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FUTURE ALUMINIUM FORUM 2019 January/February 2019—Vol.32 No.1


A LU M I N I U M I N T E R N AT I O N A L TO DAY J A N U A RY/ F E B R U A RY 2 0 1 9 V O L . 3 2 N O 1

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Volume 32 No. 1 – January/February 2019


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ROLLING 19 On a roll 21 OEMs opt to eliminate in-house lamination


ALUMINIUM INTERNATIONAL TODAY is published six times a year by Quartz Business Media Ltd, Quartz House, 20 Clarendon Road, Redhill, Surrey, RH1 1QX, UK. Tel: +44 (0) 1737 855000 Fax: +44 (0) 1737 855034 Email:


INDUSTRY 4.0 24 Towards a digital and real-time supply chain

in the aluminium industry


Industry 4.0: Little curse, much blessing

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What digital transformation looks like

RUSSIA UPDATE 16 Russia to stimulate domestic aluminium

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FOCUS ON: CLARIANT January/February 2019

14/01/2019 08:31:59


Alba starts Casthouse 4

A Chinese New Year? The first day back in January usually sees me staring at a blank column on my computer screen for a good few minutes, before trying to contemplate what the next year could possibly have in store for the global aluminium industry. Without a crystal ball to hand, I’ve turned to market outlooks as a more reliable source. The general predictions are vague, as the word ‘prediction’ suggests, but the consensus is that the industry should brace for multiple headwinds and potential deficit in 2019. In terms of supply, after years of double-digit output growth, China’s production rate is losing steam, according to industry analysts Wood Mackenzie. With a tough stance on new, unauthorised capacity coming into effect, smelter expansions and the pace of growth has slowed somewhat across the region, but global aluminium production will remain at a healthy level. Alf Barrios, CEO of Rio Tinto summed up in an interview at the end of 2018: “People believed China was going to be a significant net exporter to the rest of the world in the future, I think people now see China being more balanced.” As always, the level of supply, along with developments between the US and China will continue to play a part in determining the price per tonne. This is certainly an area where that crystal ball might be worth its aluminium. January/February 2019

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Aluminium Bahrain B.S.C. (Alba) started the biggest furnace in its history with the First Cold Charge of Furnace 3 in its new Casthouse 4 on 26 December 2018. Alba’s Chairman of the Board of Directors Shaikh Daij bin Salman bin Daij Al Khalifa witnessed the First Cold Charge at Casthouse 4, which was also attended by Alba Deputy CEO Ali Al Baqali, Alba Executive Management Team, Cast-

house 4 Start-Up team, Bechtel and other major contractors. On this occasion, Alba’s Chairman Shaikh Daij said: “We are pleased with this milestone, which is another turning point in Alba’s journey towards becoming the largest smelter in the world. With this landmark, we are on track to cast final products from CH 4 - another success in the Safe Start-Up of Line 6. I thank

all teams for their commitment to achieve this milestone safely and on time.” Part of Alba’s ambitious Line 6 Expansion Project, Casthouse 4 has a total design Value-Added Capacity of 530,000 tonne per annum. The First Cold Charge of Furnace 3 is a significant part of the process of commissioning Casthouse 4, which is set to produce soon.

Aluminium Dunkerque sale finalised Sanjeev Gupta’s global GFG Alliance has completed its purchase of Aluminium Dunkerque, Europe’s largest aluminium smelter. The London-headquartered Alliance said the acquisition of the plant – to be renamed Liberty Aluminium Dunkerque – now paves the way for a downstream investment programme at the plant in order to maximise the value of the aluminium currently made there. GFG aims to make the Liberty Aluminium Dunkerque 570-worker smelter, bought from Rio Tinto for around US$500m, a foundation for a wider integrated manufacturing business serving the French and European markets. To this end, GFG is carrying out feasibility studies on developing from Liberty Aluminium Dunkerque a wider integrated manufacturing business, producing components for the automotive and other growing industries in

France centred around the existing 285,000-tonne-a-year smelting operations at Dunkerque. Today’s completion follows GFG’s acquisition earlier this year of France’s only remaining producer of aluminium vehicle wheels, AR Industries - now called Liberty Wheels France – which was already a key customer of the Dunkerque smelter. The deal marked a significant move into the French downstream manufacturing sector and saved over 90 percent of the jobs at the Chateauroux plant. The acquisition of Aluminium Dunkerque adds to GFG’s credentials as a significant foreign direct investor in France. The company has moved into new offices on Avenue Kleber in central Paris and the business development team is targeting several other development opportunities in the French industrial, energy and financial sectors.

Liberty has been supported by a syndicate of international banks with a US$350m term loan facility. The banking syndicate was led by Bank of America Merril Lynch with participation from BNP Paribas, ICBC, ICBC Standard Bank, Morgan Stanley, Natixis, Barclays Bank PLC, Bank of Montreal and Royal Bank of Canada. Liberty was advised on the transaction by Clyde & Co and Norton Rose with regards to legal matters and Grant Thornton UK LLP in regards to accounting matters. GFG Executive chairman Sanjeev Gupta said: “This is a real milestone in our European investment journey and the fulfilment of our promise to establish a firm foundation for a new vibrant and integrated industrial business in France that will create high-value products that sustain high-value jobs.”

US lifts sanctions According to reports, the U.S. Treasury will lift sanctions on the core empire of Russian businessman Oleg Deripaska, including aluminium giant Rusal and its parent En+. In April, the U.S. Treasury imposed sanctions on Deripaska, Rusal, En+ and other companies

in which he owns stakes, citing “malign activities” by Russia, prompting turmoil in global aluminium markets. After lobbying by European governments, Washington postponed enforcement of the sanctions and started talks with Deripaska’s team on removing Rusal and En+ from

the blacklist if he ceded control of Rusal. Deripaska will remain under sanctions, the Treasury said. However, the three Deripaska companies - Rusal, En+ and power firm EuroSibEnergo - have agreed to restructure to reduce Deripaska’s stakes. Aluminium International Today

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Braidy Industries mill progress Braidy Industries reported at the end of 2018 that the company has spent US$15.7 million on the construction of its Braidy Atlas aluminium rolling mill in Greenup, Kentucky, USA. The company is working towards meeting its anticipated target of bringing the mill to full commercial operation in 2021. According to sources, Braidy is banking on its proprietary Veloxint alloy, designed by Massachusetts Institute of Technology scientists

for this project. These ultra-high strength metals alloys are suitable for extreme temperature uses in the automotive and aerospace industries and help in weight and cost savings. Braidy acquired Veloxint in the first quarter of 2018 and NanoAl, another leader in high strength aluminum alloys, in mid-2018. The company is in the process of raising US$500 million in equity capital and approximately $1.2 billion in debt capital for construction

of the plant. The Commonwealth of Kentucky is putting US$15 million into the deal and provided significant economic incentives. The company also received a discounted fixed power rate from Kentucky Power, which is 50% lower. The Braidy Atlas facility is expected to produce aluminium sheet at roughly half the cost of most competitors in the U.S., Europe and Asia, enabling it to enter the aluminium sheet market in 2021 as a low-cost producer.

NEWS IN BRIEF NK5 sells Baux NK5, a leading player specialised in turning around and investing in enterprises facing financial and/or operating difficulties, has announced the sale of Baux, the Spanish industrial group devoted to the production of hot- and cold-rolled and lacquered aluminium products from 100%-recycled materials, to Jupiter Aluminum Corporation.

Opening of Bel Air mine Alufer Mining Limited has announced that the Bel Air mine in Guinea has been officially opened by His Excellency, President Alpha Conde.

Responsible, what else?

EGA power block agreement Emirates Global Aluminium (EGA), Mubadala and Dubal Holding have signed an agreement to develop a state-of-the-art power block and a water desalination plant at EGA’s smelter at Jebel Ali in Dubai. The new facilities will improve the efficiency of power for EGA’s aluminium smelting, reducing environmental emissions and natural gas consumption. Mubadala and Dubal Holding are to establish a joint venture to develop the new facilities. EGA intends to buy the facility’s output for 25

years following commissioning. EGA is the largest industrial company in the UAE outside oil and gas, and is jointly owned by Mubadala and Dubal Holding. The joint venture will install a combined cycle power facility at EGA’s Jebel Ali site capable of generating over 600 megawatts of electricity. The shareholders of the joint venture have signed an agreement with Siemens to install the UAE’s first combined cycle H-class gas turbine, a leading technology in

efficient power generation. A signing ceremony for the project was witnessed by His Excellency Eng. Suhail Mohamed Faraj Al Mazrouei, UAE Minister of Energy and Industry, Khaldoon Khalifa Al Mubarak, Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director of Mubadala Investment Company and Chairman of EGA, His Excellency Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer, Vice Chairman, Dubal Holding and Vice Chairman of EGA, and Joe Kaeser, President and Chief Executive Officer of Siemens AG.

Hydro: ASI certification step With the ambition to offer fully certified Hydro aluminium to the market in 2019, Hydro Hoogezand is now the world’s first extrusion plant to obtain the Performance Standard certification by the Aluminium Stewardship Initiative (ASI). ASI is the highest internationally recognised standard for robust environmental, social and governance practices across the alumin-

ium lifecycle of production, use and recycling. Hydro is currently in the process of certifying a total of 15 plants. As Hydro Hoogezand, the Netherlands, is the world’s first extrusion plant to obtain the certification, Hydro takes an important step towards becoming the first fully integrated aluminium company to offer aluminium certified in all parts of the value chain.

“We always strive to be frontrunners in our industry. As our customers need to reach their own sustainability targets and meet the demand from more climate-conscious end-consumers, we believe the market will increasingly demand the most responsible aluminium,” says Hydro’s President and CEO, Svein Richard Brandtzæg.

Nespresso will become the first company to use responsiblysourced aluminium, supplied by Rio Tinto, to produce its coffee capsules. The two companies have signed an MOU to work together with Nespresso’s capsule manufacturers to fulfil a commitment of sourcing 100% sustainable aluminium by 2020.

Reclosable can Texas-based SNSTech has developed a 100% aluminium reclosable beverage can as it aims to offer a more sustainable packaging alternative to plastic bottles. Called SipNShut, the packaging is designed to run on existing canning lines at high speed and is said to pour as smoothly as a standard beverage can.

Aluminium International Today

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4 INDUSTRY NEWS European Aluminium has appointed Emilio Braghi, Senior Vice President and President at Novelis Europe, as the association’s new chairman. Braghi replaces Kjetil Ebbesberg (Hydro) and has been appointed for a two-year term, which began on 1st January 2019. Furthermore, at the 2018 General Assembly of the association, members elected Roberta Niboli (Raffmetal) as Vice Chair and Peter Basten (Constellium) as Treasurer. Emilio Braghi is Senior Vice President and President at Novelis Europe, overseeing 10 European facilities for recycling aluminium and manufacturing aluminium rolled products for a number of sectors, including automotive, building, packaging and transportation. Previously, Braghi was Vice President Operations at Novelis North America and served as Vice

2019 DIARY

European Aluminium new Chair Picture (L-R): Kjetil Ebbesberg, Emilio Braghi Gerd Gotz

President, Sales and Operations for Novelis Asia, with responsibility for all commercial and manufacturing activities in the region. An Italian national, he holds a degree in engineering and industrial production technologies from the Politecnico di Milano. “I am delighted to be appointed the new Chairman of European Aluminium at a crucial time for our industry. During my chairmanship, ensuring a long-term vision of industrial competitiveness, sus-

tainability and innovation while addressing global trade challenges will remain key priorities. To realise this vision, we will continue to work with policymakers and other stakeholders to deliver on circular economy, recycling, energy, and climate. Looking ahead, I am confident the future for our industry is bright. Our permanent material is not only experiencing a growing global demand, but it is also essential to Europe’s strategic value chainss,” says Braghi.

