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October 1, 1888
Journey of the World’s Most Admired Metals Company Begins

On October 1, 1888, Alcoa was first incorporated as the Pittsburgh Reduction Company. The company was based on technology developed by Alcoa’s co-founder, Charles Martin Hall. Hall discovered an affordable way to create aluminum through electrolysis two years earlier.

Today, Alcoa is known as the most admired metals company in the world, according to Fortune magazine. Alcoa also receives top ranking for sustainability and innovation. Alcoa has been on Fortune’s Most Admired list for 29 consecutive years.

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1889
Alcoa Develops the First Aluminum Tea Kettle

Lightweight with a bright surface, excellent at conducting heat and easy to clean, aluminum seemed to be the perfect material for cookware and utensils. To interest cookware manufacturers, Alcoa developed the first prototype aluminum tea kettle. The tea kettle helped them get their first aluminum order for utensil production.
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1891
Alcoa Establishes New Kensington Works

Alcoa outgrew its original facility on Smallman Street in Pittsburgh. The company moved its operations to nearby New Kensington, Pa., in 1891, where the company produced aluminum, as well as fabricated products. This established the current vertical integration strategy. After establishing its core smelting business, Alcoa expanded downstream into fabrication, and upstream into the extraction and manufacture of raw materials and power generation. Today, Alcoa is the world’s leading producer of primary aluminum, fabricated aluminum and alumina.
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1901
Alcoa Begins Lightweighting Automobiles with Aluminum

Alcoa began fabricating light weight aluminum bodies and parts for automobiles as far back as 1901. Today, aluminum is essential to automotive lightweighting and sustainability. Replacing two pounds of steel with one pound of aluminum in a car saves 20 pounds of CO2 emissions over the life of the car.

To meet increasing demand for aluminum from the current automotive market, Alcoa’s aluminum rolling mill in Davenport, Iowa, launched a $300 million expansion. Automotive is an excellent growth market for Alcoa. According to a study of automakers by Ducker Worldwide, auto manufacturers said aluminum use as a percent of the overall automotive materials mix is expected to double by 2025 to 16 percent.

The automotive products produced at Davenport include Alcoa 951 technology – a state-of-the- art pre-treatment that improves adhesive bonding for vehicle assemblies. The process is used to pre-treat aluminum alloy sheet, extrusions and castings to enhance bonding performance and will be licensed across the auto industry. Adhesive bonding makes it easier for auto manufacturers to join aluminum to other materials when assembling vehicles.

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Dec. 17, 1903
Aerospace Industry Takes Flight With Alcoa Aluminum

From the first manned flight at Kitty Hawk to the lunar landing at the Sea of Tranquility and beyond, Alcoa solutions have helped shape every major advance in aviation.

The world’s first flying machine had an aluminum heart – made from Alcoa’s new metal. To save weight, the engine block and crankcase were cast from Alcoa aluminum. The little engine only weighed about as much as Orville Wright, but it put out 13 horsepower – all the brothers had hoped for was eight.

Today, Alcoa is a leading supplier of aluminum and an innovator for the aerospace industry.

In fact, Alcoa has developed a completely new set of aluminum-based solutions for the aerospace market that enable airframers to build dramatically lighter and lower-cost airplanes. With Alcoa’s proven global capacity and supply chain reliability, aluminum planes offer lower production risk than composite-intensive planes. The new solutions, which combine new alloys and advanced structural technologies, use Alcoa sheet, plate, forgings and hard alloy extrusion products across aircraft structures, including airplane wings and fuselage elements.

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1910
Alcoa Introduces Aluminum Foil

Reflecting heat and keeping foods cooler and fresher, aluminum foil was introduced to America by Alcoa in 1910.
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1912
Alcoa Establishes Presence in Europe

Alcoa first established a presence in Europe in 1912. Alcoa’s European holdings included facilities in Norway, France, Italy, Spain, Yugoslavia, England and Germany. By 1928, Alcoa had over half of the world capacity in primary aluminum: 90,000 metric tons in the US, 45,000 in Canada and 15,000 in Europe. In June 1928, Alcoa transferred all international holdings, some 34 companies worldwide, to a new company called Aluminum Limited of Canada, which was renamed Alcan in 1966.
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1916
Alcoa Innovates With New Aerospace Alloys

Alcoa introduced its first aerospace alloy – 2017-T4. Used primarily as aircraft sheet and plate, the alloy was integral to the USS Shenandoah rigid airship. Today, more than 90 percent of all alloys currently used in the aerospace industry were developed by Alcoa. As a key growth market, aerospace is projected to have a compound annual growth rate of four percent during the next decade.

To drive this growth, Alcoa continues to innovate and deliver new alloys. In fact, Alcoa was recently recognized for its latest aerospace alloy breakthrough with an Innovation Award for its next-generation aluminum-lithium alloys, which are featured on planes like the Boeing 787 and enable dramatically lighter, lower-cost airplanes versus composite alternatives. Recent investments in aluminum-lithium production have added 20,000 tons of capacity at Alcoa’s Lafayette, Ind., facility and expanded production by 30 percent at the Alcoa Technical Center and the company’s Kitts Green, U.K., facility to ensure Alcoa’s capability in meeting accelerating customer demand.

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1917
Alcoa Aluminum Makes U.S. Military Lighter, Faster and Stronger

Long known for being an early adopter of innovative technologies, the U.S. military used 90 percent of Alcoa’s aluminum production for equipment such as mess kits, canteens, helmets, gas masks and identification tags at the time they entered World War I. Today, Alcoa Defense still helps make the troops lighter, faster and stronger.

