Unalloyed aluminium is used to manufacture electrotechnical wires and foil. However, the main part of the cast aluminium is used to produce alloys. In metallurgy, aluminium is used not only as a basis for alloys, but also as an alloying element in alloys made from copper, magnesium, iron, nickel and other metals.
Aluminium alloys are widely used in everyday life, as well as the construction, architecture, automotive, ship building, aeronautical and space industries.
Nowadays, the largest consumer of aluminium in the world is the transport industry, especially the automotive industry. Around 27% of global aluminium consumption comes from this sector. It is therefore estimated that in the next 5-7 years, the transport sector will be the main engine for growth in terms of demand for aluminium. No less than half of the additional surplus in aluminium consumption will be a result of demand from the transport sector (6-7% per year), primarily through expansion of automobiles with an increasing amount of aluminium components.
The second largest sector in terms of aluminium consumption is construction, where there is a wide range of opportunities for architects and designers to employ aluminium in their work. Along with its durability and resistance to corrosion makes it the most desirable material in this sector. Aluminium windows, pedestrian crossings and bridges, elements of expensive infrastructure, are just some of the many opportunities to use aluminium alloys in the construction industry. It is expected that building projects will contribute to a rise in aluminium consumption by 3-4% each year.
More than 14% of global use of aluminium goes to manufacturing electrical equipment, a large portion of consists of cable products. In developing countries, aluminium consumption in the electrical equipment industry is increasing due to development of power grids. In developed countries, this is due to growth in energy consumption, which requires replacing old cables, and also increased demand for insulated wires, and consequently, the development of underground wire installation programmes.
A substantial contribution in the development of the electrical industry is due to alternative energy projects, expanding the use of renewable energy sources, as well as developing wind and tidal power plants on the coast that create a demand for underwater cables. By 2020, the main growth factor in the electrotechnical sector will be the development of electric transport, which will increase the need for electricity and require developing a network of charging stations.
The consumer goods sector (packaging, foil, household products) comprises 20% of all worldwide consumption of aluminium. In 2015, aluminium consumption in this sector constituted around 16 mln tonnes worldwide. It is predicted that by 2020, the amount of aluminium consumed in this sector will continue, quantitatively this figure will exceed 19 mln tonnes. The highest portion of aluminium consumption in the consumer sector is designated to the Americas; in the US, this amount reaches 30%, and in countries of Central and South America, it exceeds 40%, most of all due to widespread usage of aluminium packaging.