The newly developed in-house casting technology, ‘Low Pressure Casting’ (LPC) enables Hydro to provide materials with enhanced properties for various extrusion segments, where Hydro is already a major material supplier. After the upgrade, Hydro Husnes will also be able to offer materials for forging.
"Forge stock for products like suspension arms and knuckles is an attractive market for aluminium within the automotive industry, which needs ever more aluminium to fill its need to lightweight cars and reduce emissions,” says Ola Sæter, Head of Hydro’s fully owned primary aluminium plants.
Sæter says the demand growth for forge stock is high, and that Hydro is ready to take its share of this growth.
The Hydro-developed technology enables a shift from traditional extruded forge stock to cast forge stock, eliminating costly steps in the production process, while also improving quality. The as-cast surface is ready for forging and homogenizing is not required.
Being able to produce materials for various niche segments such as forge stock in a large casthouse directly from liquid metal from the electrolysis, allows further cost and quality improvements, compared to the traditional smaller scale casthouses that are typically based on melting of ingots and horizontal casting methods.
Johan Berg, plant manager at Hydro Husnes, says the new technology with a planned start-up in 2020, will strengthen the plant’s ability to deliver more advanced aluminium products.
“The key for us is the flexibility to be able to cast both extrusion ingots and forging materials according to customer demand in a flexible and efficient way,” says Berg.
“This investment is timed well with the ongoing upgrade of Hydro Husnes’ second electrolysis line that is due to start operations in 2020, with an annual planned output of 210,000 mt of aluminium semi-products. Making use also of this new technology will significantly strengthen our position as a preferred partner delivering of aluminium to the automotive industry,” says Berg.