The lightweight construction megatrend ensures excellent growth opportunities for aluminium as an industrial material: above all, the material’s distinct technology and design advantages are making a splash in automotive engineering, the transport sector and the construction industry. ALUMINIUM 2016 in Düsseldorf will reveal how the market for lightweight materials continues to grow. Some 1,000 exhibitors from 50 nations will be on hand at the world’s largest industry trade fair from 29 November to 1 December to present trailblazing solutions for increased efficiency in aluminium production and processing.
Noranda Aluminum Holding Corp. has received court approval for the sale of the company’s aluminium smelter and facilities in New Madrid, Missouri, to ARG International AG for a purchase price of USD13.7 million. The court approval follows an auction that took place on 28 September. The company expects to close the transaction in October 2016.
The company has also entered into an asset purchase agreement with an affiliate of Dada Holdings LLC, New Day Aluminum LLC, which will serve as the ‘stalking horse’ bidder in a court-supervised sale process for Noranda’s alumina refinery in Gramercy, Louisiana, and bauxite mining operation in St. Ann, Jamaica. Dada is a management company consisting of the former senior management team of Wise Metals Group LLC, which was sold to Constellium N.V. in January 2015. The asset purchase agreement is subject to higher or better bids. The deadline to submit qualified bids is 17 October and, if multiple bids are submitted, an auction is scheduled to take place the following day.
Novelis has announced it is supplying aluminium solutions for the all-new Jaguar XFL, the first Jaguar model from Chery Jaguar Land Rover Automotive Co., Ltd. The XFL was launched in China at the end of August 29 and features a body-in-white made of 75% aluminium, the highest aluminium content achieved by an automaker to date in the Chinese automotive marketplace.
Sapa has developed the first-ever automotive aluminium brake line using a high-strength aluminium alloy. The company will be showcasing the new development at IZB, one of Europe’s leading trade fairs for the automotive supplier industry. It takes place on 18-20 October in Wolfsburg, Germany. “The entire industry is on a mission to reduce weight in cars as a key to lowering emissions. The brake line development is one such innovation, that can reduce the weight with over 50% compared to steel,” says innovation and technology manager Jens Sandahl Sørensen.
Demag Service is to take over maintenance of cranes and hoist units at the German production sites of the SMS group. The machinery and plant builder has for the first time awarded the contract for the service work at its nine German plants to one company. SMS uses some 560 crane installations/hoist units that have load capacities ranging from 125 kg to 250 tonnes for many lifting and transport jobs. In addition to its plants in Hilchenbach and Mönchengladbach, the SMS group has seven other production sites.
Stephan Witt has been appointed additional managing director of Kampf Schneid-und Wickeltechnik in Wiehl, Germany, with effective from 1 October 2016. He joined the leading engineering company one year ago as technical director. Now he will manage Kampf together with Lutz Busch, who has been managing director of the company since 1999. Witt leads the areas of Technology, Development, Production, Assembly, Materials Management and Project Planning. Busch is responsible for the management of Sales, Marketing, Customer Service, Human Resources, Central Services as well as Product and Quality Management.
Constellium N.V. has unveiled a first-of-its-kind application for the automotive industry, which will allow OEMs and businesses to browse through the wide array of Constellium aluminium product offerings available for the automotive sheet and extrusions market. It will now be easier for Constellium stakeholders to better understand, through vivid 3D visualizations, the company’s aluminium offerings to the automotive industry: car body closures, body-in-white, crash management systems, chassis and mechanical parts, decorative parts and equipment and heat exchangers. “The 3D experience will allow market experts to explore various aspects of a car and discover our vast product offerings for the automotive industry, including innovations and solutions,” said Peter Basten, who is in charge of Constellium’s Strategy, Business Development, Research & Technology department.
Garney Scott, president and CEO of Scepter, Inc. and chairman of the US Aluminum Association, as well as Heidi Brock, president and CEO of the Aluminum Association, will testify at the US International Trade Commission (US ITC) public hearing on the ‘Investigation on the Competitive Conditions Affecting the US Aluminium Industry’, scheduled for 29 September. Mr. Scott and Ms. Brock will call attention to the challenges posed to domestic aluminium producers by overcapacity in China and encourage the US ITC to engage on the issue through its investigation. “We are gratified that the Commission has begun the process of investigating the complex issues driving overcapacity and overproduction in the aluminium sector in China,” Ms. Brock will say, according to her prepared remarks. “We remain committed to a healthy and growing global aluminium industry where all producers play by the same set of rules on a level playing field.”
