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Annual Report 2003 European Aluminium Association

European Aluminium Association : 15 December, 2004  (Technical Article)
The 2003 European Aluminium Association (EAA) Annual Report is out. It is a comprehensive overview of both the European Aluminium markets in 2003 and the progress made on our most relevant issues and projects.
The 2003 European Aluminium Association (EAA) Annual Report is out. It is a comprehensive overview of both the European Aluminium markets in 2003 and the progress made on our most relevant issues and projects.

The Market Report shows that, following the generally flat year in 2002, 2003 has proved - despite limited GDP growth, low domestic demand and a strong Euro - the aluminium industry is increasingly competitive. Its markets are continuing to grow and aluminium overall is clearly outperforming general economic market trends.

The Activity Report reflects the dynamic atmosphere in the different activities and initiatives developed by the EAA particularly in two key aspects: the increasing role of aluminium in modern-day life and the continuous industry progress on the route to full sustainability. This Report is a further step in the Aluminium for Future Generations dialogue process and expresses the transparent and pro-active stance of the European Aluminium industry.

The European aluminium industry’s commitment to sustainable development

Through the Aluminium for Future Generations programme the European aluminium industry is committed to pursuing the principles of Sustainable Development. On the basis of an open dialogue with various stakeholders and a constructive critique of its operations and products, the European aluminium industry has made significant progress in a wider adoption of the ‘triple bottom line’ approach to its activities, namely embracing economic, environmental and social concerns.

In 2003 an intensive programme of stakeholder dialogue initiatives was developed around aluminium and sustainability.

Various discussions, round tables, plant-visits, seminars and research-projects took place in several European countries, as detailed in the document “Aluminium for Future Generations – Progressing through dialogue” - available on request at the European Aluminium Association (EAA) secretariat. Thanks to these activities, the EAA and its members have had the opportunity to share the different stakeholders’ concerns and build on adequate responses.

The Green Week organized by the European Commission in June 2003 was a clear example of the importance to ‘think loud’, create ideas and exchange opportunities between civil society, industry and authorities for the benefit of future generations. The EAA actively participated with a stand at the Green Week exhibition that gathered some 4 000 people from all over the world.

For the EAA it was an opportunity to meet face to face and interact with the EU institutions, NGOs, students and teachers.

1.1 QUALIFYING AND QUANTIFYING SUSTAINABILITY

Over the past decade, new demands have been placed on industry by society to analyse the behaviour of the business sector relative to a spectrum of sustainable development goals. This places distinct requirements on company management, notably the need to develop key indicators to measure and benchmark economic, social and environmental performance.

In 2003, the Wuppertal Institute for Climate, Environment and Energy, and the Versailles University both played a key role in the EAA exercise on Sustainable Development Indicators. This has helped to position the European aluminium industry at the forefront of the sustainability debate.

1.2 TOWARDS A SUSTAINABLE ALUMINIUM INDUSTRY

The Wuppertal Institute proposed a set of environmental, economic and social indicators for aluminium in a project entitled “Towards a sustainable aluminium industry”.

The Institute reviewed all major sustainability concepts and selected the issues relevant to the aluminium industry. Targeted interviews and workshops were conducted with a wide range of stakeholders including NGOs, academia, government institutions and politicians in order to understand their views and priorities.

This study has improved the EAA knowledge on sustainability issues and helped it to better understand and evaluate stakeholders’ expectations. The main results of the project are in the article published by the UNEP (United Nations Environment Programme) Journal “Industry and Environment”, and are available on the EAA website.

1.3 INVOLVING STAKEHOLDERS IN CORPORATE SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY (CSR) REPORTING

Through an innovative bottom-up study, the Versailles University examined more than 150 stakeholder suggestions in six European aluminium plants to enable the industry to build a wide range of social and environmental indicators. The purpose was to establish a good balance between indicators of generic character (eg for the whole aluminium sector) and indicators relating to specific features of an industrial site, activity or country. The study shows how it is possible to produce CSR reporting that matches stakeholders’ expectations. Starting with more than a hundred suggested performance indicators, a simple reporting procedure can be developed. From the initial list of proposed indicators, either the whole sector or each company or plant can choose those that are most relevant for its own reporting. The number of indicators that enables a clear picture of the situation appears to be around thirty.

Among the project’s key recommendations were that indicator procedures need to take proper account of local stakeholders and should not be decided solely at the head office or proposed by international agencies. The project’s results are available on the EAA website.

