Novelis' aluminum plant in Oswego commissioned a new $200 million expansion, and created 100 jobs for Oswego County. The addition of two new production lines increased the company's North American capacity for producing aluminum sheet for cars by 240,000 tons.
Plant manager Chris Smith says the expansion features two new aluminum automotive sheet finishing lines, which will increase the company's ability to provide lighter material to address the automotive industry's need to improve gas mileage in the cars they produce.
"One of the easiest ways they can do that - by taking weight out - is by using more aluminum," Smith says. "So what we're trying to do today, and the plan strategically going forward, is to be able to make sure that we can be able to supply that demand over the long term."
State Sen. Patty Ritchie, who was at the plant commissioning Thursday, says she hopes the Novelis expansion will encourage other companies to do the same.
"It's a great sign that other businesses will look and see that a global company like Novelis is here, and they're successful, they're on the cutting edge. If they looked to Oswego, then that should be a good sign that they should look at Oswego, too."
Currently, about six percent of Novelis' production is for auto companies. Aluminum is also shipped to can-makers, builders and industrial companies.
Currently, more than 60 percent of the company's shipments go to beverage can-makers, including Coca-Cola and ABInBev. Other customers of Novelis include Audi, GM, Ford, Mercedes-Benz, Samsung and LG.
Smith says new employees include engineers, mechanics and maintenance workers. Novelis employs about 900 people at the Oswego plant.