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Absorption column In times of ever stricter environmental regulations, limited resources, and spiraling energy costs, you want to go green. To streamline production and boost yields. To recycle recovered energy or residues in your plant to substitute expensive input materials. We listen. We learn. We deliver. Our





ecofriendly solutions that combine ecology and economy, reducing your use of raw materials, energy and operating media, and therefore your carbon footprint. Our cutting-edge technologies for gas purification and water treatment will give you a competitive edge – meet AirwashTM, our brand-new system for cleaning the exhaust air from aluminum cold rolling mills. Let’s add value along the entire value chain, together.

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Volume 31 No. 3 – May/June 2018 Editorial Editor: Nadine Bloxsome Tel: +44 (0) 1737 855115





Production Editor: Annie Baker


Towards 4.0: The Smelter of the Future


Prospecting for gold in the aluminium industry


The Internet of Things is here: How to get started May/June 2018—Vol.31 No.3



Review: The future is now


Sales Manager: Anne Considine Tel: +44 (0)1737 855139

Smart aluminium temperature sensors for Industry 4.0

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Combilift officially opens €50 million global headquarters and manufacturing facility

Managing Director: Steve Diprose Chief Executive Officer: Paul Michael


MES on the move



AGV’S: A new vision on safety and increased

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Industry 4.0 in the aluminium smelter



Towards 2030


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: Aluminium International Today (USO No; 022-344) is published bi-monthly by Quartz Business Ltd and distributed in the US by DSW, 75 Aberdeen Road, Emigsville, PA 17318-0437. Periodicals postage paid at Emigsville, PA. POSTMASTER: send address changes to Aluminium International c/o PO Box 437, Emigsville, PA 17318-0437. Printed in the UK by: Pensord, Tram Road, Pontlanfraith, Blackwood, Gwent, NP12 2YA, UK



Briquetting: For more efficiency






Green anode plants - 10 years of success


Hydro’s new technology pilot: Breaking new ground in energy consumption



Aluminium rod


Making the industry safer


Grain refining technology of the future finally comes to China

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World’s first carbon-free aluminium smelting process

Collaboration is key The first Future Aluminium Forum was recently held on the 8th - 9th May 2018 in Milan and saw the aluminium industry come together to discuss future technologies and the integration of Industry 4.0. The message was clear: Collaboration is key when it comes to sharing knowledge and solutions, even between competitors, which can help us build on a more streamlined, sustainable supply chain. This was echoed the day after the event with the announcement by Rio Tinto, Alcoa and Apple... Such an ingenious process will revolutionise aluminium manufacturing and hopefully provide a platform for us to encourage R&D and a drive to implement new technologies. At the Future Aluminium Forum, delegates were interested to see how we could learn from other industries when it comes to Industry 4.0 and the Internet of Things, but this news strengthens aluminium’s position as an innovator and a metal of the future. You can find out all about the Future Aluminium Forum on page 6 and view the list of participants at As always, this issue is packed with other features, including a look at transport and handling equipment. There is also a dedicated Chinese Language section, as this issue will be distributed at the ALUMINIUM CHINA exhibition in Shanghai. Enjoy!

Rio Tinto and Alcoa Corporation have announced a revolutionary process to make aluminium that produces oxygen and eliminates all direct greenhouse gas emissions from the traditional smelting process. Executives of Rio Tinto, Alcoa and Apple were joined by Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Premier of Québec Philippe Couillard for the announcement, which signals the most significant innovation in the aluminium industry in more than a century. To advance larger scale development and commercialisation of the new process, Alcoa and Rio Tinto are forming Elysis, a joint venture company to further develop the new process with a technology package planned for sale beginning in 2024. Elysis, which will be headquartered in Montreal with a research facility in Quebec’s Saguenay–Lac-Saint-Jean re-

gion, will develop and license the technology so it can be used to retrofit existing smelters or build new facilities. When fully developed and implemented, it will eliminate direct greenhouse gas emissions from the smelting process and strengthen the closely integrated Canada-United States aluminium and manufacturing industry. The new joint venture company will also sell proprietary anode and cathode materials, which will last more than 30 times longer than traditional components. Canada and Quebec are each investing $60 million (CAD) in Elysis. The provincial government of Quebec will have a 3.5 percent

equity stake in the joint venture with the remaining ownership split evenly between Alcoa and Rio Tinto. Apple is providing an investment of $13 million (CAD). The company helped facilitate the collaboration between Alcoa and Rio Tinto on the carbon-free smelting process, and Apple has agreed to provide technical support to the JV partners. Rio Tinto and Alcoa will invest $55 million (CAD) cash over the next three years and contribute specific intellectual property and patents. The patent-protected technology, developed by Alcoa, is currently producing metal at the

