Aluminium industry is thriving in the face of political and economic challenges, according to annual ALFED Members’ Briefing

The 2018 Aluminium Federation Members’ Briefing and Annual Dinner showcased developments within the industry – and the important role ALFED plays as the industry’s voice.

On 20th September, representatives from more than 100 ALFED members descended on the historic Tortworth Court in Gloucestershire to share 12 months’ worth of insight and discuss upcoming challenges.

The agenda included presentations from ALFED’s president, 4 sector subgroups, ALFED training and the Health, Safety and Environmental Support Group, as well as the UK Metals Council, Bloodhound SSC and The Outward Bound Trust.

Key takeaways were:

  • There’s a positive outlook for extrusion, with the year-on-year growth experienced since 2015 continuing its upward trend. There’s particular growth in products for the industrial and automotive markets
  • Members in the finishing group are reporting healthy order books, sales and supply volumes. Current issues relate to hexavalent chromate authorisation, the redrafting of BS EN12206, titanium oxide, cobalt and the surface treatment and powder coating of secondary aluminium
  • Innovation initiatives have included the ALFED forging project to establish a framework for migrating from ferrous to aluminium components, with a focus to date on the automotive industry. Over the past year, the innovation group has also looked at Horizon 2020 funding opportunities, joining techniques, developments in second-generation fibre metal laminates, strained hardened heat-treatable alloys, cryogenic stress relieving and additive manufacturing
  • The recycling group updated members on new technologies – like high-efficient burners, spectroscopy and alloy detection systems – as well as developments in closed-loop recycling, packaging recycling and secondary material usage.

Bloodhound SSC discussed the new schools challenge in partnership with ALFED – and brought a full-size model of the car that will be making a world record attempt. We also learned about the new HSE apprenticeship scheme at Hydro Extrusion UK, a landmark 4-year programme that’s helping cement the importance of health and safety in future working practices.

Giles Ashmead, ALFED President, said:

“Over the past year, we welcomed over 20 new members to the Federation: companies who want to take advantage of our services. We also offered further networking opportunities for our existing members.

“Our training offer continues to develop, with the launch of not only our revamped schools challenge in association with Bloodhound, but also our new management training courses, which are already selling out.

“We are accelerating our innovation work by forming knowledge partnerships with a number of educational establishments, and have resurrected our lecture programme. We continue to listen to our members and develop training and technical support initiatives that meet their requirements.

“ALFED are definitely focused on building the aluminium industry of the future. At this time of uncertainty – with not only Brexit as a threat to the industry’s stability but also the actions of the US Government – we have found an unprecedented level of access to our Government. We thank the civil servants of Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy, as well as other Government departments for giving us their time, taking up our issues and doing what they can to alleviate the threats we face.”

To learn more about the Members’ Briefing and the specific presentations, contact Margaret Lane at m_lane@alfed.org.uk or 44 (0)121 601 6363.