“Alcoa Maintains Aerospace Push With Opening Of New Aluminum-Lithium Alloy Manufacturing Facility” – Forbes, 8 October 2014

Alcoa has now firmly established itself as a manufacturer of not only aluminum, but various lightweight metals as well.

After opening a nickel-based alloy engine part manufacturing facility in Indiana; investing in a Virginia facility that will generate nickel-based alloy jet engine blades; and recently signing a deal with jet engine parts manufacturer Firth Rixson to produce parts that use nickel, titanium, and aluminum-lithium alloys, Alcoa has now opened another Indiana-based facility that will manufacture aluminum-lithium alloy parts for the aerospace industry.

Alcoa chose to shift its focus because it doesn’t want to solely rely upon aluminum, since the aluminum market has been struggling with weak demand and overcapacity. While it looks like the aluminum market is picking up again, China’s growing aluminum production and growing exports of semi-manufactured products is now stunting the market. Alcoa has chosen to diversify by concentrating on alloys, which are cheaper, improve fuel efficiency, and curb maintenance fees. Overall, a better option for the aerospace industry, instead of titanium and composites.

Alcoa is ramping up its investments in lightweight metals and alloys: the company has contracted $100 million in aluminum-lithium manufacturing for 2017. For 2014, Alcoa has predicted an eight to nine percent growth in its aerospace sector. Alcoa is banking on the aerospace industry continuing to grow, and indeed it is. The demand for regional jets will increase by 13.2 percent in 2014, while the large commercial jet sector will increase by 12.1 percent in 2014.

Moving into the aerospace industry is a smart step for the aluminum mogul. In 2014, the company made a $4 billion profit from the industry, or 17 percent of Alcoa’s entire revenue for that year. Now that aerospace is set to grow, Alcoa is set to grow with it.

More about Alcoa:
After 125 years, Alcoa looks beyond aluminum
Alcoa, Novelis face new competition as aluminum gains in auto segment
Alcoa & Boeing Form Aluminum Recycling Program
Alcoa Posts a Jump in Net Profit

Developed and Written by Dr. Subodh Das and Tara Mahadevan

October 8, 2014

Phinix LLC

Copyright 2014. All rights Reserved by Phinix, LLC.

www.phinix.net    skdas@phinix.net

Social Share Toolbar

“After 125 years, Alcoa looks beyond aluminum” – ETAuto.com, 29 June 2014

Alcoa was established in the US in 1888, and since then has become the third largest producer of aluminum in the world. The company has become a primary manufacturer for aerospace and automotive parts, recently striking a deal with jet engine parts manufacturer Firth Rixson to create parts that use nickel, titanium, and aluminum-lithium alloys, rather than primary aluminum. Alcoa’s diversification is the company’s attempt at dodging the current primary aluminum market, which is struggling with weak demand and overcapacity.

via Wall Street Journal

via Wall Street Journal

The company is slowly rebranding itself as a manufacturer of various lightweight metals. This past May, Alcoa opened a $100 million facility in Indiana that will manufacture nickel-based alloy engine parts. Alcoa is slated to invest $25 million in a Virginia-based facility that will also mostly generate nickel-based alloy jet engine blades. Alcoa’s expansion has helped their stock grow over 80 percent since last year.

Aluminum will never leave Alcoa, and its use is only becoming more important in the US. Obama’s 2010 mandate to double new-car average fuel economies by 2025 has forced large US car manufacturers, like GM and Ford, to opt for aluminum rather than steel. In the past, aluminum has been used in manufacturing wheels, engines, and hoods of cars, but now the US car industry is moving to all-aluminum bodied cars.

Developed and Written by Dr. Subodh Das and Tara Mahadevan

July 2, 2014

Phinix LLC

Copyright 2013. All rights Reserved by Phinix, LLC.

www.phinix.net    skdas@phinix.net

Social Share Toolbar

The ARPA-E 2014 Energy Innovation Summit

Screen shot 2014-03-05 at 3.08.09 PMThe ARPA-E Energy Innovation Summit was held last week, February 24-26, in Washington DC. The goal of the summit was to create a space where thought leaders—from academia, business and government—can discuss innovative solutions to current energy issues. Phinix had a booth at the summit.

Phinix was recently awarded a contract by ARPA-E for Phinix’s project RE-12. RE-12 aims to provide a cleaner, more sustainable manufacturing solution for recovering magnesium and aluminum-magnesium alloys.

Current extraction and recovery processes for magnesium alloys are expensive and environmentally unfriendly. Premium and high demand applications of these processes—in areas like aluminum beverage cans, automotive and marine applications, and titanium manufacturing—all require high-purity alloys to manufacture their various components. Consequently, the majority of these alloys are produced from pure, expensive, energy-intensive primary aluminum and magnesium, instead of recycling materials.

Phinix is looking for partners and investors to scale up and commercialize the process.

Developed and Written by Dr. Subodh Das and Tara Mahadevan

February 28, 2014

Phinix LLC

Copyright 2013. All rights Reserved by Phinix, LLC.

www.phinix.net    skdas@phinix.net

Social Share Toolbar

“Fuel-Efficiency Rules Are Already Raising Costs in Detroit” – Wall Street Journal, 22 January 2014

Even though GM and Chrysler have paid off their auto-bailout loans, they are still under the thumb of Uncle Sam; elements of Obama’s Climate Action Plan do not only extend towards power plants, but automakers as well. According to the Climate Action Plan, car companies’ products have to average 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025. This, however, requires huge design changes that are going to be a big blow to profit margins.

America’s best-selling vehicle, the Ford F150, is getting a complete redesign. from the inside out. It will be the first truck and large-volume vehicle to have an all-aluminum body, which will lower its weight and increase its fuel efficiency. Obama’s Climate Action Plan requires full-size trucks to have a better fuel efficiency, up to 30 mpg from the current 20 mpg.

Switching to aluminum, though better for the environment, is an expensive move. As we reported last month, converting to aluminum means higher material costs and new manufacturing machinery. While the price tag is high, Ford can’t fight the new regulations, and is instead doing all it can to effectively market the innovation behind its newly redesigned products, the F150 and Mustang—the latter redesign offers a never-before-seen turbocharged four-cylinder engine. Each sale of the redesigned F150 contributes an additional $10,000 to Ford’s bottom line.

GM, on the other hand, is creating a whole new midsize truck to meet Obama’s requirements, which they believe will be less costly. Chrysler, instead, is spending more on nine-speed transmissions and diesel engines.

Obama had hoped that the market for electric cars would increase; as a bid in that direction, an element of the Climate Action Plan allows automakers to acquire mpg credits for manufacturing zero-emission vehicles. However, the demand for electric vehicles is still low, proving that that kind of car is still a niche product. Pricing for electric cars start at $40,000 and only increase from there.

While it is always painful to have a winner and loser, the “materials selection war” (steel vs. aluminum) is a long-term societal consideration and climate change mitigation, where aluminum is the ultimate winner. These trends will force America to increase the recycling of post-consumer aluminum products—as opposed to landfill and scrap export—and to also increase the design and manufacturing of recycle-friendly alloys.

There is simply not enough expensive and energy-intensive primary aluminum capacity available to meet higher aluminum demand of 100 million, and growing, cars per year.

See also:
Will All-Aluminum Cars Drive Metals Industry?
A Clean Car Boom
GM Planning Strict Diet for New Pickup Trucks

Developed and Written by Dr. Subodh Das and Tara Mahadevan

February 12, 2014

Phinix LLC

Copyright 2013. All rights Reserved by Phinix, LLC.

www.phinix.net    skdas@phinix.net

Social Share Toolbar