, and doors."The auto industry is moving to aluminum to shed fuel-wasting weight. Of course, you engineering folks have a fancy word for losing weight thats not body fat -- lightweighting.
According to The New York Times, the shift to aluminum is gaining momentum and the demand from automakers for aluminum is soaring, "expecting to reach one billion pounds this year, up from 200 million in 2012, and to grow by more than 30% annually through 2020." The heavier the truck, the more lightweighting that can be achieved with the switch to aluminum. Not surprisingly, Ford announced in January that it would make the body of its new F-150 primarily out of aluminum. As a result, steelmakers face an uncertain future.
Needs for lightweighting are going beyond the auto industry. The federal government is kick-starting a public-private collaborative initiative called the Lightweight and Modern Metals Manufacturing Innovation Institute (LM3). Design News Ann Thryft wrote last year that LM3 will focus on materials that "provide a high strength-weight ratio to elp reduce energy consumption and improve performance."
Another example: 20% of the worlds aluminum is used in the construction sector. Its light weight means that the load on the bearing structure is less, and its strength makes it suitable for a variety of solutions. Its resistance to corrosion gives it special advantages; aluminum is perfect for regions with severe weather conditions. Also, its fluidity gives freedom to architects and designers.
Docks and other marine structures are also beneficiaries of the features of aluminum. It wont crack like concrete, rust like steel, or rot like wood, so maintenance budgets for the long life span of an aluminum dock are reduced, and in many cases, eliminated.Contrary to some myths, salt water does not corrode aluminum. In fact, aluminum creates its own special armor when introduced into the environment. This naturally occurring aluminum oxide film creates a protective layer, and this layer is magically regenerated if its scratched off. This corrosion-shield prevents depredation from the sun, salt, fuels, and water, basically the reasons why other materials deteriorate.
Even fresh water folks can appreciate the benefits of aluminum. Aluminum is cool -- literally -- as in cold to the touch. Leave concrete, pavers, composite deck, wood deck of any color out in the sun on a hot afternoon and an aluminum deck will always register much lower on the heat gun. When youre trying to enjoy a sunny summer day on the water, running barefoot on the dock, or hopping onto your pontoon boat, the last thing you want is invest in a dock that makes you want off of it.
BMW Vision Future Luxury concept officially unveiled, features carbon fiber & aluminum construction
Designed to provide a "long-term outlook on the perception of modern luxury for the BMW brand," the concept has a Liquid Platinum Bronze exterior with a massive twin kidney grille that is flanked by laserlight headlights. The model also has carbon fiber air deflectors, chrome trim, OLED taillights and a carbon strip that hints at the cars carbon fiber and aluminum chassis.
Inside, the driver is surrounded by a wraparound instrument cluster that consists of three intermeshing displays that use three-dimensional technology. The left display shows vehicle-related information, while the center display shows a programmable speedometer, rev counter and "context-adaptive supplementary data" that appears as needed. Lastly, the right display shows infotainment information.
The concept also has a "contact-analogue" BMW Vision Head Up Display. BMW says it augments the "drivers view of the real world by projecting information directly in the drivers line of sight onto the road." As a result, "buildings, traffic signs or hazards can be highlighted directly in the real-world environment, selectively directing the drivers attention to specific information which is particularly important at any given time."
Rear seat passengers arent left out as they have access to two rear displays and a removable Touch Command Tablet. BMW says the displays and tablet provide access to "everything from trip-related information - like speed and journey time - to information relating to the Luxury Concierge Services can be displayed here in simple and customized form." They can also access online entertainment including video, music and gaming services.
Interestingly, the interior uses lightweight construction including subtractive modeling. As BMW explains, "An initial base layer of fine carbon fabric is followed by a functional level featuring user interface components, control and display interfaces and lighting functions, which in turn is followed by a further structural, load-bearing layer of aluminum for additional strength. Finally, the top layers comprise wood, then leather, to create a warm and comfortable ambience." BMW declined to go into specifics but said the process cuts the "total weight substantially."
The extensive carbon fiber construction also enables the concept to "very small and unobtrusive B-pillars" which help to create an airy cabin. It also enables the seat frames to be integrated into the load-bearing structure.According to BMWs Senior Vice President of Design, Adrian van Hooydonk, "We use visionary concept vehicles like the BMW Vision Future Luxury to show where we may be going with these themes in the future, and to give us new inspiration and motivation. The BMW Vision Future Luxury – with its innovative technologies and with meticulous precision and quality in every detail – takes our thinking on modern luxury a logical stage further."
Aluminum industry says auto demand will provide biggest wave since beverage cans
The aluminum industry expects the automotive sector will generate the biggest wave of new demand since manufacturers started using the lightweight metal to make beverage cans."For us, its equivalent to the invention of the (aluminum) can which was introduced to many markets about 50 years ago," said Aluminum association of Canada president Jean Simard Friday. Automaker giant Ford plans on reducing the weight of its F-150 pickup truckby increasing the amount of aluminum used to 315 kilograms from 45 kg on current models.
