Shanghai, China -Alcan Composites, part of Alcan Engineered Products, recently inaugurated a new conversion centre for core materials for structural panels in Shanghai, China. The business, part of Rio Tinto Alcan, said the investment, announced in June 2007, is "a clear demonstration of Alcan Engineered Products' growth strategy in action in the fast-developing Asia Pacific market."
Core materials used by the composites group for lightweight sandwich include polymeric foams, some of them polyurethane types, as well as structural balsa wood.
"China and the Asia Pacific markets are of strategic importance not only for the composites business but also for the engineered products unit," said Georg Reif, president, Alcan Composites, in a company statement. Combining local sales and technical service with manufacturing "will allow us to grow even faster in the region," Reif added.
The Alcan Composites Core Materials centre, in the Shanghai Tangzhen industrial zone, employs 30 people and is already running its dedicated lines for transforming Airex plastic foam and Baltek balsa-based core materials, used by fabricators to make innovative sandwich structures, said the statement. The foam, made at sites in Europe, North America, Ecuador and China, is supplied to conversion units in blocks and cut or slit into sheets suitable for customers to use, according to an Alcan Airex representative.
"This new conversion centre will enable us to offer leading-edge composite core materials and will improve our lead times and services to our customers in the Chinese and Asia-Pacific wind-energy and mass-transportation markets," commented Pierre Monéton, president,
Core Materials, Alcan Composites, in the Rio Tinto Alcan statement.
Alcan said its foam and balsa cores are used to create innovative lightweight sandwich structures for use in wind energy, marine and ground transport markets. The light weight products allow good energy efficiency over their life cycle.
* Separately, Metyx Composites in Turkey became an exclusive distributor for Alcan Airex, the European sales office for Alcan Composites Core Materials, earlier this year.