Hydro Extrusions is investing NOK 300 million (EUR 29 million) to expand its plant in Tønder, Denmark, with the installation of a new state-of-the-art extrusion press. The expansion project will enable the company to better serve the European automotive and electric vehicle market.
“The Tønder plant is an important part of our automotive network, supplying European carmakers with high-end and safety-critical components,” said Bruno D’hondt, vice president of Hydro’s Extrusion Europe business unit.”We are expecting rapid growth in the automotive industry’s use of extruded aluminium components in the coming years. This is in line with our strategy of lifting profitability and driving sustainability in our automotive business.”
Sustainable Aluminum for Automotive
Aluminum has been the material of choice for automotive components, such as structural and safety-critical parts, for years. This is due to its favorable strength-to-weight ratio, which has contributed to keeping the weight of the vehicle low enough to achieved the desired driving range. In addition, aluminum’s ability to absorb energy has made extruded profiles the best choice for crash management applications. These characteristics are even more important with the current electrification trend in the automotive industry.
By electrifying their vehicles, carmakers are removing carbon emissions from the use phase of vehicles. But there is still the challenge of removing emissions from the vehicle’s full life cycle, including the materials used in production. The carbon footprint of aluminum components is low if the aluminum is produced with renewable energy or recycled, and when the extrusion process and machining operations are powered by renewable energy.
Hydro Extrusions serves the automotive industry from a network of specialized plants across Europe. The Tønder extrusion plant serves automotive Tier-1 suppliers and automotive OEMs along with industrial customers. The plant is also well suited to provide sustainable solutions to the automotive market, as it sources low-carbon and recycled aluminum from Hydro and has direct access to Hydro RESTORE recycled aluminum produced at the Sjunnen recycling operation in Sweden. The entire production process in Tønder, including extrusion and fabrication, is based on renewable hydropower from Sweden.
The new 12-inch, 6000-tonne extrusion press fits in with these sustainability measures by using the latest technology on the market, ensuring that its energy consumption will be low. The press will mainly serve automotive customers, adding production capacity and the capability to produce extrusions with larger cross-sections. In particular, the press will be used to extrude components for electrical vehicles and hybrids. Examples of extruded automotive components include battery frame applications, crash management systems, such as bumper beams and crash boxes, as well as side sill inserts, side beams, and longitudinal beams.
At the adjacent fabrication center, the profiles from the new press will be fabricated to advanced components that meet the strict requirements from automotive customers.
The investment at the extrusion plant will also create approximately 40 new jobs, adding to the current 300 employees at the plant. “The Tønder plant was built in 1975, and now that the 50-year anniversary is approaching, we are happy to invest for the future and create new jobs,” said D’hondt. “The Danish team has an excellent track record over many years, and with this investment we expect continued excellence from the team.”
Hydro expects to extrude the first billet from the new press in mid-2024.