Alcan Engineered Products plans to make its aluminum and aluminum alloys Research & Development Centre in Voreppe, France, available to other companies. The business unit of Rio Tinto Plc said that Alcan CRV Services (as the state-of-the-art R&D operation is known) is capable of research and training on a range of subjects, including: material characterization and analysis; corrosion study and treatment; material design and modeling assistance; production of metallurgical prototypes; thermal treatment; mechanical testing; forming; joining; and surface treatment. "This broadening of our activities will encourage more holistic and more innovative solutions to the benefit of our existing and new clients," stated Alcan CRV Services sales development director Didier Albert. Rio Tinto Alcan is one of the world’s largest integrated aluminum groups, and North America’s largest supplier of primary aluminum alloys to foundries. The group recently announced a $7.6-million capital investment to update and expand its ingot casting operation at Beauharnois, Quebec. Promoting the availability of the R&D center, Alcan emphasizes that aluminum is becoming a material of choice for many industrial application because it is three times less dense than steel, recyclable without losing any of its properties, resistant to corrosion, and highly conductive of heat and electricity. Alcan CRV Services is capable of conducting research in nano- and microtechnologies. It was established in 1967 and has been responsible for several innovations in aluminum metallurgy, including alloy concepts, metallurgical processes, new functional applications, and transformation and deployment processes. "Developing new aluminum solutions and products requires strong expertise across a variety of areas such as product and process metallurgy, material characterization, forming, joining and surface treatment," according to Albert.