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The Future Of Cast Aluminum In The Automotive Industry: The Contribution Of The Anodization Process
Friday 15, 2023


The fastest-growing market for aluminum is the auto industry.In order to increase vehicle performance and fuel efficiency, aluminum is being used more and more in automotive body parts and closures. According to the Light vehicle aluminum content and outlook study report prepared by ducker for the aluminum association and published in April 2023, it is predicted that the amount of aluminum parts per vehicle will increase by 25 kg in 2030. In addition, casting parts are expected to account for 138 kg, more than half of the total amount of aluminum parts, which will fall by 252 kg per vehicle in 2030.

The demand for anodized cast aluminum automotive parts is one area that shows immense promise and market potential as we cast our vision toward the horizon. There is no doubt that the automotive industry has long understood the advantages of using lightweight materials in their production. Therefore, anodized cast aluminum is ready to change the industry by offering an unheard-of level of durability, adaptability, and affordability. Automotive manufacturers and suppliers are strongly positioning themselves in response to an expected rise in demand, driven by the increased focus on fuel economy, sustainability, and performance.

Regardless of the industry, aluminum has a significant impact on the economy. Aluminum's role in the circular economy is pivotal, offering numerous sustainability benefits. Its high recyclability ensures that it can be endlessly reused without compromising quality, reducing energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions. The lightweight nature of aluminum extends the lifespan of products, from packaging to transportation, curbing waste generation. By fostering closed-loop systems, aluminum can be continuously recycled, promoting resource efficiency and minimizing environmental impact. Moreover, its usage creates economic opportunities and jobs in recycling industries, contributing to local economic development. Embracing aluminum in the circular economy signifies a step towards a more sustainable and resource-efficient future.

A significant role of cast aluminum applications in the automotive ecosystem

The report published in April 2023 by European Aluminum Group, Aluminum Content in Passenger Vehicles (Europe) states that an increase of 22.1 kg in cast aluminum content per vehicle is expected between 2022 and 2030. The report also indicates that the top 5 growth components driving the highest aluminum content increase will be E-drive housings, battery pack housings, large and mega castings, ballistic protection, and battery cooling plates that are all linked to electrification. Most of the casting parts in all industries, especially automotive, require a surface treatment process to achieve high performance, optimize heat transfer, corrosion resistance, and maximize wear resistance. Furthermore, wheels, frames, cylinder heads, wheels, gearbox housings, pistons, anti-lock braking parts, transmission components, radiators, and other parts are only a few of the automobile industry's uses for aluminum. For instance, the most crucial systems in electric vehicle batteries, including battery pack housings and anodized aluminum heat sinks, are frequently used. The first reason behind this usage is the lightweight capability of aluminum.  As the electric vehicle batteries increase the total weight of the vehicle, for example, the Tesla Model Y has a 771 kg (1,700 pounds) battery, the aluminum housings used to lead to savings in the weight of the vehicle and increase the efficiency by contributing to the reduction of the vehicle's fuel consumption.

The excellent heat conductivity of aluminum is another factor in its use in electric vehicle battery housings. Since the batteries and power electronics in electric vehicles require heavy heat syncs to maintain operational temperature, aluminum heat sinks are commonly used as passive heat exchangers to cool electronic devices in the battery systems. Largely designed surface areas of heat sinks accelerate the rate of heat transmission to the cooling environment. In addition, the large surfaces seen in conventional finned profiles boost the heat sink's capacity to conduct heat through convection.

Impacts of anodization, which is essential for casting aluminum components

Anodizing is an electrochemical process that involves immersing aluminum components in an electrolytic bath and passing an electric current through them. During anodizing, a controlled layer of aluminum oxide is formed on the surface of the aluminum. This oxide layer is integral to the metal and provides several significant impacts when applied to casting aluminum components, especially in the context of automobile parts:

Anodizing provides several advantages for cast aluminum parts used in the automotive industry. Firstly, it maintains the inherent lightweight advantage of aluminum, contributing to overall vehicle weight reduction and improved fuel efficiency. Additionally, the anodized aluminum oxide layer acts as a protective barrier, greatly increasing corrosion resistance. This is especially crucial for automotive parts exposed to harsh environmental conditions. With improved durability, anodized cast aluminum parts boast a longer lifespan. Furthermore, the process enhances the surface hardness of aluminum components, making them more resilient to wear, friction, and contact during operation. This results in superior performance, reliability, and reduced maintenance requirements.

Beyond the mechanical benefits, anodization offers advantages in specific applications, such as protecting electronic circuits. It achieves this by reducing electrical conductivity while maintaining the high thermal conductivity of aluminum, ensuring the durability of electronic components. This versatility enables aluminum's use in various applications.

Lastly, anodizing brings aesthetic appeal and customization options to automotive designers. With a range of color options and finishes, designers can tailor the appearance of aluminum components to match the overall vehicle design, giving them a unique and attractive look. In conclusion, anodizing significantly enhances the value of cast aluminum parts in the automotive industry, offering a combination of mechanical, protective, and aesthetic benefits.

iyiMetal is the perfect partner for the future’s automotive market

In comparison to 2021 levels, the EU wants to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from new cars by 37.5% by 2030. The Green Deal places a strong emphasis on growing the market share of electric cars. By 2030, there should be at least 30 million zero-emission cars on European roads. Thus, a carbon neutral future seems possible with electrification. An emerging technique is an anodization for sustainability objectives. As Iyimetal, we apply anodization to cast aluminum in a scalable and sustainable manner in line with the Green Deal aims to create high-quality surfaces. We use a minimal amount of natural resources to provide our consumers with this method.

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