1.4 EAA ROUND TABLE

A key milestone in the dialogue with stakeholders was the EAA round table on Sustainability Indicators held in April 2003. The objective was to share experiences stemming from the Wuppertal and Versailles projects and to get feedback on the issues surrounding sustainable development indicators in order to further build on progress. The EU Institutions and various NGOs interests were represented at the event. The initiative was welcomed by all participants and the overall tone of the event and the questions raised reflected a positive response to this initiative of the aluminium industry.

1.5 EAA SUSTAINABILITY SURVEY

On the basis of the work done by the Wuppertal Institute and Versailles University, the EAA has drawn up a list of Sustainability Indicators which was used for the first survey of environmental, economic and social data among European aluminium plants.

National associations, integrated companies and individual plants were included in the survey in order to cover as much of the European production as possible.

In light of the EU enlargement taking place in 2004, the EAA has also attempted to cover the aluminium plants in the accession countries. The sectors covered are alumina plants, primary smelters, extrusion plants, rolling plants, foil plants and recycling plants.

Data from a significant number of aluminium plants in Europe has been aggregated and a report will be presented to the public, showing the progress the aluminium industry is making according to the selected indicators. This report will act as an important internal benchmark for the individual industry sectors.

ACTIVITY REPORT EAA 2003 - ALUMINIUM FOR FUTURE GENERATIONS
THE ‘HOLISTIC APPROACH’

In 2003 there was a clear shift in policy focus by the European Commission. In the past, the regulatory efforts of the European Institutions were largely aimed at bringing about the necessary end-of-pipe solutions (Packaging and Packaging Waste, End-oflife Vehicles, Waste Electric and Electronic Equipment). Now, the attention is on a more ‘holistic approach’ taking the full life-cycle of products and services as the starting point. This cradle-to-grave thinking has inspired the 6th Environmental Action Programme of the EU, the Thematic Strategies on the Sustainable Use of Resources, on Waste Prevention and Recycling, and Integrated Product Policy.

The EAA has always encouraged this development, as it allows policy making to take into account all the different links in the aluminium value chain from primary metal production to recycling via the numerous advantages of aluminium in the use-phase. The intrinsic properties of aluminium related to waste prevention and recycling, and its inherent capacity to improve the environmental performance of many products make it a sustainable resource that will increasingly contribute to modern-day society.

Resource use, recycling, waste prevention and product policy are the aluminium industry's natural priorities. The new EU policy orientation should therefore reinforce continuous progress and contribute to the further presence and development of the aluminium industry in Europe.

2.1 ENVIRONMENT

Recycling

Recycling is important from an environmental and social point of view. In the case of aluminium, one of the most recyclable materials, recycling builds a bridge from the end of the product life to a new product of the same quality. Aluminium recycling closes the material loop and is very significant in the current sustainability discussion. The public increasingly demands that aluminium collection and recovery is maximised and that the recycling process is realised in an environmentally friendly manner.

The newly developed EAA Recycling Division started its work as a co-operation between the EAA and the Organisation of European Refiners and Remelters (OEA) in 2003. Projects were defined and will be tackled in 2004. These include the creation of new scrap flow statistics, together with the International Aluminium Institute (IAI), a European scrap flow model and the investigation of metal loss during the life cycle.

The exact knowledge of how much aluminium scrap has been collected and supplied to recovery is indispensable for proof of sustainability, and also for economically efficient recycling.

Waste

Waste management is an integrated part of resource use and the aluminium industry has a longstanding record of developing ways to reduce the impact of both waste and emissions.

In 2003, the European Commission released three strategies dealing with the use of Natural Resources, the Prevention and Recycling of Waste and a Communication on Integrated Product Policy (IPP). The aluminium industry is committed to maximising resource efficiency and the EAA is playing a dedicated role in this European Commission strategy. Waste prevention and recycling are clearly important areas of activity for the aluminium industry and the EAA is fully engaged in this process with both the European Commission and European Parliament.

Life Cycle Analysis (LCA)

The EAA supports greater use of the LCA methodology and LCA studies by presenting reliable life cycle inventory data for aluminium applications. LCA is frequently promoted as a tool to assess the environmental impact of a product. However, this instrument needs to be handled with care, particularly when used for policy-making purposes. In this context, a study to analyse specific aluminium related LCA exercises in four European countries was developed by CE Delft, an independent research and consultancy organisation specialising in innovative solutions to environmental problems. Two of these four cases concern policymaking in the packaging sector - the ‘UBA II’ in Germany and the packaging tax in Denmark. Two deal with legislative action related to the building sector - the Dutch initiative on environmentally relevant product information and the Swiss case on the environmental declaration of building products.