New Constellium facility Constellium N.V. opened a new Automotive Structures facility in Zilina, Slovakia at the end of 2018, dedicated to the production of aluminium Crash Management Systems and Body Structure components as it continues to expand its automotive footprint in the Eastern European market. The 5,200 square metre facility in Zilina features advanced technologies for forming, machining, welding and heat-treating aluminium automotive components, along with a state-of-the-art quality lab to ensure products meet customer specifications. By early 2019, the Zilina plant is expected to have 90 employees and plans to expand its facility

to 15,000 square metres by mid2019. “On behalf of Constellium, I would like to thank the local Zilina authorities and our partners for welcoming us to the city as we expand our automotive structures to service the needs of our customers in Eastern Europe,” said Lionel Chapis, Managing Director of Constellium’s Automotive Structures. “We are grateful to our key customers to trust us to accompany them in their footprint expansions and look forward to continuing to grow with them.” Aluminium continues to be a material of choice in the automotive industry to reduce vehicle weight, improve fuel economy

and lower emissions, and increase safety. Constellium is dedicated to developing and testing advanced aluminium automotive components to help automakers achieve their goals across the globe. Constellium has been strategically expanding its automotive structures footprint to respond to its customers’ needs globally. The company recently announced that it expanded its operations in Dahenfeld, Germany to increase the supply of aluminium structural components for automakers in Europe. In North America, Constellium recently expanded its footprint with two new plants in San Luis Potosí, Mexico, and in White, Georgia, U.S.

Nampak ramps up Nampak is ramping up production of aluminium cans as Africa’s biggest producer of beverage packaging responds to consumers’ global retreat from plastic. The Johannesburg-based company is also putting greater emphasis on cardboard cartons and developing a type of renewable plastic lid made from sugarcane, chief executive officer Andre de Ruyter said in a phone interview. That’s due to a growing concern about the impact of plastic on the environment, particularly January/February 2019

Nadine jan feb.indd 3

on items such as single-use straws. “Consumer sentiment against plastic packaging that cannot be recycled is very clear,” de Ruyter said. “Aluminium is a valuable metal and so people have incentive to recycle it.” Nampak and other container makers are able to boost aluminium-can production alongside expansion into fast-growing regions such as Africa, where demand for canned and bottled drinks is rising as people start to buy packaged goods for the first time.

Nampak is spending R100m on a new food-can line in Nigeria, while that country’s GZ Industries is opening a factory in South Africa. Nampak shares declined 5.1% to R14.75 as of 15:40 in Johannesburg, after the company announced a 7% rise in full-year operating profit. The firm resisted a resumption of dividends due to a long-standing issue transferring cash from Angola and Zimbabwe and an ongoing effort to sell its glass business.

February 26 - 27 15th International Aluminium Recycling Congress* The International Aluminium Recycling Congress is one of the leading aluminium recycling events today. Held in Colmar, France

March 10 - 14 TMS 2019* Join your colleagues from more than 70 nations at the meeting that the global minerals, metals, and materials community calls home. Held in San Antonio, Texas

25 - 27 25th Bauxite & Alumina Conference* This is your chance to take part in vital discussions around global production and consumption trends. Held in Miami, Florida

April 24 - 26 24th World Aluminium Conference* The event provides concise insight on supply, demand, price, premiums, sustainability and costs for the benefit of a highlyinfluential audience from the global aluminium industry. Held in London, UK aluminium/home

May 22 - 23 Future Aluminium Forum* This international technology conference will draw upon the unrivalled expertise of aluminium industry professionals, production technologists and academics, to create an event designed specifically for those seeking a greater understanding of ‘smart manufacturing’. Held in Warsaw, Poland *Pick up a free copy of Aluminium International Today at this event

For a full listing visit www. and click on Events Diary Aluminium International Today

08/01/2019 15:44:33


ALUMINIUM Materials handling and lifting systems from rodding to the pots

Storage systems

Centrifugal blowers

Ship loaders/unloaders

Bath and carbon recycling plant systems

Dense/solid phase and other conveying systems Potfeed e.g. HyperDense Phase Systems (HDPSTM) Dosing devices

Pot process control systems Electrolysis handling equipment Carbon: rodding and anode handling systems; baking furnace lifting solutions


Future Aluminium Forum 2019 22-23 MAY • MARRIOTT HOTEL WARSAW • POLAND Following on from the success of the inaugural Future Aluminium Forum in May 2018, the Organiser’s, Quartz Business Media are pleased to announce that the event will be moving to Warsaw, Poland on 22nd – 23rd May 2019. This international technology conference will draw upon the unrivalled expertise of aluminium industry professionals, production technologists and academics, to create an event designed specifically for those seeking a greater understanding of ‘digital manufacturing’. The Future Aluminium Forum is a live discussion of the issues surrounding Industry 4.0 and will endeavour to cover all bases, including the all-important subjects of machine learning, digitalisation,

disruptive technologies, information sharing, process safety and control. Speakers from academia, across the aluminium industry and the world of aluminium production technology will explain the key concepts behind the digitalisation of aluminium manufacturing. Delegates can expect ground breaking papers on Industry 4.0 and associated technologies that are affecting industry generally and aluminium production in particular.

It is the ideal event for senior level aluminium executives, chief technology officers and specialists with an interest in the application of new technologies to the aluminium manufacturing process. The Forum’s key audience consists of those with a leading role in process technology excellence, industrial innovation, research and development, digital transformation and value acceleration, process simulation and engineering education and development.

The Forum will endeavour to answer questions such as:


� � � �

How can we apply Industry 4.0 across the aluminium value chain? How will digitalisation revolutionise aluminium manufacturing? What will the smelter of the future look like? What are the challenges and benefits of robotics and advanced automation in manufacturing? � What technologies are proving the most disruptive? � How can digital technologies streamline operations? � The power of Industry 4.0 is becoming real.

Join us at the Future Aluminium Forum to look at how this technology will revolutionise the way aluminium is manufactured and processed.

GET INVOLVED: If you are interested in finding out more, please contact us or enter your details on our website

TO SPEAK: Nadine Bloxsome Programme Director +44 (0) 1737 855 115

January/February 2019

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TO SPONSOR/EXHIBIT: Ken Clark Sales Director +44 (0) 1737 855 117

TO SPONSOR/EXHIBIT: Nathan Jupp Sales Manager +44 (0) 1737 855 117

Aluminium International Today

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Alumina refining 4.0: What digital transformation looks like By Jonas Berge* To improve reliability, safety, productivity and throughput, many alumina refineries have begun digital transformation of how the plant is run and maintained, changing from manual and paper-based tasks to new ways of working based more on digital automation and software. To enable these new ways of working, successful alumina refineries are deploying digital operational infrastructure, with wireless sensors, purpose-built data analytics, industrially hardened tablet computers for digital document and software forms, location awareness for personnel and assets, and connected services using cloud computing technology and the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT).

by increasing or unstable energy price. Again, plants can’t hire more people to help energy conservation. Safety and compliance challenges Plant safety record has improved but incidents still occur, there are near misses, and the response time is sometimes too long. It is hard to keep up with inspection and verification requirements in new HS&E directives. There are fines for noncompliance. Again, manpower cannot be added to perform these tasks.

efficient turnarounds thanks to advances in areas like predictive analytics. Maintenance and reliability tasks A digitally transformed plant is able to minimise routine manual collection of maintenance, reliability, and integrity data from equipment like pumps that require portable testers or time-consuming interpretation. Instead vibration, acoustic, corrosion, erosion, and other data is collected automatically by sensors to detect early signs of problems ahead, Fig 1. Digital transformation of work processes

Industry challenges Alumina refineries face challenges with reliability, maintenance and energy cost, safety and compliance, and production. The workforce may already be stretched. Many of these challenges stem from manual and paper-based work practices. Reliability and maintenance challenges A plant may struggle with unscheduled downtime due to unexpected equipment failures or too long scheduled downtime for turnarounds losing several days of production every year. Personnel struggle to keep up with the preventive maintenance schedule and may not be able to complete required tasks within turnaround window. The plant may have escalating maintenance costs due to repair, and opportunity cost for lost production. Some process equipment may see premature end of life. This may be due to a reactive maintenance culture. Loss of containment due to eroding and corroding piping and vessels is another challenge. Moreover, plants are expected to improve without increasing headcount. Energy and emissions challenges: Plants see energy consumption going up, but not knowing why, compounded

Production challenges Manual operation causes production bottlenecks. Operating cost may be escalating. As staff retire, the remaining personnel are left with more to do. Digital transformation Even some of the most technologysavvy plants still have many manual and paper-based tasks. To achieve operational excellence, top-performing alumina refineries are transforming everything about how their plants are run and maintained. Plants are now switching to new automatic, digital, software-based and data driven ways of working. In a more digital, paperless plant, personnel can carry out their daily duties more effectively. A digital plant also enables faster, more

transmitted digitally, and analysed by software to predict and distinguish between various equipment failure modes. This prediction capability enables maintenance and asset management along the International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO) 55000 guidelines. Notifications of developing issues can be sent to smartphones or tablets anywhere. Any remaining manual inspection rounds are not by clipboard, paper forms, and pencil, but instead a tablet computer and software. A central pool of domain experts, in-house or external, can use the information to support plant personnel. Delays waiting for an expert to mobilise to site or trying to explain a problem in the field from the phone in the office or via email are now avoided. Instead two-

*Senior Director Applied Technology, Emerson Automation Solutions Aluminium International Today

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Fig 2. Digital Operational Infrastructure (DOI) is a second layer of automation on the side of the existing automation pyramid

way digital video and audio between field technician with wearable camera at site, and subject matter expert seeing the problem up close and live in software from another location. Carrying of papers or returning to the office to pick up additional documents is a thing of the past. Instead open up any procedures, drawings, and manuals etc. in software on a tablet or browse information from the company Intranet or the Internet on-the-go in the plant. Energy management and loss control tasks Manual collection of energy meter readings or tallying of consumption report is no more. Instead consumption data is collected automatically, with finer granularity for areas and units, transmitted digitally, and overconsumption alarmed by software also generating the ISO 50001 reports. Finding causes of energy loss no longer relies on manual inspection of steam traps and relief valves. Instead, these issues are detected automatically using steam trap health monitoring and relief valve monitoring. Similarly, the root cause troubleshooting of energy overconsumption in equipment and machines does not rely on labourintensive data collection or manual number crunching. Instead the efficiency is monitored by equipment performance analytics software. Health, safety, and environment management tasks Getting on the walkie-talkie to make a distress call is not always possible. Instead automatic detection, digital transmission, and alarm on safety shower activation, in operator software and location awareness software. No ad-hoc visits to the plant to check if a manual valve was closed, dipping to see if a tank is nearly full, or inspect for leaks and spills, etc. Instead automatic detection, digital transmission, and indication in January/February 2019

alumina 4.0 Primary production alumina.indd 2

control room software of issues such as these. There are also interlocks using these signals to prevent many issues. For instance, to detect leaks of caustic sodium hydroxide used in the extraction process, and time stamping on manual sampling valves. No mustering cards, visitor log sheets, and walkie-talkie for headcount during emergency evacuation mustering and no search parties required to find missing personnel. Instead the location of every person is sensed digitally in real-time and automatically tallied in software. Contractors are managed and with geofencing alarm issued if personnel stray beyond permitted work areas or into a high-risk area. Man-down is also detected and alarmed enabling faster response. Production process tasks Routine manual collection of operations data on clipboard and paper forms is going away in many plants. Instead data is collected automatically and transmitted digitally to historian and operator software etc. Any remaining manual rounds are instead by tablet with software. Paper notebooks for jotting down near misses, incidents, hazards, and maintenance needs etc. is no more. Instead notes and digital photos of incidents, hazards, leaks, and damaged equipment is captured digitally on tablets with software and shared with relevant parties. Tagging along with experienced staff is not the only way for newcomers to learn how to perform manual tasks. Field operators can now also learn new tasks in a very immersive 3D virtual plant environment with virtual reality (VR) technology. Digital operational infrastructure Alumina refineries are deploying additional digital operational infrastructure as the enabler for digital transformation of work practices for many tasks around the plant to achieve operational excellence. Existing operational infrastructure in

plants typically includes a plant historian, the control system, underlying field instruments like temperature transmitters and flow meters, and final control valves. In digital transformation, the digital operational infrastructure is expanded upon and enhanced to streamline how work is carried out in the plant. There is no need to replace the existing control system since the operational infrastructure is compatible with existing automation (Fig 2). There is no need to add another analytics platform layer; the existing historian can be used as a platform. The principal building blocks for expanding the digital operational infrastructure are: � Mobility � Predictive analytics � Pervasive networking � Pervasive sensing � Connected services Mobility In a digitally transformed plant, work by everyone from the plant manager down is data-driven. Each person gets data relevant to their responsibility to do their job better. For instance, the reliability manager has a dashboard very different from the safety manager and they don’t receive the same notifications. A key success factor for digital transformation is that the information must be easily accessible in a timely manner. In the infancy of digital transformation of instrument and valve maintenance practices more than 20 years ago, the software was usually installed on a computer located in the control room or an equipment room where instrument technicians could not easily access it. It often quickly fell into disuse. Instead the data should always get to the desk and pocket of the person responsible. For instance, predictive instrument alarms and information goes to the laptop and smartphone of the instrument technician. Dashboards and alarms are generated by mobility software using information from underlying analytics apps like equipment condition monitoring. Dashboards contain KPIs specific to the person's responsibilities displayed on tablet computers or smartphones, making information immediately available wherever you are, be it in a meeting in the admin building, in the canteen, or on your way to or from work. Tablets and smartphones are available in industrially hardened models for use in the plant. Predictive analytics Many digital transformation solutions monitor simple process variables, such as corrosion and erosion (metal loss), temperatures and pressures, etc., that Aluminium International Today

