Friday, January 16, 2015

Bonnell Aluminum Adds Anodizing Capacity

Bonnell Aluminum, a subsidiary of Tredegar Corp., announced plans to expand and upgrade its anodizing capacity to serve the commercial-architectural construction market. In response to increased demand for anodizing products, the company expects to invest approximately $5 million to expand and modernize the anodizing line at its Carthage, Tennessee, facility. The company anticipates that the upgraded line, which is planned to be fully operational in the second quarter of 2015, will increase the plant’s anodizing capacity by an additional thirty-five percent.
“Not only will we increase capacity to better service our customers’ anodizing requirements, but the upgrade in equipment will further enhance our quality and consistency,” says Ira Endres, vice president sales and marketing.

“Our 2012 acquisition of AACOA increased our expertise in the field of anodizing, particularly in terms of processes and technology,” says Brook Hamilton, president of Bonnell Aluminum. “This project will benefit from our added knowledge and will raise the bar for anodizing quality and consistency in the commercial-architectural construction market.”
Bonnell Aluminum is a subsidiary of Richmond, Virginia-based Tredegar Corp. The company produces soft- and medium-strength alloy aluminum extrusions for nonresidential building and construction, automotive and specialty markets.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

ET '16 - Call for Anodizers to Be a Part of It!

The Eleventh International Aluminum Extrusion Technology Seminar & Exposition will be held from May 2-6, 2016 at the Hyatt Regency Chicago (Chicago, Illinois, USA).

Anodizers – Get Involved – Be a Part of It!  ET ’16 has put out their Call for Papers.  Any anodizers interested in presenting at ET ’16 would be included in the Value Added Track.

While the primary focus of ET is technical, papers of a practical, operational, or theoretical nature are invited as well. Presenters are encouraged to challenge every facet of the extrusion industry to raise its level of expectations, quality, and performance.

If you are interested in submitting a technical paper on Aluminum Anodizing to be considered for presentation at ET ’16, click here for all the details. 

The deadline for abstract submission is January 30, 2015.


Tuesday, October 28, 2014

AAC Announces Level 1 Anodizing Essentials Workshop Set for January, 2015

Learn Essential Techniques for producing a Quality Anodized product by attending the Anodizing Essentials Workshop.  This is an all-day intensive technical workshop developed by anodizing industry professionals for anodizing industry professionals, which focuses on the basics of quality anodizing.

This Workshop will take place on Wednesday, January 21, 2015 at the Omni Austin Hotel Downtown in Austin, Texas.  The first session begins at 8:30 a.m. and the Workshop ends at 5:00 p.m.  The workshop fee includes a continental breakfast, lunch and the class workbook.

What is Anodizing Essentials?
Anodizing Essentials is a “school for anodizers” that teaches more than the fundamentals.  Experienced industry practitioners and troubleshooters provide details on the foundation of quality anodizing.  This workshop is designed to increase the knowledge and ability of anyone involved in operating an anodizing line.  With an emphasis on quality, the program takes the anodizer through the entire process—beginning with the metallurgical properties of aluminum alloys commonly anodized, and going right through to the final rinse and sealing processes.

Click here for more information on the Anodizing Essentials Workshop.
Click here to register for the Workshop.

Click here to make hotel room reservations for the Workshop using the AAC group code.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

But wait … there’s more!

If you’ve ever watched an infomercial – and who hasn’t – you know those words, alerting you to incredible additional “values” to come. 
This blog started as a recap of my presentation at the recent AAC Annual Conference on the outlook for extrusion in the auto market, and the potential implications for anodizers.  But wait … there’s more, as I’ve gained additional insights over the past couple weeks that I’ll share with you.

My message at the Conference:  driven (pun intended) by substantial increases in extrusion content as automakers strive to hit the 54.4 mpg government target by 2025, transport applications are likely to surpass building and construction as the largest end use for extrusions.  The market today has pretty much accepted that:

·         Vehicle “lightweighting” is one of 3 key strategies to meet the ’25 target, along with ongoing drivetrain improvements (e.g. 7,8,9-speed transmissions) and alternative vehicle power systems – electrics and hybrids

·         Aluminum will be the key element in lightweighting programs, along with next-generation high-strength steels, and some use of higher cost light weight materials such as magnesium and carbon fiber

·         Multi-material vehicle architecture will be the norm.  Note that the new Ford F-150, hailed for its aluminum content, retains a high strength steel ladder frame.
The implications of all this for those of us close to the extrusion industry are that extruded shapes per-vehicle usage is projected to nearly triple by 2025, with the greatest increase coming in body-related applications.

