Aluminerie Alouette, a Quebec-based aluminum producer, received a $15 million investment by the Government of Canada for development projects at its aluminum smelter. The investment will help Alouette, which has an annual production capacity of 600,000 metric tons of primary aluminum, maintain at least 830 jobs and modernize its facilities. Upgrades will include a pot change-out program, converting anode baking furnaces to natural gas, use of automated production vehicles and integration of Industry 4.0 concepts.
Alcoa Corp. announced that the Aluminerie de Bécancour Inc. (ABI) smelter plans to restart curtailed smelting capacity after members of the United Steelworkers union in Quebec approved a six-year labor agreement. The smelter, which is owned by Alcoa (74.95%) and Rio Tinto Alcan Inc. (25.05%), has total capacity of 413,000 metric tons per year. The restart will begin on July 26 and is expected to be complete in the second quarter of 2020.
Central Motor Wheel of America Inc. (CMWA) will invest nearly $112 million to expand its aluminum wheel manufacturing facility in Paris, Ky. The project will create 145 full-time jobs and increase the company’s production by 50%. CMWA plans to expand onto an additional 40 acres and add 270,000 square feet onto its existing 330,000-square-foot plant. The 145 new jobs will include production, maintenance and engineering. Work on the expansion will this summer, and company executives expect production to begin in July 2021.
Andritz received an order from China’s Qinghai Zhuofeng New Material Co. Ltd. to supply two continuous annealing and processing lines, each with an annual capacity of 110,000 tons. Start-up is scheduled for the second quarter of 2021 (line 1) and the second quarter of 2022 (line 2). The lines will produce high-quality, flat aluminum product for the automotive industry. Andritz’s scope of supply also includes automation technology and commissioning.
Alexandria Industries invested in a new aluminum extrusion press that will allow the company to increase its aluminum extrusion capabilities, extrude more complex product features and hold tighter tolerances while utilizing a variety of alloys. The company, which will gain an extra 30% in extrusion capacity, will add 19,000 square feet of space to its manufacturing facility in Alexandria, Minn., to accommodate the equipment. Construction is scheduled to begin soon.
Dajcor Aluminum Ltd., a Canadian manufacturer of extruded and fabricated aluminum products, will invest approximately $19.6 million to locate its first U.S, operation in Perry County, Ky. The project will create up to 265 full-time jobs. The operation will provide Dajcor additional capacity for aluminum extrusion and fabrication to serve a variety of North American industries. Operations are scheduled to begin by the end of 2019.
Hydro will upgrade casting operations at its Husnes (Norway) facility with new technology to produce more advanced products for the growing automotive aluminum forging market. Newly developed in-house casting technology, low-pressure casting (LPC), will enable Hydro to provide materials with enhanced properties for various extrusion markets in which it is already a major material supplier. After the upgrade, Hydro Husnes will also be able to offer materials for forging. The Hydro-developed technology enables a shift from traditional extruded forge stock to cast forge stock, eliminating costly steps in the production process while improving quality. The as-cast surface is ready for forging, and homogenizing is not required. The upgraded facility will commence operations in 2020.
Braidy Industries Inc. and En+ Group plc announced the execution of a Letter of Intent specifying basic terms for a potential $200 million lead investment for its Braidy Atlas mill in Ashland, Ky., by En+ Group subsidiary United Company RUSAL plc (Rusal). The strategic partnership aims to create the first low-carbon-impact industrial aluminum rolling-mill operation in the world. Braidy will be the first North American company to contract Rusal’s premier ALLOW-branded (certified low-carbon) aluminum slabs and P1020 as its exclusive primary inputs. According to Braidy, no U.S. domestic smelter currently delivers low-carbon primary aluminum slabs.
Nitrex Metal received an order for a turnkey nitrocarburizing system from Alu Menziken Extrusion AG, a Swiss manufacturer of aluminum profiles and complex extrusion-press products. The system, which incorporates Nitreg-C technology for treating aluminum extrusion dies, was installed at the company’s new state-of-the-art manufacturing facility in northwestern Romania. The pit furnace has overall chamber dimensions of 31.5 inches in diameter x 59 inches high (800 x 1500 mm) with capacity optimized to nitrocarburize a 3,300-pound (1,500-kg) load. The process technology adapts to the application requirements to deliver improved performance of extrusion dies.
Kobe Steel Ltd. announced that its U.S. subsidiary, Kobelco Aluminum Products & Extrusions Inc. (KPEX) will invest approximately $42 million to increase the production capacity of its plant in Bowling Green, Ky. This investment, which is expected to create about 90 new jobs, will help meet the growing demand for automotive extrusions and fabricated products in the U.S. Plans call for new equipment to go into mass production in the first half of 2020. When the expansion is completed, KPEX will have two melting furnaces and two extrusion presses. Production capacity will increase to 1,000 tons per month, from the current 500 tons per month.