PolyOne Panels on New Cactus Resist Shopping-Cart, Car-Door Dings

PolyOne supplies its Airbump exterior protective panels on the new Citroen C4 Cactus.

The air-filled Airbump panels can compress up to 0.8 in. (20 mm) and bounce back to shape in an instant. This will reduce damage due to everyday bumps, such as those from shopping carts or the doors of other vehicles, Citroen says.

Working with Citroen designers, PolyOne developed a specialty color and additive technology that allows the panels to meet stringent UV stability, appearance and durability requirements.

‟By working with Citroen and its Tier 1 suppliers, we were able to develop an advanced solution that provides the panels with uniform, attractive and durable color despite exposure to sunlight, heat and detergents,” Christoph Palm, PolyOne general manager-Color & Additives EMEA & India.

Novelis Gets Jump on Auto Aluminum Demand in China

Novelis opens what it calls China’s first plant dedicated to the production of heat-treated aluminum automotive sheet.

The company says the $100 million facility makes it the only company to produce automotive aluminum sheet in all three of the world's major auto-manufacturing regions – Asia, Europe and North America. The China plant will be integrated into Novelis’ existing operations in Korea.

The wholly owned facility located in Changzhou will have annual capacity of 13,200 tons of aluminum sheet. The new facility will assist China in meeting its environmental goals and provide customers in Asia and elsewhere with high-quality automotive sheet for use in lightweight vehicle structures and body panels such as hoods, doors, fenders and liftgates.

Novelis says it has invested more than $550 million globally since 2011 to triple its automotive sheet capacity to 1 million tons by 2015. The company forecasts global demand for automotive aluminum sheet will grow about 30% each year through the end of the decade.

Samuel to Serve Southern U.S. Automakers From Tennessee Base

Metals processor Samuel will construct a 105,000-sq.-ft. (9,750-sq.-m) facility on a 30-acre (12-ha) site in Columbia, TN, designed to support Tier 1 suppliers and OEMs in the growing automotive market in the Southern U.S.

The facility will house a new hybrid blanking line with a width capability up to 81 ins. (205 cm). The line will be enhanced with the ability to inspect, clean, level and lubricate sheetmetal and will be able to produce rectangular, chevron and other custom shapes.

The line will handle new-generation advanced high-strength steels and Class A exposed product in both steel and aluminum.

The facility will include a new, 84-in. (213-mm) slitter with the ability to apply lubricants, inspect Class A surfaces and slit advanced high-strength steels.

The first phase of the project is expected to be completed by July 1, 2015.

Tennessee Factory Hankook Tire’s First in U.S.

Hankook Tire breaks ground for its eighth global production facility and first in the U.S., an $800 million plant in Clarksville, TN.

Production capacity of the plant, expected to begin operating in 2016, will be 12 million tires. It will increase Hankook’s global annual output to more than 100 million tires.

“The new Tennessee plant will be a pivotal instrument to accommodate our growing business in the U.S. and also to propel a well-balanced global production portfolio,” Hankook CEO and Vice Chairman Seung Hwa Suh says in a news release.

Hankook established its American Regional Headquarters in 1981 and Akron (OH) Technical Center in 1992. The announcement for the Tennessee plant was made in October 2013.

Continental Tires Chooses JLA Software for Supply-Chain Flexibility

Continental Tires selects technologies from the JDA Manufacturing Planning Suite to help it transform its global supply-chain operations.

Continental Tires has 73 locations in 42 countries producing tires under 11 brand names including Continental, Uniroyal and General Tire. By adopting a segmented supply-chain approach, the tire maker will be able to offer differentiated services to its various customer segments.

“A one-size-fits-all supply chain is no longer sustainable in today’s consumer connected business environment. Manufacturers need the tools to effectively analyze, plan and monitor their end-to-end supply chain, so that they can deliver a differentiated and beneficial service to individual customer segments,” Mark Morgan, JDA Software regional vice president-Europe, Middle East and Asia, says in a news release.

“Continental Tires’ supply-chain performance has been integral to its business success…we are delighted to be helping the company on the next stage.”

Orders Await Newly Opened Hay Group Forge in China

Hay Group establishes production capacity in the world’s largest automotive market by opening a €45 million ($57 million) forging site in Tianjin, China.

Launch of production at the facility one hour outside Beijing comes a few weeks after Hay’s acquisition of the Spanish company Forjanor, which expanded the German manufacturer’s cold- and horizontal-forging operations and strengthened its Southern European customer base.

Operated by Tianjin Hay Forgings, a wholly owned subsidiary of Hay Group, the facility has contracted for volumes exceeding €60 million ($76 million) ahead of the start of production. Hay Group already has expansion plans for the site, which was built with adequate space for further growth.

“This is a clear proof of trust from our customers, who we followed to Asia with this investment,” CEO Ralph Onken says. Hay Group customers include Volkswagen, Audi and Daimler.