March 27--Novelis marked the start-up of a laser cutting center for aluminum automotive sheet at its rolling mill in Sierre, Switzerland, with the announcement that the center's first order will be for DaimlerChrysler's Mercedes-Benz C-Class sedan.
Laser cut, shaped aluminum sheets for the production of the front fender on the all-new C-Class are being supplied from Sierre to DaimlerChrysler's Tier One supplier's stamping plant at East London in South Africa. Novelis also supplies sheet, in coil form, for the C-Class models produced at the automaker's Sindelfingen, Bremen, and Hamburg plants in Germany.
Novelis invested $4.3 million in the new line at Sierre, which features a fully automated, high-speed laser system for producing tailored shapes that its customers then stamp, or press, into finished automotive body panels. The shaped sheets approximate the outline of the finished panel, thereby reducing excess trim material.
Novelis operates a similar laser center at its Nachterstedt plant in Germany and also supplies aluminum blanks in North America.