Aluminum Product Developer Sapa Opens R&D Lab in Troy


Sapa Extrusion North America, a developer of aluminum products, will open an R&D lab in Troy Tuesday focused on developing aluminum solutions for the automotive industry.

The lab will focus on thermal analysis, corrosion and surface treatment technologies, and casting technology, among other disciplines.

“The Troy facility brings us even closer to the automotive industry, which is focused on building lighter and safer cars,” says Tolga Egrilmezer, executive vice president at Norway-based Sapa Group. “We want to stimulate the use of aluminum in automotive applications and build on our role as the preferred development partner in automotive extrusion-based solutions.”

Egrilmezer says Sapa has invested more than $3 million in new equipment at the R&D lab, located at 1200 Kirts Blvd., just south of Big Beaver Road. He says the lab, called Sapa Technology Americas, offers friction stir welding, a solid state joining method where a rotating tool is plunged into the material, and a scanning electron microscope is used to examine an alloy’s microstructure.

In addition, Sapa plans to add new equipment at the Troy location over the next two years including a CNC machine for friction stir welding demonstrators and a hydraulic press for advanced component testing.

“In total, we have around 1,000 engineers working in research and with application development throughout the world,” says Egil Hogna, president and CEO of Sapa. “This is a new step forward in our work to provide customers with the solutions that improve their products.”

Sapa’s automotive customers include Ford Motor Co., General Motors Co., BMW, Jaguar, Land Rover, and Tesla. The company has 23,500 employees working in 40 countries. Its North American headquarters are in Chicago.

In August, Sapa Extrusions opened a technology center in Birmingham. The company also has a plant in Kalamazoo that offers ready-to-assemble finished components.