Novelis today announced that it will invest a further US$11.3 million to help meet growing demand for the aluminum sheet produced at its Sierre, Switzerland, rolling operation.
The project, which will add ingot preparation capacity and thus improve the flow of material through the complex, is expected to come on stream in late 2011. It will include the installation of a "scalper," used to machine the ingot surfaces prior to hot-rolling, as well as ancillary handling equipment, environmental controls and a new building to house the process.
"We are seeing strong growth in demand from our customers, particularly in the automotive sector," said Tadeu Nardocci, president of Novelis Europe and senior vice-president of Novelis Inc. "The benefits of lightweight aluminum sheet are increasingly being recognized by car manufacturers, with significant new programs already in the pipeline and solid demand forecasts. The investment announced today will help ensure that Novelis remains the leading supplier to this sector."
The announcement follows the company's investment in a state-of-the-art casthouse at the Sierre rolling mill, which was commissioned in September 2008. In addition to conventional single-alloy material, the facility produces sheet ingot using Novelis Fusion(TM) technology. This patented process enables Novelis to offer its customers multi-alloy rolled aluminum with combinations of different core properties and surface characteristics that provide performance benefits not achievable with conventional aluminum. Customers in the automotive market have led the take-up of the new technology.