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Rio Tinto Alcan in transport extrusions deal

Keywords: Tags  aluminum, extrusions, R&D, Rio Tinto Alcan Inc., National Research Council of Canada, ground transportation market, NRC, Etienne Jacques collaborative research

CHICAGO — Rio Tinto Alcan Inc. and the National Research Council (NRC) of Canada have signed a five-year deal to develop aluminum extrusions for the ground transportation sector.

The Montreal-based aluminum producer said Feb. 28 that the agreement, valued at Canadian $3.25 million ($2.94 million), would see work conducted at NRC facilities in Saguenay, Québec, and the company’s Arvida Research and Development Center in Saguenay–Lac Saint-Jean, Québec.

"Research and development has been key for us. It is a way to gain a competitive edge within the industry and to boost the performance and widespread use of high-value-added extruded products," Étienne Jacques, chief operating officer of Rio Tinto Alcan primary metal North America, said in a statement.

The NRC and Rio Tinto Alcan will work to make new aluminum components not only for cars and trucks but also for trains, buses and recreational vehicles, Jacques said.

Rio Tinto Alcan will contribute C$1.4 million ($1.3 million) to the project, the company said.

Aluminum companies have built or have announced plans to add new capacity to meet forecast gains in demand from the transportation sector. Attention has largely focused on aluminum sheet for body-in-white applications for mass produced vehicles (, Jan. 23), but extruders are also pressing to add capacity (, Feb. 27) and develop new capabilities (, Jan. 31).

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