14 May 2008

Advanced urban transport system in Zurich relies on Alcan lightweight technology

Alcan  Extruded  Products,  part  of  Alcan  Engineered  Products  –  a  business  unit  of  Rio Tinto Alcan – is pleased to announce the total order of 88 units for the production of car body  shells  for  the  Cobra  tram.  Following  the  successful  four-year  development  phase and testing of six pilot units of the 37-metre long vehicles, the tram units are scheduled to be delivered to the Zurich Public Transport Authorities in Switzerland by mid-2009.  

 “We are very proud that our company was able to make such a substantial contribution to the  development  and  design  of  the  popular  articulated  low-floor  trams  winding  through the streets of Switzerland’s largest city”, said Reinhard Fleer, president, Alcan Extruded Products.  “This  important  supply  contract  clearly  demonstrates  the  rail  vehicle  builders’ confidence  in  our  advanced  light  weighting  technologies  that  have  made  us  a  market leader all over the globe”, he added. The tailor-made hybrid structure of the Cobra, developed by Alcan Extruded Products for the  railcar  manufacturer  includes  high-performance  aluminium  extrusions,  aluminium panels,  sandwich  floor  and  roof  structures  as  well  as  the  three-dimensionally  shaped sidewalls  and  cockpits  made  from  fibre-reinforced  resin  at  the  vehicle’s  front  and  rear ends.  To operators, the Cobra high-tech solution also offers a great number of advantages in terms   of   economics,   sustainability   and   reduced   consumption   of   resources.   The considerable  weight-saving  due  to  the  use  of  aluminium  and  composite  materials  will result in less electricity consumption. Major  benefits  to  passengers,  apart  from  the  comfortable  low-floor  entrances,  are increased  safety  as  well  as  improved  temperature  and  acoustic  insulation  due  to  the sandwich materials used. The innovative anti-climber design of the Cobra’s front and rear cabin,  developed  in  close  cooperation  with  experts  from  the  insurance  industry, minimizes the result of an impact in the case of a collision with pedestrians. Alcan Extruded Products is a key player in Europe with a focus on specialty products for the   mass   transport   sector.   It   includes   production   facilities   in   France,   Germany, Switzerland, the Czech Republic and Slovakia.  

About Rio Tinto  

Rio Tinto is a leading international mining group headquartered in the UK, combining Rio Tinto plc, a London and NYSE listed company, and Rio Tinto Limited, which is listed on the Australian Securities Exchange. 

Rio Tinto's business is finding, mining, and processing mineral resources. Major products are  aluminium,  copper,  diamonds,  energy  (coal  and  uranium),  gold,  industrial  minerals (borax, titanium dioxide, salt, talc) and iron ore. Activities span the world but are strongly represented in Australia and North America with significant businesses in South America, Asia, Europe and southern Africa. 


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