Each week news of successes and failures flood in from the manufacturing sector — from recalls to exciting new plant openings or industry breakthroughs the news runs the gamut. IMPO has sifted through all the news for you and presents this week's “Winner” and “Loser.”
Alcoa Inc. is this week’s winner for its breakthrough in aluminum manufacturing that will potentially serve as a lightweight metal replacement for heavier steal in cars.
Traditionally, aluminum is created by pouring the metal into slabs that are then reheated and rolled into sheets and coils. Alcoa is changing that. They have developed a process where the aluminum is not poured into slabs, it is instead cast directly into sheets, then rolled and coiled, which according to company executives allows them to produce alloys never seen before.
According to Alcoa, the aluminum is still in the testing phases but it will create metal sheets that are stronger and more easily shaped into auto parts than currently available aluminum and will be lighter than traditional steel.
Alcoa’s new technology currently has 130 patents, but CEO Klaus Kleinfeld says they may eventually be licensed to create more revenue.
This weeks “loser” trophy goes to Graco, a children’s products manufacturer based out of Atlanta, Georgia, for their continued recall struggles and an investigation with the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
Last week they issued a recall for approximately 5 million strollers due to six reports of fingertip amputation.
Now this week, Graco is being investigated by NHTSA on whether the company reported a defect in child car seats earlier this year quickly enough.
Graco had recalled 6 million car seats, the largest child-seat recall in U.S. history, because buckles could potentially become stuck and delay a quick exit in case of an emergency. Now the NHTSA is investigating whether Graco notified the agency within the mandated five days of becoming aware of the defect.
If the NHTSA finds that Graco did not act quickly enough they could be fined up to $35 million in civil penalties.
Do you think that Alcoa’s new aluminum has the potential to change the auto industry and to be a serious competitor of steel in the future?
Do you think Graco deserves the title of “Loser” of the week for their continued problems surrounding recalls? Or do you believe another company is more deserving of the title?
Tell us what you think by leaving your comments below.