Several recommendations were drawn up from this in-depth CE Delft analysis to help politicians and policymakers interpret and properly use any LCA study. Among the recommendations are: an independent critical review panel has to control the LCA study; all involved stakeholders have to take part in the entire LCA process. A preliminary consensus on all key aspects, especially on value-driven choices needs to be reached before the LCA study starts.

The life cycle of aluminium products has to be conceived ‘cradleto- cradle’, instead of from ‘cradle-to-grave’ and LCA practitioners have developed a number of methods to deal with recycling.

Integrated Pollution Prevention and Control (IPPC)

The Non-Ferrous Metals Best Available Technique Reference Note (BREF Note), which included the sections on Aluminium, Carbon and Graphite, is now due for revision in 2005. The EAA informed the European Integrated Pollution Prevention and Control Bureau (EIPPCB) about changes needed in the Carbon and Graphite chapter.

Closely linked to the new Mining waste directive, there is a BREF Note on Management of Tailings and Waste Rock in Mining Activities, which will cover the bauxite residue from alumina plants. An EAA representative from the alumina sector has participated in this work. The new BREF Note will be published first half of 2004.

Other BREF Notes under preparation and of interest to the aluminium industry are “Surface Treatment of Metals” and “Metal Foundries”. The aluminium industry is participating in both groups.

Ambient Air Quality The European Commission’s proposal for a Directive relating to arsenic, cadmium, mercury, nickel and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) in ambient air entered the last phases of adoption in 2003. Member States will have to monitor that the concentration of Benzo-a-pyrene (BaP), which is a single PAH marker compound does not exceed the 1ng/m3 of air target value. This could possibly be difficult to achieve in the vicinity of some ‘Soderberg’ aluminium smelters under present operating conditions. It is however recognised that the main sources for BaP emissions in the future will be traffic and domestic wood and coal burning. The proposal would also impose monitoring requirements for the other mentioned substances.

Climate Gases – Emission Trading Directive

The EU Directive on Emission Trading was adopted in 2003.

Aluminium is not included in the first phase of the directive that covers only Carbon Dioxide of the six Kyoto protocol gases. But despite this the European Commission has left room for interpretation at national level. This means that certain parts of plants in the aluminium industry could be included. This issue is now left to the Member States with the result that widely diverging interpretation of this remains possible between countries. The aluminium industry will continue to follow this issue actively.

Energy Taxation

The European Council of Ministers resolved the deadlock that has prevailed for several years over the EU Energy Taxation Directive last year, and the text is published. The alumina plants and primary smelters are outside the scope of the directive, which means that the individual Member States are free to set energy taxation policy for these installations. For other parts of the industry there is the option of entering into negotiated agreements on energy reduction in order to reduce the energy tax.

EU New Chemicals Policy – REACH

The Commission launched an Internet consultation on the draft text for the new Chemicals Policy in May 2003. The final Commission proposal was published in October and sent to the European Parliament in November. The EAA has participated in the consultation process through Eurometaux, its non-ferrous metals umbrella organisation.

Joint work is underway to set up a Consortium of interested parties and to prepare the research plan and documentation needed for the registration of substances.

2.2 HEALTH AND SAFETY

Health and safety remain top priorities for the aluminium industry, which compares favourably with other manufacturing industries in this field. This is reflected in accident statistics, which show a decline for alumina, primary and rolling for the third consecutive year. For the aluminium industry health and safety involves a systematic approach, combining training and equipment solutions as well as safety standards that are usually higher than the legal requirement.

Investments in technical improvements, practice-oriented training, behavioural-based safety programmes and qualification measures aimed at identifying risks have all contributed to this positive development.

Accident Statistics and Reporting

The EAA conducted the annual accident survey in February 2003 to collect accident data from the plants for the year. The purpose is to provide a benchmarking report and information on individual incidents of interest. The data are reported for alumina plants, primary smelters, rolling mills and extrusion plants. Overall, company targets for reducing the number of accidents, as shown by the data over the last three years, indicate that the plants are generally making good progress. The increase noted for extrusions in 2003 is partially due to a change in the calculation procedure.

The increase noted for extrusions in 2003 is partially due to a change in the calculation procedure.

