Aluminium is the world’s third most abundant element and a vital material in 21st century manufacturing. Here, we explain the various stages of production and outline our role in the process. We are committed to improving the overall footprint of aluminium’s life-cycle and to creating value for customers, suppliers and society.
1 - Extraction, refining and smelting
Extraction, refining and smelting are production steps which create value for raw material suppliers and local communities.
Extraction, refining and smelting can also have impacts related to biodiversity and human rights in bauxite mining, waste management in alumina refining and greenhouse gas emissions in aluminium smelting. As a buyer of slabs, billets and ingots, we have developed our own responsible purchasing policy. However, we recognize that this is not enough to cover the whole value chain. This is why we became a founding member of the Aluminium Stewardship Initiative.
2 - Casting, rolling, extrusion and component fabrication
Casting: Other metals are added to the molten aluminium to create customized alloys, and then cast into billets or slabs.
Rolling: Slabs are rolled to produce plates, sheets or coils which are then used to produce cans, car hoods or aircraft wings.
Extrusion: Billets are transformed into extruded products which can be then used in products such as Crash Management Systems.
Components fabrication: In some of our plants, we go beyond semi-fabrication and machining, and assemble complete components such as Crash Management Systems. In our plants, we work hard to mitigate the potential impact of our operations.
3 - Product design and manufacturing
R&T and production teams work to leverage aluminium’s inherent advantages which include lightness, flexibility, durability and recyclability.
C-TEC, our world-class technology center, is atthe heart of our commitment to continuous innovation. Through C-TEC, we work closely with our customers to develop, produce and deliver innovative and sustainable aluminium solutions. We also offer product design capabilities, particularly for component fabrication in our automotive structures business.
4 - Product use
Our products are used extensively in the aerospace, packaging and automotive sectors– reducing weight and improving fuel consumption in a large range of applications that enhance products and improve lives.
We have developed stable, diversified and longstanding customer relationships through which we deliver products that offer improved strength, lightness and durability. Of particular relevance to the transportation sector, our material reduces weight, thus leading to a significant reduction in CO2 emissions during use.
5 - Collecting and sorting
Recycling aluminium within the manufacturing process loop makes sense both economically and environmentally.
We have rigorous processes in place to collect and sort scrap produced at our own facilities and also offer these services to customers, creating value by reducing costs and enhancing the recycling of products into new ones. Efficient collection and sorting systems are critical for the effective recycling of end-of-life scrap and also help retain the value of the alloy in the loop.
6 - Recycling
Aluminium can be endlessly recycled to deliver new products with the same properties as the original products.
There are three sources of recycled aluminium:
Scrap produced during our processes
Scrap produced during our customers’ processes
Scrap recovered at the end of a product’s life
We recycle all of these categories, with a focus on end-of-life recycling. We believe we can further improve recycling through collaboration and partnership with all relevant stakeholders including customers, associations and research centers.