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scientist to use purpose-built analytics (Fig 3). Apps for steam trap, pump and heat exchanger analytics help drive better maintenance management. The analytics uses verifiable first principle models, failure mode effect analysis (FMEA), and statistical algorithms to detect signs of developing equipment issues, predicting failure and providing early warnings based on these leading indicators so breakdown can be prevented. These apps are preengineered so no long algorithm learning periods are required; it’s only necessary to capture the baseline.

Fig 3. Intuitive equipment analytics apps for use by maintenance and reliability engineers

need no additional analytics. Predictive equipment analytics apps which encode subject matter expertise are used for performance and condition monitoring of complex process equipment with multiple measurements such as for compressors, blowers, fans, pumps, heat exchangers, cooling towers and air-cooled heat exchangers to anticipate problems, allowing failures to be predicted and averted. Raw data from sensors is distilled into actionable information. When a problem arises the technician already knows what to do and what to bring before going to the field. And it is not just vibration, the fault models also uncover early signs of trouble and distinguishes between many types of equipmentspecific failures. The disruptive learning periods associated with machine learning are not required. Equipment analytics can feed into plant-wide dashboards, business intelligence software, and ERP workorder management systems. Software provides predictive analytics to predict failure in advance, as well as prescriptive analytics recommended action. The analytics software can be installed on servers onpremises or on virtual machines in the cloud. A layered open architecture has real-time analytics at the sensor level, edge analytics done in higher level devices and servers, feeding up to business intelligence at the enterprise level 4. Web-based analytics apps are “platform agnostic” since they do not depend on January/February 2019

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any particular brand of control system or historian. The plant’s existing historian remains in place for big data storage, it need not be replaced by another middleware platform, and there is no need to add another middleware platform thus protecting the plant’s investment and keeping the administration cost low. The analytics uses data aggregated from multiple sources, including new and existing sensors, wired and wireless, package unit PLCs, control systems, safety systems, machinery protection systems, intelligent device management (IDM) software, and any historian or future platform through the OPC Foundation’s Unified Architecture (OPC-UA) application programming interface (API) technology, which works regardless of vendor. Conversely, analytics from equipment apps can feed into analytics and dashboards for the whole unit or plant. Similarly, information can be integrated in augmented reality (AR) visualisation solutions. Use apps purpose-built for real-time equipment monitoring and that are designed to be easy for maintenance and reliability professionals (including managers, engineers, and technicians) to use. The best apps come with overview dashboards, alarm summary with simple health index, priority, plain text problem description, and the ability to zoom into detail and see history trends to spot accelerated degradation and estimate remaining life. You need not be a data

Pervasive networking Data-driven practices requires sensors to collect the missing data. It would be impractical to hardwire hundreds or thousands of sensors point-to-point using the 4-20 mA or on-off signals. Plants built with FOUNDATION® Fieldbus networking can simply add instrumentation to existing field junction boxes with minimal wiring to the sensors. All plants should deploy wireless infrastructure for sensors. One method is to deploy a plant-wide wireless sensor network and optionally also a wireless local area network (WLAN) infrastructure depending on which operations tasks will be digitized. The wireless network infrastructure consists of wireless gateways for the wireless sensor networks, and optionally wireless access points for the Wi-Fi network as the central nervous system of the plant. The wireless gateways can be embedded inside the wireless access points when WirelessHART® and Wi-Fi are deployed together. Since these networks are used for operational functions, both wireless networks are managed by the instrumentation and control (I&C) department and integrate with the control system, historian, machinery protection system, safety system, and other operations systems. Location awareness is technology used to locate people and assets in the plant. This is used for automatic emergency mustering headcount and rescue locating. Location awareness is also used for geofencing of restricted or high-risk areas, meaning if unauthorised persons stray into the area an alarm will be generated. The wearable ID tags used for location detection include a panic button for distress call and senses if there is no movement (man-down). Wearable video collaboration, tablet computers in the field to assist in various tasks such as retrieving maintenance history or documents, data collection and reporting, are examples of functionality which make use of industrial Wi-Fi in the field. Pervasive Sensing Data-driven work practices start with Aluminium International Today

07/01/2019 11:15:48

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Fig 4. EGA Dubai wireless sensors for digital transformation energy efficiency

the raw data from sensors. Sensors bridge the gap between the physical and digital world. Without sensors there is no analytics and no Big Data. Process equipment like pumps, compressors, heat exchangers, blowers, cooling towers, air cooled heat exchangers, manual valves, and tanks – even steam traps usually have no transmitters for condition monitoring; missing measurements. This equipment is now being instrumented with additional sensors to cover these missing measurements thus yielding smart connected equipment. Automatic data collection is much faster than manual data collection, providing early detection of markers of developing problems, thereby making the asset management more predictive, and far more productive. Wireless sensors often take the place of mechanical instruments, portable testers, and clipboards. Wireless sensors include pressure, flow, level, position, on-off contact, vibration, temperature, corrosion, erosion, acoustic noise, and electric power as well as level switch, which are installed as needed to feed data to analytics and other software for reliability, energy efficiency, personnel safety, and production. Wireless sensors are deployed without having to lay more cable and installing more I/O for 4-20 mA and on-off signals. Control valves and flow meters not already digitally integrated are fitted with wireless adapters. Many of these new sensors are non-intrusive or reuse existing process connections meaning they can be installed while the plant is running without shutting down the process. Wireless sensors can be deployed without opening cable trays or junction boxes avoiding the risk of damaging existing cable. Some transmitters such as for vibration include edge analytics preprocessing the raw data. Connected services Often there are not enough experts onsite. Some plants opt for an IIoT-based solution with subject matter experts in a central location monitoring equipment across multiple sites. It can be the company’s own fleet management center to manage process equipment in the company’s fleet of plants around January/February 2019

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the world, or it can be a third-party connected service provider monitoring process equipment in multiple companies’ sites globally. The service provider’s IIoT center has a pool of experts in the areas of rotating machinery vibration, control valves, analysers, corrosion/erosion, static process equipment, and steam traps, etc., to guide on-site personnel with real-time advice. In the cloud, analytics software monitors the equipment in the plants. Staff extract reports listing equipment condition and what actions are required. The reports are reviewed by domain experts before sending to plant personnel. The report format has been created specifically for each kind of equipment including the relevant information allowing plant personnel to act immediately. The reporting frequency depends on the type of equipment. In a new business model for connected services, instrumentation such as acoustic and vibration sensors are not purchased but included as part of the subscription fee, requiring little or no upfront investment for the plant. Digital transformation in the aluminium industry Alumina refineries and smelters around the world are already digitally transforming how work is done. Switchgear monitoring An alumina refinery in Brazil was operating their rectifier stacks well below the rated 100kA due to operating temperature uncertainty because they were relying on infrequent manual infrared (IR) thermography for temperature checks. Surface acoustic wave (SAW) temperature sensors were installed on nine rectifiers, providing continuous temperature measurement at the control switch incoming and outgoing buses. The data is transmitted digitally to the monitoring system. The solution allowed a 10 percent increase in operating current and total material throughput without fear of catastrophic failure. Energy management and loss control Emirates Global Aluminium’s (EGA) smelter site in Dubai had a problem with

the compressed air consumption. Air demand was varying through the day and the company wanted to improve measurement of the variations to optimise air usage and production. More than 50 wireless flow meters measuring the compressed air consumption of each plant area covering a total plant of 480-hectares were installed (figure 4). The measurements are integrated with the manufacturing execution system (MES) which allows the company to know in which area and at what date/ time air consumption increases. Based on this, each area is reviewing its processes and procedures to optimise air usage. The solution has eliminated the need for daily visits to air flow meters. Continuous monitoring shows spikes and trends in air use, allowing improved management. They now have a better understanding of the compressed air consumption in the plant with improved ability to plan and control cost. As a result they have reduced energy use and have created plant-wide awareness of the importance of compressed air. Since then they have added wireless temperature measurement in remote substations mainly to identify breakdown of air-conditioning as well as wireless vibration monitoring for aircooled heat-exchangers. Overfill and spill prevention An alumina refinery in Brazil using the Bayer process had problems with their red mud stacking. Originally the site relied on manual inspection of the level in a large area to determine which valves to open and close. Critical points may overflow if not detected fast. Due to the dynamics of red mud stacking a movable level sensing solution was required. Wireless level switches were installed to detect high level reporting much faster than ever possible with manual inspection. Since the sensors are wireless, moving them around is easy. The wireless gateway is integrated with the existing DCS and mud level displayed on operator screens. As a result they were able to reduce the risk of red mud overflow. Alumina 4.0 In the aluminium industry, applying digital automation technology and rethinking how the entire plant is run and maintained has increasingly become the best way to achieve operational excellence. To stay competitive, alumina plants must be prepared to expand their digital operational infrastructure with more software and sensors, digitized work processes, wireless monitoring, and training on wireless devices and software in order to improve production, energy efficiency, safety, and reliability. � Aluminium International Today

07/01/2019 11:15:48

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Russia to stimulate domestic aluminium consumption The Russian government has officially approved a road map for the development of the domestic industry of aluminium - a legislative act, that should create conditions for stimulating domestic demand for the metal by almost 2.5 times, according to recent statements of the press-service of Russia’s PrimeMinister Dmitry Medvedev (pictured). By Eugene Gerden* Russia, the expansion of a scope of the use of the metal, as well the introduction of restrictions on imports. As part of these plans, special industrial zones, where aluminium processors will operate, will be established and are expected to be located in the Krasnoyarsk, Khakassia and Volgograd regions of Russia. Currently the consumption of primary aluminium in Russia is estimated at 700,000 tonnes, however, it should be increased up to 2.5 million tonnes during the next several years. According to state plans, the growth of aluminium consumption will be achieved in the various segments of Russian industrial production, while particular hopes are put on machine-building and packaging industries.

