CAFE and Opportunity

Gary S. Vasilash

While some people might look at the impending CAFE standard calling for an average of 54.5 mpg by 2025 with consternation and trepidation (i.e., they are both agitated by what is generally considered a stretch goal and have managed to soil their stretch pants), others are finding opportunity in it.

Case in point is Bonnell Aluminum. The company announced last week that it is going to spend $17-million during the next year to purchase a state-of-the-art aluminum extrusion line to serve the auto industry.


An aluminum extrusion system at Bonnell Aluminum.

While the company is widely known for its extrusions used for building and construction applications, it sees opportunities stemming from CAFE: “In order to meet this requirement, in addition to powertrain enhancements, automobile manufacturers are also looking at reducing the overall weight of their vehicles. Aluminum extrusions have one of the highest strength-to-weight ratios among all materials and offer almost endless design flexibility characteristics to engineers who are challenged to push tier ingenuity to meet new and ever-stringent challenges,” said Ira Endres, Bonnell director of Sales and Marketing.

The extrusion line will be installed in the company’s manufacturing facility in Newnan, Georgia. It is expected to come on line early in 2014.