Capral and Rio Tinto: Integrated Australian supply chain supporting Aussie transport

It’s no secret that the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic has been causing global shipping delays affecting Australian businesses in more ways than thought possible. At a time like this the importance of an Australian supply chain really comes to the surface. Australia’s leading manufacturer and distributor of aluminium products, Capral, understands what it means for local manufacturing and the businesses that depend on it.

For over two decades Capral has been partnering with Rio Tinto to deliver aluminium extrusion to the broader Australian market, including transport.

“Capral has a long-term relationship with Rio Tinto as its primary billet provider within Australia. We put great value in having an Australian supply chain to support our extrusion facility,” says Luke Hawkins, Capral Aluminium’s GM Industrial Solutions.

“The Australian supply chain has never been more important than in the last couple of years. By being a partner with an Australian extruder with a strong Australian supply chain, Capral and Rio Tinto have together been able to limit the impact of Covid disruptions on truck manufacturing. Most of our transport sections are produced in our Victorian industrial extrusion premise and Rio Tinto is the predominant supplier in that facility.

“Rio Tinto is a major partner for Capral and the Australian transport industry. The benefit of dealing with Rio Tinto is both the shorter supply chain lead time, and the fact that we have a mine-to-market encapsulated supply chain within the Australia market, something which is not that common these days.”

The mined bauxite is transported to local refineries and turned into alumina before being transferred to potlines and smelted into molten aluminium. The liquid metal is then cast into solid forms such as ingots and billets. These billets are supplied to Capral, which extrudes it to supply to many industries, including transport manufacturing.

“Rio Tinto is proud of our partnership with Capral Aluminium and the role we play in supporting a wholly-domestic supply chain from production to end-product,” Rio Tinto’s Aluminium Sales & Marketing Vice President, Tolga Egrilmezer, says.

“Though we operate a global aluminium portfolio, Australia is the only market internationally where the whole value chain from bauxite and alumina to aluminium billets and extrusions are truly made in Australia. At a time where supply chains internationally are impacted by ongoing Covid-related restrictions, the benefits of a secure, stable domestic supply chain cannot be over-stated.”

Robert Chatfield, Rio Tinto Australia & New Zealand aluminium sales manager, says through its long relationship with Capral, Rio Tinto’s raw material value-chain supports local businesses and jobs. “Rio Tinto’s aluminium operations in Australia extend beyond our bauxite mines, alumina refineries and smelters across Australia; and are supported by power stations, rail networks, ferry terminals and a R&D Centre. Our raw material value-chain supports local communities, jobs, and businesses, helping Australian businesses to prosper.”

Capral is the largest domestic extruder for aluminium in Australia. With the largest industrial press in Australia in its Melbourne facility, Capral Aluminium can extrude large profiles up to lengths of 17m. Backed by a highly experienced workforce, the large 44 MN extrusion press can manufacture both simple and complex shapes using in-house die cutting technology.

“We have manufacturing facilities in every state and we support the transport industry primarily through our Victorian extrusion press, with capabilities to do large profile sections and large-profile structural sections and shapes as required by the transport sector,” Luke adds.

“However, Capral’s capabilities are beyond just extrusion, with extensive fabrication and CNC machining capability available in this sector.” Capral understands customers are always on the lookout for more efficient ways to provide their clients with a finished product. To remove processing tasks from its customers’ to-do lists, Capral has built a business model where it aims to provide the aluminium in a fabricated condition ready for assembly. Working in partnership with Australian transport manufacturers, the Capral Aluminium team develop unique sections and solutions to support ongoing innovation within the transport sector.

Industry Video Insight
Follow the journey of Capral Aluminium from bauxite mined locally by Rio Tinto through to the world class trucks that keep Australia moving.