Novelis, Inc. has been supplying the automotive industry for more than 40 years, with its aluminum sheet products being featured in more than 225 different vehicle models, such as the Nissan Rogue, Jaguar I-Pace, and Jeep Wrangler, among others.
The company supports the automotive market through the development of closed-loop recycling programs and innovative development research to introduce new applications, such as an aluminum sheet battery enclosure solution.
Maintaining its focus on innovation, Novelis recently partnered with Constellium to launch Alumobility, a non-profit organization focused on providing innovative implementation-ready solutions to advance the adoption of aluminum automotive body sheet.
The company is continuing its commitment to the automotive market with the introduction of a new high strength alloy for aluminum sheet. It is also expanding its operations in the U.S. and China in order to be able to continue to meet customer demand.
New High Strength Alloy
Novelis unveiled Novelis Advanz™ 7UHS-s701, a technologically advanced, ultra-high-strength aluminum sheet material designed for the global automotive industry.
“The s701 technology represents the future of high-strength material in automotive applications and offers a clear alternative to the most advanced high-strength steel products,” said Philippe Meyer, senior vice president and chief technology officer, Novelis Inc. “Aluminum is already the material of choice for lightweighting, and now we are offering a solution that helps automakers design even safer, lighter and better performing vehicles.”
Advanz 7UHS-s701 allows down gauging in applications already using aluminum and offers further lightweighting possibilities. In addition, the product offers lightweighting potential of up to 40% over existing ultra-high strength, hot-formed steel solutions. It is designed for safety-critical structural applications in passenger vehicles that require high in-service strengths such as A and B pillar reinforcements and side impact door beams. Commercial and electric vehicles will also benefit from using this material, as it offers a significant mass reduction to enable increased payload and longer battery range, while still meeting all crash, loading and overall design requirements.
Critically important to automotive designers and engineers, the alloy is compatible with hot stamping processes. In fact, Novelis is actively working with hot stampers and technology partners, such as TELOS Global, to further facilitate rapid aluminum adoption.
“We have been co-developing targeted hot formed application solutions using Advanz 7UHS-s701 for some time now, delivering greater economic value through increased levels of mass reduction while meeting critical safety requirements,” said Rick Teague, CEO of TELOS Global. “Launching this product into the market will now give automakers even more flexibility to engineer highly efficient, multi-material structures.”
Greenfield Facility in Kentucky Starts Operation
Although an official opening ceremony has not been announced, Novelis reported in its Q3 fiscal year 2021 results that its $300 million greenfield automotive finishing plant in Guthrie, Kentucky, shipped its first customer coils in December 2020. The company broke ground on the new facility in 2018.
The 400,000 sq ft facility includes heat treatment and pre-treatment lines, which prepare aluminum for use in vehicle parts such as body-in-white, hoods, doors, lift gates, and fenders. It has an annual nameplate capacity of 200,000 tonnes.
Novelis has been making aluminum in Kentucky for 34 years. With the addition of its new Guthrie facility, Novelis will expand its operations in Kentucky from two to three locations. The other two facilities include the company’s Berea recycling facility and Logan Aluminum, Inc. (jointly owned by Tri-Arrows Aluminum), an integrated rolling faciliing serving the beverage can, automotive and specialty markets.
Expansion Planned in China
On February 4th, Novelis signed an MOU with the Zhenjiang Jingkou Industrial Zone, to invest approximately $300 million to expand its automotive aluminum capabilities and recycling operations at its plant in Zhenjiang City, Jiangsu Province, China. The investment will include expanding its hot mill, adding a cold mill, and establishing the first automotive closed-loop recycling system in the country.
In addition, with the recent investment in its Customer Solution Center and R&D Facility in Shanghai, Novelis will be able to better provide customers with technical expertise to accelerate the development of new and innovative automotive aluminum applications.
“Asia is an important strategic market for Novelis and we are very pleased to sign an MOU with the Zhenjiang Jingkou Industrial Zone,” said James Liu, managing director of Novelis China, and vice president, Automotive, Novelis Asia. “With support from the Chinese government, Novelis can build an integrated production system that includes casting, rolling, and recycling in order to provide lightweight aluminum solutions to automotive customers. Also, with our state of the art Customer Solution Center and R&D Center, we will be able to respond even faster to the market and help customers develop the next generation of innovative, mobility solutions.”
The project is expected to break ground towards mid year 2021 and upon completion will create a fully integrated supply chain for its automotive customers, from coil production to heat treatment to recycling. This signals Novelis’ commitment to supporting the Asian automotive market, which is forecast to grow to one-third of global auto demand by 2025.