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Windows ultrabooks may be hampered by aluminum shortages

updated 12:00 am EDT, Fri September 30, 2011

Ultrabooks may be limited by metal capacity

Any low ultrabook shipments may be a virtue of chronic aluminum shortages running through to 2012. An industry news tip stemming from Digitimes has some of the key companies making aluminum panels for ultraportable notebooks, including Foxconn and Catcher, fully occupied until at least the end of 2011. MacBook Air competitors that use aluminum, such as the Acer Aspire S3, Lenovo IdeaPad U300s, and Toshiba Portege Z830 might all be constrained as a result.

At least Acer is known to be affected. ASUS, which is showing the UX21 and UX31 in the US next month, is using BYD for its aluminum and might not be as limited as the others. With Dell and HP said to be getting into the category, however, the capacity heading into 2012 might be pushed to the breaking point.

The firms making the aluminum have improved their capacity in recent months, such as Catcher adding a third more of the milling machines in the past year to hit 12,000. Whether or not they can keep up is still a lingering concern.

Apple is suspected of being the only company relatively immune to the aluminum issues. Its longstanding use of aluminum, most of all for the current MacBook Air that serves as the blueprint for Intel's ultrabook concept, may have given it a steady supply where others just now getting into the category have to fight over the remaining production.

By Electronista Staff


  1. billearl

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Oct 2000


    Aluminum shortage?

    Are you serious?

  1. iphonerulez

    Dedicated MacNNer

    Joined: Nov 2008


    How sweet it is for Apple...

    Apple needs to continue to buy up materials and components for at least a year in advance from multiple vendors with payment in full. I'm certainly surprised there is an aluminum shortage. For some reason I always thought it was a material in plentiful supply. I know there are different types of aluminum since I did machine work, but never bothered to check into supply and demand. We just ordered it and got what we needed for defense purposes.

  1. SierraDragon

    Mac Elite

    Joined: Mar 2004



    Aluminum shortage for laptops? I know Macnn/Electronista is a duopoly press release site (that I read every day), but c'mon, you must have a tiny bit of journalism in you (maybe not).

    Worldwide aluminum usage for computers is insignificant and super high value, duh. No shortage for high value purposes. The article is absurd.

    There may well be supply chain component shortages - but not "aluminum shortages."

  1. Paul Huang

    Mac Enthusiast

    Joined: Sep 1999


    Likely excuse

    Many of them are already destined to fail, so they have to come up with excuses now just so they could say that 'we are not shipping that many because of raw material shortage'.


  1. Paul Huang

    Mac Enthusiast

    Joined: Sep 1999


    Brain cell shortage

    You know where the shortage is.

    Anyway, just look at the aluminum recycler's price per pound and you will know instantly whether there is a shortage. It's been around $1.59 a pound (dropped from the high of $1.85 last year), so you can forget about it.

  1. martinX

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Sep 2008


    Chassis, not metal

    According to TFA, there might be difficulty in getting a supply of aluminium alloy chassis for ultrabooks, not the aluminium itself. Kinda different...

  1. macnnoel

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Feb 2005


    Perhaps the misinformation

    Is to attract eyeballs and instigate posting.

  1. cmoney

    Mac Enthusiast

    Joined: Sep 2000


    Everyone knows

    there's absolutely NO OTHER WAY to build a laptop than to use the same exact aluminum alloy as Apple uses.

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