Senior’s Fenestration adds Spirit to Glasgow’s new Whisky Distillery

Whisky production has returned to the banks of the River Clyde in Glasgow for the first time in 100 years with the completion of the stunning new Clydeside Distillery, which features high performance aluminium curtain walling and commercial doors from Senior Architectural Systems.

Designed by Hypostyle Architects to combine historical character with contemporary architecture, the new distillery is located within a converted pump house and clock tower, which have been sympathetically refurbished to create a visitor centre and café.

As an impressive focal point, the distillery’s two tonne twin copper stills have been showcased within an extensively glazed modern extension that has been created through the use of Senior’s slim profile structurally glazed SF52 aluminium curtain wall system. Senior’s thermally broken SPW 501 aluminium commercial doors, which are ideally suited to high traffic areas, were also specified and installed by GG Glass & Glazing Glasgow for main contractor McLaughlin & Harvey.

Senior’s SF52 aluminium system features attractive slim sightlines and enhanced thermal performance to help boost energy-efficiency. Available as a mullion drained system which removes the need for visible drainage slots, Senior’s SF52 curtain wall can be specified as capped, silicone sealed or as a combination of the two for even greater design flexibility. Thanks to Senior’s in-house powder coating facility, the SF52 system is also available in an almost unlimited range of colours and finishes.

For more information about Senior, visit or search for Senior Architectural Systems on Twitter,LinkedIn and Facebook.


Spotlight on Innovation

HOW GOVERNMENT CAN UNLOCK SMALL BUSINESS PRODUCTIVITY. This document produced by the Federation for Small Businesses.

House of Lords Lunch

All-Party Parliamentary Group for the Aluminium Industry
Annual Lunch in the House of Lords

Thursday 12 July 2018

ALFED’s annual Parliamentary Lunch is to be held on Thursday, 12 July in the Cholmondeley Room Terrace at the House of Lords. The event will be hosted by Lord Paul of Marylebone, who is a member of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for the UK Aluminium Industry.

The purpose of this very important event in ALFED’s calendar is to raise and discuss issues relating to the UK’s aluminium sector at the highest level within UK Government. There will be three speakers at the Lunch:

ALFED President Giles Ashmead managing director of Powdertech (Corby) Limited, will give an industry overview;

Mr Richard Harrington MP (Watford), Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), will speak about the current situation with Tariffs and information required from companies for the Brexit negotiations; and

Mr Rob Bennett, Bloodhound SSC Events will speak about Education and Bloodhound’s involvement with schools, STEM groups and the involvement with ALFED and the Alu D&T Challenge Competition.

There is an opportunity after the presentations for a Question and Answer session.

This is open to all ALFED Members, one place per company, as part of their ALFED Membership.

If you need further information or to book a place, please contact Ann Gough on 0121 601 6365, email

Bespoke powder coating recreates characteristic tones of Jura Limestone

Powdertech Corby has just completed coating over 4500sq m of aluminium cladding panels for Westfield White City Shopping Centre’s £600 million refurbishment and extension. An extensive coating job in itself, the project was one of particular satisfaction for the company.  “We created a bespoke powder coating in our Landscape™ range for this flagship project,” said Powdertech Corby Director Richard Besant, “and we, and the customer alike, are delighted with the result.”

Westfield White City Shopping Centre

The design intention for the Westfield extension, now a premier shopping and social venue, was for Jura Limestone to surround a significant part of the exterior of the building and small sections of the interior. Rather than use the stone itself, Powdertech expertise, combined with the flexibility and design freedom of aluminium and powder coating, enabled the vision to be quickly realised.

A sample of Jura limestone was sent to Powdertech where tests of different powders and effects were compared against the limestone which has natural veins of quartz and fossils appearing against a beige background. Test samples were sent back to the client and within four weeks ‘Ballycastle Stone’ was ready to be applied to the panels. It was essential to achieve colour consistency between batches and powder coatings excel in this aspect. The overall effect on the finished building is an homogenous appearance of stone, across the whole, but with variations in flecks of colour against the background, just as in the stone itself. The powder coating will provide excellent corrosion protection and has an external life expectancy of up to 40-years.