Alcoa technology can be found in every military plane and vehicle. For instance, Alcoa was recently awarded a contract to provide ArmX aluminum armor kits to Oshkosh Defense for the Heavy Expanded Mobility Tactical Truck (HEMTT) A4. The c-kit armor provides blast protection for the underside of the vehicle. Aluminum is a critical part of any armor solution because aluminum has excellent energy absorption characteristics. It is much better than steel or ceramics at absorbing blast and fragment threats.

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1922
Alcoa Manufactures First Aluminum Furniture

Alcoa pioneered aluminum furniture by producing the world’s first set for the directors’ room of the Mellon National Bank.
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1925
Alcoa Develops Lighter, Environmentally Friendly Aluminum Buses

In 1925, Alcoa partnered with General Aluminum Products Company, the first company to build an aluminum bus body. Today, Alcoa is still partnering with customers to make buses more environmentally friendly with aluminum. Using more aluminum reduces the overall weight of the vehicle, which significantly reduces greenhouse gas emissions associated with global warming.

For instance, in 2011, Alcoa developed an all-aluminum spaceframe and bus design for BYD that has reduced the weight of the new BYD Electric Bus body by 40 percent, or nearly one ton, versus steel options. BYD is the fastest-growing Chinese automotive and green energy technology manufacturer. The company plans to produce thousands of the electric buses for the China and Southeast Asia markets and also will export the buses globally. When aluminum replaces steel in electric vehicles, every dollar invested in lightweighting reduces battery costs by $3.

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1928
Alcoa Pioneers Lightweight, Energy-Efficient Aluminum Windows

As one of its first applications in the building and construction market, Alcoa pioneered aluminum windows in 1928 with the installation of the first residential windows. Today, Alcoa still produces aluminum windows for commercial buildings. Aluminum’s low weight allows architects to design lighter structures with more stability and greater design flexibility, while minimizing expenditure on foundations.

Alcoa recently announced the development of OptiQ™ Ultra Thermal Windows, which were developed with the support of a grant from the U.S. Department of Energy. Made from aluminum, the new windows maintain thermal continuity, reduce thermal transmission and help retain interior heat.

Environmentally friendly products are critical to Alcoa’s growth in the building and construction market. Non-residential green building activity is expected to triple between 2010 and 2015, according to McGraw-Hill Construction’s Green Outlook 2011: Green Trends Driving Growth. Alcoa Building and Construction Systems is capturing this opportunity by bringing innovative solutions to market, and in 2011 had a record number of patents either issued or in process.

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1934
Alcoa Increases Efficiency of Public Works Projects

On the Mississippi flood control project in 1934, Alcoa aluminum substituted for steel in dragline booms and reduced dead weight by 60 percent while maintaining strength. This increased efficiency by permitting the booms to be 20 percent longer or the buckets nearly 30 percent larger.
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August 5, 1937
Alcoa Aluminum Enables Lightweight, High-Performance Ships

When the Ranger won the America’s Cup in 1937, it was the first boat of its size to have a mast, boom, and spinnaker pole made entirely of Alcoa aluminum. Today, Alcoa’s line of Nautic-Al marine alloys are still used in ships worldwide.

Alcoa’s marine solutions also are making military ships lighter, faster and capable of greater range. For instance, in addition to providing marine sheet and plate to Austal USA, Alcoa also supplies complete solutions for Austal’s Littoral Combat Ship (LCS), currently being developed for the U.S. Navy. At one third the weight of steel, the lower displacement of the aluminum platform dramatically reduces fuel costs and allows additional cargo to be accommodated. And because aluminum ships are non-magnetic, they are less susceptible to magnetically influenced mines, thus reducing the size and complexity of costly and heavy degaussing systems. Additionally, the ductile nature of the aluminum enables structures to withstand significant plastic deformation (caused by weapons detonation, underwater blasts, collisions, etc.) – making ships more survivable for sailors.

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1941-1943
Alcoa Upgrades Facilities to Deliver the World’s Largest Forgings

Alcoa’s aluminum became critically important to the U.S. military during World War II. With astounding speed, Alcoa met the war time challenge. In three years, Alcoa built more than 20 plants in three years.

As a result of Alcoa’s World War II efforts, the company acquired several important manufacturing assets that are still in use today. For instance, Alcoa’s 50,000-ton forging press at its Cleveland Works facility was originally installed as part of the Air Force Heavy Press program following World War II and has been used to build parts for nearly every military aircraft, helicopter, and tracked and combat vehicle from the 1950s through the present day. Alcoa invested $100 million in 2012 to redesign and modernize the press to strengthen its position as the preeminent supplier of large aluminum, titanium, nickel and steel forgings to the aerospace, defense, energy and industrial markets. Alcoa’s advanced alloys permit the largest forgings available. In fact, the company’s unsurpassed size capabilities enable forging monolithic structures capable of replacing entire multi-piece assemblies with a single part, saving assembly costs and weight while reducing maintenance and improving fit.

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1944
Alcoa Develops World’s Strongest, Most Reliable Fastening System

The lockbolt, later called the HuckBolt®, was first developed by Huck Fasteners, now Alcoa Fastening Systems. The new bolt was invented to help speed up war-time production rates and eliminate dangers caused by fasteners unable to tolerate extreme vibration conditions. Its first application was fastening two halves of a fighter aircraft's droppable wing tank. Later, it was adapted for use in commercial aircraft, trucks, trailers, school buses and rail cars. Advanced versions of the HuckBolt are sold globally by Alcoa today for aircraft, commercial vehicles and other demanding applications.

The current C50L HuckBolt® fastener is the strongest, most reliable fastening system available. The C50L HuckBolt is often used in heavy duty applications that demand tough, reliable fasteners, such as railcars and mining equipment.

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1948
Alcoa Wheels Help Truckers Deliver Productivity At Every Turn

In 1948, Alcoa developed forged aluminum wheels, which were first used on Mack trucks, and are still the most advanced fuel-efficient wheel technology available.

