Forbes

Auto OEMs Look To New Braidy Industries Mill In Kentucky To Ease Aluminum Shortage

Dale Buss

The auto industry’s challenge is Craig Bouchard’s opportunity. Orders for formed aluminum sheet products from his company’s new rolling mill in Ashland, Kentucky, through 2026 were already at 140 percent of output that’s expected when the $1.6 billion facility opens in 2020.

Then President Trump slapped tariffs on imported aluminum, and Bouchard said that purchasers’ subscription level now stands at 200 percent. “We got a hyper-boost from tariffs,” the CEO of Braidy Industries told me. “All of the car companies bought us. There’s already a shortage of aluminum in North America”  as OEMs push to “lightweight” their vehicles in every way possible. “This is going to be the first aluminum-rolling mill designed specifically for the auto industry.”

It’ll also be reportedly the first new aluminum mill in the United States in three decades. At the same time, Braidy will present automakers with a “dual sale” opportunity because, as Bouchard was putting together the Ashland complex, Braidy also acquired Veloxint, an MIT-incubated company that males ultra-high-strength alloys.

Besides coming up with timely supplies of aluminum for automakers, the Braidy mill will carry the economic hopes and dreams of an entire part of Appalachia. It’s expected to employ about 600 people who’ve been plucked from a pool of more than 7,000 applicants for jobs that Bouchard says will pay between $50,000 and $70,000 a year. Another 150 jobs are to be offered at the alloy plant. In the meantime, Bouchard expects to employ about 1,600 people during construction.

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