After the expansion, the AL2 annealing line will be able to produce up to 50,000 tons of aluminum strip for components of the vehicle's outer skin - for the European market, which is expected to grow by 15 to 20 percent in this segment between 2011 and 2018.
“Perhaps this project is not enough to cover the booming demand for aluminum strips for the vehicle exterior in the coming years. But we are underlining our position as a reliable, essential partner in this fastest growing segment for aluminum in automobiles, "said Oliver Bell, who is responsible for Rolled Products.
“Because we convince with high quality and service, we maintain good business relationships with almost all premium vehicle manufacturers in Europe. Now we are proving that we are determined to actively support their boom in the use of aluminum as a key supplier. In this way, we also help the automotive industry to advance lightweight construction of vehicles and reduce their CO2 emissions, "says Bell.
The AL2 went into operation in November 2008 to produce aluminum strip for applications in the vehicle skin; for example for bonnets, roofs and doors. The concept directly envisaged a possible expansion at lower costs than through a new building.
Hydro will essentially add new heating and cooling zones. This allows the line to run faster and increases its output per hour. Meanwhile, customer orders continue to be served. The extended AL2 is scheduled to start operating before the end of 2014.
The project is a good step in the implementation of the Hydro strategy, to expand the business with higher quality special products in Europe, to strengthen the product focus and the central plant network Alunorf and Grevenbroich.
Hydro is one of the leading suppliers to the automotive industry with rolled aluminum products for applications in the body, chassis and other components. Legal requirements to further reduce CO2 emissions from automobiles and increasing customer demand for lower fuel consumption support the trend that even more attachments, such as hoods and doors, are being constructed from aluminum.