Today, Alcoa’s LvL ONE® technology provides the advantages of a lighter, brighter and stronger wheel across the company’s entire truck wheel portfolio. The proprietary technology results in a wheel that improves vehicle productivity and lowers operating costs, coupled with an eye-catching appearance.

Converting an 18-wheeler from steel to Alcoa LvL ONE 14-inch wide base wheels saves 1,350 pounds. This increases productivity because, the lighter the truck and the trailer, the more cargo it can legally carry.

Additionally, Alcoa forged aluminum wheels are nearly five times stronger than comparative steel wheels in crush tests, providing great strength and durability and increased load ratings.

And Alcoa’s commercial vehicle wheels offer lifetime cost advantages. They return 75 percent of their initial purchase price, even after 10 years of use. This advantage provides lower lifetime operating costs.

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1951
Alcoa Sponsors Edward R. Murrow’s “See It Now”

Alcoa ventured into television advertising in 1951 when Alcoa sponsored Edward R. Murrow’s “See It Now” CBS news program for about $50,000 per week.
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1952
Alcoa Foundation Strengthens Communities, the Environment and STEM Education

Alcoa Foundation plays a significant role in strengthening sustainability in Alcoa communities worldwide, investing more than $570 million since it was founded in 1952. Today, it is one of the largest corporate foundations in the United States. The Foundation develops global partnerships, particularly in the areas of environment and science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education.

In fact, the Foundation contributed more than $21 million in 2012 alone, while breaking records for volunteerism. Shared values guide how Alcoa Foundation’s partnerships and initiatives align with Alcoa’s global and regional strategies, address priority community needs, and engage employees in general and skills-based volunteering opportunities.

Alcoa volunteers in communities around the world
Alcoa Foundation Annual Report
Alcoa Foundation Web Site

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1952
Alcoa Aluminum – For Greener Buildings with Flexible Designs

In 1952, Alcoa built the first aluminum-sheathed skyscraper. The Alcoa Building in downtown Pittsburgh served as the company’s headquarters for more than 40 years. By 1958, more than 600 major buildings of Alcoa aluminum had risen in cities across the country. Alcoa aluminum solutions, such as curtail walls, windows and cladding, are still used in commercial buildings worldwide today. Aluminum’s low weight allows architects to design lighter structures with more stability and greater design flexibility, while minimizing expenditure on foundations.

Alcoa’s most groundbreaking innovation for the building and construction market is EcoClean – the world’s first coil-coated aluminum architectural panel that helps clean itself and the air around it. The coating works with natural sunlight, acting as a catalyst to break down organic pollutants on its surface and in the air around it into harmless matter which is then washed away by rainwater. Ten thousand square feet of EcoClean has the smog removal power of approximately 80 trees, equivalent to offsetting the nitrogen oxide created by the pollution output of four cars per day.

Environmentally friendly products are critical to Alcoa’s growth in the building and construction market. Non-residential green building activity is expected to triple between 2010 and 2015, according to McGraw-Hill Construction’s Green Outlook 2011: Green Trends Driving Growth. Alcoa Building and Construction Systems is capturing this opportunity by bringing innovative solutions to market, and in 2011 had a record number of patents either issued or in process.

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1955
Alcoa Auto Wheels Roll with Style and Performance

Alcoa developed the first aluminum wheel on any modern passenger car – the lightweight spoke wheel on the 1955 Cadillac Eldorado. The extremely strong wheel was forged on a giant press from hot aluminum. The wheel was standard on the Eldorado and optional on other 1955 Cadillacs. Alcoa Wheel Products is still a leader in innovative, high-performance automotive wheels. Alcoa’s lightweight aluminum wheels improve driving performance and efficiency because less energy is used to accelerate and decelerate the wheel, resulting in smaller, lighter weight adjacent components like brakes, steering and suspension.

Alcoa’s forged aluminum wheels featuring Alcoa’s patented Dura-Bright® technology were first featured on the Shelby Super Snake in 2007. Dura-Bright technology penetrates the wheel surface to become an integral part of the aluminum itself. It resists peeling, cracking and corrosion while offering a premium appearance that is easy to clean with mild soap and water.

Automotive is an excellent growth market for Alcoa, as auto manufacturers plan to double aluminum use as a percent of the overall automotive materials mix to 16 percent by 2025. Aluminum is essential to automotive lightweighting and sustainability. Replacing two pounds of steel with one pound of aluminum in a car saves 20 pounds of CO2 emissions over the life of the car.

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1961
Alcoa Forms Alcoa of Australia

In 1961, Alcoa formed Alcoa of Australia with Western Mining to develop Australia’s huge bauxite reserves. Today, Alcoa of Australia operates the world’s largest integrated bauxite mining, alumina refining, aluminum smelting and rolling system.
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1962
Alcoa Makes Beer Drinking More Stylish and Convenient

Thanks to Alcoa, consumers no longer have to use can openers to drink their canned beverages. In 1962, Alcoa developed easy-open aluminum technology (pull tab rings) for cans and convinced the Pittsburgh Brewing Company to use it for their Iron City beer. By the end of 1963, the aluminum top had been adopted by most brewers and was on 40 percent of all US beer cans. By 1968, aluminum ends were more than 80 percent of the canned beer market. Today, virtually 100 percent is aluminum, helping to make the aluminum beverage cans the world’s most sustainable package because aluminum is infinitely recyclable.

Alcoa’s innovation in the beer can market continues today with examples like the first aluminum bottle in the North American beer industry. Alcoa partnered with Pittsburgh Brewing in 2004 to launch the aluminum bottle for Iron City Beer. The product is unbreakable and the beer stays colder longer – up to 50 minutes – versus glass containers. Additionally, the sleek, silver-metallic look of the bottles provides aesthetic appeal to consumers.

