Alcoa yesterday announced a major expansion to the Wheel and Transportation Products casthouse at its Barberton, Ohio plant that is expected to cut in half the total amount of energy used to recycle aluminum for forged wheels, reducing greenhouse gases and increasing the overall efficiency and sustainability of the company's manufacturing process.
The first of its kind in North America, the recycling facility uses advanced technology to produce wheels from re-melted and scrap aluminum. The 50,000-square-foot facility is now up and running at full capacity and has already created more than 30 full-time jobs, the company says.
"Alcoa's casthouse brings 'green' technology and new manufacturing jobs to Northeast Ohio," said Tim Myers, president of Alcoa Wheel and Transportation Products. "Sustainability is integrated into Alcoa's business strategy, and this facility allows us to take our recycling practices to a new level, recycling 100 million pounds of scrap aluminum each year in a more energy-efficient way."
The casthouse is expected to significantly reduce energy use through a combination of process improvements and reduced transportation needs. The facility is located on the campus of an existing production facility, which has led to dramatic reductions in transportation needs, leading to a 90 percent cut in transportation-related energy use. Alcoa claims its aluminum wheels also offer advantages to the environment and the consumer, as they reduce the overall weight of the vehicle, which significantly improves fuel efficiency and reduces greenhouse gas emissions.
The project is part of the Department of Energy's Better Buildings Challenge, a program that helps companies identify innovative energy efficient solutions for their buildings and plants. President Obama launched the Challenge to help America's commercial and industrial buildings become at least 20 percent more efficient over the next decade.