At the request of automakers, Alcoa Inc. is making its patented Alcoa 951 bonding process available to competitors who also supply aluminum to the auto industry.
Alcoa 951 coats aluminum to prevent corrosion and prepare the surface for adhesives. It will help automakers produce more structural load-bearing parts made of aluminum.
Novelis Inc., another major aluminum supplier, says it can use Alcoa 951 but has its own coating.
Automakers are counting on aluminum to help boost fuel economy to meet the government-mandated 54.5-mpg fleet average by 2025. Alcoa expects demand for aluminum parts to double in the next decade.
In January, at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Ford Motor Co. is expected to introduce the next-generation F-150 pickup with extensive use of aluminum in the body. Several vehicles, such as Land Rover's Range Rover, the Jaguar XKF and Audi A8, already use complete bodies -- including doors -- made of aluminum.