Novelis to invest $130 million in Scriba plant

Ford replaced the steel body panels of the Ford F-150 pickup truck with lightweight aluminum produced at the Novelis Scriba plant. Photo provided.

SCRIBA – Novelis Inc., a major county employer and world leader in aluminum rolling and recycling, announced plans Oct. 18 to invest approximately $130 million in upgrades to its operations here over the next two years, though there is no guarantee that investment includes the addition of any new employees.

The international corporation, with world headquarters in Mumbai, India, said in their recent statement the multi-million dollar investment is meant to meet growing customer demand for sustainable, aluminum flat rolled products.

According to Novelis, lightness, strength and durability are common properties for rolled aluminum products – these properties (among the infinite recyclability of aluminum) make rolled aluminum one of the most versatile materials in the aerospace, automotive, beverage can and specialties industries.

“Rolling aluminum is a key way of converting cast aluminum ingots (from our Recycle/Remelt unit) and is done in our Hot Mill and Cold Mill units,” according to Lead Communication spokeswoman Leila Giancone of Novelis Oswego. “By hot rolling and subsequent cold rolling, it is possible to reduce an ingot to the thicknesses desired by our valued customers.

“Aluminum is heated to a temperature of approximately 600°C and then passed through a hot rolling mill until thickness is obtained to be ready for cold rolling. Annealing (a heat treatment that makes the product more workable) may be required between passes depending on the final hardness required. This investment will also enhance our batch annealing capabilities.

“The annealing furnace is the equipment found in the cold mill – as a part of this investment, we will be adding three annealing furnaces that will enhance our cold mill efficiency.

“The rolling temperature, the alloy composition and the use of annealing through the rolling of cast aluminum allows the metal to take on preferred/selected characteristics and properties – making it possible to become a stronger and more ductile material.

“The new investment includes upgrades to the plant’s hot reversing mill motors, drive train and hot finishing mill coolant systems, all components of Novelis’s hot mill.”

The Novelis statement on this $130 million investment also noted the project enables Novelis’s Scriba plant to increase hot mill capacity by 124,000 metric tons of aluminum for use in the can, automotive and specialty products markets. It will also enhance finishing capabilities for automotive sheet.

“Finishing” is used to describe the process of adding various types of edging/trimming as well as “coats” on the surface of a product/part. It can also involve the process for cleaning, polishing or refining the surface of a product/part.

According to Novelis, the project will also enhance energy-efficiency at the plant, in line with Novelis’s sustainability goal to reduce energy use by 10% by 2026.

“This investment further strengthens the plant’s position for additional recycled aluminum inputs and increased recycled content across its product lines in the future,” their statement noted.

The investment projects will begin in spring 2022 and are expected to be completed in 2024.

“By investing in modern, energy-efficient upgrades in Oswego, we aim to sustain and grow important partnerships with our valued customers,” said Tom Boney, EVP and President, Novelis North America. “These upgrades also strengthen Novelis’s ability to thrive in Oswego as a great place to work and a partner to the community.”

The investment follows the successful expansion of significant automotive finishing capabilities and recycling capacity at the Oswego plant over the last decade. These investments included the addition of more than 300,000 metric tons of state-of-the-art automotive finishing capacity and the expansion of the recycling center, which processes roughly 25 million pounds of automotive aluminum scrap per month provided from various partners in Novelis’s local and regional supply chain across North America.

Using recycled aluminum requires significantly less energy and water and avoids 95% of the greenhouse gas emissions associated with primary aluminum production.

Enhancing energy efficiency at the plant through this investment in Novelis Oswego is not only aligned with Novelis’ commitment to World Class Manufacturing but is in line with Novelis’ sustainability goal to reduce energy use by 10% by 2026. This further strengthens the plant’s position for additional recycled aluminum inputs and increased recycled content across its product lines in the future and allows us to be more energy efficient in production of lightweight, infinitely recyclable flat rolled aluminum product.

This investment will also add approximately 75,000 additional square footage to the existing 500,000 square foot facility.

However, Novelis spokeswoman Giancone said, “We have no immediate changes to the staffing structure. This investment does not have additional headcount associated with it at this time.”

According to the company’s recent announcement, “Novelis is the world’s leading provider of aluminum automotive sheet used for making structural components and exterior body panels that can be found in more than 225 vehicle models produced by leading automakers around the globe. Novelis aluminum is designed to support safe, sustainable and cost-effective ways to lightweight vehicles and commercial trucks that result in better performance and agility, increased fuel economy and reduced carbon emissions.”

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