14 05, 2014

Report: The Dodge Ram Goes Aluminum

2017-01-26T23:37:29+00:00May 14th, 2014|

Get ready for more big American trucks made out of aluminum bodies. As we noted last week, auto manufacturers are sharing industry secrets about how to best use aluminum in a collective effort to lower the cost of materials and building. Chrysler (AKA the newly renamed Fiat Chrysler) has just thrown its hat into the ring with the popular Dodge Ram truck. From USA Today:

Fiat Chrysler, the new name for the combined Fiat and Chrysler Group, says it will redesign the popular Ram standard-duty pickup in 2017 and overhaul the heavy-duty line of pickups the following year.

And the 2017 Ram could have an aluminum body, like the 2015 Ford F-150 coming this year, FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne said.

In a question and answer session after the all-day future-product presentation, an analyst wondered how quickly FCA could respond if the aluminum-bodied F-150 is a big hit.

“We’ll make the deadline. We can do aluminum in ’17,” Marchionne said. “We have the technology in-house.”

With Fiat Chrysler now on board, that’s three big truck manufacturers (Ford and GM as well) using aluminum for their heavy-duty vehicles. Perhaps the next wave will see entry into the next heaviest segment: the SUV market.

7 01, 2014

Aluminum, The Instigator For African Crime Enterprises

2015-06-18T15:33:06+00:00January 7th, 2014|

2013 saw plenty of big news for the aluminum industry. As we gear up for significant debuts at the Detroit Auto Show in a few weeks, let’s usher in the turn of the calendar with something more along the lines of the absurd. That’s right, it’s time to beware of aluminum — foil, no less — as a low-tech means of stealing candy and cigarettes from gas stations.


How does that work? The FBI wants you to know, via Businessweek:


Here’s how the theft goes down. First, someone climbs onto the roof of a store and uses aluminum foil to block the satellite antenna that the store uses to receive data from credit card companies to authorize sales—a gadget called a feed horn that looks like this.


With the signal blocked, stores can’t validate credit and debit card transactions. That opens the door, so to speak, for bandits to enter the store, load up their carts with electronics or cigarettes, and pay with stolen credit cards. Retailers often permit sales even if the link with the credit card company is down, figuring the transactions will go through once the connection is back up.


When contacted on Friday, FBI spokeswoman Whitney Malkin said no one was available to answer questions about the scheme.


The agency has blamed “African criminal enterprises” for the crimes. The stolen loot is “taken to New York, where it may be sold at pawn shops or exported to Africa,” the FBI’s Mollie Halpern explains in this podcast (yes, podcast) about the scam.


The effectiveness of this technique sounds a bit dodgy, but who knows? While we don’t recommend scaling buildings to their satellite antennas with rolls of aluminum foil, we have to admit that part of us is curious to see if it actually works!

29 05, 2013

Aluminum Pods Invade The Home

2017-01-26T23:37:30+00:00May 29th, 2013|

Classic science-fiction design gave us a lot of metallic pod-looking things in the 1950s and 1960s. Today, Belgian designers at Dethier Architectures used that look as inspiration for a unique loft, one that needed something to act as room divider, artwork, and hallway all in one. And it took one big piece of aluminum to get the job done. From GizMag.com:

“We were fortunate to have a committed and receptive client who was fascinated by precision engineering,” the company’s project description runs. So the company set about designing a visually striking yet useful aluminum pod to be placed smackedy-boo in the middle of the apartment (formerly an industrial-scale bakery).


The pod itself contains two bathrooms, a toilet, the heating and ventilation equipment as well as some storage space. It also acts as a break, with the living room on one side (with a TV built neatly into the pod), and the bedroom on the other.


Fans of industrial design will no doubt have spotted the inspiration behind the pod. Dethier Architectures says that the famous aluminum Airstream trailer, designed by William Hawley Bowlus, influenced the material, form and also the detailing of the pod, though its brushed finish is perhaps a little less lustrous (and easier to maintain).


Maybe it’s not the ideal aesthetic for every home, but for those that want future-retro in a Jetsons-style model, aluminum pods are the way to go. Aluminum has become so popular in cars, perhaps we’ll see it in home building next.

7 10, 2011

Predicted Demands for Aluminum Encourage Industry Growth

2015-06-18T15:33:40+00:00October 7th, 2011|

Canada’s top aluminum companies will be investing 15 billion in facility enhancement and job creation in Quebec over the next decade based on “rising global demand” for the material. The need for new transportation systems like buses and subway cars that can be recycled and repaired for less cost when made with aluminum, and the widening call for bridge repair in North America, have enticed Quebec companies to invest heavily in the future of the industry.

Many facts point to an increase in aluminum use in the next 10 years.  For starters there are approximately “250,000 older bridges in the United States and 3,000 in Quebec in need of repair.” In addition to that fact aluminum is more “cost effective [than] steel,” has a longer life cycle and when used in vehicles reduces their weight, therefore decreasing wear and tear on roads and bridges. In light of these details it will be easy market the material to current and future manufacturers as it is the greener alternative to other materials, like steel.

Canadian companies celebrate their “cheap hydroelectric energy costs and a trained workforce” as advantages that can only be further enhanced with their new investment. Ultimately the goal for the Canadians is to retaining industry expertise in the province and there’s no doubt their headed in the right direction.

CLICK HERE to read the original article and learn more about the expanded demand for aluminum.

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