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Alcoa to Expand North American Aluminum Sheet Production

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May 7, 2013—Fabricated aluminum producer Alcoa recently announced a major North American expansion to meet the growing demand for light, durable and recyclable aluminum sheet metal for automotive production.

Alcoa will invest $275 million over the next three years to expand its rolling mill in Alcoa, Tenn. The goal is to support automotive manufacturers’ plans to use more aluminum sheet in order to increase vehicle fuel efficiency, safety, durability and performance. Klaus Kleinfeld, chairman and CEO of Alcoa, said auto manufacturers are expected to quadruple use of aluminum by 2015. He anticipates a tenfold increase by 2025.

During the expansion project, Alcoa will also convert some of the plant's can sheet capacity to high-strength automotive aluminum capacity.

Alcoa said the project will incorporate its proprietary "Alcoa 951" pre-treatment bonding technology, which enables adhesive bonding of automotive structures and facilitates more cost-effective, mass production of aluminum-intensive vehicles. The “Alcoa 951” technology has become the new pre-treatment bonding standard for aluminum sheet, extrusion and casting suppliers throughout the automotive industry.

"Our technology solutions are helping to drive the continued penetration of aluminum into the automotive market," said Ray Kilmer, executive vice president and chief technology officer for Alcoa. "We are enabling not just increased penetration, but we are working with OEMs to do it cost effectively in high-volume automotive applications, which necessitates our automotive expansions."

The expansion will begin this month, and is scheduled to be completed by 2015. The plant will add roughly 200 full-time jobs upon completion.

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