EAA Safety Workshop

In November 2003, the EAA organised its 4th annual Safety Workshop, which underlined ’zero accidents’ as the only possible target for safety management in the workplace. Safety at work remains one of the fundamental issues for the European aluminium industry within the framework of Sustainable Development and Corporate Social Responsibility. Topics discussed included among others identifying root causes of accidents, selection of personal protective equipment as well as how to change people’s attitude toward safety.

The EAA wants to export its commitment to health and safety to other associations and countries. In 2003 the EAA actively participated in several international meetings or conferences on Environment and Health in the aluminium industry. Among these were the OEA Annual Conference in March, the Indian International Conference on Aluminium in April, European Coil Coating Association Conference in May and the International Conference on Environmental, Health and Safety Aspects related to the Production of Aluminium in October.

Work Place Exposure

Following separate directives on workplace exposure to vibration and noise, the third part of the physical agents directive, which concerns electromagnetic fields was redrafted. Field exposure has been measured in the pot rooms of primary aluminium smelters and has not given rise to any concern for worker health. The upcoming regulations might be applicable to some areas of plants, like rectifiers, where no permanent workplaces exist.

2.3 TRADE ISSUES

The WTO Round of negotiations for further international trade liberalisation did not require any new input from the EAA in 2003, as discussion on market access focused only on methodological aspects (tariff reduction mechanisms, in particular). In addition, the whole process came to a standstill following the failure of the 5th WTO Ministerial Conference in Cancun in September when the WTO members were unable to reach agreement on a number of key issues that were decisive for the continuation of the actual negotiation process.

The aluminium sector has had to face the consequences of the operation of the graduation mechanism in the Generalized System of Preferences, which resulted in the granting of tariff preferences on semi-fabricated products originating from Russia as of January 2003. The unilateral granting of such tariff preferences creates a serious imbalance in the terms of aluminium trade with Russia and are a cause for concern at a moment when Russia is still maintaining export taxes on non-ferrous metal scrap and double-digit import duties on all aluminium semi-manufactured products.

Chinese activity on the international markets for raw materials was the chief focus of trade advocacy in 2003, as the aluminium recycling sector in particular has been increasingly confronted with damaging competitive distortions caused by the purchase of materials by China for recycling. Developments in this respect are very similar to those already seriously affecting the copper industry, and Eurometaux (European Association of non-Ferrous Metals) has been pursuing a very extensive advocacy campaign at both the European Commission and Member State level in order to have the problem forcefully addressed and fair trade conditions swiftly restored.

2.4 STANDARDS

The trend for further globalisation requires better harmonisation between European and other regions’ aluminium standards and material designations. This harmonisation effort increased in 2003 the aim of common points of reference for the aluminium sector. The EAA is involved in various standardisation projects and in total some 25 new standards were made available for the aluminium industry during 2003.

Scrap standards are going to play a highly important role in environmental discussions and negotiations. In 2003, after a six-year preparation period, the European Aluminium Scrap Standards came into force. With these standards, the categorisation of aluminium scraps was managed for the first time.

As well as the new set of scrap standards the first standard on structural railway applications was also introduced. Work was initiated in late 2003 to revise the tolerance standards for extruded and drawn products, which will lead to more sophisticated aluminium solutions. The revision of the six-year-old drawing stock and wire standards was taken up during the year.

The EAA initiated discussions with CEN/TC 132 to introduce a project management for the monitoring of the ongoing standardisation work. This will allow the prioritisation of the projects, according to the market.

Eurocode Design Standard for Aluminium

“Eurocode 9 Aluminium”, the European design standard for aluminium structures, progressed as scheduled and reached an important stage in late 2003. Once published, the complete set of Eurocode Standards gives guidance for engineers to design tomorrow's buildings and constructions.

The Eurocode Calibration study, comparing national calculation methods to the Eurocode rules, was completed and the findings considered in Eurocode. The final report is available from the EAA.

ACTIVITY REPORT EAA 2003 - KEY ISSUES

Construction Standards

Standards and other technical specifications are under development for the cladding and roofing market, gutters, rainwater pipes and panels. Aluminium is within the scope of these papers and the EAA is improving its relationship with the relevant associations.

The European aluminium industry invests resources in the ongoing development of International Standards around ‘sustainable construction’.

In 2003, some basic decisions on this work were taken and the liaison status was granted to the EAA. The discussion to develop European Standards on the 'Integrated Environmental Building Performance' is a similar European activity to which the EAA contributes.

