Jenny Stenberg Sørvold, First Secretary, Royal Norwegian Embassy in Berlin; Thomas Stuerzebecher, Managing Director, Hydro Aluminum Foundry Rackwitz; Eivind Kallevik, Hydro EVP Aluminum Metal; Thomas Schmidt, Minister of Regional Development, Free State of Saxony. Photo: Marco Prosch
Hydro, one of Germany's largest and most diverse aluminum companies, has opened a new factory in Rackwitz. With an investment of 40 million euros, the company has reached a milestone with the new HyForge casting system in the aluminum recycling plant and is responding to the decarbonization efforts of the automotive industry and increasing the use of recycled scrap.
The opening ceremony marked the completion of a 14-month construction process and the introduction of Hydro's innovative HyForge forging raw material at the Rackwitz plant. The technology used makes it possible to serve customers with smaller diameter aluminum bolts and superior surface quality. The HyForge bolts can be forged directly into high-quality automotive components and other products without the need for further process steps such as extrusion or homogenization. Lightweight construction using aluminum is one of the most effective methods of improving the energy efficiency of vehicles without compromising safety.
“With HyForge, Hydro is literally forging the future of the automotive industry, responding to the industry's increasing demand for lightweight aluminum components with a low carbon footprint. The expansion allows us to further expand our strategic partnerships with automotive customers while meeting their high quality standards and increasing focus on sustainability,” explains Eivind Kallevik, Executive Vice President for Hydro Aluminum Metal.
Contribution to sustainable production in Germany
The expansion in Rackwitz is an important step for Hydro towards achieving its ambitious recycling goals. Among other things, the company plans to double the use of old aluminum scrap by 2025. The expansion also meets the goal of recycling more scrap from the region to ensure market-leading sustainability performance.
“Our Rackwitz plant is ideally located to serve the region’s automotive industry hub as more and more customers pursue the goal of decarbonization. It also offers easy access to sources of post-consumer aluminum scrap, offers significant customer benefits and contributes to the circular economy and the green transition in Germany,” says Thomas Stürzebecher, Managing Director of Hydro Aluminum Gießerei Rackwitz GmbH.
Of the total European aluminum consumption, Germany alone accounts for a third. So there is a big market for Hydro.
Decarbonization and Hydro
Hydro has been working to decarbonize its operations since the 1990s. The company has committed to reducing carbon emissions by 30 percent by 2030 and aims to achieve net zero by 2050, believing that “nothing is possible”.
One of the ways in Hydro's strategy to reduce emissions and the fastest way to deliver carbon-free aluminum is to recycle end-of-life scrap such as beverage cans, window frames, car parts and other items that have already completed their life cycle. Rackwitz's expansion is one of several investments in world-class recycling technologies to meet growing demand and regulatory push for low-carbon aluminum.
The HyForge line has a capacity of 25,000 tons per year, in addition to the current annual production of 95,000 tons of extrusion billets. The expansion created 20 new jobs. The number of employees in the factory has increased to 90.