“We were delighted to demonstrate our expertise for colour and texture matching and the final result vindicates our passion for this aspect of our work,” concluded Richard Besant.


Croner Business Support Helpline

ALFED Members, get expert advice and the right support to protect your business with your Aluminium Federation membership. Read more

Briefing on US aluminium tariffs on EU imports

On 31st May, the White House issued a presidential proclamation adjusting imports of aluminium into the US. It announced that, as of 1st June, aluminium imports from EU countries would be subject to a 10% import duty.


An increase in US protectionism has been on the table for many months – it was a feature of Donald Trump’s election platform, although the specifics have taken time to emerge.

Here is a brief timeline outlining how the aluminium situation has evolved:

19th January 2018 US Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross submitted a report looking at the effect of aluminium article imports on US national security under section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962. The report concluded that aluminium imports had reached a level that threatened national security.
8th March 2018 Donald Trump officially responded to the report with a proclamation agreeing with Ross’s findings and imposing a 10% tariff on aluminium imports.
22nd March 2018 Trump issued a further proclamation outlining the outcome of negotiations with various countries following his announcement earlier in the month.

Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Mexico, South Korea and the EU had successfully negotiated exemptions and had until 1st May to come to an agreement with the US on “satisfactory alternative means to address the threatened impairment” to US national security.

30th April 2018 Trump issued another proclamation announcing that the US had reached an agreement in principle with Argentina and Australia, and extended their exemptions to finalise the detail. The agreements included “measures to reduce excess aluminium production and excess aluminium capacity, measures that will contribute to increased capacity utilisation in the United States and measures to prevent the trans-shipment of aluminium articles and import surges.” These include quotas.
31st May 2018 In this proclamation, Trump confirmed that a 10% tariff would apply starting 1st June to aluminium imports from all countries except Australia and Argentina.

There is a process for individual companies with a US presence to seek an exemption for their products, and DIT and BEIS are supporting companies with this.

International response 

Cecilia Malmström, EU Trade Commissioner, confirmed that the EU was sending complaints to the WTO in response to the tariffs.

Under WTO rules, the EU has to wait at least 30 days to formally implement rebalancing measures. It notified the WTO of the list of US imports on 18th May, so can trigger the tariffs on 20th June. In the 10-page list, the most noteworthy are bourbon, jeans and motorbikes, but it also includes 103 steel and 8 aluminium product lines, as well as sweetcorn, cranberries, tobacco, makeup and clothing. The EU’s countermeasures are estimated to affect approximately £2.5 billion of US exports.

The EU is also looking at safeguarding measures to protect the EU from an influx of aluminium displaced by US barriers. It has 9 months to decide whether to take action. In preparation, the Commission is implementing plans to prepare a surveillance system for aluminium in case it decides to proceed.

The Prime Minister has expressed her disappointment in statements such as: “The EU and UK should be permanently exempted from tariffs, and we will continue to work together to protect and safeguard our workers and industries.” She had a 30-minute call with President Trump on 4th June, but further expected discussions at the G7 summit in Canada didn’t materialise.

There is a school of thought that the UK is only affected as an EU member state, and that Trump’s aim is to make a statement about other European exports, particularly in the automotive sector. A UK-only exemption would be illegal at present, but could be possible after Brexit.

Other countries are also retaliating. Canada is levying tariffs on US steel and aluminium, as well as exports such as sleeping bags, quiche and playing cards. Mexico is implementing countermeasures on steel, sausages, bourbon, fruit, lamps and various cheeses, among others.

Implications for UK aluminium

The UK government – and the Aluminium Federation – have consistently rejected the idea that UK aluminium exports represent a threat to US national security. In fact, the UK is recognised as a valuable US security partner, as evidenced by our commitment to spending 2% of GDP on defence and our joint efforts developing cutting-edge technology (for example, the F-35 fighter jet). Robert Wood Johnson, the US Ambassador to the UK, even wrote to this effect in The Telegraph on 9 June.

