Warren aluminum plant receives $4.5 million investment

New pretreatment application process installed at facility

Tribune Chronicle / R. Michael Semple Novelis plant manager Paul Nelson of Greene talks about the $4.5 million investment in the Warren plant. The aluminum coil next to him weighs more than 23,000 pounds.

WARREN — Novelis Inc., a world leader in aluminum rolled products, invested $4.5 million into its Warren facility to sustain the plant well into the future and place it on the cutting edge of aluminum sheet-coating technology.

The newly installed pretreatment application process at the Griswold Street NE facility will provide the industrial aluminum company with greater versatility for pretreatments, improve operational efficiency and reduce costs over time.

“Think of pretreatment as primer,” said plant manager Paul Nelson. “We need to add that on the strip in order for the paint to adhere. We clean the strip, rinse it, then we pretreat it … We added another means of adding the pretreatment, which allows us to use multiple different pretreatments — not just one.”

That, in turn, Nelson said, allows exploration into new markets, like food and truck trailers. Now, the company processes aluminum for beverage can lids for customers that include Coca-Cola, Anheuser-Busch InBev and Crown.

The aluminum arrives at the facility in a coil and leaves in a coil, but coated, cured, lubed and slit to customer specifications before it’s formed into beverage can lids.

The improvements were finished in February. Officials from the Atlanta-based company and others were at the plant Monday to celebrate the completion.

Tom Boney, vice president of operations for Novelis North America, said the investment sustains the facility and represents the company’s commitment to Warren. Also, about 70 local contractors had a role in the improvements and $3 million of the project was spent locally.

“This is a great day for the city of Warren,” Mayor Doug Franklin said. “A $4.5 million investment, upgrade says a lot about how you feel about our city, and we feel the same way about you.”

The facility processed 110 million pounds of aluminum in 2018 and is capable of processing enough aluminum sheet for more than 1 million can lids per month. It employs 79 people who work at the 429,500-square-foot facility on 19 acres on Warren’s north end.

Across North America, Novelis, the world’s largest recycler of aluminum, has eight plants that employ about 3,000 people. Globally, it operates in 10 countries and employs about 11,000 people, and reported $11.5 billion in revenue for 2018.

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