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1965
Innovation Fuels Alcoa Advantage

Alcoa founded the world’s largest light metals research center, the Alcoa Technical Center, outside of Pittsburgh, Pa., in 1965. The Technical Center still fuels Alcoa innovation today.

Innovation has enabled Alcoa’s success and longevity. Plus, it is a key part of the Alcoa Advantage. With technology experience in a wide variety of markets, such as aerospace and automotive, Alcoa can apply its expertise from one market to others to develop new solutions. Or, Alcoa can combine products from multiple business units to innovate and create a more holistic solution for customers in that market.

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1976
Alcoa’s Aerospace Castings Enable More Fuel Efficient Engines

In 1976, Howmet Corporation, now known as Alcoa Power and Propulsion, became the first company to offer hot isostatic pressing (HIP) services to the aerospace industry. The HIP process, which subjects a component to elevated temperatures and pressures to eliminate internal microshrinkage, helped engineers respond to the aerospace industry’s increasingly stringent regulations. HIP enabled engineers to design components so they could meet specifications for use in critical, highly stressed applications. Today, Alcoa continues to be a world leader in high-performance aerospace castings.

Alcoa casts high-strength nickel and cobalt superalloys that withstand hostile engine environments. Alcoa has developed and implemented advanced manufacturing methods to consistently produce single-crystal grain structures, resulting in the strongest, high-temperature engine components possible. This heat durability is important because hotter-burning engines contribute to greater fuel efficiency. And by providing lighter weight engine components, Alcoa castings further contribute to fuel efficiency improvements.

Engine fuel efficiency is critical to airframers. For instance, 40-50 percent of the fuel efficiency gains on the Boeing 787, and an even higher percentage on such derivative designs as the Airbus A320neo and Boeing 737 MAX, are provided by the plane’s engines alone.

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1976
“Alcoa Can’t Wait” Ad Campaign Begins Airing

In 1976, Alcoa commissioned “Alcoa Can’t Wait” – a theme song for radio and TV advertising that was full of hope for a brighter future. Today, the 'Tomorrow' that we sang about back then is coming true — and we still can't wait for what's next!
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October 9, 1979
Alcoa Supports Sustainability by Increasing Recycling

Alcoa Recycling Company was incorporated in 1979 to support the company’s goal of enhancing sustainability by increasing its recycling activity. Aluminum is infinitely recyclable and, every time aluminum is recycled, it uses 95 percent less energy than required to make aluminum from raw ore.

By 1979, Alcoa was reprocessing 110 million pounds of scrap aluminum annually. Today, that figure has risen to more than 1.3 billion pounds. Alcoa’s commitment to sustainability continues with Alcoa’s goal of improving the U.S. recycling rate for beverage cans from 52 to 75 percent by 2015.
Since 2008, Alcoa has distributed tens of thousands of recycling bins, launched the Make an Impact program to help families live more sustainably, developed the free Aluminate™ recycling app, and, in the last five years, invested nearly $4.5 million in community-based recycling programs.

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1981
Alcoa’s Fantastic Finishes Begin Airing During NFL Games

In 1981, Alcoa Fantastic Finishes aired during the final two minutes of NFL games on CBS and NBC. Alcoa sponsored the Fantastic Finishes – 30-second clips of the greatest game finishes in league history. As a result, public awareness of Alcoa increased by about 80 percent. Catch a replay from 1983 or 1982.
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1985
Alcoa Helps Protect the Troops

Alcoa consulted with AM General during concept development for the Humvee, which was our customer’s first aluminum-intensive vehicle. Alcoa partners with leading defense original equipment manufacturers as a structural solutions provider to make lighter, faster and stronger products through its multi-materials expertise, next-generation alloy technology and world-class design tools that cost-effectively meet mission requirements. For the Humvee, Alcoa provided guidance on alloy selection, production tools and manufacturing that helped AM General cost-effectively meet its production goals.

Long the workhorse of the U.S. Army, the Humvee was recently upgraded to feature aluminum armor. Alcoa supplies aluminum armor kit components for the Humvee, which increase vehicle occupant protection while improving the vehicle's mobility, dependability and performance. Aluminum is a critical part of any armor solution because aluminum has better energy absorption characteristics. It is much better than steel or ceramics at absorbing blast and fragment threats. Currently, Alcoa supplies 60 percent of all aluminum armor produced worldwide and is developing next-generation, multi-layer and multi-material armor solutions that can be customized for each platform or application.

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1988
Alcoa Innovation Enables NASA Milestones

To produce several investment castings for use in liquid oxygen pumps and fuel pumps for the space shuttle’s main engine, Howmet, now known as Alcoa Power and Propulsion, invented the Microcast-X process, which produces fine-grain structure to keep castings from fracturing at supercool temperatures. Today, Alcoa still produces high-performance aerospace castings.

Alcoa alloys and propellants also have helped make many space milestones possible, from the first manned flight and the first moon landing to the Space Shuttle and International Space Station programs. Currently, Alcoa’s aluminum-lithium plate is featured in NASA’s friction-stir welded, spun-form tank dome designed for use in large liquid propellant tanks. Through this new technology, NASA hopes to reduce the weight of future large liquid propellant tanks by 25 percent.

The tank dome proves the viability of using friction-stir welding to reliably and cost-effectively join large aluminum-lithium plates for high-strength applications. It tests the fundamentals of this technology and illustrates how next-generation aluminum alloys push innovation boundaries. It serves as a great example of how Alcoa delivers both products and technology innovations to designers to enable more efficient, high-performance structures.

