After four long years of dormancy, the well known ALUMINIUM trade fair woke to an industry in a frenzy. With the growing demand, applications, sustainability, innovations, and of course, challenges; it is somewhat compulsory for the industry to feel the full spectrum of emotions in response to the single word: Aluminium.

Returning to the black rubber floors and elaborate stands presented the visitors with a strong sense of power, the industry has grown. Despite the pandemic, the industry has evolved. Despite moving to remote communication and online shows, despite countries having to shut down. We are strong. But then came politics and war, igniting woes of inflation, supply and energy.

Image below: Paul Voss, Director General and Kelly Roegies Manager of Communications for European Aluminium

The opening conference made sure to address the energy crisis, Benedictine Binder-Krieglstein, CEO RX Austria & Germany called for “politicians to act”, and noted that “unfortunately invitations sent to politicians were declined”, but one. And Robert Habeck, Vice Chancellor of Germany, only reiterated that the most important aspect is “tackling the energy crisis.”

The threat to the industry became clear as Rob Van Gils, President Aluminium Deutschland/CEO and Managing Partner Hammerer Aluminium Industries spoke: “It is an honour to be here and speak at the ALUMINIUM 22 Trade Fair. The Developments in the energy market are very concerning for both Europe and Germany. We must not let this happen, we must not let aluminium, this fantastic material, leave Germany.” This was the first mention of the real threat to industry in Germany, and Europe, but it was certainly not the last. Paul Voss, Director General of European Aluminium, reiterated that this topic is “a topic that people don’t want to talk about” but is one that needs to happen. Mr Voss compared his fairly new role to “fixing an aeroplane whilst flying it, and by the way, the airport is on fire.” I think this is a relatable story.

The need for “solidarity across the value chain”, as stated by Paul Voss, is key to the success of the industry. Being able to communicate to policy makers and governors as well as clients is key for the industries success.

Zahra Awan has been following up with companies who exhibited and attended the ALUMINIUM 22 trade fair on their view and response to the Energy Crisis. Keep an eye out on this editorial, which will feature in the Nov/Dec issue of Aluminium International Today.

The event also saw hope for the future, as companies were reminded to keep ‘one eye open to the future’. With deals being made, for example: ASAS’s order with the SMS group. ASAŞ Alüminyum announced that it is investing in extrusion technology from SMS group to produce profile sizes that currently cannot be produced in Europe. ASAŞ has been relying on SMS group's expertise for many years and has ordered two new aluminium m extrusion lines. The plants to be supplied comprise a 150 MN extrusion and tube line, as well as a 45 MN HybrEx® line.

Hydro also announced that it has invested Billions in making its aluminium more sustainable. Since becoming Hydro’s CEO in May 2019, Hilde Merete Aasheim has been repeating one key message regarding the direction of the company: Lifting profitability, driving sustainability.

Hydro has followed up with back-to-back years of strong profitability and many future oriented investments aimed at improving the sustainability of its operations in the aluminium business. "Aluminium is a key material for the green transition. Hydro expects the demand for ‘near zero’ aluminium to grow much faster than the overall market demand growth. We are investing heavily in our operations with the aim of fulfilling the ambition of aluminium production with net-zero emissions,” says Ms Aasheim.

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Assan Aluminyum also held a press conference where Goksal Gongor, General Manager celebrated the company’s “50th Anniversary,” and discussed their core “sustainable values, ESG and their new program to support women’s empowerment.” They also announce their plans to expand to North America.

As well as a booth, Aluminium International Today have also collaborated with ALUMINIUM 22 in its Innovations Plaza: Digital and Additive Manufacturing. The goal of the three day conference is to discuss modern, Industry 4.0 inspired solutions to challenges faced across the industry. Make sure to visit Hall 5 for more on this topic, presented to you by Nadine Bloxsome, Membership & Sustainability Manager and Editor of Aluminium International Today.

The event will continue onto day three on Thursday 29th September. Make sure to find out move via the link below, and visit the Aluminium international team in Hall 5 Stand M42-10.