Leading figures from the British automotive industry will discuss the growing demand for aluminum at the Aluminium in Road Transport Conference to be held November 11-12 at the Thinktank Science Museum in Birmingham, U.K. Organized by ALFED (the Aluminium Federation), the event will feature an evening banquet and a tour of the Jaguar Land Rover plant in Solihull.
Until recently, aluminum has only been used in mechanical components in cars, with all-aluminum vehicle bodies being the preserve of high end or specialist vehicles. That’s changing as mass-market models begin to utilize the recyclable material in chassis and bodies.
The two-day conference will build on the previous year’s successful gathering with more than 100 delegates due to attend each day from OEM companies including Jaguar Land Rover, Morgan, and Toyota. This year’s event will also see Lotus attend for the first time and Mike Hawes, CEO of the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), will chair a key session about manufacturers’ race to lighten the weight of vehicles with lightweight materials such as aluminum.
As part of the event program, sessions will cover a variety of topics, including: commercial, economic, and material supply and demand; emerging technologies; vehicle strategies; sustainability; and innovation. “The conference comes at a great time with the industry working hard to cut emissions, with lightweighting right at the top of their strategies to do so,” said David Bailey, a professor at Aston University, who will be delivering a keynote speech on the big drivers of change in the auto industry. “That means more use of lighter materials like aluminum and composites alongside the huge effort to develop more fuel efficient engines and to bring in hybrids and electric vehicles. The shift by JLR into focusing on aluminum here in the region is one example of that, alongside many other local examples.”
Among the many excellent speakers is Prof. Geoff Scamans of Brunel University and Innoval Technology, who has long promoted, under the banner of “Cans to Cars”, an approach for turning scrap aluminum into state-of-the-art cars. “It really is an exciting time for the adoption of aluminum wrought products in automotive,” he said. “With Jaguar Land Rover having demonstrated what is possible with the Jaguar XE, we will be developing recycling processes to make aluminum sheet for more affordable cars. I’m really looking forward to discussing the journey so far and where we are heading in terms of applying novel scrap recycling and refining technology to aluminum automotive sheet and extrusion production and how this has been directly supported in the UK by both the EPSRC, Innovate UK, and in the EU through FP7 funding.”
Supply chain companies, material specialists, process engineers, and service companies will be represented at the event, which will provide an excellent opportunity for OEMs, aluminum manufacturers, Tier suppliers, and recyclers to network and discuss the growing demand for aluminum in the automotive industry.
For further information: alfed.org.uk.
Lead Image: The Jaguar XE is the only vehicle
in its class to use an aluminum-intensive monocoque
structure. (Photo courtesy of Jaguar Land Rover.)