Alcoa Automotive Blog
Tuesday, November 26, 2013
Repair of Aluminum in Automotive
Aluminum is the number two most used material in cars and already is used in approximately 40% of all hoods and deck lids. Therefore there’s already a great deal of proven experience in repairing aluminum. Repair of aluminum is not difficult, it’s just different, much as repair of part made of steels is not difficult; it’s just different.
Founded in 1979, I-CAR is a not-for-profit education, knowledge, and solutions organization designed to support the evolving needs of the Collision Repair Inter-Industry. I-CAR is focused on improving the quality , safety, and efficiency of auto repair for the ultimate benefit of both industry and the consumer (their website is www.i-car.com).
Here’s what Jason Bartanen, Director of I-CAR Industry Technical Relations had to say in an article he published on aluminum repair.
Download The Aluminum Difference (pdf)
Thursday, October 24, 2013
Aluminum Helps New Mercedes Benz C Class Cut 220LBS & Decrease Fuel Use 20% Without Loss in Power
The new lightweight body structure of the fourth-generation C class will contribute to a 20 percent reduction in fuel consumption in some models.
The C class will have a new lightweight body structure with a newly developed aluminum hybrid construction process that the automaker claims will shave as much as 100 kg (220 pounds) over the current model depending on the engine it uses. A lighter weight is said to contribute to a 20 percent reduction in fuel consumption on certain models without any loss in power.
The reduction in weight is credited to a new structure that uses up to 48 percent aluminum -- up from 9 percent on the outgoing third-generation C class.
Read more: http://www.autonews.com/article/20131023/OEM04/310239966/mercedes-says-new-c-class-will-be-lighter-and-have-better-fuel-economy#ixzz2ifRyGNkx
Wednesday, October 09, 2013
Aluminum Will Bury ‘Soda Can’ Image in 2014
starts rolling out its massive marketing and training programs for the new
F-150, expect it to finish the job Range Rover has started and aluminum’s soft
“soda can” image will be buried for good.
“Don’t touch the car, it’s made of aluminum.” That was my first youthful
introduction to the automotive use of the light metal: It was soft, expensive
and better left alone by curious 12-year-olds.
My parents’ neighbor had a yellow Ferrari and whenever he parked it out front
in the summer; my friends and I were drawn to it like flies to flypaper.
If the owner had been truthful, and simply told us to keep our filthy little
paw prints off his prized possession, I would have emerged from adolescence with
a more accurate understanding of automotive materials. Instead, like many
people, I spent years thinking aluminum vehicles had the structural integrity of
a soda can.
In reality, despite aluminum’s light weight, some of the strongest, sturdiest
vehicles on earth are made from the material: aircraft, spacecraft and countless
battlefield vehicles, including the original H1 Hummer.
Jaguar Land Rover is hammering this point home as it rolls out its second
all-aluminum CUV, the Range Rover Sport. It shares the automaker’s all-new
aluminum unibody architecture with the larger ’13 Range Rover flagship
introduced last year.
The architecture replaces the previous generation’s integrated body frame
that featured a steel unibody mounted on a full-frame chassis. Switching to
aluminum reduces overall body and chassis weight 39%, amounting to an
astonishing 800-lb. (363 kg) weight reduction for U.S. models.
Range Rover officials say the new architecture represents several
breakthroughs, including the first automotive use of high-strength AC300
aluminum within the crash structure and vehicle body sides that are formed as
single aluminum panels, reducing the number of joints and improving structural
Weighing between 4,427 lbs. (2,144 kg) and 5,093 lbs. (2,310 kg) depending on
engine size, the truck is hardly a lightweight, but the incredibly stiff body
combined with Ranger Rover’s advanced suspension design and dynamic chassis
control technologies make the CUV surprisingly agile with very little body roll
or understeer. Fuel economy and emissions also are improved significantly.
During the recent U.S. press launch of the Range Rover Sport, the auto maker
took pains to prove the truck is unmatched in its ability to cope with the most
extreme, bone-jarring off-road conditions, sometimes putting two wheels in the
air to crawl through deep ruts.
Even so, Michael Levitan, a major Jaguar and Land Rover dealer based in Long
Island, NY, acknowledges some customers are concerned when they learn the body
material has changed.
“When they hear aluminum, their first reaction is a Pepsi can. Who wants to
get hit in a Pepsi can?”
