At Novelis, our customers, and the value we provide them, always come first. Central to our strong customer relationships is our commitment to product innovation, accomplished through the application of our technical core competencies and capabilities, including:
- Aluminum metallurgy
- Molten metal casting and sheet rolling
- Lubrication related to sheet rolling and product forming
- Product design, from engineering to finite element modeling and prototyping
- Coating, printing and decoration of the sheet surface
- Recycling of UBCs (Used Beverage Cans) and other aluminum scraps
Engineering the Next Generation of Aluminum Products
Teams of Novelis researchers, engineers and industrial designers work alongside our customers to create products, components and packaging that set new standards for premium quality and design excellence in markets worldwide.
Improving on the Aluminum Can
Most people take the aluminum can for granted. The truth is, however, that today’s aluminum can is the result of decades of research and innovation, in which Novelis has played a central role. Over the years, Novelis has helped lead in improving the beauty, strength and usefulness of this everyday object.
In fact, the modern aluminum can is a case study in advanced manufacturing practices and recycling from concept design to its 60-day can-to-can lifecycle.
The Can of Today
- Uses less aluminum than ever before, thanks in part to the quality and consistency of the aluminum sheet produced by Novelis
- Maintains seal under pressure and protects beverage and food contents with the lightest “complete barrier”
- Is the beverage container that is fastest to chill and stay coldest the longest
- Is 100 percent recyclable
This Novelis simulation shows the modeled deformation of a dropped beverage can as it comes in contact with a solid surface. This model includes the effects of the liquid content of the can as well as its internal pressure.
Advancing Aluminum Can Technology
At Novelis, we focus on innovation of aluminum beverage cans to ensure:
- Customers benefit from new applications and contemporary designs made possible by innovations in shaping processes and surfacing.
- Aluminum keeps the can as the “package of choice” by beverage makers, packaging companies and consumers.
Aluminum for Automobile Manufacturing
The world’s leading supplier of automotive sheet metal, Novelis provides automakers with a wide range of high-quality products and materials, backed by innovations in process and metals engineering that are second to none in the aluminum industry.
The Future of Aluminum in Cars
Our teams develop novel alloy and surface solutions used in the automotive body-in-white (BiW) materials for virtually all original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) in the global automotive industry.
We bring together specialists from our R&D divisions, engineering departments, mill facilities and sales offices to work closely with leading automotive manufacturers during the concept phase of new model development, and study their production processes, requirements and challenges.
We focus on developing innovative aluminum alloy solutions that can be applied to automotive hoods, trunks, fenders and doors. Our research continues to develop new, lightweight outer body panels and materials that are more resistant to dents, with the surface quality and bending characteristics needed to achieve a visually crisp finish.
Novelis also is the pioneer in developing innovations for the inner alloys used in the car body structure. These are the places where very high formability, pedestrian protection and controlled energy absorption can be achieved, along with various reinforcements to fulfill increasing demands for recycling-friendly materials.
Lightweighting of the vehicle is also one of the most effective ways to reduce CO2 emissions. For example, a 100kg weight savings on the mass of a passenger vehicle is equivalent to a reduction of nine grams of CO2 per kilometer. By developing and supplying best-in-class, safe, cost efficient and lightweight aluminum sheet solutions, which can be applied with little adaptation across all car models, Novelis is the development partner of choice for most of the globe’s leading automotive OEMs.
Aluminum Vehicle Technology (AVT) and Unibody Vehicle Structures
Novelis Aluminum Vehicle Technology (AVT) makes the volume production of unibody, or monocoque, aluminum vehicle structures possible. The principle is similar to conventional stamped steel structures, but much lighter and stiffer.
The result is a significant achievement for aluminum and for the automotive industry, namely:
– 40-50 percent weight savings over a comparable steel structure
– High torsional stiffness and structural integrity
– Excellent crash energy management
Before AVT, aluminum body structures were limited to low-volume, ‘spaceframe” vehicles. But the unibody frame achieves all the weight-saving benefits of aluminum with modern mass production techniques.
Key to Novelis AVT technology is a joining system that combines adhesive bonding with spot welds and mechanical fasteners, such as rivets, to achieve a continuous joint between selected body sections. This improves torsional and bending stiffness, structural integrity and joint fatigue performance.
By selectively applying adhesive bonding to critical joints, Novelis is able to optimize the gauges of aluminum used throughout the structure. This allows thinner gauges of sheet aluminum to be used in some areas, aiding in weight reduction without sacrificing structural stiffness.
Electronics & Specialties
Aluminum’s properties are well-suited to a variety of specialty consumer electronic parts and industrial applications. Novelis supplies a range of products for these applications.
Novelis brings the flexibility and speed needed to serve these rapidly evolving markets where short product lifecycles and the need for new products are constant.
Alternative Energy Applications for Aluminum Products
Aluminum is used for wind power and solar energy systems, where aluminum’s light weight, conductivity to provide lightning protection (using the principle of the Faraday cage) and resistance to weather and corrosion are very important.
Novelis works with renewable energy producers to improve the efficiency of products by collaborating with these customers on improvements to design features. For example, reducing the size and composition of casings behind rotor blades in wind turbines to lower weight and improve turbine efficiency.
By working closely with our customers and supplying unique, innovative materials solutions that fit their needs, Novelis can help turn today’s ideas into tomorrow’s innovations. Learn more about the products we offer to the electricity and alternative energy markets.
Light Gauge & Converted Products
Light gauge aluminum products help customers worldwide bring new material properties or more efficient solutions to their markets. Whether for reducing the materials used in packaging, creating new innovative packages, helping to optimize the design and efficiency of heat exchangers in air conditioners, radiators and refrigerators or protecting the flawless functioning of technical systems in data communication, piping and transportation, light gauge and converted foil aluminum products are driven by innovation and exceeding customer expectations.
Many of the essential benefits of light gauge, like its barrier, food-contact or dead-fold properties, are often taken for granted by consumers. Our new, converted products even contribute to improved heat protection in a car’s engine compartment or shielding vehicle passengers from noise. More visibly, Novelis aluminum foil innovations also carry the premium aesthetics or luxury touch in high-end furniture or consumer goods. New demands for innovative light gauge products or customized packaging, as well as for technical solutions to design and material challenges, drive our Novelis teams continuously.
Our focal points for innovation in light gauge and converted products include:
- Creating functional, decorative or unique surfaces for aluminum products
- Development of highly formable alloys for lighter, innovative shapes
- Recyclability of consumer products
- Providing corrosion-resistant surfaces
- Development of green packaging solutions
- Improving production, e.g. runnability, for our customers’ processes
To be innovative requires not only knowing our customers’ needs, but also an extensive suite of technical and analytical capabilities and highly trained and experienced researchers. We use state-of-the-art techniques such as optical scanning and transmission electron microscopes to characterize the microstructure of light gauge products. X-ray diffraction is used to analyze the texture of the aluminum surface.
We employ various techniques, from simple immersion tests to the more complex electrochemical noise measurement and polarisation curves, to predict the behavior of our alloys and polymer-coated foils when they come into contact with different foods or environments. We also use our analytical capabilities to improve the corrosion resistance of products, either through the development of aluminum alloy packages or through surface treatment techniques.
Our expertise in surface treatment technologies helps Novelis solve technical issues and develop new products for our customers. Optimizing the degreasing of the aluminum surface after production, development of hydrophobic and hydrophilic surfaces, modifying the adhesive properties of product surfaces to enable the use of more environmentally friendly coatings and helping our customers understand the complex interactions between aluminum, adhesives and polymers are just a few examples of our current research activities.