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Alcoa Technology Puts Aerospace-Grade Aluminum On Mobile Devices

Alcoa (NYSE: AA) has developed a proprietary surface finishing technology that enables consumer electronics companies to use aerospace-grade aluminum to make thinner, lighter and stronger mobile devices.

Alcoa’s new ProStrength™ Finishing Technology is a process that allows mobile device manufacturers to design clear or color-anodized durable surfaces utilizing high-strength, heat treatable aluminum alloys used in the aerospace and defense industries. Using high strength alloys could reduce the thickness and weight of a device by more than 50 percent.

Device size as well as design look and feel are significant factors for consumers in making purchasing decisions on consumer electronics. Both features were identified as important by more than 50 percent of consumers surveyed by Accenture on the importance of features to purchase decisions. (Source: The 2013 Accenture Consumer Electronics Products and Services Usage Report)

“Consumer electronics makers had been exploring ways to create beautiful anodized finishes on aerospace-grade aluminum alloys because they are among the strongest, yet lightest metals available,” said Ray Kilmer, Executive Vice President and Alcoa Chief Technology Officer. “ProStrength’s anodized finish creates the metallic look and feel that consumers prefer, and the high-strength aluminum allows manufacturers to produce thinner, lighter, and more durable enclosures.”

According to Leighton Cooper, Director of Technology at the Alcoa Technical Center, the Company’s expertise in aluminum finishing and close ties to the consumer electronics industry was critical in reaching this development milestone. “ProStrength™ Finishing Technology brings together the perfect combination of aesthetics and function,” he said. “Being able to use aerospace-grade alloys promotes the growing trend for ever thinner and lighter mobile devices.”

Alcoa developed its ProStrength™ Finishing Technology at the Alcoa Technical Center, the world’s largest light metals R&D facility located outside Pittsburgh. The company has worked with the world's leading consumer electronic (CE) companies and designers to enable the use of aluminum in mobile devices. Aluminum’s penetration in the CE market has grown as OEMs look to its aesthetic qualities, light weight and ability to dissipate heat, all of which enhance the durability, performance and attractiveness of devices for consumers.

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