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1994
Alcoa Technology Drives Audi Performance

As early as 1982, Alcoa began working with Audi to develop new manufacturing techniques to produce an ultra-lightweight aluminum spaceframe. The result was the 1994 Audi A8, the first all-aluminum automobile. Today, lightweight and durable Alcoa aluminum components help improve fuel efficiency. For every 10 percent reduction in vehicle weight, there is a 5-7 percent fuel savings.

Aluminum use in cars is expected to nearly double by 2025, as automotive manufacturers make cars more fuel efficient by using lightweight aluminum materials. To meet increasing demand for aluminum for vehicle production, Alcoa is investing approximately $575 million to expand its auto sheet business in the United States—in Davenport, Iowa and Alcoa, Tennessee. In addition, Alcoa is building a rolling mill at its greenfield joint venture project in Saudi Arabia with the capacity to produce aluminum automotive sheet. The projects will incorporate, through Alcoa’s supply chain, the proprietary Alcoa 951 pretreatment bonding technology.

Alcoa's breakthrough Alcoa 951 technology – a state-of-the art pre-treatment that improves adhesive bonding for vehicle assemblies and enables the production of more aluminum-intensive vehicles - was awarded “Best Product Innovation” of 2013 by Metal Bulletin. The process is used to pre-treat aluminum alloy sheet, extrusions and castings to enhance bonding performance and will be licensed across the auto industry. Adhesive bonding makes it easier for auto manufacturers to join aluminum to other materials when assembling vehicles.

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1997
Alcoa Foundation Teaches Sustainability With Keystone Center Sponsorships

In 1997, Alcoa introduced the first annual sponsorships for teachers from Alcoa communities to attend the nationally accredited Key Issues Institute in Silverthorne, Colo. Through a partnership with The Keystone Center, a nonprofit organization that prepares leaders with the skills they need to resolve society’s most challenging problems, teachers who attend the program spend one week of their summer break exploring local environmental issues in an outdoor classroom.

Since that time, Alcoa Foundation has sent 209 teachers from Alcoa communities to the Key Issues Institute to help teachers enhance their science curriculums and prepare their students for careers in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM). Teachers leave the Institute with curriculum materials, lab equipment, and online support from staff and other educators. Past participants have addressed diverse issues with their students including water and air quality, wetland degradation, waste management and recycling.

The program’s goal is to provide teachers with best practices to engage students in interactive, hands-on activities that make science come to life through meaningful learning experiences that inspire scientific inquiry, leadership development and civic engagement, thereby motivating students to be active members of the community.

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2001
Alcoa Recognized For Sustainability

Starting in 2001, Alcoa was selected as a component of the Dow Jones Sustainability Index, one of the most highly recognized and long-standing global sustainability indexes. Featured in the Index for 10 consecutive years, Alcoa is now part of both the World and North American Indexes. The Dow Jones Sustainability World Index (DJSI World) comprises the leading companies in terms of sustainability around the world. It captures the top 10 percent based on long-term economic, environmental and social criteria out of the biggest 2,500 companies worldwide. The Dow Jones Sustainability North America Index (DJSI North America) captures the leading 20 percent in terms of sustainability out of the largest 600 North American companies.

Recently, in 2011, Alcoa also was recognized as one of 21 model companies in Sustainability in Brazil by Exame, a well-known Brazilian business magazine, which publishes the country’s prestigious annual survey on corporate social responsibility. It was the sixth time Alcoa was recognized for its sustainability efforts by the publication, which included being named “Sustainability Company of the Year” in 2010.

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2002
Dura-Bright® Wheels Rolling With Style

In 2002, Alcoa introduced Dura-Bright® technology for aluminum wheels. Dura-Bright wheels resist corrosion and eliminate the need for polishing. They offer a high-quality shine with a spray of soap and water and are available for a broad range of commercial vehicles and consumer automobiles. Dura-Bright is not a coating or a finish, but a proprietary surface treatment that penetrates and reacts with the aluminum, thus becoming an integral part of the wheel. Dura-Bright saves on fleet maintenance and reduces the need for caustic cleaning products.

Additionally, Alcoa forged aluminum wheels are nearly five times stronger than comparative steel wheels in crash tests, providing great strength and durability and increased load ratings.

Dura-Bright aluminum wheels also are a great long-term investment. In the commercial vehicle segment, Alcoa wheels return 75 percent of their initial purchase price, even after 10 years of use. This advantage provides lower lifetime operating costs.

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2002
Alcoa Employees Explore the Environment With Earthwatch Expeditions

In 2002, Alcoa introduced the first annual Earthwatch environmental expeditions for employees. Through the Alcoa Foundation, employees are selected to participate in a unique professional development opportunity with Earthwatch Institute, an environmental organization whose mission is to promote the understanding and action necessary for a sustainable environment. Through the 10-year partnership, nearly 150 Alcoa employees have contributed around 9,000 research hours to find solutions to a range of environmental and sustainability challenges.

For one week, the Alcoa Fellows work alongside Earthwatch scientists around the world and participate in facilitated learning sessions to expand their knowledge of how environmental issues relate to their life, communities and Alcoa. Upon return, they also are expected to create an action project to enhance the environment in their local community.

Alcoa’s partnership with Earthwatch Institute is a compelling way to engage its employees and advance its goals around the environment and education.

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2004
Alcoa Develops First Aluminum Beer Bottle

Alcoa partnered with Pittsburgh Brewing to launch the first beer in an aluminum bottle to the North American beer industry. Aluminum bottles of premium "Iron City" lager became available nationally in August 2004. Aluminum bottles deliver many benefits to retailers and consumers. The product is unbreakable and the beer stays colder longer – up to 50 minutes – versus glass containers. Additionally, the sleek, silver-metallic look of the bottles provides aesthetic appeal to consumers.

The aluminum bottle manufacturing technology is patented by Alcoa and provides an innovative, high-end package.