However, Levitan says once salespeople explain the strengths of aluminum, how
the vehicle structure is put together with aerospace joining techniques, and
that it is the strongest body JLR has ever produced, their fears usually are
Extensive training of dealership personnel about the vehicle’s construction
and its capabilities has helped. “It’s the best training I’ve ever seen,”
And, many Range Rover owners do like to put their vehicles to the test,
slogging through mud and ruts even with top-of-the-line $135,000 vehicles,
Levitan says. His dealerships host several off-road training events every year
for about 50 customers, and some attendees want him to host even more, he
The Range Rover Sport is the sixth all-aluminum model from JLR since the
Jaguar XJ was introduced in 2001. Jaguar unveiled an all-aluminum small CUV
concept at the Frankfurt auto show.
Aluminum supplier Novelis says in five years, numerous high-volume,
aluminum-intensive passenger vehicles will be in showrooms.
The most significant coming down the road is the ’15 Ford
F-150 pickup, expected to go on sale around October 2014. The F-Series has
defined itself for the past six decades or so as the toughest light vehicle in
starts rolling out its massive marketing and training programs for the new
F-150, expect it to finish the job Range Rover has started and aluminum’s soft,
crinkly “soda can” image will be buried for good.
You can bet not a single owner of a ’15 Ford F-150 will tell curious kids:
“Don’t touch the truck. It’s aluminum.”
Tuesday, October 08, 2013
Aluminum Shines in Military Vehicles.
The US military trusts aluminum's durability to protect our troops as they navigate the most unforgiving environments.
Durable aluminum is not only making strong headway in the automotive industry – it’s lending its strong hand to the U.S. Army, helping protect our protectors. Aluminum played a star role in an episode of “Jay Leno’s Garage” (March 2013) that featured the U.S. Army’s rugged Fuel Efficient Ground Vehicle Demonstrator (FED)
. The FED sports a low weight aluminum structure, armoring, and underbody blast shield that gives troops an edge. Vehicle capability, mobility, protection and durability are increased, and a significant fuel efficiency increase over the current fleet is realized. In fact, the vehicle demonstrated 70 percent fuel efficiency improvement, which was driven primarily by integral aluminum armor/frame and powertrain components in place of steel.
Thursday, September 19, 2013
Study | Auto Aluminum Better than Steel to Save Energy and Cut Carbon
A new study
conducted by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) shows that opting for aluminum over steel in new automobile construction to improve fuel economy is also the best way to reduce energy consumption and carbon emissions. The study
concluded that reducing vehicle weight with aluminum can result in the lowest total vehicle lifecycle environmental impact – cradle-to-grave – as compared to both traditional and advanced steels.
“As the U.S. works to reduce dependence on foreign oil, promote clean energy and combat climate change, this report definitively documents why aluminum offers the most promise for cutting total automotive-related carbon emissions and energy use,” said ORNL’s Sujit Das, a widely respected expert on product lifecycle assessments.
Wednesday, August 21, 2013
Meet the World’s Newest 5-star Safety Rated Car [VIDEO]… and it happens to be all-aluminum.
The all-electric, all-aluminum Tesla Model S was already named car of the year
. It already set a jaw dropping performance record
. But now the vehicle can do some serious bragging by boasting about an even more impressive award: top safety rated, perhaps the highest ever
According to Tesla, “Independent testing by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has awarded the Tesla Model S a 5-star safety rating
, not just overall, but in every subcategory without exception. Approximately one percent of all cars tested by the federal government achieve 5 stars across the board. NHTSA does not publish a star rating above 5, however safety levels better than 5 stars are captured in the overall Vehicle Safety Score (VSS) provided to manufacturers, where the Model S achieved a new combined record of 5.4 stars…For the side pole intrusion test, considered one of the most difficult to pass, the Model S was the only car in the "good" category among the other top one percent of vehicles tested…Tesla achieved this outcome by nesting multiple deep aluminum extrusions in the side rail of the car that absorb the impact energy
(a similar approach was used by the Apollo Lunar Lander) and transfer load to the rest of the vehicle.”
"The Model S did exceptionally well in this test because of aluminum rods
placed in the side of the vehicle," Tesla said, and is being called “the safest car in the history of cars
Tuesday, April 16, 2013
New Study: Aluminum Superior to Steel to Drop Weight, Boost MPG
A new study
shows that an all-aluminum vehicle can shed more than 40 percent body mass, boosting fuel economy by 18 percent when combined with secondary mass savings and other design changes. The study helps explain why car and truck makers are shifting away from steel to aluminum, and supports projections that aluminum-intensive vehicles – with aluminum bodies-in-white – will become more common in the marketplace with continued demand for better fuel efficiency.