According to a recent announcement of the Russian Aluminium Association (a public association, which includes Rusal and some of largest producers of aluminium products in Russia, including the US Arconic and Ball, as well as its consumers), despite the fact that the consumption of aluminium in Russia in recent years “has been growing faster than in the rest of the world, it still almost a third lags behind the level of developed countries.” It is planned, in addition to stimulation of domestic aluminium demand, the new strategy will ensure the provision of state support to struggling local aluminium producer – Rusal. According to Medvedev, the new roadmap involves the provision of subsidies for the use of aluminium in *Russian Correspondent January/February 2019

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Aluminium International Today

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In order to stimulate the use of domestic aluminium in the machinebuilding industry, the roadmap proposes to oblige machine-builders to use Russian aluminium alloys in their production. From its side, the state also has plans to provide additional subsidies to domestic manufacturers agricultural machinery, if they use Russian aluminium. The same will be also applied to local producers of aluminium rail cars. Finally, in order expand the use of aluminium, it is proposed to approve the rules for the design and use of the metal in the power supply of buildings and construction of bridges. Separately, the government plans to allocate funds for the establishment of a foundry that will specialise in the processing of aluminium alloys for the needs of industry. There are also a number of ideas to expand the use of aluminium in aviation. Part of these plans is a special report on the possibility of using mobile collapsible aluminium runways and platforms in remote and sparsely populated areas. The growth of domestic consumption will be also supported by imposing a ban on state purchases of imported aluminium and aluminium-containing products. Such a ban will apply to almost 18 categories of products: From aluminium bars and profiles to doors, windows and aluminium frames. It will also affect electric furnaces, industrial and laboratory cameras, all-terrain vehicles, bicycles and other vehicles, containing aluminium. According to data of the Russian Federal Customs Service, for the seven months of the current year Russia imported about 144,000 tons of aluminium and products from it, mainly from China (45% of total supplies). The new strategy involves a significant expansion of strategic state reserves of aluminium, which will be in the form of direct purchases of primary aluminium from Rusal. That will be one of the measures to support the company, which will be implemented by the state. For this purpose, the government has already allocated about RUB 10 billion (US$150 million). These funds will be used for the purchase of about 50,000 tonnes of aluminium from the company, which will account for about 1% of Rusal’s annual production. Despite the fact that the US sanctions against Rusal were announced as far back as on April, they have not yet entered into force, as this date was postponed several times by the US State Department. Now, it is assumed, they will come into force on January 7. At present more than 70% of the overall sales by Rusal account for exports. A final imposition of sanctions against the company will mean its access to foreign markets will be closed. In addition, it could face with serious problems even during sales in the domestic market. In the meantime, the new strategy also involves a significant increase of the volumes of primary aluminium processing in Russia. According to recent statements of Russia’s Minister of Industry and Trade Denis Manturov last year almost one million tonnes of aluminium were processed in Russia, while, as part of this strategy, these figures should almost double during the next 5-7 years. The volume of investments in the new strategy is estimated at RUB140 billion (US$2.2 billion). According to earlier statements of some representatives of Rusal, state support of domestic producers of high-tech aluminium products has a particular importance for the entire Russian aluminium industry. In the meantime, in order to further restrict imports, the government plans to raise import duties on aluminium products, that will be higher the WTO level. At present the rate of duties in Russia and other countries of the Eurasian Economic Zone for the imports of aluminium and aluminium-containing products are varied in the range of 5% - 15%. �

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On a roll South African semi-fabricator Hulamin has implemented AMETEK Surface Vision’s SmartView® Surface Inspection Systems to provide products of consistent high quality. The only major aluminium rolling operation in Sub-Saharan Africa, it supplies customers around the world, with a focus on specific product and enduse markets. The manufacturer’s primary activity continues to be aluminium rolling, supplying a range of high-quality aluminium sheet, plate and foil products. Hulamin’s biggest range of products is can-stock, which includes can-body stock, tab-stock and coated can-end stock that it has supplied to independent and multinational can-makers for more than 30 years. In addition to supplying the South African market, Hulamin has significant exports to Europe, North America, the Middle East and Asia. The availability of primary aluminium in South Africa, combined with Hulamin’s rolling and extrusion capabilities, is intrinsic to the growth of aluminium usage in the region, driving industrialisation and regional economic growth. A strong business case The can stock market is considered notoriously as one of the most-demanding packaging markets in the world. Hulamin’s products, however, have stood the test of time, allowing the company to form close relationships with both customers and supply chain partners. To maintain these relationships, it was essential for Hulamin to ensure its customers that it provides products of consistent high quality. Historically, a significant number of surface defects would appear during the manufacturing process, from the hot and cold rolling mills to the finishing machine centres. The material inspections were carried out manually at each machine centre via physical sampling. Aluminium International Today

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These defects can originate in the raw material (ingot phase) or be created during the rolling or coating processes. This led to coils having to be scrapped completely or finished with low yields. Hulamin General Manager Tim Hawkins said, “As a responsible supplier, Hulamin naturally wanted to drive down waste to the absolute minimum. We visited several global service providers looking for a solution that could achieve the reduction of energy, production costs and waste products, while also increasing the quality of product.” High standards SmartView® is the market-leading surface detection platform combining synchronised camera technology, state-ofthe-art software and lighting to capture defect images across multiple inspection angles. It delivers unprecedented monitoring, gauging, reporting and classification accuracy in real time. Taking advantage of SmartView’s flexible, scalable nature, the solution was installed over several years, allowing Hulamin to spread the capital expenditure cost over that period. The installation currently provides highquality automated monitoring from the hot strip mill all the way down to the slitting and coating lines. Information, which is saved in a SQL database, allows post-production tracking using AMETEK Surface Vision’s Production Quality Advisor software suite. The system is fully integrated with Hulamin’s inhouse data management software to ensure seamless data connectivity and exchange. The streaming video software also allows Hulamin to review a coil at any time without uncoiling and recoiling the

material – a big time-saver when checking product quality. Extra production assurance ensures that defective coils are not dispatched – should customer complaints be raised after shipping, Hulamin also has access to data regarding the coil’s condition when it was supplied. In addition, Hulamin benefits from AMETEK Surface Vision’s service support program, which includes software revision updates, remote access support and regular site visits. Measurable benefits Having installed the system, the operating team found that the benefits were multiple. It increased yield by 4% over four years, while increasing customer satisfaction despite producing increasingly complex products. Hulamin Surface Engineer Dominic Moreno noted, “The SmartView system has exceeded our expectations. Its realtime information has proved invaluable for problem solving. By eliminating the reliance on post-production physical strip inspection, we were able to overcome our most significant hurdles. “For example, on-line inspection allows us to monitor and troubleshoot our strip in mid production, so the hot rolling mill can now be stopped after the second coil – because the process demands that the mill has to finish the existing coil and the next coil, which is already prepared – removing the sub-standard coil from the process at an early stage,” he added. “Now integrated into our production process, troubleshooting and efficiency are at the heart of our operations. This neatly positions us to produce moredemanding products.” � January/February 2019

07/01/2019 10:17:33



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OEMs opt to eliminate in-house lamination OEMs that make parts or products from flat-rolled steel, aluminium and other metals are eliminating in-house lamination operations and outsourcing to experienced coil coaters instead. For OEMs that apply laminate films to metal parts or apply coatings to as decorative finishes, the in-house manufacturing process requires a significant investment in equipment, plant floor space and ongoing maintenance for what can be a very temperamental process. Not only that, but failure to precisely control what can be a very temperamental process can lead to laminates which do no bond properly or wrinkle, leading to excessively high scrap rates and even product returns. For this reason, OEMs are increasingly outsourcing the application of laminate films to experienced coil coaters who can provide several alternatives: steel, aluminium or other metals in coil or sheet form with pre-applied (dry) adhesive; or fully laminated product that eliminates inhouse processing altogether. The result for OEMs can be significant, both in terms of speeding production and reducing operational costs. However, when paired with the fact that experienced coil coaters can produce high quality laminated products, it becomes a win-win

scenario. “Many OEMs are not fully aware of the alternatives for outsourcing part of, or all, the lamination operation to coil coaters,” explains Dan Chin, president of Universal Chemicals & Coatings (Unichem), a company that specialises in custom adhesives and coatings used in coil processing. “This is often simply because they have ‘always done it the same way’ – in house – but they can get a high quality laminated product and eliminate the costs and headaches associated with the process.” Laminates The use of laminate applied to metal to fabricate parts or products is widespread throughout manufacturing. Decorative finishes provide the look of stainless steel, brushed copper, and wood grains, as well as a variety of colors, imprints, and a range gloss levels. Laminate films can also serve a functional purpose by providing scratch or chemical resistance. Some of the more common applications including appliances (refrigerators and

freezers, washing machines, dishwashers, microwaves, range or fume hoods), construction products (insulated wall panels, garage doors, roofing products) and the mobile and manufactured home markets (walls, door panels). Applying laminates to metal requires multiple steps. First, the metal is prepared by chemically cleaning and pre-treating. A liquid adhesive or film laminate is then applied to the metal and cured in an oven. The laminate film is then bonded to the metal as the adhesive coated metal exits the oven and the laminate is fed into nip rollers to join the laminate to the adhesive. The laminated metal is then cooled. According to Chin, in each step of the process there can be challenges which can lead to poor bonding or delamination. “All kinds of things can happen during a non-continuous laminating process,” says Chin. “You can have issues with bonding caused by the cleanliness of the metal, improper application of the adhesive or insufficient oven temperatures. There could also be misalignments of the laminate that cause wrinkles in the film.” Aluminium International Today

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Chin says this can lead to extremely high scrap rates in excess of 20%. Worse than that, OEMs may experience product returns and negative reviews due to delamination that occurs on a delayed basis once the product is in the field. “If there is an issue with the bonding of the laminate, it can manifest later when a product is already in the hands of the customer,” says Chin. “Normally there would be quality control testing in place to ensure that doesn’t happen, but it is still possible. By the time the OEM finds out, it can become quite costly.” Outsourcing to coil coaters According to Chin, one option for OEMs is to turn to experienced coil coaters who can pre-apply B-stage adhesive to virtually any metal substrate. The B-stage adhesive is designed to reactivate and cure within a specific temperature range to bond the laminate. This eliminates several steps and can lead to a higher quality laminate bond. “From a quality standpoint, you are going to get excellent uniformity of the adhesive applied [by a coil coater] and it will be properly cured,” says Chin. “Then, basically all the OEM has to do is laminate the film to the metal.” Another option is to eliminate the entire process completely. This eliminates the need for in-house labour, application equipment, curing ovens, and environmental emission control systems. “Typically, the coil coater has a lot of experience running these types of products, so they can dial in the adhesive thickness and control the curing and laminating temperatures very closely to January/February 2019

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ensure the proper bond,” says Chin. “That is going to translate to higher quality laminated product.” Coil coaters must also guarantee scrap rates below a certain level. “There is no testing the OEM will need to do, other than spot checks for their own quality monitoring process. The coil coater takes care of all that,” says Chin. Chin adds that laminated coil can also be easily cut to just about any size, ready for stamping, forming or other finishing operations. This can eliminate several additional in-house steps and simplifies the process of maintaining an inventory of laminated metals in different sizes. Adhesion challenges Experienced coil coaters are also better equipped to handle difficult adhesion challenges, often with the help of adhesive formulators like Unichem that can deliver custom formulations and provide other advice about the lamination process. “As an adhesive formulator, we can customise the adhesive to match more exactly what the OEM is trying to accomplish,” explains Chin. “There are times the adhesive company, which has a specific catalogue of products, doesn’t have a solution that works for specific applications.” One example is adhesives formulated to be more “forgiving” in terms of temperature curing ranges. This can help OEMs that have challenges with oven temperature or consistency across the width of the coil. “By working with the OEM or coil coater and understanding the parameters, we can help to dial in a solution that is very

specific and resolve problems they are having in the bonding process,” says Chin. Popular laminate films like TPO (Thermoplastic olefin) are also notoriously difficult to bond to metal. TPO can refer to materials such as polypropylene (PP), polyethylene (PE), block copolymer polypropylene (BCPP) and others. Although there are standard adhesives used to laminate to TPO, Chin says Unichem has seen enough variances that they have developed several custom solutions specifically designed for that material. “As we have been formulating for TPOs, we have learned there can be really specific requirements as to the performance criteria and type of testing required that we have had to modify the adhesive significantly in order to get it to work for all the parameters,” says Chin. Electrolytic Tinplate is another good example of a substrate that can be difficult to bond laminates and achieve the desired adhesion. “Tinplate surfaces are very heat sensitive. Cure temperatures and other processing steps need to stay below 410 F, or within a 390 - 410 degree Fahrenheit range, otherwise tin re-flow can occur,” says Chin. This means that adhesives also need to cure or bond at temperatures below this temperature. Time to Make the Switch? Chin says that a good time to consider the transition is for plants that are utilising ageing equipment that can be time-consuming and costly to maintain or when scrap rates or performance issues with in-house laminating are excessively high. “If the [lamination] equipment is 10 or 15 years old, it can become more problematic and require increasingly more maintenance. Outsourcing the entire process to coil coaters might be a better alternative than upgrading the equipment, which could be a huge investment,” says Chin “Certainly in a manufacturing facility, the process of laminating can become a production bottleneck,” says Chin. “Because depending on the temperatures and thickness of the metal substrate, you can only process it a certain speed.” In some cases, outsourcing lamination operations – particularly those that are proving difficult and time-intensive – can speed up overall production. “OEMs no longer have to worry about that if they receive laminated product in the sizes needed. They can immediately move to forming and finishing steps and definitely speed up production significantly if the laminating bottleneck is eliminated,” adds Chin. � Aluminium International Today

