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Novelis shifting NY site to closed-loop model

Keywords: Tags  Novelis, Philip Martens, closed-loop recycling, automotive sheet, UBC recycling, beverage can, automotive aluminum, Oswego plant aluminum


NEW YORK — Novelis Inc. will roll out a closed-loop recycling system at its Oswego, N.Y., facility over the next 12 months to cater to its automotive customers as the company looks to make the auto sector 65 percent of its business.

Novelis is moving away from the "outdated ‘linear’ model" of aluminum sheet production and adopting a closed-loop model to meet its 2020 goal of having a recycled content of 80 percent in its products, Novelis president and chief executive officer Philip Martens said at AMM’s Aluminum Summit in New York.

The Atlanta-based company has reconfigured its automotive supply chain with customers like Jaguar-Land Rover Automotive Plc in Europe, so the "casting" step of the model is moved further downstream to be more closely integrated with customer requirements, Martens said.

"Typically in an aluminum sheet-stamping operation there is 50-percent scrap. We used to sell that to scrap dealers, but we now collect that, put it in the same container that delivered the coil and send it back to our facilities, where it is recast into sheet," he said.

The integrated closed-loop model will begin production at Oswego in the next 12 months and will operate 24/7, Martens said.

"The automotive OEMs (original equipment manufacturers) are ensured of a steady, reliable supply of high-value automotive sheet. We want to increase end-of-life recycling for the auto industry, and we’ve found an extremely receptive audience there," he said.

As the model is being equally applied to the beverage can market, Martens said the company has already had its recycled content boosted by its withdrawal from the Evermore Recycling LLC joint venture in Nashville, Tenn., with Pittsburgh-based Alcoa Inc. last year ( amm.com, July 16, 2012).

Novelis passed the 43-percent mark on recycled content at the end of its fiscal year in March ( amm.com, May 14) and is poised to make further progress as it continues its push into automotive, Martens said.

"Right now about 65 percent of our business is UBC (used beverage cans), 28 percent is ‘other’, and 6 percent is auto. Going out to 2020, 65 percent of our business will be auto and 30 percent will be can. By then we should be able to make a 100-percent recyclable can, and we may be able to make 70-percent recycled content automotive sheet, and that gets you to 80-percent total recycled content," he said.

Martens said the company will be bringing a version of its Evercan product to the market in "the next couple of months to a year," having first unveiled the prototype of a 100-percent recyclable beverage can at last year’s Aluminum Summit ( amm.com, June 12, 2012).

"This will be a 90-percent recycled content can body sheet, which enables beverage can companies that package beer, soda, water to use a guaranteed 70-percent recyclable container," he said.

Martens was also pleased with the progress the company has made toward its 80-percent recycled content goal.

"When we made that commitment publicly, virtually no one believed us, and those that did looked at the negative implications for the industry. Some people laughed at the thought as they didn’t think it was possible or viable, while others thought it would ruin the aluminum market for the rest of us. Neither of these statements hold water."


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