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Alcoa ramps up Ohio casthouse making wheels

Keywords: Tags  Alcoa, Tim Myers, Kevin Anton, Barberton, Ohio, aluminum wheels, forged, billets recylce

CHICAGO — Alcoa Inc.’s expanded casthouse at its Barberton, Ohio, facility is now running at full capacity making wheels from remelted and scrap aluminum, the company said.

The new $21-million, 50,000-square-foot plant is expected to consume 100 million pounds of aluminum per year, Pittsburgh-based Alcoa said May 22. It is also expected to cut in half the amount of energy needed to recycle aluminum for forged wheels.

“Sustainability is integrated into Alcoa’s business strategy, and this facility allows us to take our recycling practices to a new level, recycling 100 million pounds of scrap aluminum each year in a more energy-efficient way,” Tim Myers, president of Alcoa Wheel and Transportation Products said in a statement.

Approximately 100 million pounds of recycled scrap aluminum can make 2 million forged aluminum wheels, Alcoa said. The expanded casthouse uses chips and solids from an existing wheel machine plant on Alcoa’s Barberton campus and from the company’s Cleveland forging plant and recycles them into aluminum billet. The billets are then shipped to wheel-making facilities to forge into aluminum wheels, Alcoa said.

The casthouse uses less energy thanks to a combination of process improvements and a 90-percent cut in transportation-related energy costs, Alcoa said. The cut in transportation requirements comes because the casthouse is located on the campus of an existing facility.

“This new, more energy-efficient facility makes our 100-percent recyclable aluminum wheels even more environmentally friendly,” Alcoa chief sustainability officer Kevin Anton said in a statement.

Based in Cleveland, Alcoa Wheel and Transportation Products serves the automotive, commercial vehicle and defense markets, Alcoa said. The division employs 1,600 people at 14 locations worldwide, including 30 new hires brought on to staff the newly expanded facility.

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