 Also, there is a major push at the auto OEM’s to figure out how best to build the coming multi-material vehicles – in particular, how to join different forms (casting, sheet, extrusion) of aluminum … and aluminum to steel and other materials.  There is a tremendous level of development going on relative to adhesive bonding – as pioneered by Jaguar Land Rover – as a likely “answer”, and at least some discussion of anodizing as an attractive pre-treatment to ensure an optimal surface for effective bonding. 
But wait … there really is more.  While the direction noted above has been clear, several experiences over the past two weeks reinforce it.

The first:  the presentation, with AEC colleagues, of extrusion applications to engineers from one of the “Big 3” as part of a “Light Weight Week” organized with the goal of changing their culture.  Top management’s message was clear: lightweighting will be our way of life, and we’ve got to accelerate progress.  As clear as that message was, it was equally clear that they’re trying to learn a great deal very quickly, and are looking for help.
The second:  The Dick Schultz, (Ducker Worldwide) presentation at Aluminum Week.  Dick provided an update on the auto industry’s progress toward the ’25 goal, with the conclusion that lightweighting will be even more important than anticipated.  Seems that North Americans are buying fewer alternative fuel (electric, hybrid) vehicles and more trucks (pick-ups, SUVs and vans) than assumed in the fuel economy models.   Given no indication that there will be a relaxation in the 2025 goal, additional lightweighting will have to count for more mileage improvement.

Finally:  Toyota announced plans to introduce an aluminum hood and liftgate on the ’16 Lexus RX350, and an aluminum hood on the ’18 Camry.  They may be late to the party, but sources tell us there is significant extrusion in their plans as well.
So the “more” is real … more aluminum, more extrusion, more opportunity for those who can assist the auto makers in effectively using it. 

This post was written by AAC’s 2014 Fall Conference speaker Lynn Brown of Consulting Collaborative

Friday, September 5, 2014

Science of Successfully Anodizing Die Cast Substrate

Article From:  Products Finishing, Larry Chesterfield from Anodizing Technologies and Jude Mary Runge, Ph.D., Principal from CompCote International.

Die Castings pose some of the most challenging problems in anodizing.  This paper provides some explanations by tying together metallurgical science with anodizing practice.

Die castings pose some of the most challenging problems in anodizing.  The finish can be too thin, non-uniform and/or have an unfavorable appearance.  These are common problems with a variety of practical solutions; they are easy to recognize, but in many instances, the source for the problem remains unknown.  Critical to solving the problems of anodizing die castings is understanding the die cast substrate and the impact of surface condition, alloy composition, casting quality and microstructure on the anodizing process. Substrate quality issues are just as important, maybe more so, than anodizing conditions and technique.  Certain optimum anodizing conditions may be used in some cases to help overcome less than advantageous metallurgical conditions.  These include well known processing tools such as various pretreatment chemistries, higher anodizing bath concentration, and higher bath temperatures. These, and other recommended solutions are not successful in every case; sometimes trial and error testing on actual production parts must be done to find the best processing techniques.  Through the use of actual case studies that provide real-life solutions in terms of anodizing theory and interfacial science, this paper provides some explanations by tying together metallurgical science with anodizing practice.

To read the complete article from Products Finishing Magazine click here.

This post was provided by:  Products Finishing Magazine

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Something for Everyone in Your Office at the Aluminum Anodizing Conference!

While keeping up to date on the technology is essential to any business trying to stay ahead of the curve, there is much more to run a successful business than that one aspect.

AAC will stay on top of its game with15 presentations in three important focus session tracks: 

·         Recycling

·         Color & Texture

·         Technical presentations

In addition, this year, they have added the best management and marketing sessions ever offered.  From Team Building and Employee Engagement … to Managerial Accounting for the Anodizing Shop … and then on to Sales and Marketing of Anodizing Services in the Job Shop, this is a must attend conference!