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2005
JSF Soars With Alcoa Aero Technology

In 2005, Alcoa set the record for the largest manufactured aerospace titanium die forging in the world. Alcoa produces the 7,400 pound forging, which is 6.5 feet tall and more than 17 feet long, to serve as one of the main bulkheads supporting the fuselage of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF). Alcoa also produces the entire set of bulkheads for each JSF variant.

Each JSF has five or six bulkheads, which serve as the plane’s backbone and provide its structural strength. Originally, the majority of the JSF structure was designed to be made exclusively out of titanium with expensive machining and fabrication. Alcoa was able to reduce the total assembly cost substantially through close collaboration with original equipment manufacturers, machinists and assemblers, switching several bulkheads to Alcoa’s highest strength aluminum. The one-piece forged bulkheads provide much better durability, consistency and quality with potentially reduced maintenance costs, compared to other multi-piece solutions. Alcoa’s JSF bulkheads represent a 10-15 percent weight savings versus similar designs from an earlier generation of aircraft – that either provides a longer flying range or leaves room for additional on-board equipment.

Alcoa has the manufacturing technology, production knowledge and alloy development expertise to improve both performance and cost of the JSF.

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2005
Alcoa’s Named One of the World’s Top Green Companies

In 2005, Alcoa was named one of the Top Green Companies in the world for reducing greenhouse gas emissions by BusinessWeek Magazine and the Climate Change Group.

Between 2005 and 2011, Alcoa's Global Primary Products business reduced its total carbon dioxide intensity by 23 percent and the company as a whole decreased its global freshwater-use intensity by 21 percent, exceeding both of these 2020 targets and allowing Alcoa to bring the company’s 2030 goals in both areas forward to 2020.

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2006
Alcoa Supports Community Partnerships With Worldwide Month of Service

Alcoa's annual Month of Service in October is the centerpiece of Alcoa's Volunteer Programs. Month of Service is the culmination of year-round volunteer efforts by Alcoa employees, who last year gave more than 900,000 hours of voluntary service – the equivalent of 475 people working full-time for a year.

More than 300,000 people across Alcoa and the broader community have participated in Month of Service since its inception in 2006.

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June 9, 2007
Alcoa Opens First Greenfield Smelter in 20 Years in Iceland

Alcoa celebrated the grand opening of the Alco Fjardaál smelter – the company’s first greenfield smelter in 20 years. Located in Reydarfjordur, Iceland, the smelter is one of the most modern and technologically advanced in the world, with technology that helps protect the environment.
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2007
Alcoa Launches Innovative Carbon Capture Technology

Alcoa’s carbon capture technology for alumina refineries has the potential to revolutionize the aluminum industry by delivering significant global greenhouse benefits, thus reducing the industry’s environmental footprint. Carbon capture is a residue treatment process involves mixing bauxite residue, a byproduct of the aluminum-making process, with carbon dioxide (CO2). This delivers greenhouse benefits by locking up large volumes of CO2 that would otherwise be released into the atmosphere. Alcoa’s first plant to benefit from the technology locks up 70,000 tons of CO2 per year, the equivalent of eliminating the emissions of 17,500 automobiles.
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2008
Alcoa Goes For The Gold With Sustainable Aluminum Buses

For the 2008 Beijing Olympics, Alcoa partnered with Yutong Bus to test new environmentally friendly aluminum buses. The Yutong Bus partnership reinforces Alcoa’s reputation as a transportation industry leader in innovation and sustainability. The new aluminum-intensive bus body is approximately 46 percent lighter than a traditional bus and, therefore, requires less fuel and emits fewer greenhouse gases. For every 10% reduction in vehicle weight, there is a 5-7% fuel savings.

The buses feature Alcoa’s spaceframe technology – used in automobiles such as the Audi A8 – as well as Alcoa Dura-Bright® forged aluminum wheels, Alcoa aluminum side and roof panels, and Alcoa fasteners.

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2009
Next-Generation Aluminum-Lithium Gets A Flying Start

In 2009, Boeing selected Alcoa to provide the first large aluminum-lithium plate application on a commercial airliner for its 787.

Alcoa was recently recognized with an Innovation Award for its next-generation aluminum-lithium alloys, which are featured on planes like the Boeing 787 and enable dramatically lighter, lower-cost airplanes versus composite alternatives. Recent investments in aluminum-lithium production have added 20,000 tons of capacity at Alcoa’s Lafayette, Ind., facility and expanded production by 30 percent at the Alcoa Technical Center and the company’s Kitts Green, U.K., facility to ensure Alcoa’s capability in meeting accelerating customer demand. As a key growth market, aerospace is projected to have a compound annual growth rate of four percent during the next decade.

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June 2010
Alcoa Launches World’s Lowest Cost, Fully Integrated Aluminum Production Facility

As a joint venture with The Saudi Arabian Mining Company (Ma’aden), Alcoa is currently launching the largest fully integrated project that Alcoa has embarked upon since creating the modern aluminum industry over 125 years ago. It will be the world’s preeminent and lowest-cost producer of primary aluminum, alumina and aluminum products. In addition to lowering Alcoa’s overall cost base, it will capitalize on growth opportunities in the Middle East region. In June 2010, Alcoa broke ground on the project, which will be completed in 2014.

The complex comprises:
  • A bauxite mine
  • An alumina refinery
  • An aluminum smelter
  • A rolling mill that will be the first in the Middle East capable of producing food grade can sheet as well as sheet for automotive, building and construction applications.

The rolling mill offers promising prospects for supporting the burgeoning automotive industry in the Middle East. For instance, Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) recently signed a letter of intent to explore the possibility of establishing an automotive facility in Saudi Arabia. Although discussions with JLR and the Saudi government are at a preliminary stage, opportunities have been identified in aluminum component production, an area where JLR has a leadership position.

