Constellium SE celebrated the restart of its upgraded 144-inch cold rolling mill at its facility in Ravenswood, West Virginia. The modernization project was aimed at improving the capabilities and reliability of the mill in support of defense applications.
The Ravenswood facility is a leader in defense aluminum production, supplying a broad portfolio of rolled products to the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) and its partners. With access to R&D capabilities and one of the premier aluminum plate lines in North America, Constellium is well positioned to develop and engineer advanced, high-performance armor solutions.
Cold rolling is a process that compresses and elongates aluminum plate, improving its flatness and surface characteristics and adding additional strength to the finished plate. In 2018, a DOD Interagency Task Force report identified cold rolled aluminum plate as “essential for armoring U.S. ground combat vehicles, constructing Navy ships, and building military aircraft.”
Ravenswood was awarded nearly $9.5 million in funding in 2019 by the DOD under the Industrial Base Analysis and Sustainment (IBAS) program to increase throughput, quality, and performance of cold rolled aluminum. The funding enabled Constellium to initiate a program to modernize its 1950s era mill. The recently completed restart marks the completion of the first phase of the project, which involved a complete teardown of the mill to upgrade its mechanical, electrical, hydraulic, and process control systems.
“This achievement was made possible by our partnership with the IBAS program and the Department of Defense,” commented Buddy Stemple, CEO of Constellium Rolled Products, Ravenswood. “It will enable us to produce higher performance and higher quality plate in the volumes needed by the DOD over the next decade.”
The restart of the cold rolling mill was celebrated in the presence of Senator Shelley Moore Capito and Jesse Salazar, the deputy assistant secretary of Defense for Industrial Policy. “Aluminum is an essential material not only for the production of defense systems but also nearly every sector in the industrial base: aerospace, transportation, electronics, ship building, and food and beverage, just to name a few,” said Salazar. “The restart of the Ravenswood mill adds a new dimension to the supply chain for America’s defense industry, and I am proud of the Ravenswood team for their commitment to our national and economic security.”
With the first phase completed, the Ravenswood team will now focus on the development of prototype manufacturing processes and cold rolled mill products that will be enabled by the advanced capabilities of the upgraded mill.