Simard called the move a "game-changer," prompting competitor General Motors to become less reliant on heavier steel for some of its models. Aluminum producers have faced a rough few years with high inventories causing prices to crater. But industry leaders say that the longer-term outlook for aluminum is brighter, largely due to big changes in the transportation industry. They say vehicles such as cars, trucks, buses and planes already consume about one-quarter of global aluminum production each year but demand from the transportation sector is expected to grow by four to six per cent annually.
Demand is also expected to be spurred by new fuel efficiency standards in the United States. Aircraft manufacturers including Bombardier are also increasing the use of aluminum and composite materials on their new products to reduce fuel consumption. The electrification of bus networks is also prompting transit companies to use more aluminum.
Representatives from Rio Tinto Alcan, Alcoa and the Alouette smelter said Friday they will press Quebecs new Liberal government to lower electricity rates to make aluminum production in the province more globally competitive. But Alouette CEO Andre Martel says he doesnt expect the tone of negotiations will change much with the change of government.
The large smelter and other producers are seeking "significant" rate reductions that would allow facilities to be expanded, and create new jobs. Martel declined to say what rates it is seeking, noting they must be globally competitive. In February, Alcoa reached a rate deal with the Parti Quebecois after threatening to close three Quebec smelters if Hydro-Quebec didnt lower its electricity rates. Rio Tinto Alcan is also seeking a reduction to compete with lower cost production in the Middle East."We are always in discussions with Hydro-Quebec because when we implement plants we are doing that for 50, 60, 70 years so we need to always be able to predict the future," said Jacques.
McLaren to use turbo V6, all-aluminum body for entry-level P13
Additional details surrounding McLarens entry-level sports car, internally known as the P13, have continued to emerge. The latest reports suggest the model may switch to a turbocharged V6, rather than adopting a de-tuned version of the V8 mill in the 650S.Although the company has yet to officially confirm full specs, its engineering director, Mark Vinnels, has told Top Gear the company is not absolutely committed to placing a V8 in each of its models, as long as it can achieve certain levels of performance and drivability.
The 650S utilizes a 3.8-liter mid-mounted engine with dual turbochargers that help generate 650 horsepower and 500 lb-ft of torque. Dropping two cylinders is viewed as a way to differentiate the P13 from the 650S, reducing output to approximately 450 ponies while lowering the powertrain weight.
The entry-level car is expected to have the same two-seater mid-engine layout as its higher-end counterparts, but in a rear-wheel-drive format. It may also utilize less carbon fiber -- the body will likely be all aluminium -- and require a fraction of the man-hours to build. Reduced assembly costs will help the company compete directly with the Porsche 911 in terms of power and price.
Although the P13 makes a few sacrifices, Vinnels suggests the expensive suspension system found in the 650S and P1 is one of the companys key advantages that will be offered across the entire range. Valved fluid links between the left and right suspension components help maintain a soft ride during casual driving, and all but eliminate body roll in hard cornering. McLaren will reportedly finalize the P13 design within the next few days, before preparing to begin production by the end of 2015.
Ford plans aluminium F-150
MUSCAT — Ford, a company that has built its reputation for manufacturing some of the finest automobiles in the world has also made a lasting impression with its expertise in manufacturing iconic trucks like the F-150. Recently Ford has announced its desire to introduce an aluminium F series — its anticipated and high-stakes redesign of the top-selling pick-up in history. The automaker has asked Alcoa Inc, which makes aluminium blast shields for battlefield-bound vehicles, to lend some of its military-grade metal for the automaker’s display. “This is already the most significant debut at the auto show,” said Joe Langley, a Production Analyst for Researcher IHS Automotive. The new F-150 represents a profound reimagining of a cornerstone for Ford and American auto making since the company began building F-series trucks in the late 1940s. As a transformative product the new F-150 has drawn comparisons with Boeing Co’s 787 Dreamliner — an aircraft developed under the company’s commercial airplane chief at the time, Alan Mulally, who in 2006 became Ford’s CEO. Using aluminium to cut weight would help meet rising fuel- economy standards in the United States. The next-generation F-150 will offer a new 2.7-litre EcoBoost engine. The smallest available engine in the outgoing model pick-up is a 3.5-litre EcoBoost. A 10-speed transmission and the light-duty truck hybrid systems are two technologies that could boost Ford’s trucks to the 30 mpg highway rating threshold. “We think that the F-Series will effectively re-write the competitive standards for the full-size truck market,” said Eric Noble, Head of auto-consulting firm The Car Lab in Orange, California. Both the F-150 and Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner are “innovative products using lightweight materials that push the envelope relative to competitors,” Brian Johnson, an Analyst at Barclays Plc., wrote in a report last week. Ford vehicles are known the world over for their exceptional safety, luxury and unsurpassed technological superiority. Ford ploughs in millions of dollars into R&D each year to ensure that every Ford offers maximum safety and motoring pleasure for its customers. In Oman, Ford vehicles are marketed by Arabian Car Marketing Co LLC. They come with 6 years unlimited mileage protection (except Mustang, E/F Series vehicles), service and parts network that stretches across the Sultanate and Ford Privilege Card — which provides 24 hours on-road assistance from AAA.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.