Aluminum producer Aleris begins shipping automotive body sheet from its new facility in Lewisport, KY, to North American customers.
Lewisport is Aleris’ first site in North America that is equipped with aluminum auto-body sheet-finishing technology, the Cleveland-based company says in a news release. Announced in 2014, the $400 million expansion includes the addition of heat treatment and finishing capabilities, including a new wide cold mill, two continuous annealing lines and an automotive innovation center, which includes a state-of-the-art R&D center in Detroit.
“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,” Aleris Chairman and CEO Sean Stack says. “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.”
The projections for growth in demand for aluminum auto-body sheet over the next 10 years are significant, Aleris says. A recent study of North American light-vehicle aluminum content released by Ducker Worldwide finds that over the next decade, automakers will continue to increase the adoption of high-strength, lightweight aluminum in new car and truck construction at a faster pace than at any time in history.
Aleris operates 13 plants in North America, Europe and Asia, including nine rolled-aluminum products facilities in North America, most of which serve building and construction, truck-trailer and metal-distribution customers.