Frictionless trade with EU vital, says APPG

The imposition of barriers to trade between the UK and the EU could be disastrous for the European aluminium industry, a Parliamentary body has warned.

The Aluminium Industry All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) considered the potential impact of tariffs on the sector at a meeting today.

The meeting was addressed by both Business and Industry Minister Richard Harrington MP and Eoin Dinsmore, principal consultant at CRU. It was attended by companies across the UK aluminium sector, and by BEIS officials.





Richard Harrington MP , Business and Industry Minister, with Aluminium Federation President Giles Ashmead.

Companies highlighted the high volume of cross-border transit within Europe of components and work-in-progress, as well as finished product, especially in the automotive and aerospace industries. This integrated supply chain activity is usually overlooked when international trade is discussed.  The imposition of tariffs, or, equally important, non-financial barriers such as customs clearance, would severely impact UK manufacturing.

The meeting also discussed the threat of the US imposing tariffs, quotas or both on imports of aluminium into the country. Aimed at China, such measures would also hit US allies such as the UK and Canada, and could have the unintended consequence of boosting exports of finished goods to the US, while exports of raw materials decline.

The Aluminium Federation has recently supplied details of aluminium supply chains and trading patterns to BEIS, to inform its ongoing discussions with international trading partners.

Innoval recruits

Mike Clinch has joined technical aluminium consultancy Innoval Technology to lead the company’s Materials Development Group.

Dr Clinch joins Innoval following a 20-year career at Luxfer Gas Cylinders. He also chairs the Light Metals Division of the Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining.

He will oversee Innoval’s InnovateUK collaborative R&D projects, as well as development work with existing clients and will have a role in generating creating new business.

“I am delighted to welcome Mike to Innoval,” commented Managing Director of Innoval Technology, Dr Gary Mahon. “He brings with him a wealth of experience in applied materials research, product development and process engineering.

“Furthermore, Mike is a strong advocate of collaborative R&D, and will drive the development and commercialisation of new technologies which are key to Innoval’s Materials Development activities.”

Senior wins new college contracts

Aluminium glazing from Senior Architectural Systems has been specified for use on two new college contracts in the north of England.

Senior has supplied the glazing packages for the new Lancashire Energy HQ at Blackpool & Flyde College,  and the Advanced Skills and Innovation Centre at Wakefield College in West Yorkshire, to deliver the design vision of architects IBI Group.

 Lancashire Energy HQ, Blackpool  ASIC, Wakefield

Combining attractive slim sightlines and high thermal performance, the building envelope of both college buildings has benefitted from products from Senior’s extensive range of aluminium doors, windows and curtain walling systems. Reflecting the college’s focus on training for the renewable energy sector, Blackpool & Flyde College scheme boasts a sustainable design scheme which includes a living green wall and an energy-efficient glazing package.  The improved thermal performance and slim sightlines offered by Senior’s SF52 aluminium curtain walling made it the ideal choice to create the college’s attractive double-height atrium and striking faceted entrance, which also features Senior’s robust SPW500 aluminium doors. Further contributing to the building’s BREEAM rating of ‘excellent’ are Senior’s thermally-broken SPW600e aluminium windows.

Also designed by IBI Group, the new ASIC building at Wakefield College features the same specification of aluminium fenestration solutions from Senior. Here, Senior’s SF52 curtain walling has been used to add further interest to the building’s attractive façade design which features a mix of masonry brickwork and coloured cladding panels.  The modern design of the new-build three storey building maximises the use of light and space, with the slim profile of Senior’s SF52 curtain walling system and SPW600e aluminium windows helping to create a welcoming and comfortable learning environment.

ALFED backs CMA campaign

The Competition & Markets Authority (CMA) is launching a campaign to encourage more people to come forward with information that will help it hunt out illegal cartels.

Cartels are businesses which cheat their customers by agreeing not to compete with each other so that they can keep their prices high. There are serious penalties for being in a cartel, but many workers in the UK know little about them, putting them and their companies at risk.

The CMA saw a 30% increase in tip offs in 2017, following the launch of the CMA’s first digital campaign.

As part of the new campaign, the CMA is reminding people that, if they come forward with information about their involvement, they can receive significant reductions in fines and avoid being disqualified from running a company. If they are the first to come forward, they can receive total immunity, including from criminal prosecution. Witnesses who blow the whistle can receive a reward of up to £100,000.

Energy Management buys Bruder Resources

Energy Management LLP has acquired energy procurement specialists Bruder Resources.

The acquisition is the first of many planned by the Wiltshire firm as it looks to underline its position as one of the leading energy consultancies and brokers in the UK. Established in 1998, Bruder has developed an unrivalled portfolio of loyal clients over the past two decades from its base near Birmingham.

