A twenty-year history of close cooperation between Novelis and Jaguar Land Rover has culminated in a multi-year agreement for the supply of aluminum sheet.
Under the agreement, Jaguar Land Rover will secure rolled aluminum from Novelis for a wide range of Jaguar Land Rover models, helping to support the auto maker’s industry-leading strategy to reduce the weight of its vehicles and thereby decrease CO2 emissions. As a key component of the sole-supplier relationship.
Novelis will recover and recycle all of the automaker’s aluminum scrap, thus creating a closed-loop recycling system.
“Novelis’ superior innovation capabilities, technology expertise and global investment strategy for delivering high-quality aluminum sheet make the company an ideal long-term partner for our own sustainable growth strategy,” said Mike Brown, Senior Purchasing Manager, Jaguar Land Rover.
This agreement coincides with the launch of the fourth-generation Range Rover, the world’s most refined Sports Utility Vehicle (SUV). Sales began in September 2012 following a three-year engineering project, supporting 1,000 jobs in design, product development and manufacturing at Jaguar Land Rover. It is the world’s first SUV with lightweight all-aluminum construction. This saves up to 20% from the previous model’s curb weight in some trims. Fuel consumption and carbon dioxide emissions are down by 22%, according to Land Rover.
The arrival of the latest SUV follows a significant investment in all-aluminum production processes at Land Rover’s Solihull plant, where more than 6,800 workers are employed on Range Rover and other models. “This outstanding new Range Rover symbolizes our commitment to investing in Britain and exporting around the world, delivering class-leading performance, agility, quality and luxury in a model that enjoys iconic status in almost
every market,” said Dr. Ralf Speth, Jaguar Land Rover Chief Executive Officer at the launch.
“As the UK’s leading automotive investor in R&D we are proud of the work that has gone into developing the new technologies and innovations to make the new Range Rover possible.”
Novelis aluminum is used widely across Jaguar Land Rover’s product range, including the Jaguar XJ, XF and XK models as well as the Land Rover Defender, Discovery 4, Range Rover, Range Rover Sport and Range Rover Evoque. To meet the rapid growth in customer demand for automotive aluminum sheet worldwide, Novelis is more than doubling its global capacity dedicated to the automotive market. In August 2012, demand for vehicles helped lift pre-tax profits at Jaguar Land Rover by 32% to US$540 million for the first quarter of the current fiscal year, with more than 85,000 cars sold in the three months to June 30.
According to John Edwards, Land Rover Global Brand Director, “Land Rover has seen 12 months of continuous sales increase, up in every region, up 40% in total. Our objective at Land Rover is to be the world’s SUV brand of choice for today and tomorrow, a car for all reasons, fit for every purpose.”
Automotive Industries (AI) asked Roland Harings, Vice President, Global Automotive for Novelis, about the company’s contribution towards the new Range Rover.
Harings: Novelis is the sole supplier of aluminum sheet for the all-new Range Rover. The all-aluminum body structure allows significant weight savings on the full model of 925 and 397 pounds (or 39%) on the body-in-white (BiW) over the outgoing model.
AI: What benefits does your technology bring to the structure of the new model?
Harings: Novelis offers innovative aluminum sheet for lighter vehicles, enabling reduced CO2 emissions that help JLR improve its carbon footprint and meet regulatory requirements. The use of the all-aluminum BiW triggers significant secondary weight savings, combined with a weight reduction on many parts of the vehicle leading to a maximum total weight saving of 925 pounds and 22% lower CO2 emissions. Therefore, the Novelis aluminum platform helps JLR improve the fuel economy in the new Range Rover and delivers significant enhancements in performance, handling and agility.
AI: What are the core properties and surface characteristics of the new alloy Ac-300 T61?
Harings: The use of Ac-300 T61 enables high incoming and in-service strength combined with good formability and high energy absorption without cracking. It can be used for crash dominated structural components such as long crash members or bumper beams – an application which has previously been dominated by steel.
AI: What performance benefits do you offer with the new alloys in terms of design and functionality that are not achievable with standard aluminum?
Harings: Novelis is continuously pioneering new alloys, treatments and finishes to enable automakers to create lighter, fuel- and cost-efficient cars with increased performance characteristics. One new product, also used in the New Range Rover, is Anticorodal®-600 (Ac-600 PX) which can be used for inner and outer panels or structures. It is a 20% stronger material than typical 6xxx BiW alloy, so the gauge can be reduced by as much as 15%, which implies further weight and cost reductions by using less material.
Beyond the alloy itself, Novelis also develops new solutions to optimize the way aluminum components are manufactured. One of the latest innovations is the remote weldable alloy Anticorodal®-200 RW (Ac-200 RW), which is an innovative multi-layer aluminum sheet product based on Novelis FusionTM. It enables customers to remote-weld without using filler material, typically required in welding conventional sheet, thereby improving customers’ welding speeds.
AI: What is the future of Novelis Fusion technology?
Harings: Novelis Fusion™ will remain an important technology enabling step changes in how aluminum hang-ons and BiW are built in specific areas, where the specific multilayer characteristics are required.
AI: How is Novelis positioned globally, and what expansion plans do you have for the future?
Harings: Today, Europe is the biggest market for body-in-white aluminum, but demand is growing in other areas as well. North America, and especially Asia, where European OEMs are starting to build the same vehicles with the same technology as they use in Europe. In Europe, a 55 pound/ vehicle aluminum content increase is expected by 2025, as more manufactures seek to gain weight reduction to improve their green credentials. Therefore, a big step forward in all market segments, ranging from compact to SUV, is expected over the next five years. To this end, Novelis has recently announced three significant investments that will expand its capacity to respond to escalating demand for the automotive sheet. It will invest approximately US$200 million to expand by 200 kilotons its rolling operations in Oswego, NY, a further US$400 million to expand aluminum rolling capacity and recycling infrastructure in Ulsan, Korea and a US$100 million to build its first manufacturing plant in China, which will have a capacity of 120,000 metric tons per year and is expected to be commissioned for operation in 2014.
Meanwhile, Novelis has opened its first Chinese offices in Shanghai and has put in place a Global Automotive Organization to reinforce our commitment and service to automotive customers. Globally, our current capacity for automotive sheet will more than double to more than 500,000 metric tons per year with our expansion in Oswego, New York and the announced plant in Changzhou, China.
AI: What efforts do you make to meet the growing demand for aluminum sheet in the automotive industry?
Harings: Through our extensive expansions, Novelis continuously increases capacity in order to meet the growing demand. Global standards are set and followed in order to offer high quality automotive sheet products to a global customer base. Novelis is continuously trying to improve, and to become even more efficient. Therefore, standardization of processes and product portfolio optimization are on-going key activities.
AI: What is your approach to recycling, and what programs do you have in place with OEMs?
Harings: Novelis’ strategy is that, by 2020, 80% of its aluminum will come from recycled material – that’s a big impact on the company’s CO2 footprint and will help its customers meet their sustainability objectives. To achieve this goal, Novelis is working closely together with its customers to include agreements to buy back scrap metal not used during the stamping process and facilitate closed loop recycling.