The tariffs will affect UK businesses in 4 major ways:

  1. Distorted global markets and prices – the 2018 global market demand for aluminium is set to increase by over 5% year on year, translating to a total market size of 66 million tonnes, but the tariffs may impact this growth
  2. Disrupted supply chains – by increasing costs and complicated logistics, including for US companies (the US is heavily reliant on imported aluminium, which is a crucial raw material for key industrial markets)
  3. Redirection of material – from other countries, particularly China
  4. Damage to industry and business – the aluminium industry needs stability, security and certainty so it can invest in growth and development, and as with all industrial markets, the UK wants a level playing field to compete in

Recommended next steps

We recommend pursuing 2 goals:

  1. Seeking a permanent and unconditional exemption from the US tariffs
  2. Taking steps to address over-capacity coming out of China – this is essential to protect our markets from imminent redirected trade flows

To achieve these goals, we recommend the UK Government focus on 3 priorities

  1. Continuing dialogue with the US in coordination with the EU and our associates in Canada to (a) achieve a permanent exemption and (b) work together towards the objective of a sustainable aluminium industry
  2. Implementing safeguard measures, particularly a quota that allows traditional volumes to enter the UK and EU but blocks additional volumes to ensure protection from redirected trade flows
  3. Continuing discussions with the Aluminium Federation regarding the industrial strategy and other policies needed to deliver a fair, sustainable and competitive market for UK aluminium

As the voice of the UK aluminium industry, we will continue to promote aluminium as a first-choice material to drive wider use and foster innovation. We will also continue to work, engage and support our members through this challenging period.

For more information on the impact of US tariffs on the aluminium industry, contact us on +44 (0)121 601 6363 or

Basingstoke metals firm relaunches


Basingstoke metals firm relaunches as market interest in its products surges

New name, new management team and new potential for light, stiff and strong ‘AMC’ material, produced at Prisma Business Park

Basingstoke – Having recently won a series of new contracts in the aerospace, defence and automotive industries for its unique AMC (aluminium matrix composite) technology, a new Basingstoke company, Alvant, launches today (June 12th2018).

Alvant, formerly Composite Metal Technology (CMT), has experienced a steep rise in demand for its products in the past year, both nationally and internationally. The company has been selected to help develop the latest generation aircraft landing gear by a major technology company and is working on projects with Rolls Royce, Ford and GE Aviation, among others. More contracts are expected to be announced shortly.

“Commercial readiness of Alvant’s products comes at a time of increasing demand for strong, yet lightweight, components in transport and defence, industrial processes and high-end consumer products. AMCs provide the strength and stiffness of steel at less than half the weight. They are also offer good damage tolerance and a higher thermal operating range,” explains John Bonas, managing director of Alvant. “Here in Basingstoke, we are able to help design engineers from a range of industries find ways to increase their products’ capabilities and performance while meeting ambitious goals for fuel efficiency and sustainability.”

Alvant has a staff of 14 people including a management team that was revitalised in 2017 through a combination of internal promotions and external appointments. The company operates from industrial premises on the Prisma Business Park in Basingstoke, Hampshire, where it has three factory units, with a total floor area of 7,5000 sq ft, adjacent to its 1,800 sq ft offices. Alvant’s first factory unit accommodates casting machines and foundry equipment, the second factory unit contains secondary processing machinery, and the third unit houses materials analysis and testing laboratories. The company manufactures AMCs using a proprietary Advanced Liquid Pressure Forming (ALPF) process.

June 11th 2018

About Alvant

Alvant Ltd was established as Composite Metal Technology Ltd (CMT) in 2003 and renamed in 2018. It is an advanced materials technology company, specialising in the design and manufacture of aluminium-based Metal Matrix Composites (AMCs), manufactured using an Advanced Liquid Pressure Forming (ALPF) process. The key benefits of using AMCs over unreinforced metals are improved strength, higher stiffness, reduced weight, improved wear resistance and a lower coefficient of thermal and electrical conductivity.