The EN 13830 'Curtain walling – product standard' passed the final vote successfully as the first product standard with relevance to the aluminium industry. This standard is going to serve the curtain wall manufacturers to obtain the CE marking under the Construction Products Directive (CPD). A similar product standard for windows and doors was also finalised.

The EAA has taken up the issue on fire safety in buildings, especially on curtain walling, and initiated some work in this field.

Packaging Standards

In 2003, the CEN procedure for four revised standards on reuse, material recovery, energy recovery and prevention (noxious/hazardous substances) reached its conclusion.

The EAA participated actively in the Energy Recovery Committee, which has clarified a number of definitions and maintained the criteria for energy recovery from aluminium in incineration.

Transport Tank Standards In 2003, the EAA continued to follow the work of the UNWorking Party for the transport of dangerous goods (WP.15), which sets the requirements for the design and construction of transport tanks (ADR agreement).

3.1 ALUMATTER, THE MODULAR E-LEARNING RESOURCE

In response to the lack of technicians, engineers and designers with good skills and knowledge of aluminium technologies, the EAA is pursuing efforts to develop an e-learning platform in the field of aluminium material science and technology.

This educational platform is freely accessible through www.aluminium.org/education. In 2003, the main developments were focussed on aluMATTER.

The main objective of this initiative is to offer highly innovative and interactive multimedia e-learning resources for students at university or technical college as well as engineers or technicians in the industry.

In 2003, three modules focusing on aluminium material science were made available: strengthening mechanisms, anisotropy and softening mechanisms.

In 2003, alumatter was further developed within the framework of a European Leonardo da Vinci project, which is partly financed by the European Commission.

Co-ordinated by the EAA, this Leonardo da Vinci project is supported by the major European aluminium producers and transformers, as well as some national aluminium associations, two important technical and training centres (CETIM, SLV-Duisburg) and by some of the most renowned Universities in Europe. The “MATTER group” from the University of Liverpool acts as central supporting organisation for storyboarding and IT programming.

Three new modules, functional properties, mechanical properties and machining technology, will be publicly launched in the course of 2004. In 2004, three other aluMATTER modules dealing respectively with forming, joining and surface technologies will be initiated.

In October 2003, the MATTER group was awarded the Médaille Bastien Guillet by the Société Francaise de Métallurgie et Matériaux (SF2M) for its contribution to the vocational training and communication in Materials Science. This acknowledgement rewards the MATTER group for its pioneering developments of high-quality and interactive e-learning resources about materials science and technologies.

3.2 R&D

The EAA acts as the neutral platform to initiate non-competitive European R&D projects or to communicate the results of such collaborative projects. Within the 5th R&D framework programme of the European Commission, the VIRSTAR projects and the MAP project (Melt Aluminium Purification) are examples of successful collaborative projects initiated through the EAA platform.

In 2003, the three VIRSTAR projects (VIRCAST, VIRFAB & VIRFORM, 2000-2004) entered their final phase. These three projects aim to model the aluminium production chain from DC casting to finished products in order to refine the process parameters and to create the properties and the microstructure requested by the client application. These project results are beneficial to key aluminium end–use sectors such as automotive, aerospace, packaging and construction, and therefore contributing to the competitiveness of the European industry.

Following the four-year collaborative R&D effort, the main breakthroughs of the modelling concepts will be presented on the basis of selected process routes, which have been intensely monitored for validation. The organisation of the end-term conference, took place in February 2004, and was facilitated by the EA 4.1 TRANSPORT Aluminium has a key role to play in the transport sector due to its material properties that combine lightweight with strength.

The current emphasis on fuel efficiency and emission reduction is providing new opportunities for automotive manufacturers to utilise aluminium more intensively. In today’s commercial vehicles aluminium plays an increasingly important role by replacing heavier materials. Significant savings in fuel consumption and CO2 emissions can be made over the lifetime of heavy vehicles with every additional tonne of aluminium.

Automotive

The EAA is actively involved in promoting the use of aluminium for automotive applications and in February 2003 it launched the Aluminium Automotive Manual (AAM) in Brussels, a vast and comprehensive online guide intended to provide technicians and engineers with information about aluminium in automotive applications. The AAM is now on the Web site under www.eaa.net/aam. Some new chapters will be added during the coming months and efforts are made to keep the manual updated and relevant for every automotive engineer when it comes to aluminium applications and technologies.

