Hydro Aluminium has made several investments in the past twelve months to expand its extrusion facilities – mainly in Europe, but also in China. The latest announcement concerns the construction of a third extrusion press at Rackwitz in Germany. In the summer, the investment in a new extrusion press in Tønder, Denmark, was announced, on which mainly automotive components will be produced. And with an eye on the automotive business in China, a new extrusion press was also commissioned at the Suzhou plant about a year ago.
Third extrusion press in Rackwitz
Hydro continues to invest in the German market and has commissioned a third aluminium extrusion press at its Rackwitz plant. The €11 million investment will create 40 jobs and increase the plant’s extrusion capacity by 12,000 tonnes per year. The investment represents a second life for the extrusion press, which was acquired after previously being used by a competing company. Production is used for customers in the construction, transport and general engineering market segments.
The plant is one of four in the company’s D-A-CH organisation, which supplies extrusion customers in Austria, Germany and Switzerland. Three of the plants are located in Germany, one in Austria. They operate nine extrusion presses, and two more are in the planning stage. One will be located in Rackwitz and the other in Nenzing, Austria.
The construction phase of the project will begin this year and extrusion operations are scheduled to start towards the end of 2023.
New extrusion press in Denmark
At its Tønder plant, Hydro is investing in a new 12-inch extrusion press with a capacity of 6,000 tonnes for the automotive industry. The €29 million investment will primarily serve the European automotive and e-vehicle markets by increasing production capacity and the ability to manufacture extrusions with larger cross-sections.
“The Tønder plant is an important part of our automotive network, supplying European car manufacturers with high-quality and safety-critical components. We expect rapid growth in the use of extruded aluminium components in the automotive industry in the coming years. This is in line with our strategy to increase profitability and drive sustainability in our automotive business,” said Bruno D’hondt, who heads Hydro’s Extrusion Europe business unit. Hydro Extrusions supplies the automotive industry with a network of specialised plants in Europe.
The Tønder plant sources low-carbon and recycled aluminium from Hydro and has direct access to recycled aluminium from Hydro Restore, which is produced at the Sjunnen recycling plant in Sweden. The entire production process in Tønder, including extrusion and fabrication, is based on renewable hydropower from Sweden, and the new press will use the latest technology on the market, which means low energy consumption.
The new press in Tønder will be used for extrusion of components for electric and hybrid vehicles. In the adjacent production centre, the profiles from the 12-inch press will be processed into advanced components that meet the stringent requirements of automotive customers.
The investment in the extrusion plant will create about 40 new jobs, in addition to the 300 people currently employed at the plant. Hydro’s precision tube plant employs 470 people, and the total number of Hydro employees in Denmark is more than 770.
Hydro expects the new press to be operational in mid-2024. New extrusion press in China
At its Suzhou plant, Hydro is investing NOK 390 million (€38 million) in a new extrusion press that will serve the growing Chinese automotive and electric vehicle markets. The investment will create 75 new jobs for the company in Suzhou. “We have succeeded in building a platform for the electric vehicle market in China, but we need more capacity to meet the market’s demand for high-quality and safety-critical components,” said Paul Warton, head of Hydro’s extrusion business. The new press will also meet other customer needs ranging from factory-made extrusions to fabricated assemblies.
“The new press will play an important role in securing long-term customer business and supporting our global product offering through a strong presence in China,” said Erik Fossum, head of the Precision Tubing business area responsible for the Chinese operation.
Hydro expects the extrusion press to be operational by mid-2023.