We don't make cans -- we make the sheet that makes cans.
At Alcoa, Tennesse and other locations, Alcoa takes raw and recycled aluminum and rolls it into huge coils of strong, lightweight, recyclable can sheet that we ship to can manufacturers worldwide.
The image to the left illustrates the process involved in producing molten metal and aluminum sheet for beverage cans.
- The aluminum rolling process begins with ingots which are cast from this molten metal. These ingots can be up to 30 feet long and weigh 32,000 pounds each.
- In the hot rolling process, these huge ingots pass through three rolling mills which transform the 21"-thick ingot into 3,000 foot long, 1/8" thick coils - in about seven minutes!
- This 1/8"-thick metal is rolled to its final thickness - a few thousandths of an inch thick - in the cold mill. Metal rolls through the cold mill at about 60 miles per hour.
- Can sheet produced by Alcoa is shipped to beverage can makers throughout the world.
- Recycling aluminum saves 95 percent of the energy it takes to make new aluminum from raw materials.
- Alcoa remelts enough used beverage cans to produce billions of new cans a year.
- Unlike packages made of other materials like plastic or glass, aluminum cans are recycled back into cans. Recycled cans return to store shelves as new cans in as few as 60 days.