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.