Alcoa has completed a $300-million expansion at its Davenport, Iowa facility dedicated to supplying aluminum sheet products to the automotive industry. According to automakers, demand for aluminum to produce vehicles—already the second-most-used material used to make cars today—is expected to nearly double by 2025. The amount of aluminum body sheet content in North American vehicles is expected to quadruple by 2015 and increase tenfold by 2025 from 2012 levels.
2014 marks the beginning of dramatic growth for aluminum in the auto sector. Automakers are increasingly choosing aluminum as a cost-effective way to improve the performance, safety, durability and fuel efficiency of their vehicles. Our project in Iowa is the first of three capacity expansions we have underway to meet this growing demand.—Klaus Kleinfeld, Alcoa Chairman and Chief Executive Officer
In addition to its expansion in Iowa—for which long-term supply agreements have been secured—Alcoa is adding automotive capacity in Alcoa, Tennessee which is scheduled to be complete in mid-2015 (earlier post); and at its joint venture rolling mill in Saudi Arabia, to be complete by the end of 2014. Alcoa is investing approximately $670 million in the three expansions.
Alcoa said that its innovations are enabling the increased use of aluminum in the automotive sector. Alcoa’s pre-treatment bonding technology, known as Alcoa 951, enables more durable bonding of aluminum components in vehicles, can reduce spot weld points, and results in lower manufacturing costs. A superior product to the previous industry standard, Alcoa has licensed the Alcoa 951 technology at the request of auto manufacturers to make it available across the industry. (Earlier post.)
Alcoa’s three expansions will incorporate, through its supply chain, the proprietary Alcoa 951 pretreatment bonding technology.