For many years the biggest end-use market for aluminium has been the transportation sector. More than a quarter of all aluminium is used in the transport sector. Originally indispensable for its lightweight for the aerospace industry, aluminium is now widely used in cars, buses, coaches, lorries, trains, ships, ferries, aircraft and bicycles.
The aluminium industry supports the need to develop cleaner and more sustainable means of transportation. It stands ready to meet new challenges: customer demand for improved safety and comfort, stricter environmental legislation and public concern for environmentally friendly transportation and international competition.
Forecast Aluminium Usage in Transportation
The aluminium industry is active in developing a new range of light-weight products in collaboration with the transportation sector. The use of aluminium in automotive applications is expected to double in the next decade.
Economics of Aluminium Usage
In order to achieve the environmental targets, aluminium is increasingly the choice material, used for single parts such as airbag containers or chassis parts, and ranging up to an entire aluminium body. The increase in cost and price for using aluminium in car production is soon compensated for the customers by significant fuel savings.
Recycling Aluminium Vehicle Components
The aluminium industry contributes towards increased recycling of transportation products: for decades, the recycling of end of life vehicles is significantly financed through the high value of the aluminium scrap.
Aluminium as Part of the Solution
Aluminium is key to providing solutions to the challenges facing the transportation sector. Its ecological impact is favourable: using aluminium means lower fuel consumption, reduced emissions and reduced demand for raw materials since a high proportion of end of life products are recycled. Its use also increases safety (lower mass means shorter distance to brake), comfort (through low unsprung masses) and economy.
Reduced Fuel Consumption
Lower energy consumption and gas emissions through reduced weight: extensive use of aluminium can result in up to 300 kg weight reduction in a medium size vehicle (1400kg). For every 100 kg reduction in the automotive sector, there is a cut of 0.3 to 0.6 litres per 100 km in fuel consumption leading to 20% lower exhaust gas emissions and proportionally reduced operating costs. Moreover, in the transportation industry, the use of aluminium parts allows truck payload increases within the maximum vehicle weight and reduces the number of trips needed.
Fabrication Advantages And Weight Savings
Aluminium in vehicles increases safety: aluminium is not only light but also strong. Aluminium eliminates joints since it allows hollow extrusions (replacing a typical two shell sheet design) to be made, so improving overall rigidity and safety. The use of aluminium also improves road holding due to its lower centre of gravity and reduced mass, improves energy absorption during a crash and shortens braking distances.
Aluminium offers unique recycling possibilities: aluminium can be repeatedly recycled without quality loss. Its high scrap value ensures reclamation and recycling: 95% of aluminium in cars is currently collected and recycled and accounts for over 50% of the material value of a vehicle at the end of its life.
Why The Transportation Industry Embraces the Use of Aluiminium
The transport market is divided into four sectors: automotive, public, sea and air transport. Energy-saving design and unparalleled recyclability have lead to an increased use of aluminium in these sectors. The aluminium industry is responsible for stimulating important technological breakthroughs in order to promote the environmental benefits of aluminium.
Aluminium Provides Environmental Solutions For Public Transportation
The aluminium industry is responsible for researching and producing new body shells for high-speed trains, trams, buses, underground and regional trains in consultation with its customers in that sector. Energy saving, light weight and design flexibility are paramount criteria.
Aluminium Is Essential To Weight-Critical Structures For Aeroplanes And Fast-Ferries
Thanks to aluminium large aeroplanes exist. The aluminium industry is also working to extend the use of aluminium from ferry types to cargo vessels, increasing their speed and environmental friendliness.
The Aluminium Industry Invests In The Development Of New, Environmentally-Friendly Cars
Aluminium car body structures and panels, safety systems, suspension parts and many other new applications have been created. As a result, up to 50% weight reduction can be achieved if aluminium parts are used. Many solutions are the result of new, innovative production methods, such as new casting technologies