Auto Lightweighting to Push Aluminum Companies' Innovation

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Continued from Part One.

In the video below, Heidi Biggs Brock of the Aluminum Association suggests that lightweighting may lead other producers to innovate their offerings:

The tussle between the steel and aluminum industry over their respective places in supplying the automotive sector is far from over, but has only just begun.

“However you want to measure it, the steel industry is roughly 9 times bigger than the aluminum industry,” said Richard Schultz, managing director of Ducker Worldwide’s automotive materials practice at Aluminum Week 2012 in Chicago.

The only way Ducker’s optimistic forecast for automotive-grade aluminum gets pushed toward the downside case is if the steel industry out-innovates aluminum in the next few years, he said.

Ducker is mainly pointing towards stronger alloys, both in steel and aluminum sectors, to compete on the material specs area, as well as the innovations used to weld the metal together. “The joining technology is where I’d put my money moving forward,” Schultz said.

exact aluminum prices on MetalMiner IndXRandall Scheps, director of ground transportation for Alcoa and chairman of the Aluminum Association’s automotive group, echoed Schultz’s views on alloys, saying that there’s increased interest in higher recycled content and increasing the alloys we have with a greater scrap component and higher-strength alloys.

Alloys that are more pedestrian-impact-friendly are gaining a lot of traction in Europe, along with a greater interest in lifecycle CO2.

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