Aluminum in the News
Our February issue focus is nonferrous, and much of our content this month deals with things nonferrous. Check out our feature articles on the following topics: improving efficiency in melting aluminum scrap, a furnace retrofit at an aluminum casting facility, aluminum brazing in vacuum furnaces and furnaces for processing ceramic capacitors.
As the highest-volume nonferrous metal, aluminum sees most of the headlines. The latest involves commissioning of aluminum finishing lines at the Novelis plant in Oswego, N.Y. The expansion increased their sheet capacity for the automotive industry by five times and added more than 100 jobs. Novelis is also increasing sheet capacity in China and Germany. Many of the aluminum producers are counting on fuel economy standards to drive the demand for aluminum sheet.
On the heels of the third-quarter 2013 commissioning, Novelis announced it would install a third aluminum-sheet finishing line to be commissioned in late 2015. Another 90 jobs will be created at the Oswego facility, which will be 80% dedicated to automotive sheet when the new line is commissioned. This company is clearly “betting” on the need for automotive aluminum in the coming years.
Alcoa is in agreement with Novelis’ business decision. Randall Scheps, Alcoa’s executive in charge of selling automotive sheet, predicts a fourfold demand increase by 2015 and an increase of 1,000% by 2025. As a result, Alcoa is investing $575 million to expand plants in Davenport, Iowa, and Alcoa, Tenn. Alcoa has developed a new process for treating aluminum sheet that makes bonds to other components last longer. This means that aluminum sheet will also be able to be used in the structural framework of motor vehicles.
Eyeing “great demand for aluminum wire in the European processing industry,” Trimet Aluminum SE’s acquisition of two aluminum plants in France was recently approved by regulatory bodies. Employing more than 500, both facilities produce high-quality aluminum wire.
Another recent news item indicated that the president of Alcoa’s Building and Construction Systems in North America, Diana Perreiah, will receive the Manufacturing Institute’s Women in Manufacturing STEP (Science, Technology, Engineering and Production) Award. The award ceremony is scheduled for Feb. 6 in Washington, D.C.
We would also like to offer our congratulations to The Aluminum Association for their 80 years of service to our industry. Here’s looking forward to the next 80.
As 2014 unfolds, you are encouraged to pay attention to new regulations and executive orders that may affect your business. The current administration is entering the latter stages of a second term, and accomplishing an agenda may take on a new sense of urgency. When that agenda involves global warming – as I write, we are experiencing the coldest day of the last 20 years – it has the potential to impact how we do what we do in our high-temperature thermal-processing industry.
Were you aware that in the first few days of 2014, over 140 new regulations were enacted? Of these, the largest group has to do with energy and environmental topics – many issued by the EPA. The same group is working on another 134 major and minor regulations that will take effect in the coming years.
An executive order was enacted on Nov. 1, 2013, to prepare the U.S. for the impacts of climate change. This appears to be an all-in type of document. There doesn’t seem to be any debate about whether global warming is real or not. It appears that much of future policy and decision making will be filtered through that screen. How will that impact you if you make or use burners or furnaces? Be vigilant.
A New Resource
At the risk of seeming self-serving, Industrial Heating (yours truly) has just published a new book, Everyday Metallurgy. Sponsored by a number of great companies, this coffee-table-type book is an attractive and compelling look at what we do and how it applies to everyone. Here are just a few of the topics we discuss: the Titanic, the Liberty Bell, bolts, saws, chains, hypodermic needles, guitars, bicycles, pianos, the kitchen sink and much more.
If you would like to have a great way to tell or show folks what you do and why it’s important, Everyday Metallurgy could be just the ticket. You can order your own copies by going to www.industrialheating.com/Everyday-Metallurgy. Enjoy! IH