Alumina refinery update Emirates Global Aluminium, has passed 20 million hours work on its Al Taweelah alumina refinery construction project without a single Lost Time Injury. This is the equivalent of one person working in construction for more than 7,000 years without an accident that leads to time off work. Al Taweelah alumina refinery, located next to EGA’s Al Taweelah aluminium smelter in Abu Dhabi, is one of the largest industrial

construction sites in the UAE, with more than 11,000 people working on site. The alumina refinery is the first to be built in the UAE. Alumina is the feedstock for aluminium smelters. Abdulla Kalban, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of EGA, said: “Safety is the first priority of everyone at EGA, regardless of their position in the organisation. This safety record is the result of intense effort throughout the alumina refinery project

team, and I commend them. We must maintain this focus on safety until construction is complete, and continue it throughout the decades of Al Taweelah alumina refinery’s operation.” First alumina from Al Taweelah alumina refinery, which has a total budgeted project cost of approximately $3.3 billion, is expected during the first half of 2019. Once full ramp up is achieved, Al Taweelah alumina refinery is expected to produce 2 million May/June 2018

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Alloy wheel MOU


Alcoa Technical Center, near Pittsburgh in the United States, where the process has been operating at different scales since 2009. The joint venture intends to invest up to $40 million (CAD) in the United States, which would include funding to support the supply chain for the proprietary anode and cathode materials. Vincent Christ, an experienced leader with more than 30 years’ experience at Rio Tinto Aluminium, has been named Chief Executive Officer of Elysis. Most recently, he has served as head of technology, research and development and automation programmes. He holds an engineering degree in electronics and industrial information technology.

tonnes of alumina per year, meeting 40 per cent of EGA’s alumina requirements and helping to secure the competitive supply of the feedstock for aluminium smelters.

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Saudi Arabia-based Abdul Latif Jameel has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Japanese company Kosei Aluminium to explore the feasibility of a joint venture that would manufacture aluminium wheels and components in the kingdom. During a visit by King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud in March 2017, Saudi Arabia and Japan agreed to deepen existing bilateral relations between the two countries and establish a solid strategic partnership, as part of the Saudi-Japan Vision 2030, said a statement. This agreement, signed in Tokyo, Japan, will now see both

companies study the potential of utilising Saudi Arabia’s rich aluminium deposits and competitive energy costs through a joint venture. This would contribute to the development of the manufacturing industry in Saudi Arabia – a key priority of Saudi Vision 2030.

Fata SpA update

First ASI certification issued An alumina refinery, five aluminium smelters and associated casting, recycling, waste management and infrastructure facilities in Canada, owned and operated by Rio Tinto, are the first operations to be certified against ASI’s ground-breaking Performance Standard for environmental, social and governance performance. In addition, Rio Tinto’s bauxite mine in Gove, Australia, is the first mine to receive ASI Performance Standard certification and the second ASI Certification issued. The ASI Certification program was developed through an extensive multi-stakeholder consultation process and is the only comprehensive voluntary sustainability standard initiative for the aluminium value chain. Rio Tinto is a founding member of ASI and is the first company in the world to achieve ASI Certification. The independent, third-party audits were carried out by BNQ (Bureau de Normalisation du Québec), which was the first ASI Accredited Auditing Firm. Fiona Solomon, Chief Executive Officer at ASI said: “ASI is delighted to be recognising these historic first ASI certifications achieved by Rio Tinto. They demonstrate that ASI’s program has successfully transitioned to implementation. The ultimate value of ASI lies in

On 1st March 2018 Reiner Furthmann took on the position of Managing Director Technology at AUMUND Fördertechnik GmbH in Rheinberg, Germany. Reiner Furthmann has been developing his career with AUMUND since joining in 1984, and he has progressed into this role from the position of Technical Director.

broad uptake throughout the aluminium value chain, and we are poised to increase momentum in both membership growth and certifications during 2018. “We congratulate Rio Tinto and BNQ for their enthusiasm, diligence and commitment during the Standards’ development phase, as well as their willingness to be a trailblazer as the first member to navigate the process.” Rio Tinto Aluminium chief executive Alf Barrios said “Rio Tinto is proud to take this pioneering step as a global leader in responsible aluminium production. “Aluminium has a key role to play in driving human progress, as a material of choice to reduce carbon and increase recycling across a wide range of end products from food packaging to buildings, planes, cars, mobile phones and computers. “We expect leadership in responsible production will become increasingly important for our customers and the consumers who buy their products.”

After 38 successful years in the ferrous and non-ferrous industries, Mr. Anthony Tropeano has decided to retire and resigned as CEO of FATA SpA in January 2018. In February 2018 Mr. Tropeano set up his own company, TT Consulting Inc., providing management consulting services for metals, mining and contracting sectors.

AEC Chairman R. Scott Kelley, President and Chief Executive Officer of Service Center Metals in Prince George, VA, was elected to serve as Chairman of the Aluminum Extruders Council.

Guthrie appointment Novelis has announced that Paul Banks will be Plant Manager of its new $300 million automotive sheet manufacturing facility in Guthrie, Kentucky. Banks has more than 25 years of experience in the aluminium rolling industry, including previous managerial positions with Novelis and its joint ventures.

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Iran plans 2019 smelter According to reports, Iran is on track to launch an aluminium smelter in 2019 and be self-sufficient. The new smelter will boost the country’s output by 70%. Construction is underway of the South Aluminium Corp (Salco) smelter, due to produce 300,000 tonnes per year in its first phase, Mehdi Karbasian, deputy minister of industry, mining and trade, told the CRU Aluminium conference in London on Tuesday. While Iran currently produces slightly over 400,000 tonnes per year of aluminium at two plants, consumption is around 600,000 to 700,000 tonnes, said Amir Mirchi, managing director of Canadian consultancy Auryce, which is advising Salco.