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2011
Alcoa Debuts EcoClean Self-Cleaning Building Surfaces

Introduced by Alcoa in 2011, Reynobond© with EcoClean™ coating is the world’s first coil-coated aluminum architectural panel that helps clean itself and the air around it. The coating works with natural sunlight, acting as a catalyst to break down organic pollutants on its surface and in the air around it into harmless matter which is then washed away by rainwater. Ten thousand square feet of EcoClean coating has the approximate air cleansing power of 80 trees. That is enough cleansing power to offset the smog created by the pollution output of four cars every day.

Environmentally friendly products are critical to Alcoa’s growth in the building and construction market. Non-residential green building activity is expected to triple between 2010 and 2015, according to McGraw-Hill Construction’s Green Outlook 2011: Green Trends Driving Growth. Alcoa Building and Construction Systems is capturing this opportunity by bringing innovative solutions to market, and in 2011 had a record number of patents either issued or in process.

Combining green technology with aluminum structures offers Alcoa a winning combination in the building and construction market. Aluminum’s low weight allows architects to design lighter structures with more stability and greater design flexibility, while minimizing expenditure on foundations.

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March 2, 2011
Alcoa Enables Consumer Electronics Sustainability

In 2011, Alcoa became a minority investor in Electronic Recyclers International (ERI), the largest U.S. recycler of electronics waste. Consumer electronics represents a fast-growing market for aluminum because of the metal’s light weight, durability, heat conductivity and limitless surface finishes. Aluminum content in laptops alone is expected to increase 30 percent by 2013, from a 2010 baseline. Through this new partnership, Alcoa will bring its expertise in recycling to the growing challenge of e-waste, enhancing the role aluminum plays in making electronics more sustainable.
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June 26, 2012
Samsung Uses Alcoa’s ColorKast Die Cast Technology For Cool and Affordable Electronics

Samsung became the first consumer electronics (CE) company to use Alcoa’s ColorKast technology – a breakthrough aluminum die casting technology that allows CE manufacturers to create cosmetically high-end, lightweight and cost-effective components for portable electronic devices using proprietary alloy, process and finishing technologies. Samsung uses ColorKast in its new digital camera NX210. The result of ColorKast is cosmetic 3D products with the rich, metallic “look and feel” of anodized aluminum, and the high productivity and cost advantages of die casting, as compared to unibody machining processing or magnesium die casting.

Aluminum is preferred by designers because it is contemporary, strong and has an authentic, natural feel. Aluminum content in laptops alone is expected to increase 30 percent by 2013, from a 2010 baseline.

Additionally, products made from ColorKast create a better green solution relative to plastics or composites because aluminum is infinitely recyclable. Alcoa recently became a minority investor in electronic Recyclers International (ERI), the largest U.S recycler of electronics waste. Through this partnership, Alcoa brings its expertise in recycling to the growing challenge of e-waste, enhancing the role aluminum plays in making electronics more sustainable.

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Aug. 8, 2012
Alcoa Helps Oil and Gas Customers Drill Deeper

Alcoa successfully deployed 1,800 meters (5,905 feet) of Aluminum Alloy Drill Pipe in the Iron Duke Well C offshore Seria, Brunei. Alcoa partnered with Brunei Shell Petroleum Co. Sdn. Bhd. (BSP), the largest oil and gas producer in Brunei, and AMRTUR Corp., Alcoa’s service partner, on the project.

The well is considered among the most complex and deviated in the BSP system, with three "S" curves and a long horizontal section of approximately 5,000 meters, or about 3 miles long. It was successfully drilled to a total depth of 7,485 meters (4.6 miles) in about 60 meters (197 feet) of water.
Alcoa’s aluminum oil and gas solutions allow drillers to reach ultra-deep reserves that must be targeted now that most shallow-water reserves have already been depleted. As strong as steel and 40 percent lighter, Alcoa Aluminum Alloy Drill Pipe allows customers to drill deeper, faster and more efficiently without upgrading rig floor equipment or sacrificing reliability.

With more than a century of proven metallurgical success in demanding aerospace, defense, and transportation applications, Alcoa is highly qualified to support the increasingly difficult drilling applications involved in today’s high-demand search for oil and gas. As a premier alloy developer, Alcoa is able to parlay its unmatched experience in alloy development to custom tailor alloys that withstand the rigors of even the most demanding drilling applications.

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Sep. 23, 2013
Capitalizing on Historic Auto Industry Shift to Lightweight Vehicles

Aluminum intensive vehicles are everywhere – thanks to Alcoa innovation. Not only are we one of the world's leading suppliers of aluminum sheet to the automotive industry, we are a key technology and engineering partner as well. Our critical bonding technology, Alcoa 951, is enabling today’s historic shift from steel-based to aluminum-intensive automobiles, opening the door to safer, more fuel-efficient cars and trucks. The technology has been proven to be up to nine times more durable than titanium zirconium applications used in the past, and is the pre-treatment bonding standard for aluminum sheet, extrusion and casting suppliers across the automotive industry.

Read an inverview with 'Alcoa 951' co-inventor, Sherri McCleary

Alcoa is leading the charge on the increased use of aluminum in the auto market. Already the number two material used to make cars, aluminum use is projected to nearly double by 2025.

2014 marks the beginning of dramatic growth for aluminum in the auto sector. Alcoa projects the value-added sheet products it provides to auto OEM's will grow four times by the end of 2015 and ten times by 2025. Alcoa's automotive “triple play” (capacity expansions at Davenport, Tennessee and Saudi Arabia facilities) supports the growing demand from auto manufacturers as they switch from steel to aluminum to increase the fuel efficiency, safety and durability of the cars they produce.

