Alcoa came to Southwestern Indiana at a time of economic distress for the region. Major manufacturers had closed or curtailed operations, eliminating thousands of jobs. So, when Alcoa announced on April 17, 1956, that it would build a 150,000-ton-a-year smelter and a 375,000-kilowatt power plant in Warrick County, it was a major boost for both the economy and the community morale.
Electricity first surged into a Warrick potline on May 31, 1960, and the first molten metal was poured on June 9. Soon after, construction began on rolling facilities. The first fabricated products were produced in 1964.
Today, Warrick Operations is one of the largest aluminum smelting and fabricating facilities in the world. If all of the buildings were connected, there would be 120 acres under one roof. The facility is located on 300 acres with more than 9,000 acres surrounding the plant site.
Three of Alcoa’s business groups are represented at Warrick Operations: Global Primary Products, Global Rolled Products and Energy. The energy group is responsible for the operation of the Warrick Power Plant, which has four generating units with a combined capacity of 791 megawatts. Global Primary Products includes the production of molten metal through Warrick Primary Metals. The Rigid Packaging Division, a component of Alcoa’s Global Rolled Products, produces coiled aluminum sheet for beverage and food cans and other flat-rolled products, including lithographic sheet.
The aluminum making process begins with power produced at the Warrick Power Plant. This 791-megawatt facility produces enough electricity to supply a city of 200,000 people.
Primary aluminum is produced in the Smelter. The Smelter's five potlines have a production capacity of 269,000 metric tons of aluminum a year. Smelting and support functions are part of Warrick's Primary Metals Division.
Molten aluminum produced in Warrick's Smelter makes its first stop in the Ingot Plant. At one of two state-of-the art electromagnetic casting complexes, metal is cast into ingots as long as 30 feet and weighing up to 40,000 pounds. Warrick casts a variety of aluminum alloys, and those other metals, such as magnesium and zinc, are mixed with the molten metal to produce specific alloys, depending on customer requirements.
The ingots are sent through a scalper, where the surface of the metal is shaved to improve surface quality. They are then sent through Warrick's Reversing Mill where the ingot is reduced to a slab about 1 1/2" thick. The Continuous Mill transforms the slab into an 1/8" thick coil in less than four minutes.
From the Hot Mill, the coil is further processed on one of two Cold Mills. The Cold Mills reduce the metal to its final gauge, only a few thousandths of an inch thick.
Finally, the coils may go through several processes in the Finishing Department, which is Warrick’s largest department in the Rigid Packaging Division. Coils may be coated at one of three coating lines, cleaned, leveled, dried and recoiled through Warrick’s prepline or slit to a specific width at either the 64-inch slitter of the Super Slitter, a state-of-the-art facility that cuts coils to specifications for employees before being packed for shipment to customers around the world.
Warrick Operations ... Tomorrow
We just can't leave aluminum alone -- and never will. Warrick Operations has grown from a simple producer of aluminum to a recognized world leader in the production of high quality aluminum sheet.
From Warrick Operations, Alcoa produces and delivers aluminum sheet for products on store shelves across America, Europe and the Far East. Even while competing worldwide, Alcoa continues to keep strong roots in the Warrick community, where our people live and work.