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Aluminum giant Alcoa Inc. (AA - Analyst Report) has won the Metal Bulletin’s top innovation award for its breakthrough technology which allowed it to produce more aluminum-intensive vehicles. Through its novel technology dubbed Alcoa 951, the company caters to consumer needs through provision of fuel efficient vehicles. With this, Alcoa is expanding its presence in the auto industry.

Alcoa 951 is a breakthrough technology-the new pre-treatment bonding standard for aluminum sheet, extrusion and casting suppliers across the automotive industry.

Alcoa 951 is a patented, chrome-free pre-treatment that enables production of more durable bonds between an aluminum substrate and a structural adhesive used in an assembly process. Alcoa reported that Alcoa 951 has been proven to be up to nine times more durable than titanium zirconium applications that have been widely used in the automotive industry in the past.

Alcoa 951 technology is significantly beneficial for Alcoa’s customers and a perfect example of Alcoa Technology Advantage. The technology makes possible wide usage of aluminum throughout the automotive industry and in mass-produced aluminum-intensive vehicles, thus saving fuel.

As per automotive original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), the use of aluminum in cars is expected to double by 2025 as automakers seek more fuel efficiency by reducing vehicle mass. Many OEMs are expanding aluminum use from heat exchangers, wheels, drive shafts, engine blocks, hoods and deck lids to develop aluminum intensive vehicles (AIVs) by converting the body in white, or body structure, to aluminum. In Apr 2013, Alcoa licensed Alcoa 951 to Chemetall, a division of Rockwood Holdings, Inc. (ROC - Snapshot Report), in an exclusive global distribution pact.

Alcoa is investing about $575 million to expand its auto sheet business in the U.S. in Davenport, Iowa and Alcoa, Tennessee. The company is also building a rolling mill at its greenfield joint venture project in Saudi Arabia with capacity to produce aluminum automotive sheets.

Alcoa, a prominent player in the mining industry along with Aluminum Corporation of China Limited and BHP Billiton Limited (BHP - Analyst Report), is a world leader in production and management of primary aluminum, fabricated aluminum, and alumina. The company is also the world’s largest miner of bauxite and refiner of alumina.

Alcoa currently retains a short-term Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).

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