Aleris Opens US$400 MM Aluminium Auto Body Sheet Production Facility in NW Kentucky

Cleveland rolled aluminium firm Aleris International, Inc. opened a new, US$400-million aluminium automotive body sheet production facility at its plant in Lewisport, Kentucky earlier this month.

According to the firm’s announcement released yesterday, the Lewisport plant is an effort by the company to capitalize on the current and expected continued growth of aluminium demand in the automotive sector.

Sean Stack, Aleris Chairman and CEO, says the new facilities place the firm in a strong position for servicing the growing demand for automotive aluminium in North America.

“The opening of our new automotive facility in Kentucky marks the completion of a significant piece of our strategic realignment, which includes expanding our capacity and capabilities to serve the automotive industry and other high value end uses. As an experienced supplier to automotive manufacturers in Europe, we look forward to partnering with customers more closely now in North America to bring them the most advanced auto body sheet products in the industry.”

The plant, which began shipping materials earlier this month, is the product of a project begun in 2014. The just-completed expansion features heat treatment and finishing capabilities, including a new wide cold mill, two continuous annealing lines, and an automotive innovation center.

Aleris Global Automotive vice president Andreas Gondorf identified cooperation with automotive industry clients as the crux of his firm’s success in the sector to date.

“Strong customer collaboration in research and development has been a key component of our success in serving the global automotive industry, and we look forward to building on that success with this expansion in North America.”

The facilities in question join the company’s 8 existing rolled-aluminium products facilities on the continent. Most of the existing facilities cater to clients in the building and construction, truck-trailer, and metal distribution sectors.

Ranked by Forbes as one of the United States’ largest privately-held companies, Aleris was founded in the Cleveland suburb of Beechwood, Ohio when Commonwealth Industries, Inc. and IMCO Recycling Inc. merged in late 2004. The company produces aluminium rolled and extruded products, recycled aluminium, and specification aluminium alloy manufacturing in its fourteen plants held in three business units in North America, Europe, and China. Aleris employed over 6,500 individuals as of 2010. Among the industries it serves are aerospace, automotive, defense, building and construction, transportation, packaging, and consumer goods.

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