Aluminium sector - Industrial capability in the transport sector

Aluminium sector - Industrial capability in the transport sector ARABAL 2012 opens the door to transport and aerospace industries

The strong global demand for aluminium led by the transport sector over the last year reflects the increasing importance of the overall demand for aluminium, reports Qatalum, the organizer of Arab International Aluminium Conference (ARABAL 2012), which will be held at the Grand Hyatt Doha.

This demand arrived during increasing change and development in the transport sector, particularly in the automobile, bus, aircraft and ship manufacturing sectors which are increasingly dependent on the use of aluminium qualities in comparison to other necessary metals used in transport industry. Aluminium is a lightweight metal, which enables a decrease in fuel consumption and emissions. Many industries are continuing the trend of replacing traditional metals with aluminium.

ARABAL will see a concentrated focus on the transport industry this year, as indicators have shown an increasing demand for industrial outputs in the transport sector in North America, particularly the USA. The overall consumption is expected to reach 3.6 million tonnes of semi-manufactured aluminium by 2016, according to recent forecasts, a significant increase over the 2.5 million tonnes reported in 2011. This means that an annual average growth rate of 7.4% is expected in the period from 2012 until 2016. The year 2013 is expected to record the highest growth rate for the transport sector, with the transport sector in the USA projected to account for an increasing portion of overall domestic demand for semi-manufactured aluminium. It accounted for 34% of the overall demand for semi-manufactured aluminium in 2011 and is expected to reach 35% in 2012 and increase to 37% in 2013.

Downturn indicators dominated the European landscape in general, whether in terms of demand or production of aluminium and other industries. According to estimates Europe reported an overall downturn of 4.8%, although the German economy outpaced its neighbouring nations in the fourth quarter of 2011, posting a growth of 2.1%. During 2011 the largest part of demand was from the transport sector and the engineering industries. Primary aluminium consumption grew by 4.3% in the third quarter of 2011. German automobile exports increased by 6.6% in 2011, while domestic sales grew by 6.1%. Germany produced 5.9 million cars in 2011, of which 4.5 million were exported.

It is become evident that the aluminium industry is slowly ramping up to satisfy demand from the transport sector. Many aluminium producers in the USA and Europe have undergone expansions, while many automobile manufacturers have announced ambitious plans to increase the use of aluminium in their new models. BMW and Mercedes Benz have decided to develop strategies to increase the density of aluminium in their cars. Audi was the first manufacturer to discover the ideal uses of aluminium in their cars, with the A6 class using higher levels of aluminium in the body of the car, accounting for 20% of the overall weight of the car. This resulted in reducing the weight of the car by an estimated 70 kilograms. Luxury cars especially have shown a strong recovery in the Euro Zone in 2011, with BMW, Audi and Alfa Romeo registering growth of 4.9%, 9% and 19%, respectively.

In new car models, aluminium will make up 85% of the construction material, helping to reduce the total weight of the cars. These indicators confirm that the sector will be a steadying factor in the consumption of aluminium in 2012, and that demand for aluminium is expected to be stable, even if the production levels were reduced. This steady demand is a result of continued need for lighter vehicles. The aerospace industry is set to sign more long term deals for the supply of plates and chips and other aluminium related materials. Leading aircraft manufacturers such as Airbus and Boeing have reported a significant growth in demand for aluminium. In 2012, as a result of to the increased use of blended wing designs from aluminium which reduce the weight of the aircraft by 33%, in addition to the other uses in aircraft manufacturing from plates and chips which will double in the near future.

The 16th Arab International Aluminium Conference (ARABAL 2012) will be held at the Grand Hyatt Doha from the 20th – 22nd November 2012. ARABAL is the premier trade event for the Middle East’s aluminium industry and the only conference in the world attended by every single primary aluminium manufacturer in the region. Therefore, it is the conference of choice for anyone interested in the Middle East aluminium industry.