Furthermore, at the February event, the EAA presented the results of a study carried out at the ‘Forschungsgesellschaft für Kraftfahrwesen’ at Aachen University (RWTH) called the “Alumaximised Car”. The purpose of this study is to evaluate how much weight for a lower middle class car - ‘Golf-class’- can be saved through a more intensive use of aluminium and the downsizing of key parts such as the suspension, engine and tank.

The results are impressive and show that more than 400 kg can be saved, from the starting point of a car weighing approximately 1 200 kg.

Mass Transport

Transport professionals know that aluminium-based equipment is light. But few of them are aware that the key advantage of aluminium solutions lies in outstanding strength performance that leads to excellent cost effectiveness and higher productivity.

The role of the EAA is to raise the awareness of aluminium’s advantages for the sector via a variety of promotional actions.

Trade fairs

The EAA was present in Lyon at the European Trade Show for Bodybuilding and Haulage in April 2003. The ‘all-aluminium’ semi-trailer hanging over the stand, was a reminder that aluminium, already widely used for body components and wheels, is also ideal for structural applications like chassis, floors or tippers.

As far as safety is concerned, excellent crash test results were presented for new aluminium alloys specifically developed for the revised regulation on the transport of dangerous fluids.

“Light and Strong” communication campaign

The “Light and Strong” communication campaign targets European road hauliers and aims to improve aluminium's image as the material for road transport vehicles. A new illustrated press file answering all questions on aluminium tippers has been produced in five languages and disseminated throughout Europe.

Fifty additional articles representing more than a hundred pages have been published. The advertising campaign highlighting the strength and lightness of aluminium continued with 90 inserts in 20 magazines.

The impact of the campaign has been assessed through an independent survey involving 250 hauliers.

The reduction of traditional prejudices, the improved awareness of aluminium’s qualities and the visibility of aluminium articles in the trade press featured very highly.

Transport advocacy

During the course of 2003, the EAA strengthened its dialogue with European institutions on the contribution of aluminium to CO2 reduction in commercial transport. The European political debate is very much focused on resource efficiency, waste prevention and reduction of the environmental impact of products and services. From a Life Cycle perspective the biggest room for improvement in this respect is in the so-called ‘use-phase’.

24 4 One of the most significant examples here is the environmental benefit of aluminium for articulated trucks.

Often forgotten in the political debate, lightweighting of trucks can nevertheless lead to impressive environmental results. A study was conducted by the Institut für Energie- und Umweltforschung (IFEU) in Heidelberg for the International Aluminium Institute (IAI). On the basis of that study the EAA calculates that the intensive use of aluminium in European articulated trucks could bring CO2 equivalent savings in the range of between 4 and 19 tonnes over the lifetime of new vehicles registered in any given year.

4.2 PACKAGING

Recycling in Packaging

2003 was marked by the conclusion of the revision of the EU Packaging and Packaging Waste Directive. While the final compromise between the European Council of Ministers and the European Parliament maintains differentiated recycling targets per material to be achieved by 2008, the 50% recycling target for metals (steel and aluminium together) appears achievable.

In the light of the new recycling target, the EAA made an inventory to ascertain that the aluminium industry disposed of all the necessary tools to reach that goal under current technical, economical and environmental conditions. This was the objective of the second EAA seminar on aluminium packaging recycling and recovery, which took place in June near Brussels. During this event aluminium recovery and recycling experts from over 12 countries, representatives of the European Commission, the European organisation of recovery schemes (PRO-EUROPE) and several engineering companies exchanged best practices and shared expertise as well as know-how on sorting technologies, recovery schemes, used packaging scrap categories and the accounting of the packaging tonnage put on to the market and the amount recycled.

As the European Union is enlarging towards Eastern and Central Europe and the use of aluminium packaging in these countries is developing rapidly, the need for effective recovery and recycling initiatives is growing. Beyond the already successful can collection scheme initiated with beverage can-makers in Poland, a similar project has started in Hungary and preliminary contacts have been made in the Czech Republic and Romania to ensure that aluminium packaging does not go to waste. In this same context the EAA cochaired a conference on aluminium packaging in Moscow.

Next to the overarching European projects, the EAA keeps a close eye on the development of packaging policy on Member State level, like in Belgium, the debate on the proposed eco-tax for non-refillable drink containers; in Denmark, the ongoing discussion on the packaging tax and, in Germany, the controversy surrounding the introduction of a mandatory deposit on non-refillables, notably cans.

