Manufacturing AUTOMATION

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New Micromill process boasts better aluminum for cars and trucks



Dec. 5, 2014 – Lightweight metals player Alcoa says its new Micromill aluminum technology will give the lightweight metal a better chance to replace steel in car doors and fenders.

While still in the testing phase, Alcoa said the process dramatically changes the microstructure of the metal, producing aluminum alloy with 40 per cent greater formability and 30 per cent greater strength than the aluminum used today, while being lighter than steel. Automakers will also benefit from reduced system and energy costs by streamlining the number of aluminum alloys used in the manufacturing process, it said.

“Alcoa Micromill represents a major breakthrough in aluminum materials,” said chair and CEO Klaus Kleinfeld. “It will allow our customers to redefine the boundaries of vehicle design, supporting the creation of lighter, more fuel efficient, safer and more stylish vehicles for the future.”

The technology has the flexibility to transition between producing rolled products for automotive, industrial and packaging markets, it added.

Company executives say the aluminum-alloy material could show up in cars by 2018.


Photos courtesy Alcoa

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— With files from The Associated Press