Alcoa Unveils Next-Generation Aluminum Materials Through Breakthrough Manufacturing Technology

December 4, 2014

MicromillTM to Unlock the Future of Automotive Aluminum Products

  • Micromill produces automotive alloy that is 40 percent more formable and 30 percent stronger than incumbent aluminum, while meeting stringent automotive surface quality requirements
  • Automotive parts made with Alcoa Micromill® material will be twice as formable and 30 percent lighter than parts made from high strength steel
  • Alcoa Micromill reduces the time to transform molten metal into aluminum coil from 20 days to 20 minutes
  • Micromill technology has the flexibility to transition seamlessly between producing rolled products for automotive, industrial and packaging markets
  • Alcoa has completed successful customer product trials and is qualifying Micromill material for next-generation automotive platforms

Lightweight metals leader Alcoa (NYSE:AA) today unveiled breakthrough
manufacturing technology, the Alcoa MicromillTM, that will
manufacture the most advanced aluminum sheet on the market. The
Micromill will enable the next generation of automotive aluminum
products, and equip Alcoa to capture growing demand.

The Alcoa-patented Micromill process dramatically changes the
microstructure of the metal, allowing the production of an aluminum
alloy for automotive applications that has 40 percent greater
formability and 30 percent greater strength than the incumbent aluminum
used today while meeting stringent automotive surface quality

Additionally, automotive parts made with Micromill material will be
twice as formable and at least 30 percent lighter than parts made from
high strength steel. The Micromill alloy has formability characteristics
comparable to mild steels.

“Alcoa Micromill represents a major breakthrough in aluminum materials,”
said Alcoa Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Klaus Kleinfeld. “This
technology will unlock the next generation of automotive products with
strength, formability and surface quality combinations never before
possible. It will allow our customers to redefine the boundaries of
vehicle design, supporting the creation of lighter, more fuel efficient,
safer and more stylish vehicles for the future.”

Micromill aluminum sheet that is 40 percent more formable is easier to
shape into intricate forms, such as the inside panels of automobile
doors and external fenders, which today are generally made of steel. The
30 percent increase in material strength will improve dent resistance,
enabling the production of automotive sheet that is thinner and even
lighter than previous generations. Automakers will also benefit from
reduced system cost by streamlining the number of aluminum alloys used
in their manufacturing process.

It will also be the fastest, most productive aluminum casting and
rolling system in the world. A traditional rolling mill takes around 20
days to turn molten metal into coil, Micromill does it in just 20

The Micromill also has a significantly smaller footprint than a
traditional rolling mill, at just one quarter the size, and lowers
energy use by 50 percent. The Alcoa Micromill technology and the
differentiated metal it will produce are covered by more than 130
patents around the world.

According to Ducker Worldwide, North American aluminum automotive sheet
content per vehicle is expected to increase elevenfold between 2012 and
2025 as consumers demand cars that are lighter and more fuel efficient.
The Micromill continuous casting technology is designed to meet that
growing demand for automotive sheet, with the flexibility to serve the
industrial and packaging markets as well. The mill can easily shift
product mix, and transition to different alloys without ever stopping a

Alcoa has secured a strategic development customer, and from its pilot
Micromill facility in San Antonio, TX, has also conducted successful
customer trials. Those trials have validated the Micromill material’s
unique characteristics, surface quality for exterior panels and overall
performance. Alcoa is qualifying the material for use in next-generation
automotive platforms.

Editor’s Note: Photos and videos available here
or upon request.

About Alcoa

A global leader in lightweight metals technology, engineering and
manufacturing, Alcoa innovates multi-material solutions that advance our
world. Our technologies enhance transportation, from automotive and
commercial transport to air and space travel, and improve industrial and
consumer electronics products. We enable smart buildings, sustainable
food and beverage packaging, high-performance defense vehicles across
air, land and sea, deeper oil and gas drilling and more efficient power
generation. We pioneered the aluminum industry over 125 years ago, and
today, our approximately 62,000 people in 30 countries deliver value-add
products made of titanium, nickel and aluminum, and produce
best-in-class bauxite, alumina and primary aluminum products. For more
information, visit,
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Forward-Looking Statements

This release contains statements that relate to future events and
expectations and as such constitute forward-looking statements within
the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995.
Forward-looking statements include those containing such words as
“anticipates,” “estimates,” “expects,” “forecasts,” “intends,” “may,”
“outlook,” “plans,” “projects,” “should,” “targets,” “will,” or other
words of similar meaning. All statements that reflect Alcoa’s
expectations, assumptions or projections about the future other than
statements of historical fact are forward-looking statements, including,
without limitation, statements regarding growth opportunities for
aluminum in automotive, commercial transportation, and other
applications; forecasts regarding the potential for new or breakthrough
manufacturing technologies, equipment, or processes; and statements
about Alcoa’s strategies, outlook, and business and financial prospects.
Forward-looking statements are subject to a number of known and unknown
risks, uncertainties, and other factors and are not guarantees of future
performance. Important factors that could cause actual results to differ
materially from those in the forward-looking statements include: (a)
material adverse changes in aluminum industry conditions; (b)
unfavorable changes in the markets served by Alcoa, including
automotive, commercial transportation, and other markets; (c) failure to
advance or successfully implement, to achieve commercialization of, or
to realize expected benefits from, new or innovative technologies,
equipment, processes, or products, including, without limitation, the
MicromillTM continuous casting process, whether due to changes in the
regulatory environment, competitive developments, unexpected events,
such as failure of equipment or processes to meet specifications, or
other factors; (d) the business or financial condition of key customers,
suppliers, and business partners; and (e) the other risk factors
discussed in Alcoa’s Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2013 and
other reports filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Alcoa
disclaims any intention or obligation to update publicly any
forward-looking statements, whether in response to new information,
future events or otherwise, except as required by applicable law.

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