For more information please visit and follow us on LinkedIn.

Montreal Aluminium Summit

Montreal Aluminium Summit on overcapacity triggers reaction of PM Trudeau and President Macron prior to G7 Summit

Last Sunday and Monday, the Director General of European Aluminium, Dr Gerd Götz, company members and the French association participated in Montreal Aluminium Summit. The national aluminium associations’ leaders from Canada, the United States, Europe and Japan held an exceptional meeting of the aluminium industry from the G7 member countries on June 3rd and 4th in Montreal, and called for a Global Multilateral and Governmental Forum on Aluminium Overcapacity. A working paper (final review is ongoing) was distributed to discuss policy options on how to tackle Chinese overcapacity and offer solutions to the leaders participating in the upcoming G20 summit in Argentina. The event took place with the active participation of the Canadian and Quebec governments, representatives of G7 governments and of the industry-leading companies from Canada, U.S., Europe and Japan. Days after the meeting, Prime Minister Trudeau and President Macron confirmed that aluminium overcapacity will be in the G7 agenda and discussions will take place before the Summit. Read the joint press release

Aluminium Federation calls for multinational WTO response to new US import duties

Aluminium Federation calls for multinational WTO response to new US import duties

The US will apply a 10% import duty on European aluminium products starting 1st June 2018, according to a decision released on 31st May 2018. The announcement from President Donald Trump, which cited national security concerns, will affect UK businesses and downstream supply chains.

As the trade body representing the UK aluminium industry, we reject the assumption that UK aluminium exports are a threat to US national security, and we call on the UK government and EU to launch a WTO trade dispute over the unjustified measures.

Since the US Government began discussing the serious possibility of import duties, we’ve emphasised the importance of our transatlantic trade relationship – and categorically rejected the idea that UK aluminium exports represent a threat to US national security.

We will continue coordinating with government stakeholders, industry representatives and trade bodies from the US, EU and other countries to manage the consequences for our members and their supply chains. This includes working with the Department for Business and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), government ministers and European Aluminium on ways to contest the tariffs through the WTO. Our efforts will continue to focus on long-term, fair and sustainable ways to address distortions in global aluminium markets.

The US previously announced aluminium import duties starting 23rd March 2018, but the EU negotiated an exemption along with Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada and Mexico. As of today, the tariffs apply to aluminium article imports from all countries except Argentina and Australia.

If you have any questions about managing your exports in light of the US announcement, please contact us on +44 (0)121 601 6363. As always, we are standing by to support members and promote their interests as market conditions evolve.


MOU between ALFED and TWI to enhance collaborative opportunities

Memorandum of Understanding between Aluminium Federation and TWI to enhance collaborative opportunities

TWI has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Aluminium Federation (ALFED) to start investigating joint opportunities, collaborative projects and mutual areas of interest.

The MoU was signed at a joint meeting of ALFED’s Automotive and Innovation Group on 1 May 2018 and will be followed by a further meeting on 30 May, where deliverables will be set.

While ALFED and TWI have many Members in common, this agreement will see an exchange of information through workshops, events and collaborative training opportunities.

The agreement will also see ALFED and TWI seeking common drivers among their respective Members, assessing mutual areas of interest in key sectors, investigating public funding initiatives, and sharing web activity through news and forums.

The mutually beneficial agreement will allow ALFED to benefit from TWI’s expertise and Membership base, while ALFED’s experience in aluminium opens a door for many of TWI’s Members in areas such as automotive and aerospace who are increasingly looking at aluminium as a manufacturing solution.

Although the exact framework for working together is still to be set, the agreement is already having an impact, with ALFED reaching out to their membership to seek partners for an automotive project that TWI is spearheading.

The Memorandum of Understanding is just the first step in what should prove to be a beneficial relationship between ALFED and TWI for the benefit of business across the UK, Europe, and beyond.

Please contact us to find out more.