CHICAGO Aleris International Inc. has officially opened its new, $350-million hot rolling mill in Zhenjiang, China, which the company described as the largest capital project in its history.
The Beachwood, Ohio-based aluminum firm said April 25 that the mill will produce advanced value-added aluminum aimed at serving commercial aerospace and commercial plate customers.
The Zhenjiang operation is expected to have 250,000 tonnes of capacity, with the facility producing 35,000 tonnes of value-added commercial plate products in its first phase for end-use markets in engineering, transportation, ship-building and air-separation units, the company said.
Shipments of commercial plate orders are already underway, as is the qualification process with major aircraft manufacturers, Aleris said. The company expects to be shipping aircraft material in the second half of 2014.
The global aircraft fleet is expected to double by 2031, with 35 percent of that growth in Asia, a key market for Aleris, the company said. China is forecast to become the worlds second-largest aviation market with demand for civil aircraft slated to triple over the next 20 years, Aleris said.
Aleris said in August that the $350-million greenfield aerospace rolling mill in Zhenjiang would be completed by the end of 2012 with plate production expected to begin in the first quarter of 2013 (amm.com, Aug. 2).