The member companies of Aerobal, the International Organisation of Aluminium Aerosol Container Manufacturers, could be more than happy with developments in shipments around the world. In the first half of the year, they boosted output of aluminium aerosol cans by 4.5% compared with the corresponding period a year earlier to about 2.9 billion cans. Aerobal’s member companies account for about 70% of the world’s production of aluminium aerosol cans. “Given the current economic situation we cannot complain about this stable market growth,” says Gregor Spengler, secretary general of Aerobal. “It emphasises the popularity of the aerosol can as a packaging material globally.”
Constellium N.V. will supply aluminium Crash Management Systems (CMS) and automotive body sheets for the new Peugeot 3008, which will be presented to the public at the 2016 Paris Motor Show. Constellium will supply the aluminium front CMS for the compact SUV, including a lower beam for enhanced pedestrian safety. Constellium will also provide aluminium coils and sheet for the inner and outer hood panels and for the fenders.
For its competition to find this year’s best aluminium aerosol cans, AEROBAL, the International Organisation of Aluminium Aerosol Container Manufacturers, once again invited entries from all over the world. AEROBAL’s member companies account for about 70 per cent of all aluminium aerosol cans produced worldwide. The panel of experts comprised journalists from well-known international packaging and can magazines.
“Our World Aluminium Aerosol Can Award is a truly global exhibition of our sector’s capabilities,” says Gregor Spengler, Secretary General of AEROBAL. “The competition is not only a yardstick for the aluminium aerosol can’s high quality standard, it also serves as a pointer to trends in future developments. Moreover, it is a valuable indicator of what is happening in the can markets and where packaging is heading. This year’s winning cans are literally the best examples.”
Henan Mingtai Aluminium Industrial Co., Ltd, located in Gongyi, China, has awarded SMS group the order to supply a six-high cold rolling mill for wide aluminium strips. The new mill will make Henan Mingtai the owner of the fourth aluminium cold mill from SMS group for strip wider than 2.6 metres in China.
Hinrich Mählmann (59), president of the Gesamtverband der Aluminiumindustrie e.V. (GDA) in Düsseldorf, has been elected again by the general assembly of the GDA for a further three-year term of office. As vice-presidents of the association, the general assembly again elected Oliver Höll, CEO of the Alltub Group and in this capacity also managing director of Karl Höll GmbH & Co. KG in Langenfeld, as well as Kjetil Ebbesberg, chairman of the supervisory board of Hydro Aluminium Rolled Products GmbH; as executive vice-president, he is also a member of the group executive board of Norsk Hydro. Confirmed in the office of treasurer of the GDA was Thomas Reuther, member of the board of Trimet Aluminium SE in Essen.
Constellium N.V. and UACJ Corporation have officially opened their new manufacturing plant in Bowling Green, Kentucky, to supply aluminium automotive body sheet to the North American automotive industry under their joint venture, Constellium-UACJ ABS LLC. The strategically-located 225,000 square foot facility will house an initial production capacity of 100,000 tonnes a year. It has secured its metal supply with both partners’ rolling mills. With cutting-edge equipment and technologies, the facility expects to offer a flat rolled product portfolio for a wide range of applications including closure panels, as well as body structures. The plant is currently in the qualification phase, with ramp-up planned over the next two years. As of today, the line is essentially committed with orders from leading automotive OEMs in North America.
For the fifteenth year in a row, lightweight metals leader Alcoa has been named as one of the world’s leading companies for sustainability on the Dow Jones Sustainability Indices (DJSI) — a globally recognized and reputable benchmark for corporate responsibility and sustainability. Alcoa was again recognized as the Aluminium Industry Leader on the Dow Jones World Index. “As we prepare to launch two strong companies in the second half of 2016, we will continue using our innovation, creativity and passion to deliver net-positive benefits to the environment, communities where we operate, our employees, and our shareholders,” said Kevin McKnight, chief sustainability officer and VP for Environment, Health & Safety.