The research, commissioned by The Aluminum Association’s Transportation Group, was presented at the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) World Congress during a panel discussion
on advances in lower weight materials.
Wednesday, June 13, 2012
The Next Frontier: Auto Body Frames
In a Reuters interview following a presentation at the American Metal Market Aluminum Summit, ATG Chairman Randall Scheps dubbed aluminum auto body frames as the “next frontier” for the industry.
Scheps said car companies are eager to explore how they can convert bodies from steel to aluminum, as they search for methods that decrease vehicle weight to meet higher fuel economy standards.
Additionally, in a separate interview during the conference with Ward's Auto, Scheps reaffirmed aluminum’s growth by asserting that “in the next five years, you'll see more high-volume mass-market cars with all-aluminum bodies.”
Wednesday, September 07, 2011
Aluminum Use Grows; Steel Continues to Lose Vehicle Market Share
Automakers are expected to increase their use of aluminum from 327 pounds in 2009 to 550 pounds in 2025, according to a 2011 survey of automakers conducted by Ducker Worldwide. Aluminum is already the leading material in the engine and wheel markets and is fast-gaining market share in hoods, trunks and doors. A host of automakers announced plans to increase their use of aluminum even more.
Aluminum makes vehicles lighter, stronger, durable and more fuel efficient, while delivering the highest safety and driving performance standards – all the qualities consumers demand. Reducing weight with aluminum allows automakers to cost-effectively make vehicles that go farther on a gallon of gas, helping them meet new federal efficiency standards.The Shift to Aluminum
As consumers demand safe and affordable, yet high performing vehicles that optimize fuel economy and do less harm to the environment, automotive aluminum use is at an all-time high and expected to double its 2008 share of the materials mix by 2025.
Full-bodied aluminum and aluminum intensive vehicles are already common in high end luxury and performance cars – now those successes are speeding the shift to aluminum away from other materials in the manufacturing of high volume passenger vehicles.
And as heavy truck makers build upgraded freight haulers to carry more payloads while saving fuel and cutting tailpipe emissions, aluminum use in commercial vehicles will continue to rise, too.Aluminum’s Growth Is Accelerating Because It Builds a Better Vehicle:
- Automotive aluminum use has grown steadily for 40 years as automakers increasingly use the metal for its environmental, safety and performance advantages.
- Currently the leading material in powertrain and wheel applications, automotive aluminum is quickly gaining market share in hoods, trunks, doors and bumpers.
- A survey of North American automakers conducted by Ducker Worldwide found that automakers will increase their use of aluminum from 327 pounds in 2009 to 550 pounds in 2025, doubling aluminum’s percent of vehicle curb weight from 8 to 16 percent.
- Today, the average Class 8 commercial truck uses over 1,000 pounds of aluminum. This is expected to increase to 3,300 pounds as heavy-duty vehicle producers pursue improvements in overall vehicle efficiency and reduced operating costs.
- Reducing vehicle weight with aluminum allows vehicles to offer the same performance with smaller engines, improving fuel efficiency and enabling a potential cost savings.
- High strength steel will reach maximum potential in limited applications since it saves weight via gauge reduction, which only goes so far in hoods, deck lids, doors and fenders.
Wednesday, July 21, 2010
Alcoa Wheels Launches CalcuLighterTM Version 2.0
Alcoa Wheels launched its innovative CalcuLighter™ Version 2.0 which is an easy to use online tool designed to provide detailed information that commercial vehicle fleet managers and owner-operators need when making wheel buying decisions to lower operating costs, improve productivity and reduce greenhouse gases.
CalcuLighter™ provides financial data with instant results to compare steel and aluminum wheel alternatives. It calculates the fuel, payload, scrap value and wheel maintenance information with N.A.D.A. Official Commercial Truck Guide trade-in value and carbon emission data. This is to compare the different investment results when selective alternatives. Results can change as users, who input their fleet profile, instantaneously enter new information such as the number of tractors and trailers. They can also print the results and file them for future reference of wheel purchases or ordering vehicles.
The launch of the upgrade to Version 2.0 also led to Alcoa Wheels announcing the new positioning statement, “Driving Your Bottom Line™”. This reflects an on-going commitment to improve productivity and lower operating costs for fleet managers and owner-operators.
CalcuLighter™ by Alcoa Wheels is available at www.alcoawheels.com/calculighter
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