Aluminum sheets aren’t just for lining baking pans? Well, that’s not exactly what the automotive industry is referring to when talking about a new projection in manufacturing. Aluminum sheet, as opposed to the kitchen foil, is expected to increase in usage to line automotive exterior parts such as fenders and truck beds.
The growth forecast for aluminum sheet and cast is set to experience more than 250 per cent growth respectively taking a large chunk of the market as early as 2022 according to IHS Markit automotive forecaster, Michael Robinet. This will include everything from luxury class vehicles such as the Audi A8 to the Ford’s classic F-150 model.
Robinet expects a shift will be made to aluminum by the same year or the next as aluminum and sturdier steels begin to comprises the bulk of exterior parts and closures such as panels and fenders. Carbon fiber and other composite metals are set to increase in the next decade.
Manufacturers automotive adhesives or other heat-sensitive materials fasteners will also see steady growth. Composite metals are making the grade for use in truck beds for companies such as the Honda Ridgeline with its incorporation of fiberglass as opposed to carbon fiber reinforcement.
Other tenacious Asian OEMs are watching closely, but waiting on the invention of stronger base structure materials to support truck beds underneath before they follow in the footsteps of Honda. The Detroit Three: General Motors, Ford and Fiat Chrysler will keep the idea on the backburner for now with an increased awareness of the rising use of composites such as aluminum sheet and cast, steel, and other plastics in Asian OEM domestic pickup trucks such as the Toyota Tundra, Nissan Titan and Nissan Frontier.