Norwegian aluminium producer Norsk Hydro ASA announced yesterday the planned upgrade of equipment at Hydro Husnes that will allow it to offer advanced aluminium products to automotive manufacturing customers.
Hydro says the NOK150 million (US$17.6 million) investment will consist largely of the installation of Low Pressure Casting (LPC) equipment that will produce improved aluminium material for extrusion purposes.
Ola Sæter, Head of Hydro’s fully owned primary aluminium plants, says that forge stock demand is at a premium at present, and Hydro is prepared to capture a share of that market.
“Forge stock for products like suspension arms and knuckles is an attractive market for aluminium within the automotive industry, which needs ever more aluminium to fill its need to lightweight cars and reduce emissions.”
Hydro says its LPC technology enables it to produce cast forge stock at a lower cost than ever before, as well as producing a superior product that is well suited for forging.
“The key for us is the flexibility to be able to cast both extrusion ingots and forging materials according to customer demand in a flexible and efficient way,” explained Husnes plant manager Johan Berg.
“This investment is timed well with the ongoing upgrade of Hydro Husnes’ second electrolysis line that is due to start operations in 2020, with an annual planned output of 210,000 mt of aluminium semi-products. Making use also of this new technology will significantly strengthen our position as a preferred partner delivering of aluminium to the automotive industry.”
Hydro says it expects first production from the new equipment to occur in 2020.
Norsk Hydro, which was founded in 1905, financed by the Swedish Wallenberg family and French banks, began its life named Norsk hydro-elektrisk Kvælstofaktieselskab (literally, “Norwegian hydro-electric nitrogen limited”) by Sam Eyde. The Norwegian government owns approximately 40% of the company at the present time. Norsk Hydro is one of the largest aluminium companies in the world, with plants in Rjukan, Raufoss, Vennesla, Karmøy, Høyanger, Årdal, Sunndalsøra, and Holmestrand. Norsk also has several plants abroad, including in Germany and Brazil.