Novelis Inc. is putting its new automotive aluminum recycling line through final testing to reuse scrap from customer Ford Motor Co.
The company has spent $50 million at its aluminum plant in Oswego, N.Y., to process the scrap, said Tom Boney, general manager of automotive for Novelis North America.
As much as 35 to 40 percent of aluminum is lost to scrappage during the automaker's stamping, blanking and slitting operations, according to Novelis. To recycle that aluminum, Ford improved operations in Dearborn, Mich., and Kansas City, Mo. -- where the company will produce its aluminum-bodied 2015 F-150 pickup -- to separate and store various aluminum alloys.
In turn, Novelis designed a truck fleet that can deliver aluminum sheet, then return the scrap to the Oswego plant, which melts it down and reuses it. "It's a pretty intricate dance," Boney said. "It maximizes the value of the alloys and gives us the environmental benefits of recycling."
Novelis is wrapping up work on its recycling line as Ford readies production of the aluminum-bodied F-150. Novelis and rival Alcoa are supplying aluminum for that truck.
And both suppliers have spent heavily to expand aluminum sheet production to keep up with demand. Novelis, for example, has announced $500 million worth of improvements to its Oswego plant and other operations.
Novelis expects to produce 260,000 tons of automotive aluminum in North America this year, up from 50,000 tons in 2013.
Production is expected to rise to 365,000 tons in 2015 as Novelis supplies aluminum for the F-150 and other vehicles.
Boney expects 70 percent of pickups produced in North America to have aluminum bodies by 2025, as automakers reduce vehicle weight to meet tougher federal fuel economy targets.
Other vehicles will get more aluminum, too. By 2025, Novelis expects 85 percent of all vehicle hoods and 45 percent of doors will be aluminum.