Canadian Manufacturing

Alcoa investing $275M to boost automotive aluminum production

The project will incorporate the “Alcoa 951” pre-treatment bonding technology which enables adhesive bonding of automotive structures.

NEW YORK—Aluminum giant Alcoa will invest $275 million over the next three years to expand and convert capacity at its rolling mill in Alcoa, Tenn., to produce more aluminum sheet for automotive applications.

The company previously announced a $300-million expansion of its Davenport, Iowa plant, which is set to be completed by the end of this year.

This comes as the company, which has extensive operations in Quebec, said it may curtail about one quarter of its global aluminum production to adjust to low metal prices.

“Our Tennessee expansion is a great example of how Alcoa’s edge in technology and innovation is capturing growth opportunities in our value-added mid- and downstream businesses,” said Alcoa chairman and CEO, Klaus Kleinfeld. “More and more auto producers are turning to aluminum to increase the fuel efficiency and quality of their vehicles. We anticipate a quadrupling of auto sheet volume by 2015 and a tenfold increase by 2025.”

The Alcoa, Tenn., expansion will add 200 jobs upon completion. More than 400 jobs will be created during the construction phase of the expansion.

The project will convert some of the plant’s can sheet capacity to high-strength automotive aluminum capacity, as well as install incremental automotive capacity. The Tennessee expansion is scheduled to begin this in May 2013 and be completed by mid-2015. When completed, the plant will be a key supplier to both the packaging and automotive markets.

Much of the volume from the automotive expansion is already secured under long-term supply agreements.

The project will incorporate, through Alcoa’s supply chain, the proprietary “Alcoa 951” pre-treatment bonding technology which enables adhesive bonding of automotive structures. Alcoa is licensing the technology to the industry at the request of auto OEMs.

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