As we shine the “light” on nonferrous this month, don’t miss what’s included in this issue. The Heat Treat Doctor® discusses the nonferrous topic of overaging. One of this month’s articles focuses on noncontact temperature measurement for aluminum extrusions. Aluminum is tricky because of its low process temperature and its emissivity. Following that article is another discussing aluminum heat-treating applications. While not exclusively nonferrous, you won’t want to miss our new contributor from Carnegie Mellon University in the Academic Pulse. Additive manufacturing is his topic this month.
Including nonferrous manufacturers, we have to mention the recent report that manufacturing added 32,000 jobs in December for a total of 284,000 in 2018. This is the best calendar year for manufacturing jobs since 1997. As a frame of reference, 207,000 manufacturing jobs were added in 2017.
Early reporting indicated that the tariffs were going to help the aluminum industry. How did this play out throughout the year? A Bloomberg interview in late December with an economist at the Economic Policy Institute indicates that a total of three smelters have restarted with increasing capacity, and the downstream aluminum processors are also ramping up. A total of 22 firms have announced investments with an addition of 3,000 jobs. A few examples follow.
Braidy Industries is on track to begin operations of its greenfield aluminum mill in 2021. The facility, which will employ 700 people, will have state-of-the-art technology and include robots and AI in a high-tech factory with $580 million of new equipment.
Novelis is teaming with Impression Technologies to encourage automakers in three countries to use more hot-stamped aluminum. Novelis also plans to build at least three Customer Solutions Centers to collaborate with automakers. The first will be in Novi, Mich., with others to follow in China and Europe.
Recent news indicates that Century Aluminum is projected to achieve earnings growth of 118% this year. Looking at other numbers for companies in the aluminum industry, I noticed that two are in the FORTUNE 500. Alcoa was ranked 262 on this list, which was up (lower number is up) from 300 in 2016. Additionally, Reliance Steel & Aluminum is ranked 305th, which is also up from 320 in 2016.
New and Improved
While there are many plusses for aluminum relative to lightweighting, which results in energy savings (aka environmental benefits), the reality is that the production of aluminum creates nearly six times the emissions as steel per ton produced. A group of producers and manufacturers, including Alcoa and Apple, are working together to create “green” manufacturing standards for aluminum. The group is called the Aluminum Stewardship Initiative, and it is based in Australia. A good start is using hydroelectric power versus electric produced by burning coal.
In the new-and-improved category, did everyone see the 100% aluminum reclosable beverage can? An Austin, Texas-based startup has developed a can that is both reclosable and entirely recyclable. The patented SipNShut may be coming to a beverage store near you.
Thinking of aluminum has brought to mind a resource that I will now shamelessly plug. Everyday Metallurgy, written by yours truly, is a coffee-table-type book that provides an attractive and compelling look at what we do and how it applies to everyone. Some of the nonferrous topics covered are jewelry, jet engines, artificial joints, coins, an aluminum guitar, bicycle frames, piano strings and the Liberty Bell. We even throw in 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!