Guy Charpentier from Bonnell Aluminum will speak on Strategies to Grow Demand for Anodizing Finishing.  If you are in the anodizing industry, you will want to hear this presentation which will provide you with strategies aimed at growing the demand for anodized finishing in the commercial architectural market.

Lynn Brown (Long Point Associates) who is the industry consultant to the Aluminum Extruders Council will speak on Aluminum and the Road to 54.5 Implications for Anodizers.  When Ford launched the 2015 F-150 earlier this year, the general public caught on to the fact that those in the aluminum world have known for several years – that aluminum will play a major role in the automaker’s plans to greatly improve fuel efficiency and reduce their carbon footprint.  This session will look at the accelerating use of aluminum in North American autos, the issues yet to be resolved, and the implications of this market on the development for anodizers.

The 2014 AAC conference is jammed packed not only with amazing technical sessions but also with the best management and marketing sessions ever offered.  AAC is also offering their Level 1 Workshop (Anodizing Essentials) and their Level 2 Workshop (Quality Anodizing). 

In addition, there is a tour to the Alcoa Technical Center offered.

There is something for everyone in your office at the AAC Conference in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania!  For full conference session offerings click here.

Bring your team … and get the group discount by registering 3 or more people from your company by Sunday, August 17, 2014!  Register today!


Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Fair Trade Initiatives to the Rescue

Five years ago, major players within a key segment of the North American aluminum industry came together to defend their markets from an existential threat.  That threat was seen in the surge of extruded aluminum product, much of it anodized, being imported into the U.S. and Canada from China.

What followed is described by some as a “defensive strategy” to protect previously tariff-free and highly competitive markets from the detrimental effects of unfair trade practices, such as government subsidization and predatory under-cost pricing (dumping).  Aluminum extruders and aluminum product manufacturers in the United States and Canada, along with their trade association groups such as the Aluminum Extruders Council and the Curtain Wall Coalition, petitioned their respective governments for protective tariffs to level the playing field.  Those efforts were successful.  As a result, this key segment of the aluminum industry remains safe and intact.  To read more about this strategy, go to:

Note that this surge in imports from China peaked in 2009, just as the North American economy was feeling the brunt of the post-housing-bubble recession.  AEC’s Jeff Henderson writes in his current blog (linked above) that the effect of fair trade initiatives is to have ”delivered over one billion more pounds in aluminum extrusion shipments in 2013 as compared to 2009. This 32% increase in volume has led to extruders investing over seven hundred million US dollars in the past two years.”  That is really the bottom line.  Fairness led to competitiveness.  And that led to more business, more jobs and, one could argue, better products for customers. 

Have aluminum anodizers and other metal finishers benefitted from this?  There is not a lot of hard evidence on this, but common sense indicates the answer is “yes”.  A myriad of consumer and industrial applications were targeted by the Chinese.  Anodized and fabricated extrusions would have been easy targets.  As more orders began pouring into North America, it became easier for custom service offerings using domestic warehouses to deliver just-in-time delivery programs.  With subsidized production, artificially low prices, special delivery systems, and improving quality, the growth in Chinese extrusions had no barrier.  In short, this portion of the domestic aluminum manufacturing industry was in dire peril of being completely outsourced.

Fortunately, due to the foresight and diligence of leading aluminum manufacturers, that didn’t happen.  My trade association, the Aluminum Anodizers Council has remained aware and supportive of efforts to restore and maintain fair trade.  AAC believes global trade is good for competition and consumers, but only when it is conducted freely and fairly.  The Chinese cut corners in attempting to dominate world supply in basic manufacturing industries such as aluminum parts.  When that happens, tariffs can restore a healthy competitive balance.  That is exactly what happened in the aluminum extrusion markets in North America.  Thank goodness. 
This Blog was submitted by:  Rand A. Baldwin, CAE, is the President of the Aluminum Anodizers Council. 

Mr. Baldwin is the chief of staff for the Aluminum Anodizers Council, a not-for-profit trade organization representing the interests of aluminum anodizing firms, suppliers and other members of the aluminum anodizing industry.  For more information, see