Company News

Novelis Celebrates $4.5M Investment in Warren Plant

WARREN, Ohio – A $4.5 million investment by Novelis Inc. will position its plant here to expand its capabilities, company officials said.

Members of the corporate leadership team in Atlanta joined management and employees at the local plant as well as elected officials and their representatives for a ribbon cutting Monday afternoon to celebrate the completion of the RODIP – or rolled on dry in place – project.

The plant, which opened in 1965 and has 79 employees, applies coating to rolled aluminum sheets, which are then used for production of lids for the tops of aluminum beverage cans. According to company marketing materials, the plant produces enough coated aluminum sheet for more than 1 billion cans each month.

“This is a significant investment for the plant, one that will sustain this facility and our community, and represents our commitment to our clients here,” said Tom Boney, vice president of operations, North America. 

“A $4.5 million investment says a lot,” added Mayor Doug Frankin. “You see our community as a good place to do business. In turn, the investment strengthens our tax base and helps ensure future economic viability.”

The mayor said the company did not request any incentives from the city to assist with the project. The plant is one of eight Novelis manufacturing facilities in the United States and Canada. Globally, the company operates 25 plants.

“As markets change, you need to change your processes,” said plant manager Paul Nelson. 

About three years ago, production at the plant slowed down, leading executives there to look at how they could “increase or improve our portfolio and products that we supply,” he said. The final decision on adding the RODIP technology coming in 2017.

“Every time we’ve entrusted the Warren team with regard to capital or customer relationships, they’ve done a great job,” Boney said. The products made at the plant enjoy “good reputation in the marketplace,” he added, and the plant was able to maintain production while making the necessary upgrades.

“To make this project feasible, we had to figure out a way that we could install this equipment and not disrupt our normal production,” said Andrea Arnio, project manager and engineering, maintenance, reliability and automation leader.

Workers were able to build the equipment over the existing equipment without raising the roof, which would have exponentially raised the project costs, by using proprietary information and technology developed by Ajax Tocco Magnethermic Corp., Arnio said. They also were able to do the project in “a much smaller footprint and achieve the same outcome,” she said.

“When you’re running to keep customers satisfied and you’re changing one of the most important components of it, it’s akin to having open-heart surgery while running a race,” Boney said. Customers were “very satisfied through the process and there were no injuries during the project,” he said. 

The newly installed equipment is designed to increase line speed and can change the gauge of the aluminum, both of which can potentially increase capacity, Arnio said.  

In addition to handling heavier gauges, the equipment can do different pretreatments, Nelson said, which expands the markets it can serve beyond the current beverage can sector. Such markets include food truck trailers and food cans. 

“The project will ensure that we’ll be able to continue to supply our customers, continue to supply the aluminum can industry and it’ll give us some versatility in what we can supply,” he said. 

Pictured: Novelis plant manager Paul Nelson, process leader Mark Nichols and project manager Andrea Arnio celebrate the company’s $4.5 million investment in its Warren plant.

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.