Aluminium's top eight notable applications in the Transportation Sector in 2022

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Update time : 2023-01-20 15:12:00

Aluminium's top eight notable applications in the Transportation Sector in 2022

With the advent of the Paris Environmental Act of 2015, the need for utilising products with lesser carbon footprints is continuously increasing. Aluminium is a 100% recyclable non-ferrous metal that can retain its original form even after undergoing rigorous transformation. Therefore, many car companies are swapping their primary material, steel, with the recently popularised infinitely recyclable aluminium. Moreover, the inception of electric cars also calls for the use of a lightweight raw material for the vehicle's body to significantly decrease the weight so that the lithium-ion batteries can successfully tow the car.

The need to induce a sustainable approach for the automotive sector has urged many notable industry players to switch to aluminium for making chassis, wheels, body panels and other bespoke components for cars.  

Some of the areas where aluminium is heavily used in the Transportation sector: 

Aluminium Chassis 

As early as February, news arrived that Hydro would be providing aluminium tube chassis for the Ford F-150 Lightening car. Aluminium tube chassis can be framed by interconnecting aluminium extrusions to form a monocoque chassis. Aluminium alloy is also used to make bike swing arms and bicycle frames. The non-ferrous metal is a vital element for the automotive industry for its lightweight characteristics, which help reduce the average weight of a vehicle. The bicycle industry also demands aluminium since it requires a sturdy framework for individual structures. Also, using aluminium reduces a considerable amount of weight, making the vehicle lighter than its steel contemporaries. Big automobile brands are accepting aluminium as a chassis building material to become completely recyclable and carbon-free. Foldable e-bike maker, Svitch has incorporated aluminium 6061 to make a stiff aluminium chassis for its flagship bike model. 

Aluminium Wheels 

Around the month of May, Chennai-based Wheels India plotted an investment of INR 155 crore approximately in the fiscal year 2022-2023 to expand its aluminium wheels business and construction equipment. With other additional investments, the company was seen building grounds to capture a flourishing foreign market. In the month of July, Wheels India prophesied incredible company growth in 2022. In June, HRE Wheels, a custom wheel manufacturer, announced its latest series of aftermarket two-piece carbon/fibre aluminium wheels. 

Aluminium Body Panels 

The Indian continent saw a surge in the use of aluminium train coaches as the Indian Railway rolled out tenders for 400 Vande Bharat Express trains at the beginning of the year. The first aluminium coach developed by Titagarh Wagons for Pune Metro was flagged off by the Indian Prime Minister in March, propelling a sustainable economy around the Indian public transport sector. Aluminium is also heavily used in ship-making to compose the lightweight, floatable bodies of water vessels. Aluminium is also used to construct spacecraft because of the metal's ability to endure space stressors. In June, NASA launched its biggest aluminium spacecraft, Clipper, to inspect Jupiter's moon, Europa. In June, Siemens secured a purchase order of aluminium trains for the German Niederbarnimer Railway. We also have come across the aluminium and carbon fibre body of a Lamborghini Aventador LP 780-4 Ultimae Coupé, which tells us aluminium perfectly amalgamates with other materials to form a lightweight, robust structure.

Along with finding usual car designs, we also discovered that aluminium is used in making trailers and convoy cars. In July, we learnt the Italian Government was interested in investing in Titagarh Wagon's subsidiary Firema and in the same month, Talgo inked a partnership with Bharat Forge to manufacture lightweight aluminium high-speed trains. Switch Mobility introduced the first set of aluminium double-decker buses beginning its EV journey in August; also, news came about Hindalco successfully manufacturing the first aluminium train rake for India. In September, there was an agreement between Constellium and Mercedes where the former would supply aluminium flat rolled sheets for application in the automobile sector.

Engines and Battery Casings

Ultraviolette F77 e-motorcycle in October flaunted a newly designed production-spec battery pack which came encompassed by an ultra-strong aluminium casing. It also came into view that Toyota uses aluminium to make its patented engine technology, as aluminium connecting rods can withstand enormous amounts of heat for a longer period than the usual substitute found in the market. Aluminium engines are engineered to be lighter than the typical prehistoric design, and they come with the additional security of a closed-loop recycling process. 

Aluminium Precision Components 

In January, defence PSU Yantra India Limited (YIL) took the first step to begin manufacturing aircraft-grade components with aluminium. In February, the European leader in the manufacturing and sales of aluminium rolled products for diverse industries worldwide, ALVANCE Aluminium Duffel, began providing its range of aluminium products, Ecolite and Superlite, to Mercedes-Benz AG. These would help make Mercedes-Benz EQS' wings, doors, roofs and side frame panels. In March, a Chinese auto components maker, Minth Group, began production at its US$110.3 million car plant in Serbia. In the same month, Boeing and MT Aerospace allied with NASA to provide structural aluminium components for its Space Launch System. In July, Glass Bonra revealed its flagship aluminium boot hooks compatible with Tesla Model 3 cars. Besides the usual items, aluminium is also used to make space components. 

Additional Coupes or Attachments 

In June, Norweld, Australia's one of the most trusted heavy-duty trays and canopy providers for pick-up trucks or utes, unveiled its latest ute trays, full-time canopies and wind-off canopies comprised of heavy-duty aluminium and steel. Aluminium is useful not only in forming commercial or private vehicles but is also a crucial material for constructing additional coupes and caravans because it significantly decreases the vehicle's weight significantly. In July, SW-Motech rolled out Trax aluminium toolboxes that complement a biker's adventurous treks. This aluminium toolbox can be attached to the pannier rails of a bike, which offers ample storage space for the rider. Every motorcycle enthusiast travelling far across on his bike would be enticed to buy one of these. 

Aluminium Capacitors 

Aluminium capacitor manufacturers from Taiwan, like Apaq Technology, Lelon Electronics, and Taiwan Chinsan Electronics, announced a powerful Q1 in 2022, eying increasing demand in the market. Aluminium capacitors are much more cost-effective when the product's life span is considered. 

Aluminium License Plates 

Another very notable use of aluminium is in the creation of licence plates, and it was witnessed during October that the energy crisis and the prevailing aluminium shortage had resulted in widespread licence plate curtailment in Nebraska. It may seem arbitrary but this use of aluminium can be claimed as one of the most important ones because without a license plate, a car cannot be legally tagged in any country around the world. 

Edited By: Mayurakshi Ganguly from