CHICAGO One of the rolling mills at Novelis Inc.s
Oswego, N.Y., aluminum complex remained down Feb. 14, five days
after a basement fire broke out, a company spokesman told
The companys internal Oswego Works Fire Department
responded to and contained the fire, the spokesman said, noting
that the area was immediately evacuated and there were no
Sources at local fire services confirmed that there had been a
blaze at the aluminum works over the weekend but said that they
had not been involved in the response, which they confirmed was
handled by Novelis own fire brigade.
Novelis Oswego facility includes two cold-rolling mills
as well as two rolling mills within its hot mill, in addition
to remelting, casting and finishing capabilities, the spokesman
said. The impacted rolling mill was located within the hot
mill, he said, declining to comment on specific capacity
figures of the impacted mill.
The cause of the fire is under investigation and the rest of
the Oswego complex remains operational even as the affected
rolling mill is temporarily offline, the spokesman said. It is
too early to say what the extent of the damage to the rolling
mill or the cost of any necessary repairs might be, he added.
The spokesman declined to comment on how customers may have
been impacted as a result of the blaze. We have been
working very closelyour commercial operations and supply
chain teamsto ensure that we minimize any potential
impacts on our customers, he said.
The recovery process from the fire is progressing and we
remain optimistic that we will return to full operations in the
coming days, he added.
At least one customer contacted by AMM said he did not expect
the fire to impact his shipments, even as one market source
suggested competitor mills were seeing an uptick in inquiries
as a result.
The fire at Atlanta-based Novelis Oswego facility comes
on the heels of earlier delays related to the enterprise
planning system (ERP) system Novelis recently implemented (
amm.com, Feb. 12
Novelis president and chief executive officer Philip Martens
said in a statement released Feb. 12 with third-quarter
earnings that the ERP implementation caused more production
disruption in North America than expected but that the issue
was largely behind us and that production has
returned to near normal levels. On the companys
third-quarter earnings call, Martens specified that the Oswego
mill, in particular, had experienced issues related to the ERP
The Novelis spokesman reiterated to AMM Feb. 14 that the
company has made significant progress in stabilizing the
new ERP system performance, with production back to
near normal levels.
He declined to say what, if any, specific delays Oswego
customers had experienced as a result of the ERP issue.
We have worked diligently to limit the impact on any
customer. It would be difficult to provide an average for those
customers who may have experienced any delays, he said,
noting that the majority of issues related to the new system
were resolved as of December.
A second distributor source contacted Feb. 14 brushed off the
impact of the fire, contending that the ERP implementation
issue was a more significant complication than the blaze, at
least in the distribution sector.
They say (delivery times) are getting better (following
the ERP issue). We have not seen that yet. I just consider
(fire-related delays) to be more of the same, he said.
A third service center source said it was his understanding
that the fire would add about a week to lead times from the
Oswego site, although he said he did not expect an extra week
to have much impact on his company. Most of our guys had
already built in some cushion based on their delivery
performances, he said. The ERP implementation at
the end of the day has probably been a much bigger issue than
what this (fire) represents.
Novelis Oswego Works serves the automotive and transportation,
consumer and industrial, building and construction, and
beverage can markets, according to a company fact sheet. It
employs 928 people, produces more than a billion pounds of
aluminum sheet a year and is the companys largest
wholly-owned fabrication facility in North America, sporting
scrap remelting, ingot casting, and hot- and cold-rolling