Aluminium Foil

The European Aluminium Foil Association (EAFA) represents approximately 95% of the foil market, 80% of the container manufacturers and a significant proportion of the European converters.

EAFA grew by a further seven companies in 2003, and among others the first member from Bulgaria.

Information links to EAFA’s counterparts in North America the AA (Aluminum Association) and AFCMA (Aluminum Foil Containers Manufacturers Association) were further established as well as to the Japanese industry providing EAFA members with a wider view of market information and developments. The statistical service was further refined during 2003 and this has enabled EAFA to provide an increased level of detail.

EAFA also supported the Aluminium Packaging conference in Moscow and made a presentation on “Alufoil – Innovations, Trends and Services”.

Attendance at the Annual General Meeting was high with presentations from PIRA International (“Active and Intelligent Packaging - Technologies, Opportunities and Applications”) and Roland Berger Strategy Consultants (“Vision European Food Retail 2010 - Consequences for Partners in the Retail Value Chain”).

E-Business

EAFA participated in the Expert Group set up by the EU Commission in view of the recommendations on “Good Trading practices in Electronic Bidding Processes: Reverse Auctions” that were drawn up by EAFA.

Alufoil File

The Alufoil File is a new initiative to provide up-to-date information on aluminium foil.

The Alufoil File is published in three forms: as printed leaflets, as pages on the EAFA website – alufoil.org – and as PDF files downloadable from the website.

Foil Articles and press releases

EAFA considerably increased its presence in the international packaging and food media during the year 2003. Articles mainly focussing on subjects like alufoil in dairy and beverage packaging as well as for anti-counterfeiting purposes were initiated.

In addition to Europe, a South African journal used EAFA material several times for articles on alufoil.

Infoil

The Infoil newsletter was published three times during 2003 with approximately 6000 copies published in five languages, distributed to over 80 countries, underlining the success of this information tool.

Packaging Trophy Awards

The EAFA Packaging Trophy Awards “Foils of the year” took place in 2003 showcasing innovative aluminium foil packaging solutions.

The 2003 winners were: • Aspirin Effect - a new soluble instant aspirin in an individual dose ‘stick pack’

• Dalehead Sausages in the first UK ‘cook-in-the tray’ aluminium foil pack

• Saupiquet canned fish products with an easy-open alufoil closure

• The Kiffies perfume range (it is range) was the 'higly commended' entry of a perfume range in a flexible foil pouch

Aerosol Cans

At the 14th International Aerosol Exhibition in Nice from 22–25 September 2003, the aluminium aerosol can industry demonstrated its creativity with intelligent and highly sophisticated packaging solutions as well as technological innovations.

The innovative activities of the aluminium aerosol can industry were supported by a PR campaign of the European association of leading aluminium aerosol can manufacturers (AEROBAL), which presented its new brochure “Aluminium Aerosol Cans: Move By Move Towards Success”. Another part of the PR action was a limited edition of a special AEROBAL Backgammon game. The playing pieces of this game are aluminium slugs from which aluminium aersol cans are impact extruded. The slugs are printed with the aluminium recycling logo in light-blue and dark-blue.

The aluminium aerosol cans serve as dice shakers.

In spring 2003 AEROBAL carried out its annual contest “Aluminium Aerosol Can of the Year”. The Jury consisted of leading European packaging magazines.

The winner of the AEROBAL contest “Aluminium Aerosol Can of the Year 2003”, the “See and Feel” can produced by Boxal, excels by shelf differentiation and counterfeit protection. The new design concept offers the possibility of embossing over most of the surface of the cylindrical part of the container combined with selective graphic finishings. This offers high-profile product differentiation with striking visual and tactile effects.

4.3 BUILDING

Window frames have kept the same appearance and design criterion for years now, although technology has gradually strengthened performance. The aluminium industry felt it was time to revolutionise this part of its activities, putting forward aluminium's best qualities for this application, both in terms of technology and design.

This is why the EAA decided in 2003 to run a competition among six well-reputed European Architecture and Engineering Universities. The objective was to propose a design for a totally new thermally broken window that meets European standards, is user friendly and suitable for production and installation in an economic way for both new and existing buildings. Out of the twelve projects entered, a jury composed of architects and representatives of notified bodies and the user industry awarded those three concepts that were able to best optimise economic, environmental and design considerations. Details on these concrete examples of the sustainability of aluminium in building are available on demand at the EAA.

