Alcoa on Wednesday said it has completed a $300 million expansion of its rolling mill in the Iowa Quad Cities dedicated to supplying aluminum sheet products to the automotive industry.
The project created 150 full-time jobs in the plant as well as 150 jobs during the construction phase. Alcoa said it has already secured long-term supply agreements for sheet aluminum produced by the new equipment.
“… 2014 marks the beginning of dramatic growth for aluminum in the auto sector,” said Klaus Kleinfeld, Alcoa chairman and chief executive officer. “Automakers are increasingly choosing aluminum as a cost-effective way to improve the performance, safety, durability and fuel efficiency of their vehicles.
“Our project in Iowa is the first of three capacity expansions we have underway to meet this growing demand.”
Pittsburgh-based Alcoa is adding automotive capacity in Alcoa, Tenn., which is scheduled to be complete in mid-2015, and at its joint venture rolling mill in Saudi Arabia, to be complete by the end of this year.
Alcoa is investing about $670 million in the three expansions. The amount of aluminum body sheet content in North American vehicles is expected to quadruple by 2015 and increase tenfold by 2025 from 2012 levels.
In 2011, Alcoa was awarded a $3 million state incentive by the Iowa Economic Development Authority to pave the way for the $300 million plant expansion. The facility, one of the largest rolling mills operated by Alcoa, employs about 2,100 workers.
In addition to sheet aluminum for the automotive industry, the plant produces advanced products for all major aircraft, including the Airbus A380, the world’s largest passenger plane, and Boeing’s 747-8 and 777. It also produces armor products for the U.S. military, including the Humvee and the MRAP or Mine-Resistant, Ambush-Protected vehicle.