Aiming to Meet Brisk Demand for Aluminum Automotive Components
TOKYO–(BUSINESS WIRE)–UACJ Corporation (HQ: Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo; President and Representative Director: Miyuki Ishihara) announced today its decision to invest in new manufacturing equipment for two factories operated by its US-based subsidiary, UACJ Automotive Whitehall Industries, Inc. (HQ: Ludington, Michigan; President and CEO: David Cooper). One extrusion press will be added to a factory at the headquarters site in Michigan, and machining and assembly equipment will be installed at a new factory in Flagstaff, Arizona. The investment amount is expected to total about 3.6 billion yen (approximately 33.3 million US dollars) for the new equipment, which will start operating gradually from July 2021. The equipment will be used to manufacture automotive components, including front and rear bumpers, crush cans* and structural members.
In recent years, automakers in the United States have been reducing the weight of vehicles with the goals of improving fuel efficiency and cutting down on CO2 emissions in response to stricter environmental regulations. The country has also been adopting renewable energy sources and shifting to electric vehicles in order to reduce its dependence on fossil fuels, with many states having set targets to achieve zero emissions by 2030 or 2035. In that context, carbon neutral technologies are being promoted and electrification has been advancing in the auto industry. Since electric vehicles require relatively heavy lithium-ion batteries, however, automakers have been working to reduce overall vehicle weight to improve driving performance. As a result, lightweight aluminum components have attracted attention in the industry.
UACJ expects an increase in market demand for aluminum automotive components manufactured by UACJ Automotive Whitehall Industries as the US auto industry continues to electrify vehicles and reduce their weight. On that basis, it decided to invest in the new manufacturing equipment.
The UACJ Group will continue promoting the use of aluminum components in automobiles as a means to help reduce environmental impacts while working to satisfy the needs of customers by leveraging its ability to promptly supply high-quality aluminum products as a comprehensive manufacturer.
Overview of the planned investment in equipment
Factory location and type of equipment:
1) One extrusion press line for high-strength aluminum extruded shapes and a structure to house it will be installed at the factory in Ludington, Michigan
2) Machining centers, laser-processing machines, robots and automated assembly equipment will be installed at a new factory in Flagstaff, Arizona
Total amount of investment: Approx. 3.6 billion yen
Scheduled startup of operations: July 2021
Production capacity of the extrusion press line: 750 metric tons per month
*A crush can is a structural component connecting the automobile frame and bumper that absorbs the shock of a collision.
Corporation Communication Department