07/01/2019 11:32:46

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Towards a digital and real-time supply chain in the aluminium industry Supply chain management and visibility in the Aluminium Industry is overdue for a technological overhaul. Smart smelter and smart(er) supply chains seems to be on the agenda on most industry conferences these days, but the industry still relies largely on spreadsheets and a de-centralised way of planning, sourcing and managing logistics. Land based logistics have come a long way in many industries, with autonomous trucking and rail technology, but industries that rely largely on sea-born trade are lagging behind. Around 90% of world trade is carried by the international shipping industry. Ocean shipping is still the most energy-efficient mode of transporting raw materials, but is highly vulnerable to unexpected events leading to delays and potentially widespread supply chain disruption. The current regime for sourcing and managing the supply chain is still largely manual and disconnected – from production planning across locations to the sourcing and transportation of raw materials via different modes of transportation. Due to the unpredictable and vulnerable nature of sea-based logistics, companies sourcing raw materials as part of their supply chain rely on significant amount of working capital tied up in large inventory buffers – to avoid potential stock-out situations and disruption to production. With the latest advances in technology, this way of managing and thinking about the supply chain will change dramatically over the coming years. Digitisation and buzzwords like Blockchain, Internet of Things and Artificial Intelligence are becoming part of our everyday January/February 2019

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media consumption – but what are the implications and what does it really mean to us as an industry? Connectivity and technology should enable all cargo owners to reduce the costs and risks of their logistics by making better informed decisions. The industry needs to move from manual and errorprone processes to a real-time decisionmaking process, supported by updated and complete information pertaining to inventory and material flow. Spreadsheets are powerful and versatile tools, but they are not cut-out for realtime decision making. Planning and managing a company’s global shipping and raw material requirements is a major task with costly implications. The digital supply chain should give complete, endto-end visibility, allowing all stakeholders to take early preventive action and reduce total logistics costs from fuel, freight, demurrage and storage. Eye-opening case study One company focused on the shift from a traditional supply chain to a digital and real-time supply chain is the Norwegian technology company Klaveness Digital, which was born out of the 70-year old shipping company Torvald Klaveness. Three years ago, Klaveness conducted a case study on aluminium smelters in the Middle East and Arabian Gulf that showed that substantial savings can be made through improved collaboration, increased transparency and access to realtime data. The case study showed that many companies in the aluminium industry – from miners to refineries and smelters – manage their shipping and inventory

situation using spreadsheets, often in combination with complex ERP systems. Moreover, emails and phone calls are exchanged regularly between stakeholders to share operational information such as cargo and vessel nominations, or notices of vessels’ ETAs. As a result, managers are often forced to undertake the timeconsuming and error-prone task of piecing together information from various sources – that by the time completed, is often too late to take proactive measures to avoid costly events such as demurrage, last minute spot shipment and low or high stock situations. What started as an eye-opening case study, gradually developed into a vision of a digital logistics platform capable of changing the way stakeholders in the industry interact by replacing manual processes and spreadsheets with real-time collaboration and actionable insight. Project “CARGO” In close collaboration with a selection of companies in the aluminium Industry, Klaveness initiated project “CARGO” to try and come up with a solution to its customer’s challenges and pain points. Together with the companies involved, Klaveness meticulously mapped and evaluated key work processes from initial supply planning all the way to delivery of the raw material at discharge port. Customer workshops made it clear that digitising and automating manual processes related to sourcing, shipping and inventory management would create significant value for the companies and their stakeholders, reducing the overall logistics costs from fuel, freight, demurrage and storage. Aluminium International Today

07/01/2019 10:42:02


From experiment to dedicated technology company After testing the concept with clients in the aluminium industry, Klaveness established a dedicated technology company to spearhead the development of the logistics platform comprised of software engineers, data scientists, shipping, and logistics specialists. The company set out to develop a platform that would provide users with a complete overview of their scheduled and ongoing material flow, directly linked to their inventory situation, across all terminals and commodities – always updated with actionable information allowing them to take preventive action early to respond to unforeseen events and avoid costly knock-on effects. A virtual representation of the value chain, with endto-end visibility from planning to production, utilising advanced satellite tracking and algorithms to ensure that decision-makers have the latest information available. Platforms such as CargoValue by Klaveness Digital will enable real-time collaboration, not only across internal stakeholders, but across players in the industry. Digital platforms will let users collaborate on the same shipping schedule and inventory in one place. Unlike a spreadsheet, all changes are instantly updated across everyone’s devices giving users greater confidence in the accuracy of the information. Planned and ongoing shipments are linked to destination inventory levels, giving a more accurate representation of how the stock levels across operations are expected to develop. Existing business systems can be integrated through Application Programming Interfaces (APIs). Everyone involved can see the latest updates in real-time, allowing stakeholders to quickly realign plans without spending time on manual updates. The future of the supply chain in aluminium With the speed of technological advances in automation, data collection and analytics, the future of the supply chain in the aluminium industry holds a lot of promise. Seamless collaboration, not only inside each company but across external stakeholders such as suppliers, agents, brokers and different modes of transportation. A truly connected and real-time supply chain will spur new business models and ways of procuring commodities and freight. The future, digitalised, supply chain will offer a new degree of resiliency and responsiveness, enabling companies to react to disruptions, anticipate and adjust in real-time as conditions in the chain changes. A virtual representation of all freight and inventory, eventually enabling a whole new way of thinking about logistics with sharing and swapping of cargoes, possibly disintermediating the supply chain we know today. Platforms and solutions such as CargoValue will become smarter every time users interact with the system, providing users valuable insights in the planning and scheduling process. Adaptive learning and data analytics will reduce the amount of time spent on repetitive tasks, allowing users to spend their time on value creation opportunities. Data security and reliability will be a critical aspect in choosing the right technology solutions to support the future supply chain. The transformation is not an easy task, and it is not just a matter of choosing the right technology. It will require both process and cultural changes in the organisation. It is not a task achieved over night, but all players in our industry need to start looking at their current processes and embrace the opportunities that technology brings to the table. Establish a roadmap and identify low hanging fruits first. The industry cannot wait until the perfect future state of the supply chain is achievable. � Contact

Aluminium International Today

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Industry 4.0: Little curse, much blessing By Lisa Tanzer & Nikol Atanasova* Industry 4.0 is the keyword of these days. Though the whole world is in a constant state of becoming more digitalised by minute branches such as aluminium and mechanical engineering are yet light-years away from an effective digital surface. The question is: Why? The European industry tends to cling to conservative grounds whilst formerly weaker markets such as the Chinese or Japanese are gaining more and more relevance in the global economy. Those Asian companies understand that customers want their work atmosphere to be just as easy as their daily life. So, they feed the needs. In respect of the rapidly increasing number of new digital features it is foreseeable that digitalisation will dominate the future. Thus, for a stable future on the market it is essential to follow the Asian examples and digitalise – better now than later. Being a digitalised industrial company, especially now, has, due to Europe’s not yet very modern positioning, one big advantage in the economy: To provide an effective platform for customers is not only a great opportunity to enhance the sales performance, but moreover a higher after sales and service level. Customers are more likely to choose simplicity and effectiveness over contestants who still use old-fashioned methods of orders and support issues. With the introduction of digitisation, sales from local stores or fax-catalogues are drastically reduced. Other markets already show the consequences like rising digital platforms displacing regular enterprises in the market. Without the digitisation of small and medium-sized companies, there is a risk of being erased off the market. The most valuable aspect for every manufacturer is the purchase. Therefore, eCommerce can be a great way to enter industry 4.0. “We initiate the process with eCommerce because it is the most important touchpoint between customer and company”, says Florian Kölsch, from dnetwo, “but the final figure is a

platform that connects everything from the thousands of sensors in a machine over individual price inquiries to m2m commerce where machines work highly intelligent and autonomous.” The company passionately digitalises internal and external processes of companies with diverse challenges. This year they introduced their solutions specialised for industries such as the aluminium and mechanical engineering to the global market - solutions that focus on the demands of each company and offer individual features to work them in the digitalisation process. It can be overwhelming at first sight. There are a lot of new things about it such as machine learning, cloud-based applications and different working structures. Approaching it through eCommerce is not only logical but also starts the process with something familiar. Using eCommerce brings many amenities, one of which is for example that information is processed much faster and more appealing to the customer. Most people are afraid of digitisation while in reality it is not that scary. For instance, it

is like switching from a local store to an online shop or switching from a cabletelephone to a cell phone. Now who uses this one today? The same question can be asked about digitalised industry in 10 years. The future of digitisation is ensured. It can and will change everyday lifestyle, holidays and work. The benefits of intelligent industry are many, starting from the fact that the overall productivity of the enterprise is improved, saving money and increasing monthly turnover. Industry 4.0 raises the number of possibilities for enterprises but also challenges them at the same time. Companies need to gather information from outside sources, work with machines instead of against them and effectively implement certain workflows to profit and not lose from digitalisation. It is difficult to bring the advantages of digitalisation into one sentence, but if we really seek a simple definition, we should look not so far. Digitalisation is the ability to do everything - virtually, unlimited, and everywhere. �

*dnetwo, Germany January/February 2019

Industry 4.0 Dnetwo.indd 1

Aluminium International Today

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Military use of aluminium in the United States of America Aluminium has been utilised by the armed forces of the United States of America for generations. Usage began with simple, basic products in the late 1800’s. Today, aluminium is used in a wide variety of products including those that are among the most technologically-advanced. The Aluminum Association has stated that the extreme durability of aluminium is one of the metal’s key features for military use. “In addition to ‘everyday’ applications, aluminium’s strength and durability is also trusted for some of the most extreme uses imaginable,” according to a statement from the trade association. “Designers know that highstrength aluminium alloys can handle some of the harshest conditions on earth – and beyond.” Usage of aluminium for military purposes grew substantially in the mid1900’s. Restrictions were placed on the use of aluminium for non-military purposes in the United States during specific times in the 20th century. Those restrictions were put in place due to limited supplies of aluminium during some of the years of World War II and the Korean War. As the available supply of aluminium increased, those restrictions were lifted. Aluminium producers saw great opportunities to provide the raw ingredient for many military products. The headline of a news article dated December 13, 1950, in the Chicago Daily Tribune, was “Vast Capacity Increase Made for Aluminum”. The subheadline: “Quadrupled in Last Ten Years; Still Rising”. This news article detailed how the industry’s “plans for expanding the use of Armored Multi-Purpose Vehicle (AMPV)

aluminium in military equipment” would impact the need for production increases. Noted was the need for aluminium for rockets, guns, and vehicles, among other military materiel. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, in a news article dated December 5, 1957, detailed a “Big Increase Seen in Use of Aluminum”. This news article quoted Mr. Richard Reynolds, Jr., President of Reynolds Metal Company, as stating that “The missile age had brought new and wider uses for aluminium for military purposes.” As the global economy became more intertwined, aluminium production increased in a number of countries.

