WARREN, Ohio (WKBN) – If you’ve drank a beverage recently out of a can, chances are the aluminum used to make the end of the can, the one with the pop top, was treated in Warren.
The ribbon was cut Monday afternoon for the newest addition to the Novelis Warren plant, a $4.5 million pretreatment process. The technology will hopefully keep the aluminum supplier viable for years to come.
“I firmly believe this investment and the employees who led it to the finish line will further define our leadership role in the beverage can industry,” said Tom Boney, vice president of Novelis.
Novelis is located on Griswold Street, near the old Delphi plants.
The large rolls of aluminum in the plant were shipped here to be treated, after which, the treated aluminum is shipped back out to can makers where it’s used to make the ends of cans — the part with the pop tabs.
“And those are folks like Pepsi, Coke, Anheuser-Bush, Coors,” said Mark Nichols, who works at the plant.
Nichols was a leader in getting the new pretreatment process built. He says the new equipment was constructed alongside the current process, which meant no downtime for the plant.
Andrea Arnio was the project manager. She says the new pretreatment process will allow Novelis to be more versatile.
“And it will also allow us, hopefully in the future, to add different product lines to our portfolio,” she said.
So should there be a downtown in the beverage can industry, Novelis could make products for food containers or even truck trailers.
The new treatment process allows Novelis to expand beyond just the ends of beverage cans.
In the foreseeable future, though, the company is committed to the ends of cans.
“Warren alone probably takes care of, I would think, 40% to 45% of the market,” Nichols said.
Seventy-nine people work at Novelis, which generates $7.3 million a year in wages and benefits.
“A $4.5 million investment and upgrades says a lot about what you feel about our city, and we feel the same about you,” said Warren Mayor Doug Franklin.
The plant occupied by Novelis has some history behind it. Some parts of it date to around 1900 and it was originally involved with making steel and brass. In World War II, the plant made the landing craft for the Navy used to get U.S. troops to the beaches on D-Day.