In October 2016 Austrian aluminium specialist Hammerer Aluminium Industries (HAI) is taking exclusive possession of the existing production line and facility for the production of aluminium profiles from solar assembly manufacturer Schletter based in the Bavarian town of Kirchdorf bei Haag. “Thanks to implementation of the current corporate strategy at Schletter, the opportunity has arisen for us to take over the entire profile production area with all its systems,” explains CEO Rob van Gils. Through this acquisition, HAI’s group capacity in the extrusion area will increase to 75,000 tonnes a year and strengthen its position in the market segment construction and industry.
Aluminium Bahrain (Alba) has announced commitments of USD1.5bn for the commercial loan facility to finance the company’s Line 6 expansion project. Alba had originally planned to raise USD500-750m but increased the loan facility size to USD1.5bn due to heavy oversubscription which resulted in competitive market terms. The loan facility will carry an interest margin of 325 basis point per annum over the London Interbank Offered Rate (Libor). This facility is expected to have a 7-year tenor and the principal amount repayable in eight semi-annual instalments, including a 3-year grace period on principal payments to support the Line 6 construction period.
The official WBQA European BBQ Championship will take place on 17-18th September 2016 at the Bremen Exhibition Centre in Germany and once again will be supported by the European Aluminium Foil Association (EAFA).
About 78,000 visitors are expected across the two days to watch the 50 BBQ teams from 20 nations display their skills at the grill across the full range of BBQ disciplines.
For all teams aluminium foil will be a major feature in the preparation and creative barbecuing on display for the five mandatory competition categories (fish and side dish, chicken and side dish, pork ribs, pork shoulder and beef brisket). In addition teams can enter two optional freestyle categories: home country cooking and dessert.
Alcoa Inc. and Alumina Ltd have agreed to make certain changes to the Alcoa World Alumina and Chemicals (Awac) joint venture that will enhance value for Alcoa, Alumina, and their respective shareholders. In conjunction with these amendments, the parties have agreed to terminate their litigation in the Delaware Court of Chancery relating to Alcoa’s pending separation into two independent, publicly traded companies. Alcoa remains on track to complete its separation in the second half of 2016. In general, the changes to the joint venture agreements are intended to align more closely the partners’ interests in Awac, while establishing greater strategic flexibility and autonomy for both partners.
Business activity in the German aluminium sector has been mixed so far this year. Semis producers managed to increase their production in the first half of 2016 (+ 2.5%), but declines were reported by aluminium smelters (- 0.4%), founders (-4.6%) and converters (- 1.1%). There continues to be cautious optimism regarding growth expectations for 2016. “Domestic demand in Germany will develop more weakly than expected but will still tend to be positive overall,” says Hinrich Mählmann, president of Düsseldorf-based Gesamtverband der Aluminiumindustrie (GDA). “There are risks in particular in the export-intensive car industry because the UK is an important trading partner. We do not see any reason for concern at the moment regarding the more consumer-oriented markets in Germany, and the medium to long term prospects for the sector are also positive. The global consumption of aluminium will continue to grow steadily, also in Germany. In view of the large potential for innovation in the German market, the competitiveness of the aluminium industry will continue to grow." 2015 showed that despite growing competitive pressure and somewhat weaker demand, the German aluminium industry still managed to acquit itself well. In addition, the German aluminium industry is in good shape at the moment. “Germany is, and remains, the largest market and the most important production location for aluminium in Europe", adds Mählmann.
Rolled products producer Aleris Corp. has entered into a definitive agreement to be acquired by Zhongwang USA LLC, a company that is majority-owned and led by Liu Zhongtian, the founder of China Zhongwang Holdings Ltd. The aggregate value of Aleris amounts to USD2.33 billion, comprising USD1.11 billion in cash for the equity to be paid by Zhongwang USA, plus USD1.22 billion in net debt.
Each year the Alufoil Trophy competition offers the opportunity for companies to showcase the very best and latest aluminium foil and closure applications and ideas. EAFA, the European Aluminium Foil Association, has announced that entries for the 2017 competition are now open and will be accepted until 18 November 2016. A particular benefit for 2017 winners is that their products will be presented on the Association’s stand at interpack, the world’s largest packaging exhibition, in Düsseldorf, Germany, next May.
IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, is providing a USD55m loan to flat-rolled products producer Assan Aluminium. The loan is aimed to support the company’s modernization, boost energy efficiency and spur growth. IFC’s investment will help Assan, one of Turkey’s biggest exporters with a 70% export rate, to refinance a recently acquired scrap recycling plant, modernize two existing furnaces and install five new furnaces, as well as improve overall plant maintenance and energy efficiency. The measures are to reduce energy and water consumption and improve the company’s international competitiveness.
IFC has supported Assan’s growth since 1994 by extending USD220m in senior loans and syndicated long-term financing.
The US Bankruptcy Court has approved Gränges’ acquisition of Noranda Aluminum Holding Corporation’s downstream aluminium rolling business in the United States. When completed the transaction will double Gränges sales volume and strengthen its position in North America. Further, Gränges will add a number of strategic and attractive market segments in rolled aluminium. The transaction is expected to close on 22 August, 2016.
Aluminium producer UC Rusal for the first time produced scandium oxide of the concentration exceeding 99%. The market price of the new product is up to USD2,000/kg. The new product output commenced at the Urals aluminium smelter (UAZ) after the installation and launch of the pilot unit for the processing of scandium concentrate into scandium oxide. Experts at Rusal Engineering and Technology Centre earlier developed the unique carbonization technology for scandium extraction from the red mud, and this technology makes no negative effect on alumina production. Productivity of the pilot unit has made 96 kg of scandium per year and the project investment has totalled about 64 million roubles (USD1m). At present there is work in progress on the pilot unit aiming to further improve the technology to reduce the product costs.
A research team from the UK has won the 2016 Charles Hatchett Award. The award-winning research, from Brunel University London, has considerable potential for commercial application in aluminium cast products in the automotive industry. The use of niobium as a grain refiner in cast aluminium alloys allows the manufacture of lighter aluminium parts, contributing to lowering the overall weight of vehicles, reducing fuel consumption and emissions.
SmartActive is a new, durable surface coating for aluminium window systems and handles from Schüco. The purely metallic microsilver used for this is nano-free and cannot penetrate human skin. What is achieved is long-lasting antimicrobial protection for frames and handles, which is sought-after as an active shield, particularly in hospitals, nursing homes and public buildings.
Alro SA, a large aluminium producer in Europe, has been selected as a provider for aluminium flat rolled products by aircraft manufacturer Airbus. The agreement is for a multi-year period, starting 2017. “This opportunity is yet another confirmation that the significant investments we made in upgrading our production facilities and extending our portfolio were successful,” said Alro CEO Gheorghe Dobra. Alro holds the Nadcap (National Aerospace and Defence Contractor Accreditation Programme) certification for conformity with aerospace industry requirements. The certificate was awarded by the Nadcap Management Council, in accordance with SAE Aerospace Standard AS 7003, following the testing of aluminium alloys produced at Slatina for heat treatment, conductivity measurement, tensile testing, hardness and metallography.
According to a new market report published by IndexBox Marketing, total imports of aluminium bars, rods and profiles within the European Union increased steadily over the last three years, amounting to 6,064 million euros in 2015. Data concerning the EU trade with non-EU countries shows that the EU remains a net importer of these products.
German SMS group GmbH and Paul Wurth S.A. of Luxembourg, in which SMS group holds an interest of about 60% percent, are merging their subsidiary companies SMS Logistiksysteme GmbH and CTI Systems S.A. to form a joint enterprise. The objective of the new company is further expansion of business in the areas of intralogistics, aviation and surface treatment.
SMS Logistiksysteme, based at Netphen in Germany’s Siegerland, has been creating individual logistics and service solutions for the steel and non-ferrous metal industries for over 60 years and is amongst the world’s leading providers in this market. Since 2013, the firm has also offered customer-specific storage, transport and handling systems for air cargo terminals under the new brand name Acunis.
CTI Systems has been a leading supplier of tailor-made turnkey systems in the areas of intralogistics and surface treatment and especially of aviation for over 50 years. At its company headquarters at Lentzweiler in Northern Luxembourg it generates innovative concepts for customers from all over the world.
The international journal for industry, research and application of aluminium is published monthly. It provides information on all topical issues concerning the material, its production, processing, recycling and application. Furthermore, economic topics and ecological consequences of aluminium application are discussed. Thirty percent of all articles in the journal are written in English.
The trade journal is the leading title in the whole German-speaking area. It provides information on material-specific characteristics of aluminium, latest processing technologies and innovative applications in various branches and sectors of industry.