Aluminium smelters throughout the United States closed. Recent years have seen large increases in aluminium production in China. It was those large increases in the production of aluminium in China that prompted the United States to consider implementation of a broad-based aluminium tariff through Section 232 under the trade laws of the nation. In a letter dated September 12, 2017, nine retired American military leaders two vice admirals, one lieutenant general, four major generals, and two brigadier generals – as well as one retired national security expert advised President Donald

Fig 1. Century Aluminum Company has invested more than $150 million in 2018 to enhance and return its smelter in Hawesville, Kentucky, to full capacity. For the past three years, this plant was operating at about 40% of capacity. By early 2019, it is anticipated to be at 100% operating capacity.

Ground Vehicle Trailers, Aircraft Loading System, 105-mm Howitzer, Minuteman Missile Transporter, Nuclear Ordinance Trailer

Amphibious Assault Vehicle (AAV)

Ground Vehicle Components, Cross Braces, Forged Front Hubs, Gasoline Tanks, Radiators, Transmission Support Brackets, Wheel Discs, Wheels

Bradley Fighting Vehicle (BFV)

Bridges, Improved Float Bridge (Ribbon Bridge); Armored Vehicle Launch Bridge (AVLB); Aluminum Pneumatic Floating Bridge (M4T6)

Bradley M-1 Tank”

Javelin Anti-Tank Missile

Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (JLTV)

Patriot Advanced Capability – 3 (PAC-3)

Expeditionary Fast Transport (EPF)

M224 60 MM Mortar

M109A7 Paladin Artillery Vehicle (M1009)

Small Arms: Pistols, Rifles, Grenade Launchers

Table 3. U. S. Defense Ground/Weapon Systems Using Aluminum. Systems Requiring Components Made of Plate, Sheet, Piping, Tubing, Castings and/or Forgings. * Out of production, but the manufacture of spare parts using aluminum may continue Source: The Aluminum Association, U. S. Department of Defense, assorted industrial publications

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Trump to implement tariffs to protect national security through a healthy industrial base. “There is now only one domestic manufacturer that can make the highpurity aluminum needed for fighter jets like the F-35 as well as other military aircraft and vehicles,” the letter stated. “It is simply unthinkable that we would share the military specifications for the steel and aluminium used in some of our most sensitive weapons systems with strategic competitors such as China and Russia.” Based on national security interests similar to the ones outlined in that letter, President Trump made the decision to implement a 10% broad-based tariff on aluminium imports into the United States earlier this year. “As a result of President Trump’s leadership on the Section 232 aluminium tariffs, the United States industry has been able to ramp up its high purity aluminium production, seeking to recapture the sales it had lost to foreign suppliers,” stated Mr. Mark Duffy, Chief Executive Officer of the American Primary Aluminum Association. “High purity aluminium is used in the F-35, F-18 and F-16 fighter jets and other military equipment. A domestic source of American high purity aluminium is critical for United States national security.” The highest purity level of aluminium is typically used in many of the products produced for the defense industry because many of the products are utilised by the military under extreme stress. According to the United States Department of Commerce, only one facility within the borders of the nation produces high purity aluminium. “The Effect of Imports of Aluminum on the National Security”, a report issued by the Department in January of 2018, includes the following statements: “The United States currently has five smelters remaining, only two smelters that are operating at full capacity. Only one of these five smelters produces highpurity aluminium required for critical infrastructure and defense aerospace applications…Should this one United States smelter close, the United States would be left without an adequate domestic supplier for key national security needs. The only other high-volume producers of high-purity aluminium are located in the United Arab Emirates and China (internal use only).” This report details a number of ground/ weapon systems, aircraft systems, and naval systems, among other items, that require the use of aluminium and are utilised by the armed forces of the United States. Century Aluminum Company has invested more than $150 million in January/February 2019

Richard one article.indd 2

Fig 2. The F-35. (Photograph was taken by Mr. Dane Wiedmann and is provided courtesy of the United States Navy, 2018.)

2018 to enhance and return its smelter in Hawesville, Kentucky, to full capacity. For the past three years, this plant was operating at about 40% of capacity. By early 2019, it is anticipated to be at 100% operating capacity (Fig 1). “The Trump administration’s trade policies have provided much needed relief to America’s primary aluminium workers – leveling the playing field and ensuring that the United States primary aluminium industry maintains its competitiveness A-10/AO-10 Thunderbolt*

Northrop F-5 Fighter”

AE2100 – Engine*

F-100* Super Sabre

AH-1 Super Cobra Helicopter


AH-64 Apache Helicopter


on the world stage,” stated Mr. Michael Bless, Chief Executive Officer of Century Aluminum Company. “[Our] restart will allow us to return to 100 percent capacity in the months ahead while upgrading our smelting technology to ensure we remain competitive long into the future.” “Lieutenant Commander Chris Tabert, assigned to Air Test and Evaluation Squadron (VX) 23, pilots Navy F-35C test aircraft during an external GBU-31 flutter and flying qualities test flight from Naval

ALE-50 Towed Decoy System

Grumman F-14 Tomcat*

Air and Missile Defense Radar (AMDR)

Boeing F-15 Eagle*

APS-137 Radar

General Dynamics F-16 Fighting Falcon

B-1 Bomber*

Boeing F/A-18 Super Hornet

B-2 Bomber*

Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor

B-52 Bomber*

F-24 Ulta Raptor


F-35 Joint Strike Fighter

C130J Super Hercules Cargo Plane

Bell UH-1 Iroquois Helicopter*

C-17 Globemaster Cargo Plane*

Bell OH-58 Kiowa Helicopter

C-27J Spartan Cargo Plane*

Sikorsky UH-60 Blackhawk Helicopter

Northrop Grumman E-2 Hakeye*

S-70 Black Hawk Helicopter

E-2C Hawkeye*

Sikorsky S-92 Helicopter

E-2D Advanced Hawkeye

Sikorsky CH-53E Super Stallion

Boeing E-3A Sentry (AWAC)*

Sikorsky CH-53K King Stallion Helicopter

Boeing KC-48 Fueling Tanker

Boeing Vertol CH-46 Sea Knight

KC-135 Stratotanker*

Boeing Vertol CH-47 Chinook

KC-46A Pegasus Tanker


P-3 Orion*

MK 84 Bomb

P-8 Poseidon

LM2500 Gas Turbine

Boeing V-22 Osprey

PW200 Helicopter Engine*

Northrop Grumman EA-6B Prowler*

F-135* Afterburner Turbofan Engine

MQ-9 Reaper (Predator B)

F-414 General Electric Engine

Global Hawk

ETF40 Gas Turbine


Air and Missile Defense Radar (AMDR)

T-38 Trainer Aircraft*

APS-137 Radar

T-45 Goshawk Trainer Aircraft*

Multi-Spectral Targeting System (MTS)

T-45 Goshawk trainers

Long Range Discrimination Radar (LRDR)

TF-50*Trainer Aircraft

Modernized Target Acquisition Designation. Sight/Pilot Night Vision Sensor (M-TADS)

Table 4 – Department of Defense Aircraft Systems Using Aluminium. Systems Requiring Components Made of Plate, Sheet, Piping, Tubing, Castings and/or Forgings. * Out of production, but the manufacture of spare parts using aluminum may continue. Source: U. S. Department of Commerce/Bureau of Industry and Security, U. S. Department of Defense, industry web sites.

Aluminium International Today

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casting/holding furnaces

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single/multi chamber melting furnaces

dross skimming machines

launder systems

tilting rotary melting furnaces

vertical direct chill (vdc) casting machines •

scrap de-coating systems

mould metal level control (mmlc)


water cooling plants

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Air Station Patuxent River in Maryland,” according to a statement from the United States Navy. This flight took place on April 10, 2018. High-purity aluminum is a key component in the construction of fighter jets like the F-35 (Fig 2). The guided-missile cruiser USS Anzio (CG 68) is seen here (Fig 3) in the Atlantic Ocean during rough seas on May 27, 2011, according to a statement from the United States Navy. “The USS Anzio [was] deployed as part of the George H. W. Bush Carrier Strike Group supporting maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts in the United States 5th and 6th Fleet areas of responsibility.” In December of 2017, BAE Systems, a major defense contractor, announced that the United States Navy awarded the business a contract to help modernise the USS Anzio (CG 68). The upgrades are being done at BAE Systems Norfolk Ship Repair in Virginia, the ship’s homeport. Among the ship alterations and repairs aboard of the 567-foot-long USS Anzio is “the replacement of critical aluminum structures,” according to Mr. Karl Johnson, Communications Director of BAE Systems Norfolk Ship Repair. “We are doing similar work on a number of other Navy cruisers, including the USS Vicksburg.” “This contract, along with other recent ship repair contracts, provides important work for our shipyard team, particularly for our skilled employees who work with aluminium structures aboard Navy ships,” stated Mr. Dave Thomas, Vice President and General Manager of BAE Systems Norfolk Ship Repair. “The USS Anzio was commissioned in May 1992,” Mr. Johnson stated. “The ship is the third East Coast-based guided missile cruiser to undergo the extensive repair and upgrade work under the Navy’s long-term cruiser modernisation program. In addition to the USS Vicksburg, the company’s Norfolk shipyard began modernisation work aboard the first East Coast ship in the program, the USS Gettysburg (CG 64). The company’s San Diego shipyard executed similar work aboard the USS Cowpens (CG 63).” An F/A-18C Hornet is seen here

Expeditionary Fast Transport (EPF)

Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) – Monohull

Joint High Speed Vessel (JHSV)

Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) – Trimanan

Dauntless Patrol Boats

High Speed Maneuverable Surface Target (HSMST)

Ship-To-Shore Connector (SSC)

Landing Craft, Air Cushion (LCAC)

Tomahawk Missile

Torpedoes (Mark 37,44,45,46,48)

Table 6 – Department of Defense Naval Systems Using Aluminum. Systems Requiring Components Made of Plate, Sheet, Piping, Tubing, Castings and/or Forgings. Sources: U. S. Department of Defense, assorted industrial sources

Fig 3. The guided-missile cruiser USS Anzio (CG 68) (Photograph was taken by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Brian Brooks and is provided courtesy of the United States Navy, 2011.)

engaging in aircraft maneuvers during an airpower demonstration in the Pacific Ocean on June 6, 2011, according to a statement from the United States Navy. “The F/A-18C Hornet (Fig 4) broke the sound barrier during this air power demonstration over the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70),” the statement continued. According to several reports, about half of this aircraft was made of aluminium. While the United States Navy retired its use of this aircraft in 2018, the United States Marine Corps still utilises some of these aircraft in its military operations. The Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78) as seen floating on the James River on November 17, 2013 (Fig 5). “Newport News Shipbuilding, a

division of Huntington Ingalls Industries, procures various types of material from raw materials to complex components for Navy vessels,” stated Ms. Beci Brenton, Corporate Director of Public Affairs at Huntington Ingalls Industries. “A detailed search showed that since 1999, a total of 457 suppliers have provided material or components that contain aluminium at Newport News Shipbuilding.” Huntington Ingalls Industries is America’s largest military shipbuilding company. “The total value of the components that contain aluminium purchased by Newport News Shipbuilding since 1999 was in excess of $261 million,” according to Ms. Brenton. “Of that amount, more than $49 million worth of aluminium and

Fig 4. The F/A-18C Hornet (Photograph was taken by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Travis Mendoza and is provided courtesy of the United States Navy, 2011.)

January/February 2019

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Aluminium International Today

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Fig 5. The Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78) as seen floating on the James River on November 17, 2013. (Photograph is courtesy of the United States Navy, 2013.)

