Rheinfelden Alloys has concluded a global licensing agreement with Japan-based MNA Nikkei MC Aluminium for the production of innovative, patented aluminium alloys.
As a result, NMA Nikkei MC Aluminium is now authorized to manufacture and sell the following Rheinfelden alloy families worldwide, with immediate effect: Silafont, Castasil, Castaduct, and Castaman. “It is an important step for us in the growth strategy of our company,” says Erika Zender, CEO of Aluminium Rheinfelden. Shuichi Asakuno, CEO of MNA Nikkei MC Aluminium, adds: “The special alloys of Rheinfelden Alloys round out our portfolio perfectly, and we can now better meet the needs of innovative foundries and OEMs.”
Since it was founded in 1994, Rheinfelden Alloys has become a leader in the development and production of innovative aluminium alloys for vehicle construction, among other applications. Compared to components made from pure aluminium, specialist aluminium alloys enable increased productivity in manufacturing, and higher quality components with more complex shapes and thinner walls. For example, Aluminium Rheinfelden’s Silafont alloy represents a breakthrough in structural components for vehicle construction in the 1990s, and was used in the design and production of the Audi A8 Spaceframe body.
Until now, the only limiting factor in the distribution of alloys by Rheinfelden Alloys was that customers could only source the refined raw materials from the production site in Rheinfelden. “That restricted us significantly in terms of both volume and logistics,” explains Zender. As she goes on to explain, this restriction was out of touch with the modern requirements of the supply chains in the global automotive industry.
The new licensing agreement combines the high production capacity and international sales network of NMA Nikkei MC with the specialist know-how of Rheinfelden Alloys. It allows NMA Nikkei MC Aluminium to produce the alloys from its locations in Japan, the USA, Thailand and China. Sales regions extend all over Asia and the Nafta region. The certification of further production facilities in countries such as Mexico and India, is currently in planning. “With this agreement, we are boosting our potential production volume and, for the first time, we are directly represented in the key regions of the automotive sector,” highlights Zender.
Prior to the agreement, the Japanese firm underwent comprehensive certification by Aluminium Rheinfelden. At the same time, there was significant knowledge transfer in application consulting, ensuring that customers are supported in deploying the innovative aluminium alloys. “The agreement really is a win-win that benefits all parties,” says Zender. “Casting plants and customers worldwide receive access to high-end raw materials that can be used to make lightweight components and cut costs in production; together with NMA Nikkei MC Aluminium, we are able to further differentiate ourselves on the market and create more growth impetus.” Of that, the CEO of Aluminium Rheinfelden is firmly convinced.