Sustainability of aluminium in buildings is also the main result of the scientific study developed by the Technological University of Delft on collection rates in the residential and non-residential sectors. The demolition of a significant number of buildings in six European countries was investigated using an on-site innovative approach that could only take place thanks to good co-operation with local authorities, institutes and demolition companies. Once the go-ahead was obtained, tools and models were quickly put in place to assess the total mass of the buildings and their aluminium content.

The results indicate that there is an important aluminium inventory in European buildings, which is collected during demolitionwith surprisingly high collection efficiency, ranging between 92 and 98%. The main drive behind this positive result is the economic value of scrap aluminium together with a well-established and efficient aluminium-recycling scheme. Aluminium in buildings is an underestimated efficient scrap resource. It is the guarantee for raw material availability and energy savings for the benefit of our future generations, according to engineers at the Delft University of Technology.

In 2003, the EAA developed further a network of partners across Europe in order to be able to organise successful communications both from a ‘generic’ and ‘local’ perspective. The network is already present in Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, the Nederlands, Spain, Switzerland, and the infront of UK.

It is based on the national aluminium associations and key stakeholders like the Surface Treatment of Aluminium Association (ESTAL) and the European Association of Aluminium Window Makers (FAECF) and the Council of European Producers of Materials for Construction (CEPMC).

ALUMINIUM EXHIBITION

Aluminium is the third most abundant element in the earth’s crust. It is only 160 years since it was discovered and only 100 years since a viable production process was established. Today, often without even realising it, we all encounter aluminium in every aspect of our life, from nutrition, mobility, shelter and comfort to fun and leisure.

In its relatively young life aluminium has sparked a growing interest from a number of writers, designers, architects and engineers worldwide, thanks to its unique qualities of surface brilliance, strength, lightweight, ductility, corrosion resistance and ease of recycling.

From 18 February until 11 May 2003 aluminium exhibited its charms in Brussels in the prestigious Hôtel Wielemans. This ‘art deco’ house was built in 1925 by the Belgian architect Adrien Blomme with the intention of recreating the magical atmosphere of the Alhambra Palace in Grenade, Spain. The aluminium masterpieces of the exhibition seduced visitors by their distinct personality and attractiveness and also their original combination with the exotic spirit of the museum’s Moorish decoration.

Aluminium was rare, precious and untested in the second half of the 19th century. Napoleon III was so enthused by the material that he requested its use in a number of objects, from medallions and jewellery to military equipment to celebrate the national glory of France. Many fascinating examples of this period were present at the exhibition, including a parade helmet made for the Hereditary Prince Ferdinand of Denmark in 1859, opera glasses dating from 1875, a gilded aluminium sculpture of an imperial eagle from 1860.

In London, Sir Alfred Gilbert – the most prominent British sculptor of the late 19th century - designed the Eros statue in Piccadilly Circus out of aluminium in 1886, the year when this metal entered into the new era of industrial production.

In the 20th century, aluminium became the ubiquitous material of our modern lives in skyscrapers, airplanes, cars, sports equipment, packaging, furniture and lighting. The exhibition enabled the visitor to penetrate the versatile dimension of aluminium through various objects, photos and drawings from the century’s greatest artists, architects and designers such as: Otto Wagner, Ludwieg Mies van der Rohe, Rene Lalique, Marcel Breuer, Frank Lloyd Wright, Marc Newson and Philippe Starck, to name but a few.

Marc Newson’s 1986 Lockheed Lounge starred in the exhibition thanks to its sensual and curvaceous shape. The Lounge, produced in a limited edition of ten, secured a place in popular and design culture when the pop singer Madonna used it in her 1988 Rain video and Philippe Starck integrated it into the 1990 redesign of the Paramount Hotel foyer in New York.

Organised by the Carnegie Museum of Art in Pittsburgh (USA) and sponsored by the Alcoa Foundation, “Aluminium by Design” was the first major aluminium exhibition. The EAA was very proud to be the main sponsor of the successful Brussels venue that welcomed more than 7 500 visitors of which 600 were students and over 120 were journalists. The event received excellent media coverage: 16 TV & Radio interviews, featuring on four television news broadcasts, and in over 60 articles in the press.

This experience generated numerous contacts with visitors interested in aluminium and more particularly in production processes.

During the exhibition the “Arte News” special edition devoted to design and aluminium was made available by the EAA. This magazine draws on the history of aluminium from the 19th century to the modern day, by highlighting the variety of its applications in art and design, from jewellery to fashion, architecture, transport and leisure.
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