Fig 6. A United States Air Force F-16 Fighting Falcon (Photograph was taken by Senior Master Sgt. Gary Rihn and is provided courtesy of the United States Air Force, 2014.)

aluminium components were utilized in the building of the Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78) in Virginia.” “A United States Air Force F-16 Fighting Falcon takes off on a mission at dawn from Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan, [on] February 11, 2014 (Fig 6),” according to a statement from the United States Air Force. The statement indicated that the aircraft and crews at Bagram Airfield were prepared to fly 24 hours a day. According to The Aluminum Association, “the airframe for the famed fighter jet – the F-16 – is 80% aluminium.” The United States military uses aluminium for a number of construction purposes throughout the world. Members of the United States Navy Seabees are seen here building a security gate at a school in Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic on November 15, 2011 (Fig 7). “Seabees assigned to Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 23 embarked aboard High Speed Vessel (HSV 2) Swift, carry a sheet of aluminium that…[was] used as part of a security gate at Escuela Basica Rafaela Santaella,” according to a statement from the United States Navy. The Seabees replaced missing letters and repainted “the monument [bearing the name of the school] as part of a community service project in support of Southern Partnership Station 2012,” the statement continued. “Southern Partnership Station is an annual deployment of United States ships to the United States Southern Command area January/February 2019

Richard one article.indd 4

of responsibility in the Caribbean, Central and South America.” From a modest beginning with such basic products as canteens to provide a safe way for troops to carry water to inclusion in sophisticated weapon systems that provide protection from attack for an entire nation, aluminium has been shown to a versatile metal that is critical to the military of the United States. � Contact Richard McDonough at

Do you have questions about the aluminium industry? Governmental regulations? Company operations? Your questions may be used in a future news column. © 2018 Richard McDonough

Fig 7. The US military uses aluminium for a number of construction throughout the world. (Photograph was taken by United States Army Sgt. 1st Class Alan Owens and is provided courtesy of the United States Navy, 2011.)

Aluminium International Today

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Driving powder coating quality in the architectural aluminium industry

By Dr Steve Offley*

Benefits of Temperature Profiling – the value speaks for itself The use of ‘thru-process’ temperature profiling in the architectural powder coating market has long been established as the preferred default method for proving quality assurance of the powder cure process. For a powder coated aluminium extrusion, it is critical to prove that the part has been heated correctly in the oven to achieve the desired physical and cosmetic properties of the coating. At the coating stage, significant investment into the product has already been made, so it is even more critical to get the coating process correct, to avoid rework or at worst product scrappage. Getting the cure wrong is a costly mistake to make and the implications from a business perspective are often far more severe than many realise. With demanding product warranty challenges finding product failure in the field is catastrophic.

Fig 1. PhoenixTM Compact System travelling through a Powder Coating Oven monitoring Aluminium Extrusions

For many quality certification schemes such as ‘Qualicoat’ the regular application of temperature profiling is a prerequisite for proving process control and quality of the product being supplied necessary for accreditation. Obtaining Accredited Applicator status, allowing use of approved branded powder coatings, also critically requires the use of oven profiling to provide validation of production batches to satisfy product lifetime warranty claims. Obviously paint cure can be determined by many different laboratory tests (DSC, Solvent Rub, Impact etc) but these physical tests only provide a positive or negative result and will not give any evidence to the potential cause of the problem. The part may be incorrectly cured but why? Was the oven set at the wrong temperature or line speed? Has a burner or fan failed, if so which and where?

*Product Marketing Manager PhoenixTM Aluminium International Today

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Fig 2. PhoenixTM Compact 6 Channel data logger



PhoenixTM Finishing system: Customised for coating process The PhoenixTM Finishing system has been developed to specifically provide the complete product temperature history of the product in the powder cure oven. The system travels directly through the oven with the product being monitored measuring product and or oven environmental temperature from start to finish (Fig. 1). Temperature data collected is later converted into a temperature time graph (Temperature profile). This profile graph will not only provide evidence of whether the coating is cured correctly, as part of a standard QA protocol, but will also provide invaluable process data that can be used to further control, improve and validate the operation as detailed in Table 1 and in the following sections. PhoenixTM Logger Range: Robust choice At the heart of PhoenixTM finishing system is the temperature data logger January/February 2019

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Fig 3. Aluminium, Silicone Free Finishing Thermal Barrier – (3.1) Enclosed Barrier (3.2) Heatsink Thermal Protection @ 200°C TS04-XX (XX = Height mm) (TS04-60 0.8 hrs, TS04-113 3 hrs & TS04-135 4.8 hrs)



designed for specific use in a hostile industrial process. A range of loggers are available to suit the needs of both the coating application and the budget. For standard powder coating applications, the Compact system gives an easy to use 6 channel system (Fig. 2). As its name suggests the system is designed to be easy to handle, and ideal for any travelling powder/paint rep needing a system to visit customers with as part of process set-up, validation and troubleshooting actions. Supplied with customer replaceable, commercially available, alkaline batteries the logger can be used efficiently hassle free. Employing a replaceable battery there are no battery recharging delays or availability issues, during battery replacement at a service centre, as with other commercially available product offerings. For more demanding processes loggers with up to 20 Channels can be provided, with optional, high performance 2way RF allowing remote logger communication, providing direct

4.3 Fig 4. Thermocouple Range for Powder Applications (Surface and Air Options) 4.1 Magnetic – Attaches to Ferrous materials 4.2 Clamp – Designed for use with non-ferrous materials such as Aluminium Extrusion 4.3 Long Reach Clamp – Designed specifically for use in Aluminium Car Body Shells 4.4 Exposed Junction Probe – Taped directly to any material 4.5 Washer probe – Screwed directly to product. (Permanently rigged Test Piece)

logger control and live data review. Thermal Protection: Fit for purpose in the Powder Cure oven Protecting the logger as it travels through the cure oven, a thermal barrier maintains the logger temperature < 80°C to guarantee measurement accuracy and prevent thermal damage (Fig. 3). Offering a dual protection approach the barriers provide high levels of protection without becoming too large or heavy (Aluminium case) for efficient handling and transportation. Combining high performance microporous insulation and phase change heat sink, logger protection is maximised even in the event of line stoppages. Designed for the paint market specifically all PhoenixTM finishing barriers are manufactured from completely Silicone free materials eliminating any risk of silicone contamination and potential for paint defects/craters. Aluminium International Today

07/01/2019 10:56:34

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84 80 76 72 68

ch9 ch10 ch1 ch2 ch3

ch4 ch5 ch6 ch7 ch8

Fig 5. Thermal View Mobile software running on an Android smart phone allowing remote reset or download of the logger

Value Statement


Product Quality

Confirm accurately that the coating cure meets supplier specifications

(Time @ Temp) to give physical and cosmetic properties. Prevent costly rejects or rework.

Problem Solving

Identify the cause of oven problems quickly. Suggest and prove corrective action with process data.

Reduce production downtime to a minimum.

Process Optimisation

Maximise the productivity and efficiency of your process with confidence.

Optimise settings to improve throughput, fuel economy with no risk to cure quality.

Optimise new product processes with ease and efficiency eliminating delays to production launches.

Regulatory Compliance

Generate the process validation certification necessary to prove process control for Qualicoat,

Accredited Applicator Status or other quality standards.

Table 1. Top level Benefits of Temperature Profiling

Thermocouples: Designed to suit process/product challenges Although often overlooked by many probably the most important aspects of the temperature profiling task is making sure you are measuring what you want accurately and repeatably run to run. The range of typical thermocouples offered with the Finishing range are shown in Fig 4. Provided with a triple wrapped PTFE

cable the thermocouples are flexible yet capable of withstanding temperatures up to 265°C. Complying to ANSI-96.1 the thermocouple accuracy is certified to +/-0.4% or +/- 1.1 °C providing a measurement accuracy (Logger + thermocouple) of the system in most paint applications of +/-1.4 °C. With the rigors of daily operation, it is possible for the PTFE cable to

Fig 6. PhoenixTM Thermal View Finishing Software Main Features of the Finishing Software: 6.1 Configurable Datalogger Settings (Start Method, Sample Interval, Number & location of Thermocouples). 6.2 Clear Full Colour Graph with zoom capability on screen Notes. 6.3 Detailed Analysis Calculations – Customize to your specific process requirements. 6.4 Process Files to describe fully the Process Conditions – Oven Settings (Zones & Features) Product/Cure criteria. 6.5 Cure Analysis – Graphical Analysis showing Time @ Temperature & Peak Temperature against Pass Fail Criteria. 6.6 Cure Chart – Create copy of Paint Supplier Bake Window and perform automatic analysis against it.

January/February 2019

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occasionally get damaged. Under normal circumstances this would require a complete thermocouple replacement. To minimise cost the PhoenixTM Clamp and magnetic probes come with the unique design feature that only the cable and sensor need to be replaced retaining the existing magnet mount or clamp. Over the life of the system this can significantly reduce the total cost of ownership. Mobile Operation: Profiling on the move For powder coating suppliers oven profiling is often performed on the fly under significant time pressure. Complementing the Windows based operating software the system can be run from an Android smart phone or tablet (Fig 5) allowing added portability of the system. The logger can be reset and downloaded at the oven to allow quick review of the run (Graph and Time @ Temperature Analysis). The run data file can be e-mailed directly to a PC running the PhoenixTM Thermal View Finishing software to allow further full analysis and reporting. Analysis Software: The power of Process understanding, optimisation and validation A critical component of the PhoenixTM Finishing system is the Thermal View Finishing software. Designed specifically for the needs of the coating market it allows not only the set-up/download of logger but the raw process data to be converted into meaningful information. Such information can be used to understand exactly how the process is operating, allow informed changes and provide certified evidence to prove to others the quality you are providing. (Refer to Fig 6 left). A unique feature of the Thermal View Finishing software is the graphical cure analysis tool (Show Analysis). The operator can see quickly at each specified cure schedule whether the Time @ Temperature analysis from the profile meets the powder supplier specification. For each thermocouple it is easy to identify under or over cure at each cure temperature. Conclusion The PhoenixTM Finishing Temperature profiler provides a purpose designed system to Understand, Control, Optimise and Certify the thermal cure process of powder coating aluminium extrusions. Ideal for any manufacturer or coating supplier to maximise the potential of their operation and secure existing and win new future business. � Aluminium International Today

07/01/2019 10:56:36

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Coil anodizing solves quality control issues in architectural exteriors High-quality process achieves greater strength, durability, and consistency than paint or batch anodizing.

Many quality control issues are faced in architectural aluminium products and other architectural exterior metals. Architectural exterior applications require a material that is very durable, can be coloured or finished in unique ways, remains clean and beautiful over time, and delivers other important benefits. With its natural, brilliant look, hard anodic structure, environmentally responsible production, and great ROI, anodized aluminium is an excellent choice for architectural exterior applications when quality control is desired. Strength and durability Continuous coil anodizing delivers excellent quality control benefits in terms of the strength and durability of final products. Anodizing is an electrochemical process that grows the aluminium oxide layer from the base aluminium, bonding at the molecular level, so it cannot chalk, chip, flake or peel like coatings or paint. It is actually part of the aluminium, while coatings are a separate material either sprayed or roll coated onto the aluminium. Additionally, coatings often require a separate primer or adhesion promoter to help the material stick to the aluminium. As a result, anodized aluminium is more durable and lasts longer than most coatings. Aluminium Oxide is part of the Corundum family of gemstones, like a sapphire, and is second only to diamonds in terms of hardness. The hardness of the anodic layer formed in the anodizing process described above makes it very abrasion resistant, outperforming paint in Tabor abrasion and pencil hardness tests. This superior hardness and abrasionresistance leads to a more durable product. Paint, on the other hand, does not improve the abrasion resistance of aluminium, but instead hinders it. Because Aluminium International Today

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A painted metal roof chipping, flaking and peeling away

Aluminium oxide layer grown from the base aluminium after the anodizing process

Electron microscope view of a painted surface

paint is a coating that is either rolled or sprayed onto the base aluminium, it relies on the surface tension it creates with the metal, or a primer, for adhesion. This surface tension can break down over time, causing the paint to lose adhesion, leading to chalking, chipping, flaking and peeling. This loss of adhesion can creep over time, causing more and more of the surface area to lose its paint. Once such paint loss occurs in architectural exterior applications, replacement of the material

may be required instead of repainting due to the high costs of labour to sand blast and repaint the original surface. With anodized aluminium, if the anodic layer is somehow breached all the way to the raw aluminium underneath, the aluminium will self-heal by creating its own protective oxide layer. This selfhealing ensures that any damage will not creep beyond the initial damage point, thus mitigating the need for costly repairs. The anodic layer also resists graffiti and is easy and safe to clean. January/February 2019

