NOVI, Mich. – Aluminum producer Novelis today formally dedicated its customer solution center in southeastern Michigan.
The center, in the Detroit suburb of Novi, works with automakers and major suppliers on automotive projects.
“This facility will be instrumental” in advancing the use of aluminum in vehicles, Blake Zuidema, director of auto tech services for Novelis North America, said during a presentation at the Novi center.
Novelis moved into the $35 million facility during the COVID-19 pandemic but it wasn’t fully operational until this summer.
The center contains heavy equipment. It has facilities related to joining aluminum, a metallurgical lab, and development of EV battery trays.
The company also plans to install a pilot roll forming line to be used for research and development. Atlanta-based Novelis says roll forming of aluminum has potential applications for rockers, bumpers, EV battery enclosures and door frame components.
The aluminum industry generally is looking to expand the use of the metal in the auto industry. Initially, the idea was to make conventionally powered vehicles lighter to improve fuel mileage. A breakthrough for the aluminum industry was when Ford Motor Co. moved to use aluminum for its F-150 pickup.
Now, aluminum makers see the potential for further gains as the auto industry puts more emphasis on EVs.
Novelis is seeking to have the Novi work with automakers and suppliers early in the vehicle design process. Novelis uses “our design capabilities to show what can be done,” Zuidema said.
Novelis is a subsidiary of India-based Hindlaco Industries.
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