ARCHIVED - A New Centre for the Aluminium Industry

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February 05, 2005— Ottawa, Ontario

NRC-ATC's Myriam Polyquin examines crushed aluminium samples prepared for metallographic analysis.
NRC-ATC's Myriam Polyquin examines crushed aluminium samples prepared for metallographic analysis.

Canada is one of the world's key producers of aluminium, accounting for over 10 per cent of world production. Quebec's Saguenay region is the nerve centre of the industry in Canada. One of the opportunities for the region is to use this raw material to create value-added, finished aluminium products, such as auto parts, which represents a significant and growing market.

 
 
ATC Built on Partnerships
 
 

While the NRC-ATC has been operational for less than five years, it has already signed collaborative R&D partnerships with several local small and medium-sized enterprises, and industry giant Alcan. The Alcan arrangement, which amounts to $10.5 million over five years, is focused on a breakthrough manufacturing process geared to aluminium parts for the enormous worldwide automotive market. In December, Alcan announced a partnership involving General Motors and the NRC-ATC for development of new applications for the automotive industry.

 
 

Not long ago, NRC officially opened the doors to the new NRC Aluminium Technology Centre (NRC-ATC), located on the campus of Université du Québec à Chicoutimi. Plans for the NRC-ATC were developed as part of an overall commitment to stimulate the development of an aluminium technology cluster in the region. NRC-ATC was established to provide the Canadian industry with the expertise and technical support needed to develop high value-added products and services for the transformation of aluminium.

"The aim of the NRC-ATC is to develop, in alliance with its partners, leading-edge technologies that will attract the interest of key players in the aluminium parts manufacturing industry," explains NRC Vice-President Richard Normandin. "In the new knowledge-based economy, R & D is one of the keys to prosperity, and we believe that the NRC-ATC has what it takes to support the development of the transformation industry in Canada, and in Saguenay more specifically."

NRC-ATC's Chee Ang Loong examines the mould used in the SEED project, a joint NRC/Alcan project that uses semi-solid aluminium to fabricate moulded parts.
NRC-ATC's Chee Ang Loong examines the mould used in the SEED project, a joint NRC/Alcan project that uses semi-solid aluminium to fabricate moulded parts.

NRC-ATC will engage in the research and development of advanced technologies for the manufacture of aluminium-based products, as well as in process simulation and instrumentation activities for the transformation of aluminium into finished and semi-finished products. NRC and Canada Economic Development invested $32 million and $25 million, respectively, in the project.

Auto parts, a significant market

In recent years, due to concerns over energy efficiency, durability and performance, the number of aluminium parts in vehicles has increased steadily. For example, replacing steel parts with aluminium parts creates weight gains of as much as 40 - 50%. Cars produced in 1998 used approximately 85 kilograms of aluminium, a number expected to increase to over 200 kilograms per vehicle by 2015.

 



Enquiries: Media relations
National Research Council of Canada
613-991-1431
media@nrc-cnrc.gc.ca

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