Hydro has decided to nearly double capacity of a continuous annealing line at its aluminium rolled products plant in Grevenbroich, Germany, to serve growing demand in the automotive industry.
After expansion, this annealing facility AL2 will be able to produce up to 50,000 metric tons of aluminium car body strip annually for a European market for aluminium car body components that is expected to boom by 15 to 20 per cent each year between 2011 and 2018.
“We aim to confirm our position as a solid, substantial partner in this fastest-growing segment for aluminium in cars,” says executive vice president Oliver Bell, who is responsible for Rolled Products in Hydro.
“Thanks to our strong quality and service skills, we already maintain good business with nearly all premium carmakers in Europe. Now we prove our commitment to join their aluminium boom, helping the automotive industry to build lighter cars and reduce CO2 emissions,” adds Bell
AL2 was commissioned in November 2008 to produce finished aluminium strip for body-in-white applications such as car bonnets, roofs and doors. The concept already included an option for expansion at less cost than a greenfield facility
Hydro will mainly add new heating and cooling zones to speed up the line and lift the output per hour. Customer orders will be fulfilled meanwhile. The expanded AL2 is to be commissioned before the end of 2014.
“This project may not be enough to meet the boost in demand for aluminium body strip over the next few years,” says Bell.
The project fits well in Hydro´s strategy to grow the business in Europe with special, high value-added rolled products, strengthening the product focus and the core assets Alunorf and Grevenbroich.
Hydro ranks among the leading suppliers of flat-rolled aluminium strip and sheet for automotive applications in body, chassis and other components. Legal regulations for further reduction of CO2 car emissions and growing consumer demand for lower fuel consumption both support more use of aluminium in hang-on-parts like hoods and doors.