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Aleris ramps up in China, hits snags in US, Europe

Keywords: Tags  Aleris International, Steven Demetriou, heat-treat plate, aluminum plate, marine certification, aerospace certification, plate, aluminum rolled products Michael Cowden

CHICAGO — Aleris International Inc.’s new rolling mill in Zhenjiang, China, continued to ramp up production of commercial heat-treat and non-heat-treat plate in the third quarter, while facilities in North America and Europe suffered from production problems, the company said.

The Zhenjiang operation recently received American Bureau of Shipping and ClassNK certifications, the first mill in China to do so, which should allow it to ship certified plate for marine applications to the United States, Japan and elsewhere, Aleris chairman and chief executive officer Steven J. Demetriou said during an earnings call Nov. 6.

The Zhenjiang mill also should be qualified to produce aerospace plate in the second half of 2014, he said. As such, the facility should cast and process the full portfolio of alloys for its aerospace customers, Demetriou added.

But in North America, Aleris has experienced "lingering production issues" at its wide coating facility in Ashville, Ohio, Demetriou said. The Cleveland-based company previously said that production bottlenecks at the site were expected to be resolved in the third quarter (, Aug. 1).

Aleris’ rolled products business in Europe also experienced "suboptimal operating performance" in the third quarter, Demetriou said, and the combination of problems in Europe and at Ashville "limited our ability to deliver the performance and productivity that we expect."

Aleris plans one-time maintenance outages in the fourth quarter to alleviate production bottlenecks and improve customer service at key global rolled products facilities, he said, although he didn’t the facilities involved.

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