14/01/2019 08:28:49

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The strength and durability of anodized aluminium means that it is a superior product for use in coastal applications. The sapphire hardness of aluminium oxide protects and preserves the aluminium surface from corrosion in harsh weather environments, including coastal areas. Salt spray is pH neutral, so it has little impact on the anodic layer, and the anodic layerâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s hardness helps keep the aluminium beneath from being damaged. In comparison, paint can be affected by weather in coastal areas, and paint manufacturers charge extra for a warranty for material used in coastal areas without always changing the formulation of their product. Finally, even in formed aluminium applications, coil anodized aluminium can be utilized with great success. Any material that is bent or stretched will have micro-fractures along the bend, also known as crazing, because nothing is infinitely flexible. Whether on painted, coated, or anodized aluminium, crazing occurs because the outer side of the bend is stretched more than the inner side. This crazing appears as a frosted effect. While a bent anodized surface may exhibit visible crazing, it is often naturally obscured because of the way light reflects off a bend to create a brighter, frosted look. In the hands of a skilled former, formed anodized parts can be made to look great, and donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t risk cracking and peeling that can spread or creep the way painted formed parts do. Consistency and colouration Unlike in other colouration processes, including batch anodizing, the continuous coil anodizing process is able to achieve excellent colour consistency. With batch anodizing, individual pieces or panels are lowered into a tank in each part of the process. Inconsistencies in look and colour are created because the top of each piece spends less time than the bottom in each step of the process. With the continuous coil anodizing process, every square inch or millimetre of the entire coil spends the same amount of time in each part of the process. This allows for an unmatched level of consistency, assuring that the colours and finishes look the same throughout all of the coils produced. In addition, the colour can be carefully controlled, measured, and recorded so it can be repeated on subsequent orders. Lorin Industries, Inc. the global leader in the continuous coil anodizing industry offers anodized aluminium in a vast array of colours, with an added ability to custom colour match. Lorin can create custom colours, as well as match to almost any colour that can be imagined. Lorin also offers a wide variety of UV-stable colours January/February 2019

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that can mirror or match natural metal looks, including stainless steel, brass, gold, zinc, pewter, bronze, copper, and muntz. Some of these metal looks are also available in pre-patina or antique versions. While paint is available in many colours, like any organic coating, it will fade over time because it is simply an applied coating, using pigments or dyes that have limited life in terms of colour-fastness due to UV rays breaking down the chemicals within the coating. Since the anodized layer in coil anodized aluminium is a part of the aluminium itself, it is not as susceptible to fading. Beauty and cleanliness over time As discussed above, the anodic layer of aluminium oxide is a translucent crystalline structure, and this structure enhances the natural metallic beauty of the aluminium beneath. This three-dimensional sapphire crystalline structure reflects and refracts light in unique ways, helping the material

Coil Anodized Aluminium finishing on the Residences at Pacific City, Huntington Beach, CA. Photo courtesy of Lorin Industries, Inc.

come alive in a way that paint cannot match. Paint, as a coating applied to metal, is more one dimensional and flat in appearance. It simply cannot reproduce the natural metallic look of real aluminium, and covers up the natural metal below. Painted aluminium is not metallic to the touch, and cannot be distinguished from any other painted material, resulting in a lack of natural metal feel and visual effect. Additionally, when each surface is viewed under an electron microscope, the surface of paint appears rough and sloppy compared to the anodic layer of anodized aluminium. The smoother surface of anodized aluminium helps it stay cleaner over time, because dirt, dust and other pollutant materials cannot get trapped on its surface to the same extent as paint. Unlike the dielectric surface of anodized aluminium, paint does nothing to inhibit the natural static electricity build up on the surface of metals. This can increase the attraction of dust and dirt particles, as well as shock those who touch the surface. As a result, typical paint warranties for architectural building

products require a cleaning of the panels on the building every year. Lorin anodized aluminium warranties, meanwhile, recommend cleaning only every other year, providing significant savings on cleaning costs over the life of the building. Other benefits Anodized aluminium produced by Lorin Industries has a strong architectural warranty with no restrictions for coastal applications. Lorin provides a minimum 20-year surface warranty that states the material will not chip, flake, or peel, and most UV stable colours available from Lorin also include a 20-year colour fade warranty. Anodized aluminium can be costeffective compared to other material choices. The cost of clear anodized, per square foot or meter, is comparable to a high quality PVDF paint. For a true bronze, copper, or zinc look, anodized aluminium may be slightly more expensive than paint, but it does not appear flat like paint, and is much more affordable than the natural metals it is replacing. In addition, it lowers cleaning costs over the lifetime of a building, and may provide savings by not requiring re-application like paint. Coil Anodized Aluminium from Lorin Industries is environmentally responsible in terms of product and process. Anodized aluminium remains pure aluminium, with nothing that can create VOCs or offgassing. There are no red list items in anodized aluminium, and it meets ROHS standards. Additionally, the anodizing process is environmentally friendly, creating no hazardous waste. The process uses high and low pH chemicals that combine to create an environmentally neutral byproduct. Aluminium is one of the only metals that is 100% recyclable, and can be repeatedly recycled through simple remelting. Paint, in comparison, contains chemicals that include VOCs, which are dangerous to humans, animals, and the environment. Additionally, painted aluminium requires further processing before it can be recycled. Conclusion If architectural exterior applications are looking for a material that is very durable, offers a natural metal look, is available in many colours and finishes, is environmentally responsible, can be formed into many shapes or parts, offers a great ROI, and is truly beautiful in unique ways that paint and other coatings cannot match, then anodized aluminium is an excellent solution. Anodized aluminium eliminates many quality control issues faced in other architectural aluminium products. ďż˝ Aluminium International Today

14/01/2019 08:28:49

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Clariant, a world leader in speciality chemicals, has been supporting aluminium finishers for more than 50 years. Nadine Bloxsome* caught up with Thomas Heber** from the Business Unit Pigments at ALUMINIUM 2018 to find out why the company is so enthusiastic about its latest long-lasting, eyecatching dye for anodised aluminium and get insight into its colouration support for anodisers. 1. How does Clariant work within the aluminium industry? Clariant’s business area aluminium finishing focuses on the anodising industry. We are a manufacturer and supplier of organic and inorganic dyes and process chemicals, and have a long history in helping the industry enhance the highvalue appeal of this material for indoor and outdoor applications. Most of our products are Swiss made with an emphasis on quality and environmental responsibility. We are very proud of our state-of-the-art production facilities which include our own specially-designed wastewater pretreatment plant – called AVORA – in Switzerland. This ensures all products meet the highest quality demands as well as fulfill strict Swiss safety and environmental requirements. Clariant is globally present directly or through our distribution partners in the different regions around the globe, such as Omya in Europe, North Africa and the Middle East, and Reliant in the USA. Through this network we are able to provide products, technical support and technical training for our customers. Services range from product recommendation, colour matching, analytical services like dye bath analysis, and application training, up to trouble shooting and support at the shop floor. 2. What areas does Clariant specialise in for aluminium processing? Clariant is active in the aluminium finishing field by covering dyes and chemicals for the whole spectrum along the anodising process, cleaning/degreasing, etching, anodizing, organic and inorganic adsorptive dyeing, electrolytic dyeing, printing, sealing from cold over mid temperature to hot nickel sealing as well

as nickel free sealing. Last but not least we offer products for wastewater treatment when the lifetime of dye baths comes to its end. Today, you can find our products in a wide range of markets, in all industries. Our products are used in packaging, such as for cosmetics, in transportation including cars and airplanes, computers, cameras and cell phones (3c), architecture, jewelry, watches, sports. It’s an ever-expanding list as aluminium becomes ever-more popular among high-end brands looking to add a luxurious touch to consumer products in particular. 3. Is aluminium a good material to work with for surface treatment and finishing? If so, how? Due to its chemical behaviour, aluminium offers the unique possibility to create a controlled oxide coating through anodising. The expression “coating” is somehow misleading as there is nothing deposited on the surface of the aluminium, but the aluminium surface itself is electrolytic changed into an aluminium oxide layer. This layer has an unmatched adhesion strength to the aluminium metal combined with extreme surface hardness. This property can be used and optimised for technical applications. But this layer also exhibits pores, which can be filled with special organic dyes or inorganic colourants. After closing the pores there is a highly resistant and durable coloured layer with the optical and haptic appearance of aluminium which can’t be imitated by usual paint. This unique metallic appearance makes aluminium the first choice for high valued products like smart phones, automobile parts or cosmetics packaging.

4. How important is colouration in the finishing process? The colouration of aluminium occupies a wide space in our portfolio. We offer a wide variety of colours and effects, from brilliant colours used in indoor applications through to outdoor applications in architecture with highest durability. Importantly, our portfolio features dyes with heavy metal-free structure, borax-free cleaners, and nickel-free sealing options for colouring anodised aluminium. Our customers comment that this combination not only enables them to cover requirements for meeting design trends, it also helps them to take aluminium into new product and application areas. Our Sanodal® dyes are suitable for architecture according to the Sanodal and the Sandalor (Interoxyd) system. References can be found around the world. For example, for exterior construction panels as used on globally-recognised landmarks such as the red pavilions on the Eiffel Tower in Paris, France, and on the Biomedical Research Centre Seltersberg of the Justus-Liebig University Giessen, Germany. For indoor applications we recommend our extensive range of Sanodure® grades and if there is the need for heavy metalfree formulated dyes to meet regulatory compliance for example in toys, or as part of a general desire to respond to increasing environmental and health awareness among consumers, our Sanodye® grades are a very popular choice. Our new durable magenta dye, Sanodye® Magenta LF, is a great example of how we are innovating in this area to support our customers with high performance colour options that reflect their application needs and trends of their markets.

*Editor, Aluminium International Today **Technical Marketing Aluminum Europe, Business Unit Pigments, Clariant Aluminium International Today

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5. What has the response been to the new magenta dye launched at ALUMINIUM 2018? Feedback from the market has been great! Sanodye Magenta LF is the first truly durable magenta shade for colouring anodised aluminium and we’re seeing a lot of interest. Its unique level of light and weather fastness for indoor and outdoor applications is rarely found within the industry. On top of that, it’s also the hottest hue for autumn 2018. The single dye formulation has a heavymetal free dye structure which is a key consideration particularly for applications such as toys and consumer goods. As a single dye formulation it has uniform high reproducibility, which makes it ideal for achieving a precise shade or for colour matching packaging with its contents, as seen with cosmetic lipstick cases. Colour consistency is particularly important among the global brands. On the processing side, single dyes are easier to handle than blends. Sanodye Magenta LF shows good dye bath stability and enables a stable dyeing process. 6. Following up on the trend topic, is Clariant seeing any particular trends

or challenges coming to the fore from customers as we head towards the end of 2018? Over our 50 plus years of experience in the coloration of anodised aluminium, we have seen our customers face an increasing number of challenges. The need for regulatory compliance is certainly a growing consideration, but the general focus on improving their broader sustainability is where our technology can really support them. For example, by ensuring consistent quality and also compatibility of dyes and chemicals like sealing additives, we help to ease the finishing process and improve their productivity. Within the anodised aluminium industry and the end-markets it supports there is a growing emphasis on globalisation. It is therefore important that suppliers like Clariant can react to this and draw on its own global presence and technical services to help them address their need for efficiency and quality consistency. 7. Finally, with aluminium demand increasing year-by-year, will Clariant be further strengthening its support for the anodised aluminium


industry? Global emphasis on aspects like lightweight and recycling make aluminium an attractive material for many applications, and we are committed to helping the finishing market improve its sustainability as it moves forward. Through our continual focus on sustainable innovation and strong service support, we aim to give our customers access to the colours and effects they need to help product designers and engineers expand their creativity and take aluminium into new areas. Furthermore, Clariant invests continuously in its production facilities ensuring stable supply for the fast growing demand for aluminium finishing products. In 2011 we upgraded our aluminium dye and chemicals plant, which subsequently required a change of working pattern to a continuous shift system. In 2017/18 we achieved a further capacity increase by investing in new equipment. As a result, in the last five years we have increased our output by more than 30%, a step that will help us to continue to fulfil the requirements of the aluminium finishing industry into the future. �

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