DURA Automotive Systems has recently had the official groundbreaking of a state-of-the-art manufacturing facility in Muscle Shoals, Alabama, USA. The latest addition to a family of 31 worldwide sites will be home to DURA’s first lightweight structures manufacturing facility in North America.
Construction of the new facility is planned for completion by April 2021. The state-of-the-art manufacturing site will house advanced robotics, along with proprietary forming and joining technologies to create lightweight structures including those used for electric vehicle (EV) battery systems. Investment in the new site is estimated to be $75 million. The 200,000 square foot facility is projected to employ 279 full time workers at peak production.
“This investment represents DURA’s commitment to support global customers in the transition to electrified, high performance vehicles.” said Kimberly Rodriguez, DURA Chief Executive Officer. “We are delighted to extend our well-established European expertise in design and manufacturing of lightweight structural architectures, to the North American market. On behalf of DURA, we are excited to join the Muscle Shoals community and bring advanced technology jobs to the region.”
The new Muscle Shoals facility is the latest investment by DURA in support of vehicle technology transformation toward electrification. In 2020 DURA launched its latest lightweight structural systems plant in the Czech Republic. In 2021 it will launch an additional site in the Republic of Macedonia to produce lightweight exterior systems. A third European site will be open in 2021.
Aluminium structures have been prominent in European premium vehicles to reduce mass, improving performance and fuel economy. As the mobility market shifts toward electrified vehicles, lightweight architectures play a significant role in dramatically extending vehicle range and recharge intervals. Batteries in Electric Vehicles are housed in a battery tray, often integral to the vehicle chassis system.
DURA produces lightweight aluminum battery trays, complete with integrated cooling systems. The modules are precision manufactured and sealed to safely encapsulate components of the battery, control systems, and monitoring electronics. Each battery tray design is custom engineered and manufactured specific to an automaker’s performance objectives. The company has produced lightweight aluminum architectures for vehicles since 1990.