It seems we timed it right with an ‘Automotive’ feature this issue, because the launch of Ford’s aluminium-intensive F-150 has jump-started the market (no pun intended).
With this huge growth potential, the news pages are dotted with investments and expansions. It makes a change to be sifting through so much good news and hopefully it will only continue to get better.
To get to grips with what this could mean for the industry, I met with Dr Geoff Scamans from Innoval Technology, to discuss the investments being made in rolling mills, heat treatment and finishing lines and whether the aluminium industry is up to the challenge. There is also an article on how the latest car designs reflect the growing power of aluminium.
This all ties in nicely with the feature on ‘Rolling’, which starts by addressing the market requirements for aluminium flat rolled products.
Finally, a dedicated feature on ‘Analysis & Testing’ takes a look at reducing line downtime and thermal imaging in metal processing.
I’m sure you will have also noticed that Aluminium International Today is celebrating its 25th Birthday! I’m happy to accept any cards or presents on its behalf...
Nadine Firth, Editor
A New Year signifies change and we have taken that on board here at Quartz Business Media with a new editor.
Matthew Moggridge has moved onto Steel Times International, while Nadine Firth joins Aluminium International Today from Glass International.
You shouldn’t notice too many changes inside the magazine, but we are always interested to hear what changes you would like to see, so don’t hesitate to get in touch.
This issue starts as we mean to go on and is full of articles that highlight the current trends in the international aluminium industry and the latest innovation and developments. With a large focus on recycling, Nadine Firth spoke with Marco Palmieri, Senior Vice President and President, Novelis North America, about the current state of the industry, the products driving demand and the plans in place for the company to reach its recycling goal of 80% by 2020.
Carrying on this theme, a feature on sustainability looks at what aluminium can learn from other sectors. The full version of this article can be found here.
Other features include: Mining and refining, primary, rolling and extrusion. There is also a detailed feature that focuses on the transport and handling of aluminium, with case studies from Combilift and KEOPS.
The last issue of 2013 carries two exclusive interviews with senior players in the global aluminium industry. First is an interview, conducted in Abu Dhabi, with the CEO of Emirates Aluminium (Emal). Saeed Al Mazrooei believes that reducing the environmental impact of aluminium production is the key driver for all future smelter development, adding that Emal has worked on a pilot scheme to capture CO2 and convert it into energy. Where the environment, health and safety are concerned, Emal is making plenty of headway, ticking boxes in areas as diverse as celebrating the role of women in the smelter's development through to being recognised for its commitment to workplace safety, preserving local vegetation and enabling turtles to lay eggs on the beach adjacent to the smelter. "Safety is a journey you never stop," Al Mazrooei said.
In the USA, Alcoa's chief technology officer, Ray Kilmer, has plenty of positive things to say about the miracle metal. Aluminium International Today travelled to Pittsburgh to meet Ray at the Alcoa Technical Centre where aluminium's role in virtually everything was discussed including the well-known 'steel versus aluminium' argument. "If steel is going to compete with aluminium on a weight basis, it will have to rely upon dual-phase, high-strength steels," said Ray, adding that while steel still makes sense for floorboards and rocker panels on automobiles, but will need to be super-strong and super-thin. The problem, he added, was that when steel is made so thin it loses its stiffness. "For the same weight, you can get three times the stiffness from an aluminium application," he said.
Aluminium International Today was also in Geneva, attending Metal Bulletin's 28th International Aluminium Conference where Panthea Geramishoar, a senior expert in the non-ferrous metals department of IMIDRO (Iranian Mines & Mining Industries Development & Renovation Organisation) discussed Iran's aluminium industry. Iran is the world's 18th largest economy and the country offers an abundance of cheap energy and access to 300 million people in the Caspian, Persian Gulf and Far East markets.
Our technical features this month focus upon grain refinement, rolling and furnaces and there's also our annual furnaces buyers' guide.
Last but not least is our regular Perspectives Q&A. This time round we persuaded Alex Lowery, general manager of Wise Chem to answer our difficult and penetrating questions.