By Nick Carey
CHICAGO (Reuters) - Metals company Alcoa Inc said on Thursday it is supplying aerospace-grade aluminum to Samsung Electronics Co Ltd for its Galaxy S6 and S6 edge models, enabling the smartphone maker to produce more durable and sleeker phones.
Phones made with 6013 Alcoa Power Plate, which is 70 percent stronger than standard aluminum are available now globally, Alcoa said.
This latest announcement fits New York-based Alcoa's strategy of moving away from costly traditional smelting and refining toward more value-added businesses such as automotive and aerospace.
”Alcoa’s Power Plate is the perfect fit to create the phones that our customers want: thinner, lighter, and stronger,” DJ Koh, executive vice president of Samsung's mobile communication business said in a statement put out by Alcoa.
Part of aluminum's strength comes from heat treatment. The plates are a few millimeters thick and are produced in South Korea.
Sales of Samsung's flagship Galaxy S6 smartphones reached 6 million units at the end of April, less than a month after their launch, researcher Counterpoint said on Tuesday.
Counterpoint said it expected sales for the new Samsung flagship phones to reach 50 million by the end of the year, which could make it the world's top-selling smartphone ahead of the iPhone 6 series from rival Apple IncO>.
While the flat-screen S6 sold more in April, the researcher said sales of the curved-screen S6 edge would have been higher had it not been for supply constraints.
Samsung has said supply problems for the edge model will be resolved within the current quarter.
(Reporting by Nick Carey; Editing by Bernard Orr)