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Industry Info

Manufacturers urged to follow car industry and embrace use of aluminium

Businesses specialising in manufacturing and supplying aluminium have been urged to embrace the car industry’s growing demand for the metal or risk losing out to foreign competitors.

President of ALFED (the Aluminium Federation) Carl Tomlinson will reinforce the point when he opens the UK aluminium trade association’s Aluminium in Road Transport conference at Thinktank Birmingham today.

ALFED said with recent investment announcements from Jaguar Land Rover aimed at increasing aluminium use in their vehicles, the signals from the automotive industry were that aluminium is the future.

The two-day conference, which features industry speakers including top engineers from JLR, Nissan and Toyota plus motoring pundit Quentin Willson business academic Professor David Bailey, is expected to attract more than 100 delegates from across the British aluminium industry.

Speaking ahead of the conference, Tomlinson said: “With more and more of the world’s biggest car manufacturers turning to aluminium in order to meet fuel efficiency and sustainability objectives, we are now entering an era of golden opportunity for our industry. It’s up to us to make the most of this, because the rewards for businesses of all sizes, particularly SMEs, are potentially enormous.

“Amongst our membership we already have numerous aluminium manufacturers and suppliers doing great work with the car industry, but we believe there are many more out there, across the country, who could benefit.

“I would urge as many businesses as possible to engage with the automotive industry, because if we don’t satisfy its demands there is a real risk foreign competitors will seize this opportunity. And once this happens, it is incredibly difficult to get the business back.”

Prof Bailey, now of Aston Business School, said: “I’ll be talking about the key drivers of change in the global auto industry, examining what factors are forcing change in the auto industry and what it might look like by 2020. I’ll look at UK output trends and broader drivers of change including changes in production patterns, technology, labour needs and changing demand patterns.”

Other speakers include: Roland Harings, of Novelis Inc’s Global Automotive arm, which supplies aluminium sheet to the car industry, Rob Walker, of the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, and Patrik Ragnarsson, manager of the Automotive and Transport Group of the European Aluminium Association.

Further attractions for conference delegates will be a tour of Jaguar’s Castle Bromwich plant, where the all-aluminium F-Type is being built, and a dinner at Birmingham Council House’s banqueting suite.

Source: The Business Desk