Press release

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Feb. 13, 2014
Bud Light Partners with Alcoa to Launch New Reclosable Aluminum Bottle

Bud Light drinkers across America can now enjoy new, reclosable 16-ounce bottles enabled by Alcoa’s technology and materials.

The new Bud Light “Cool Twist” reclosable aluminum bottle is based on Alcoa’s patented bottle technology, uses Alcoa’s aluminum bottle sheet and carries the Alcoa logo on the package. The Alcoa technology licensed by Anheuser-Busch for the Bud Light “Cool Twist” bottle is built on years of expertise in creating innovative packaging. Alcoa provided product support to the Anheuser-Busch Innovations team, from package design through the launch of the new bottle.

Press release

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Mar. 27, 2014
Alcoa Rolls Out World’s Lightest Heavy-Duty Truck Wheel, Enabling Fleets to Shed Weight

How do you get heavy duty wheels without the “heavy” – Alcoa innovations & Alcoa Wheels. Alcoa has rolled out the world’s lightest heavy-duty truck wheel. This latest Alcoa innovation, the Ultra ONE™, will help trucks shed pounds for increased payload and fuel efficiency.

Unveiled at the Mid-America Trucking show in Louisville, Kentucky, Alcoa’s new 40-pound wheel is 47 percent lighter than steel wheels of the same size. The Ultra ONE can help save up to 1,400 pounds per rig, enabling fleets to carry more goods while meeting stringent federal emissions regulations.

Press release

Explore over 125 years of Alcoa innovation by using the scroll bar or your mouse.
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Over 125 Years of Innovation Leadership



TIMELINE
Leading the way for future generations, for over 125 years Alcoa has set new standards for breakthrough technology, strengthening communities and growing sustainably. From the world’s lightest planes to the most fuel efficient cars to the sleekest mobile phones, Alcoa innovations accelerate advancements in our key markets.


October 1, 1888
Journey of the World’s Most Admired Metals Company Begins
1889
Alcoa Develops the First Aluminum Tea Kettle
1891
Alcoa Establishes New Kensington Works
1901
Alcoa Begins Lightweighting Automobiles with Aluminum
Dec. 17, 1903
Aerospace Industry Takes Flight With Alcoa Aluminum
1910
Alcoa Introduces Aluminum Foil
1912
Alcoa Establishes Presence in Europe
1916
Alcoa Innovates With New Aerospace Alloys
1917
Alcoa Aluminum Makes U.S. Military Lighter, Faster and Stronger
1922
Alcoa Manufactures First Aluminum Furniture
1925
Alcoa Develops Lighter, Environmentally Friendly Aluminum Buses
1928
Alcoa Pioneers Lightweight, Energy-Efficient Aluminum Windows
1934
Alcoa Increases Efficiency of Public Works Projects
August 5, 1937
Alcoa Aluminum Enables Lightweight, High-Performance Ships
1941-1943
Alcoa Upgrades Facilities to Deliver the World’s Largest Forgings
1944
Alcoa Develops World’s Strongest, Most Reliable Fastening System
1948
Alcoa Wheels Help Truckers Deliver Productivity At Every Turn
1951
Alcoa Sponsors Edward R. Murrow’s “See It Now”
1952
Alcoa Foundation Strengthens Communities, the Environment and STEM Education
1952
Alcoa Aluminum – For Greener Buildings with Flexible Designs
1955
Alcoa Auto Wheels Roll with Style and Performance
1961
Alcoa Forms Alcoa of Australia
1962
Alcoa Makes Beer Drinking More Stylish and Convenient
1965
Innovation Fuels Alcoa Advantage
1976
Alcoa’s Aerospace Castings Enable More Fuel Efficient Engines
1976
“Alcoa Can’t Wait” Ad Campaign Begins Airing
October 9, 1979
Alcoa Supports Sustainability by Increasing Recycling
1981
Alcoa’s Fantastic Finishes Begin Airing During NFL Games
1985
Alcoa Helps Protect the Troops
1988
Alcoa Innovation Enables NASA Milestones
1994
Alcoa Technology Drives Audi Performance
1997
Alcoa Foundation Teaches Sustainability With Keystone Center Sponsorships
2001
Alcoa Recognized For Sustainability
2002
Dura-Bright® Wheels Rolling With Style
2002
Alcoa Employees Explore the Environment With Earthwatch Expeditions
2004
Alcoa Develops First Aluminum Beer Bottle
2005
JSF Soars With Alcoa Aero Technology
2005
Alcoa’s Named One of the World’s Top Green Companies
2006
Alcoa Supports Community Partnerships With Worldwide Month of Service
June 9, 2007
Alcoa Opens First Greenfield Smelter in 20 Years in Iceland
2007
Alcoa Launches Innovative Carbon Capture Technology
2008
Alcoa Goes For The Gold With Sustainable Aluminum Buses
2009
Next-Generation Aluminum-Lithium Gets A Flying Start
June 2010
Alcoa Launches World’s Lowest Cost, Fully Integrated Aluminum Production Facility
2011
Alcoa Debuts EcoClean Self-Cleaning Building Surfaces
March 2, 2011
Alcoa Enables Consumer Electronics Sustainability
June 26, 2012
Samsung Uses Alcoa’s ColorKast Die Cast Technology For Cool and Affordable Electronics
Aug. 8, 2012
Alcoa Helps Oil and Gas Customers Drill Deeper
Sep. 23, 2013
Capitalizing on Historic Auto Industry Shift to Lightweight Vehicles
Feb. 13, 2014
Bud Light Partners with Alcoa to Launch New Reclosable Aluminum Bottle
Mar. 27, 2014
Alcoa Rolls Out World’s Lightest Heavy-Duty Truck Wheel, Enabling Fleets to Shed Weight
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