NEW YORK Aluminum and
steel wheel manufacturer Accuride Corp. is preparing for
potential supply constraints in the wake of Alcoa Inc. halting
billet casting at its Massena West facility.
A March 29 fire at the Massena
West casthouse forced Pittsburgh-based Alcoa to halt production
of billet, some of which was forged-quality metal used
internally by Alcoas wheel division, Alcoa Wheel &
Transportation Products, in Cleveland, sources told
"We are working with our
customers to address potential near- and mid-term supply
constraints for aluminum wheels," an Accuride spokesman told
AMM. "Our companys ability to respond to a
possible increase in demand will depend on the level and timing
of the increase. We would make small tactical changes to our
current business plan in the areas of capital investments and
manpower planning in order to meet an increase in demand."
Accuride purchases 100 percent
of its billet externally and does not rely on Alcoa for billet,
the spokesman added.
Alcoa Wheel and Evansille,
Ind.-based Accuride are the two main players in North American
forged wheel markets, and sources said that taking Alcoa out of
the equation will undoubtedly have an impact on the commercial
Accuride is aiming to double
aluminum wheel production capacity this year following a
$20-million investment to improve the companys aluminum
wheel production facilities, including installing new machining
lines and equipment, and transferring equipment between its
three aluminum wheel plants in Camden, S.C., Erie, Pa, and
Monterrey, Mexico, according to the spokesman.
"We believe this will bring
sufficient aluminum capacity online at Accuride to meet the
peak industry cycle demand expected in 2013-14," the spokesman
said. He declined to offer capacity numbers.
Alcoa is still evaluating the
damage at Massena West in upstate New York, and no timeline has
been set for when billet production will resume. The company
declined to comment Friday.