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Novelis celebrated the ground-breaking ceremony for a new automotive sheet finishing line at its Nachterstedt, Germany, facility.

Erwin Mayr, senior vice president of Novelis and president of Novelis Europe, made the symbolic shovel turn with Reiner Haseloff, Prime Minister of the German federal state of Saxony-Anhalt.

The $85.5 million expansion is in response to the steadily growing demand for aluminum automotive sheet for light-weight vehicle structures and body panels. The new line will add 120,000 metric tons of annual capacity to the Nachterstedt plant’s automotive output. Novelis expects demand for aluminum automotive sheet in Europe to increase by an average of 15 percent per year over the next 5 years as carmakers focus on strategies to improve vehicle fuel efficiency and reduce CO2 emissions.

The expansion, which is scheduled to come on line in the second half of 2015, will create up to 120 new jobs and boost Novelis’ annual automotive production capacity for aluminum sheet in Europe to well over 350,000 metric tons. The new production line will make use of the existing infrastructure, specialized staff and logistics solutions in order to generate extensive synergies. In addition to existing automotive capacity at the Nachterstedt plant, Novelis also produces automotive sheet at its Sierre, Switzerland, and Goettingen, Germany, plants.

This investment, coupled with the site’s start-up this summer of the world’s largest aluminum recycling facility, will further the ongoing development of the company’s automotive closed-loop business model. Today, as much as 50 percent of automotive sheet sold to automakers is left over after a manufacturing plant stamps out automotive parts. The company is working closely with its customers to return this material directly back to Novelis for recycling, streamlining the materials supply chain while reducing the total carbon footprint of the entire automotive production cycle.

The company is investing around the world to boost its automotive finishing capabilities. In addition to this new line in Nachterstedt, the company will open a greenfield automotive line in Changzhou, China later this year, and is launching construction of a third automotive line at its plant in Oswego, New York, complementing the two lines commissioned there in 2013. When all of the new lines are commissioned in late 2015, Novelis’ global automotive sheet capacity will reach approximately 900,000 tons per year, a three-fold increase from just a year ago.

Published in the May 2014 Edition of American Recycler News