Innovation and Expertise

Case Study
Alcoa Innovation supports the growth of Quebec aluminum expertise


Supporting innovation to create wealth  


Lightweight, flexible, easy to recycle and non-corrodible, aluminum is being used for a growing number of applications. In collaboration with other businesses and some government organizations, we are focusing on innovation to develop our markets. Québec boasts world-renowned expertise in the aluminum industry, and its critical mass of operations in aluminum production, processing and research have made it a bona fide hub for this industry.


Alcoa Innovation

Alcoa Innovation which celebrated its fifth anniversary in 2013, was established by Alcoa Canada Global Primary Products in partnership with Centre de recherche industrielle du Québec (CRIQ) and Centre québécois de recherche et de développement de l’aluminium (CQRDA). Its experts support the development of innovative products based on aluminum transformation by small and medium-sized businesses in Québec.


Among the fruits of its collaboration: a dump truck for waste collection and lighter and more efficient trailer bodies, sturdier and higher-performing snowscoot snow bikes, safer bus seats and lighter bus floors! Alcoa Innovation also conducted two webinars for more than 100 participants on the future uses of aluminum in the automotive industry and on aluminum assembly methods. In addition, a review of aluminum design criteria was presented during the INALCO international conference. Alcoa Innovation also publishes a newsletter, INNOVER, (in French only), to move closer to public and industrial decision-makers.


Aluminum as a driver of mobility: a third design contest
Last year, Alco Canada launched its third industrial design competition in partnership with l’Association des designers industriels du Québec (ADIQ). After a first edition focused on the home, the winning product Sésame creative doors now being on the market, and a second edition focused on the art of the table, Primeau Designers’ balcony eating area for urbanites now making headway in its development phase, the latest design contest invited innovative concepts for transportation and people on the move, putting at full advantage aluminum’s performance, durability and nobility. These design contests, on their way to becoming classics, amalgamate Québec industrial designers’ creativity and Alcoa Innovation’s technical knowledge to develop consumer products that create value and new aluminum processing perspectives.


Aluminum industry cluster

In order to develop and share expertise and innovative applications of aluminum, and especially to double the volume of aluminum processed in Québec over the next decade, the members of the Aluminium Association of Canada, including GPP Canada, established the Québec aluminium industry cluster (QAIC) in 2012. The mission of the cluster is to bring together the various Québec organizations involved in aluminum production, usage and R&D to create a Québec synergy that will promote training, technological development . . . and processing!


Our Québec plants as benchmarks

Our Québec plants regularly welcome outside guests. From students eager to learn more about metallurgy to partners and members of the community, these visits are a great opportunity for us to showcase our facilities and highlight the expertise and passion of our people for what they do best.


Expertise: an exportable Québec resource

Alcoa Canada Global Primary Products employees enjoy a solid reputation throughout North America and beyond. Over the last few years, over 100 of our employees from Baie-Comeau, Bécancour and Deschambault have gone abroad for as long as 24 months to share best practices with their new colleagues at the Fjardaál Smelter in Iceland and at the anode plant in Mosjøen, Norway. The latter in turn came to Québec to be trained on our fully operational equipment while theirs was still being installed or tested.


The expertise or our employees is currently being applied to an industrial complex in Raz Az Zawr, Saudi Arabia. This megaproject, valued at more than $10 billion, includes a bauxite mine, an alumina refinery, a smelter and a rolling mill. Ma’aden is Alcoa’s Saudi partner in this initiative.