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The pioneering engineering material in the history of industrial revolution is aluminium. It is one of the most important metal composed of about 8% by weight of the Earth’s crust. Aluminium is light, durable and functional metal in nature which makes it a key engineering metal for industrial application. The aluminium made a revolution in the field of automobiles, trains and aeroplanes, mobile phones and computers, modern interior and much more. The versatility of aluminium makes it most sought after steel. Aluminium has a high strength to weight ratio which makes it important structural material allowing increased fuel saving for transport industries. Low density, high strength, a good conductor of heat and electricity, corrosion resistance and high reflectivity are some of the salient properties of aluminium which are almost required in every industry. Basically, aluminium is derived from bauxite which is converted into alumina. The alumina is then converted into aluminium metal using electrolytic cells and Hall-Heroult process. Overall production of aluminium around the world is almost doubled due to its enormous applications in wide industrial area. The breakthrough in the modern transportation and aviation industry possible only because of aluminium.
The segmentation of aluminium is done on the basis of product form such as Flat Products, Long Products, Forged Products, and Cast Products. The aluminium flat products are manufactured by rolling method and are extensively used in automobile structures & exteriors, small boat hulls and aircraft skins. Extrusion of aluminium provide extraordinary variety of products for consumer and industrial market. Aluminium extrusion are ideal for engine blocks, transmission housing, panels and chassis of cars in automobile. Aluminium forging is better than casting in terms of enhanced flexibility, greater surface finish and great strength. Forged aluminium products mainly used in spacecraft and aircraft parts.
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Aluminium hold remarkable properties which not only surpass the manufacturers expectations but also enhance operational performance which is playing a key role in developing aluminium market around the world. Automakers, aerospace & aviation, electrical & electronic equipment, food packaging industry, rail transport, ship building, and the list goes on making it the most important engineering material. Hence the market for aluminium is in golden phase.
Fundamentally aluminium is derived from bauxite and the drastic alteration in the raw material price hindering the aluminium growth. Also, aluminium requires a special tooling and standard welded method which increases the overall manufacturing cost of the component which might inhibits its growth.
Leading aluminium conglomerate in the world are Rio Tinto, Aluminium Corporation of China Ltd., Rusal, Hindalco Industries Ltd., China Zhongwang, China Hongqiao Group, Alcoa Corporation, Alumina Ltd., Emirates Global Aluminium, Aleris, Vedanta Aluminium, Shandong Xinfa Hope Aluminium Industry Co., Ltd., East Hope, and Norsk Hydro ASA
By Product Form
· Flat Products
· Long Products
· Forged Products
· Cast Products
By Manufacturing Process
· Aerospace and Defence
· Building and Construction
· Electrical and Electronics
· Foils and Packaging
· Industrial Machinery
· North America (USA and Canada)
· Europe (UK, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Russia and Rest of Europe)
· Asia Pacific (Japan, China, India, Australia, Southeast Asia and Rest of Asia Pacific)
· Latin America (Brazil, Mexico and Rest of Latin America)
· Middle East & Africa (South Africa, GCC and Rest of Middle East & Africa)
The aluminium market has been segmented into North America, Europe, Asia Pacific, Latin America, and Middle East & Africa. North America is influencing the aluminium market as NASA space research program, Boeing-top aircraft manufacturing company, drilling rigs, offshore support vessels, automobile, and strategic defence projects by the US in which aluminium is widely used. The development in the automotive industry like an electric vehicle by Tesla which requires low-density material making aluminium most used by manufacturers. Europe is most suitable market for aluminium in terms of defence, manufacturing, food & processing industries, aviation & aerospace, automobile and shipbuilding. Germany is pioneering in the field of automobile and industrial machineries; Norway is pushing for electric mobility which helps aluminium market in a positive manner. Asia Pacific is the most sought market for aluminium owing to increasing consumption of electrical & electronic equipment and great potential for investment in heavy industries. Aluminium production in China is the largest in the world and authorities are initiating new development projects such as infrastructure, e-mobility, and much more. The Indian government recently launched ASAT space weapon and flagship Chandrayaan project aiming to increase space fleet. This proves a lot of potential market for aluminium has been set in Asia Pacific. MEA having largest hydrocarbons reserves not only explore enormous petroleum and natural gas products but also major supplier in the world. The extensive infrastructure needed for exploration activities and its operation, thus owing to consideration growth for aluminium.
Key Industry Developments
· In April 2019, Chinese aluminium conglomerate China Zhongwang investing $3.1 billion in central China’s Henan province for deep processing with a capacity of 1 million tonnes of extrusion.
· In March 2019, Emirate Global Aluminium signed a volume commitment extension agreement for 2019 with Maersk to transport aluminium to customers around the world.
· In May 2018, Aleris successfully achieved a contract with Boeing for providing aluminium plates and sheets for the production of airplane models. It’s a multi-year contract which validates Aleris as a key supplier of aluminium rolled products.