“We have partnered with customers in the premium automotive segment from our Duffel, Belgium facility for years to develop and produce some of the most technically advanced lightweight aluminium solutions available today,” Steve Demetriou, Aleris Chairman and CEO said.
“We are excited to bring these capabilities to our Lewisport, Kentucky facility to serve automotive customers in North America as they shift toward significantly greater aluminium use.”
The company expects to begin construction on the project this fall, with a goal of shipping automotive body sheet material to customers by early 2017. When fully operational, the new facility will allow for the production of 480 million pounds of aluminium auto body sheet annually.
The company’s investment will include the addition of heat treatment and finishing capabilities, including a new wide cold mill, two continuous annealing lines and an automotive innovation centre.
A recent study of North American light vehicle aluminium content released by Ducker Worldwide states that the use of aluminium sheet for vehicle bodies is expected to increase to 4 billion pounds by 2025, from 200 million pounds in 2012.