  Energy Management LLP CEO Steve Retford said: “Bruder is a renowned name amongst the casting houses and metal forming companies in the industrial heartland of the West Midlands. Our in-house engineering expertise will enable us to add a lot of value to the work they have done over many years in this energy-intensive sector.”

“As members of the Aluminium Federation we’ve been looking to increase our
presence amongst the traditional industries in this area, and we believe Bruder to be a natural fit as we continue to expand the company and our offering.”

ALFED holds discussions on ‘Brexit’ with BEIS

ALFED President Giles Ashmead, Board members Simon MacVicker and Steve Hedar, plus representatives from Arconic and Amari Metals and ALFED chief executive Tom Jones met yesterday with Richard Harrington MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at BEIS and senior civil servants at BEIS.

These discussions were extremely constructive, focusing on the needs of the UK aluminium sector and the potential impact on it of various Brexit scenarios.

The 60 minute discussions covered

– Free flow of materials and product without customs barriers
– Seamless supply chains
– effects of tariffs on importing and exporting raw and finished materials
– Delays of investment caused by Brexit uncertainties
– Energy costs and supply
– Skills training and education
– Strategic manufacturing growth

This was a positive meeting at crucial time, as it was called to inform discussion at today’s ‘War Cabinet’ meeting on Brexit.  The ALFED team was able to put across to Government the requirements of the UK aluminium industry in its negotiations with the EU 27.


Ton-up for ALFED

The Aluminium Federation, the trade body for the UK aluminium industry, has welcomed its one hundredth member.

The Federation re-structured in 2015 to a ‘direct membership’ model, where individual companies are members in their own right, rather than through an intermediate grouping. Since then the Aluminium Federation has recruited more than 30 new members, many of them companies that manufacture in aluminium, as well as those that process or recycle aluminium.

The latest company to join the Aluminium Federation is Arlington Automotive. The tier-1 supplier employs more than 360 at manufacturing sites in Coventry, Birmingham, Derby and Newton Aycliffe. Arlington’s supply chain capabilities include design, manufacture, pressing, coating, welding, assembly and logistics.

“It’s fantastic news that Arlington has joined us,” commented Aluminium Federation President Giles Ashmead. “The use of aluminium in the automotive supply chain is growing rapidly, and Arlington joins our growing cluster of members in this sector, where companies increasingly collaborate to commercialise innovative technical developments in aluminium.”


An article on the ALFED – sponsored BLOODHOUND SSC project – and its aluminium wheels – written by ALFED’s Ian Oliver appears in the January/February 2018 edition of Aluminium International Today.

Senior specified for award-winning health centre

Boasting a number of industry accolades and an impressive BREEAM rating of ‘excellent’, Eastwood Health Centre in Glasgow has benefitted from the use of Senior Architectural Systems’ attractive Hybrid timber aluminium curtain walling and high-performance aluminium windows and doors.


The three-storey building, which incorporates a number of GP practices and community health facilities, has been constructed around two external courtyards and designed to make the most of the use of natural lighting and ventilation.  The design of the health centre’s glazing package has been enhanced through the addition of timber cladding, projecting timber panels and bespoke timber louvres which provide solar shading and add further contrast to the building’s brickwork façade.

Senior’s innovative Hybrid curtain walling system, which combines the durability of aluminium externally with the environmental benefits of timber internally, has been used to create a welcoming environment and connect the internal spaces to the outside by providing views of the external courtyard.  On the ground floor, Senior’s thermally-broken aluminium SPW600 aluminium windows have also been installed alongside Senior’s robust SPW500 aluminium door, which is ideally suited to high-traffic commercial applications.

Eastwood Health Centre has been recognised at a number of award schemes including the RIAS Awards 2017, Health Faculties Scotland Design Awards and European Healthcare Awards.

Green light for aluminium wheel plant

Highland Council has granted planning permission for a new 400-worker alloy wheel factory next to the Liberty British Aluminium smelter at Fort William.

The consent, which comes with a number of standard conditions, clears the way for the company to begin detailed design on the landmark project to develop the UK’s only large-scale alloy wheel plant, with work hopefully beginning on site later this year.

It is intended that the new plant – part of a £120m investment by GFG at Fort William – will use aluminium from the adjacent smelter to manufacture up to two million wheels a year for the British car industry, with production beginning in early 2020. The ambitious plans for the site will make Fort William a major centre for the automotive industry, supplying at least one fifth of all the wheels required by UK vehicle manufacturers.


“Our plans for Fort William will not only transform the economic prospects of the area but also create the UK’s only large-scale alloy wheel plant, a major step forward in Britain’s manufacturing capabilities,” said Sanjeev Gupta, executive chairman of  GFG Alliance , parent of Liberty British Aluminium.

“We plan to invest heavily in R&D to develop a world class product, made in the Scottish Highlands. We look forward to continuing to work with these bodies to fulfil the conditions set out in the planning consent and then to move ahead quickly with the building of the plant.”