Constellium showcases its innovative aluminium technologies at the Düsseldorf Aluminium trade fair: from vision to reality
Constellium presents the whole range of its aluminium technologies at the 2012 Aluminium trade fair from October 9 to 11 in Dusseldorf. This year’s event central theme is “visions become reality” which is a great opportunity to highlight Constellium’s innovative offer across the various markets it serves: aerospace, packaging, automotive and industry.
From weight reduction to environmental impact, all these markets are facing fast-evolving challenges which Constellium is using as drivers for innovation. Going beyond aluminium intrinsic properties (light weight, strength, formability, durability and recyclability), Constellium is today recognized as the #1 global leader in aerospace plates, general engineering plates, closure sheets and functional surfaces, as well as the European leader in ‘can body stock’ and ‘large profiles.’
“At Constellium, our mission is to unlock the potential of aluminium to provide advanced solutions to our customers.” declared Constellium Chairman and CEO, Pierre Vareille. “Our objectives are twofold whatever the sector we support: creating product leadership thanks to cutting-edge technologies and delivering excellence in operation. Innovation really is at the beating heart of everything we do.”
Manufacturers of all sectors not only need high quality materials to meet more stringent requirements, but they also count on full reliability of supply with consistent quality for high scale production. Recognizing this trend, Constellium is offering a full range of solutions specific to each sector it serves.
In the automotive sector, Constellium is expanding its Body-in-White portfolio with a large range of patented technologies. SURFALEXTM is the alloy of choice when it comes to high surface requirements including after hemming. FORMALEXTM addresses the needs for increased formability, particularly needed for specific designs, as well as complex inners. STRONGALEXTM, with increased mechanical properties enables further weight savings compared to equivalent steel options, while its stronger cousin, ULTRALEXTM can push the aluminium option into the most demanding parts of the vehicle in terms of strength, like the B Pillar. Leading OEMs are increasingly using the latest generation of our alloys for their hoods, doors, roofs, trunk lids, and fenders both for skins and inners. Constellium has also developed sophisticated extrusion-based solutions enabling its leading position as supplier for crash management systems with products such as bumpers and side impact beams.
Constellium also recently launched COREVOTM, a new aluminium foam technology which is an excellent heat exchanging medium for either liquids or gases. Constellium is the number one supplier of functional surfaces that are used for the lighting, solar, cosmetics and decoration applications. As an example of its capabilities, Constellium has developed the Solar Surface Coating System with optimal optical properties and high level of resistance to corrosion. It also resists UV radiation, temperature, solvents, acid and alkalinity for outside solar mirrors.
In the beverage can segment, Constellium’s expertise in canstock for Drawn Wall Ironing technology enabled its customer Rexam to create the aluminium FUSIONTM bottle, a highly innovative packaging alternative to glass for the drinks industry, ideal for products such as premium beers or soft drinks.
In the aerospace sector, Constellium has extended the range of its AIRWARE™ technology aimed at improving aircraft performance: AIRWARE™ I-GAUGE, AIRWARE™ I-FORM and AIRWARE™ I-CORE. Each of them have key properties which answer a challenge on specific aircraft parts. As an example, AIRWARE™ I-GAUGE offers the thickest low-density alloy plate - best suited for wing ribs and nose landing gears.
Innovation at Constellium goes beyond our products. It includes processes and services, notably recycling. Delivering on these commitments means not just harnessing the talent of Constellium’s people, but also working with customers, suppliers, research scientists and academics around the world. An essential area for innovation is sustainability. Growing a sustainable business is critical for ensuring our success in the long term. Innovation partnerships with some leading universities and research laboratories, such as the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology or the BCAST center of Brunel University in the UK, have been forged. Constellium also joined the France-based IRT cluster earlier this year and expects to realize some important developments from the group’s collaboration. Thanks to the importance given to innovation at all levels, Constellium is ahead of the curve on aluminium recycling. For example, it worked together with partners of the whole value chain to implement a closed recycling loop around its aerospace products. Constellium also recycles cans collected across Europe and supports initiatives in several countries to increase recycling rates, such as Every Can Counts®.
Recycling is a key pillar of sustainable development, along with transparency, and product stewardship. Taking these concerns into account, Constellium recently joined the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) through which it transparently discloses its carbon footprint and strategy related to climate change and environmental impact. As a founding member of the Aluminium Stewardship Initiative – along with several leading producers and users along the aluminium value-chain – which aims to create a standard for sustainable, social and environmental practices through a multi-stakeholder approach, Constellium is calling for more industry players to join. The aluminium industry and Constellium’s efforts to address its environment footprint by ramping up recycling and coalescing key stakeholders, is a prime example of how innovation must occur for a company or industry to adapt.