Aleris officially opened its aluminum automotive body sheet production facility in Lewisport, Kentucky. The $400 million project positions the company to meet significant growth in North American automotive demand as the industry pursues broader aluminum use for the production of lighter, more fuel-efficient vehicles. The facility has the capacity to produce 480 million lbs of aluminum auto body sheet annually, and shipments of these products began this month.
“The opening of our new automotive facility in Kentucky marks the completion of a significant piece of our strategic realignment, which includes expanding our capacity and capabilities to serve the automotive industry and other high value end uses,” said Sean Stack, Aleris Chairman and CEO. “As an experienced supplier to automotive manufacturers in Europe, we look forward to partnering with customers more closely now in North America to bring them the most advanced auto body sheet products in the industry.”
Lewisport is the company’s first site in North America that is equipped with aluminum auto body sheet finishing capabilities. The company has built a 350,000 sq ft addition to house the new equipment, which consists of the addition of heat treatment and finishing capabilities, including a new wide cold mill, two continuous annealing lines and an automotive innovation center.
As part of this investment project, Aleris has also opened a state-of-the-art innovation center in the Detroit, MI, area to specifically serve automotive OEMs with early development work. The company’s Automotive Commercial and R&D Technology teams work out of this facility.
“Strong customer collaboration in research and development has been a key component of our success in serving the global automotive industry, and we look forward to building on that success with this expansion in North America,” said Andreas Gondorf, vice president, Aleris Global Automotive.
“Bringing our automotive capabilities to North America represents the next major milestone in our global automotive strategy,” said Rich Hirsh, Automotive Readiness director, Aleris. “We look forward to bringing our European expertise to North America, where demand is growing significantly over the next ten years as the automotive industry turns to broader aluminum use to produce lighter weight vehicles.