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Hydro cooperates with Kobe on aluminium sheet technology of closure panels and structures for cars

Hydro has entered into a cooperation with the Japanese metals group Kobe Steel to exchange technical information on aluminium coils and sheet for automobiles, expanding their business options in a more globalized procurement policy of carmakers.

As European and Japanese carmakers further expand their business in Asia and Europe, they want to ensure the same quality anywhere they procure and process aluminum sheets or coils.

"To accommodate this procurement policy in the best possible way, we are allying in technological know-how with Kobe as an optimal partner. They have a strong position in serving automotive production facilities in Asia, while we are a major supplier of rolled aluminium products to automotive customers in Europe," says Pascal Wagner, head of Hydro's Lithography, Automotive & Heat Exchanger business unit.

The cooperation includes exchange of technical information, licensing of intellectual property and know-how, as well as technical assistance through individual agreements.

Partners of the agreement are Hydro's rolled products business through its area office in Grevenbroich, Germany, and the aluminium business of Kobe, through its headquarters in Tokyo, Japan. Pascal Wagner and Franz Steimmel, head of the Automotive & Heat Exchanger business area, signed the agreement with Kobe´s Akira Kaneko, senior officer, Aluminium & Copper business in Tokyo.

By sharing technology and know-how, Hydro and Kobe Steel will be able to meet the global supply needs of the automotive industry.

"The cooperation with Kobe is strengthening our industry position in the area of special products, while helping our automotive customers to secure a global sourcing of premium quality aluminium sheet ," says executive vice president Oliver Bell, head of Hydro's Rolled Products business area.

Hydro is a leading supplier of premium rolled aluminium products, including for the car body. This is the most demanding and fastest-growing field to use aluminium for the light-weighting of cars, which helps to enable mobility with lower greenhouse gas emissions and fuel consumption. Recently, Hydro decided to nearly double the annealing capacity for car body sheet at the rolled products plant in Grevenbroich.

Kobe Steel supplies aluminium coils and sheet for use in car bodies primarily to Japanese automobile manufacturers. In the future, Kobe Steel plans to increase sales of automotive aluminum to European and North American auto makers.