Can recycling at 72% As aluminium drinks cans hit 72% recycling rate, data shows that almost 100% is recycled within Europe. Whilst we are consumed by the issues of packaging pollution and concerns about where our recycling ends up, there is some good news. The recycling rate for aluminium drinks cans continues to increase year on year, hitting 72% in 2017 (up from 70% in 2016), whilst the national recycling rate for all aluminium packaging reached 51% (up from 50% in 2016). According to packaging waste recovery data, recently released by the Environment Agency, aluminium packaging easily achieved its 2017 business target. Data also shows that 92% of the aluminium packaging collected for recycling in the UK,

is recycled within Europe; this demonstrates that there is more than sufficient capacity within the EU to recycle the aluminium packaging recovered for recycling in the UK. Commenting on the recycling rates, Alupro’s Executive Director Rick Hindley said, “It is fantastic to see aluminium packaging recycling rates continuing to increase year on year. We must continue to increase awareness and understanding of what happens to used aluminium packaging when it is recycled. Given widespread concerns regarding where our kerbside recycling ends up, and whether it is actually recycled, we believe the 92% is statistic will give people the confidence that when they recycle aluminium packaging, it really is recycled – and close to home.”

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HARBOR’s 11th Aluminum Outlook Summit Over 500 participants, representing more than 260 companies, meet to network, get industry knowledge and the latest aluminum market intelligence and outlook. Held in Chicago, USA.

5-7 Aluminium-21/EXTRUSION The goal of this Forum is to discuss the status and trends in the development of the current market of aluminum extrusions, as well as their application in bridges, construction, transport and power engineering. Held in Moscow, Russia

ALUMINIUM CHINA Asia’s top aluminium industry platform for the complete aluminium industry supply chain. Held in Shanghai, China

September 05 - 07

Cargotec to establish a JV Cargotec has signed an agreement with JCE Invest AB to establish a joint venture, Bruks Siwertell Group, specialised in dry bulk handling. The new joint venture will own Siwertell AB (previously part of Kalmar Business Area within Cargotec) and BRUKS Holding AB (previously part of JCE Group). Both companies are

world-leading suppliers of bulk materials handling solutions. Cargotec will own 48% of the shares in Bruks Siwertell Group, and JCE Invest AB will own the rest, 52%. The ownerships are included to venturers’ consolidated financial statements in accordance with the applicable regulation. The transaction has been signed and closed on 9 May 2018.

ARABAL 2018 announced Kuwait Industries Co. Holding are the proud host of the 22nd ARABAL in its 35th year. Since it’s inauguration in Kuwait in 1983, ARABAL has be-

June 5-7

July 11-13

Casting pit upgrade AluMore in conjunction with their partner company, Dynamic Concept successfully completed an upgrade to the casting pit at Sierra Aluminum in Riverside, California. Following 3‐D laser inspection of the casting pit, a new guide rail system was installed along with a new casting platen and cylinder mounting system. The project, intended to improve the straightness of the cast product was successfully executed with the collaboration between Dynamic Concept Engineers and the Foundry Maintenance team at Sierra and restarting of production was achieved three days ahead of schedule.

2018 DIARY

come an event of international repute, bringing together industry leaders from around the world to discuss current issues in the aluminium sector whilst also ex-

ploring investment opportunities in the region. The event takes place on 11th - 13th November, 2018 in Kuwait City.

International Bauxite, Alumina & Aluminium Society (IBAAS) The symposium organising committee is formulating a world class program focusing on key topics and issues in the bauxite, alumina, aluminium and aluminium downstream industry and secondary sectors. Held in The Leela, Mumbai

12 - 14 33rd International Aluminium Conference This September, arm yourself with up to date market analysis and learn how to utilise the current state of the market. Held in Berlin, Germany international-aluminiumconference/details.html *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

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ALUMINIUM Materials handling andɅliftingɅsystems

Storage systems

Centrifugal blowers

Ship loaders/unloaders

Bath and carbon recycling plant systems

Dense/solid phase and other conveyingǾsystems Potfeed e.g. HyperDense Phase SystemsǾ(HDPSTM) Dosing devices

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Pot process control systems Electrolysis handling equipment Carbon: rodding and anode handlingǾsystems; baking furnace liftingǾsolutions

2017-08-01 10:03 AM


The future is now Aluminium industry gathers to discuss the impact of Industry 4.0 and smart technology solutions. By Nadine Bloxsome* “An engaging, informative and busy two days, all delivered in an inclusive and informal fashion. Congratulations to the organisers for a job well done.” - Anthony Tropeano, President & CEO, TT Consulting Inc.

The first edition of the Future Aluminium Forum took place in Milan, Italy on 8th & 9th May. Organised by Quartz Business Media, the event was held in association with Aluminium International Today and consisted of a two-day conference and table top exhibition. More than 150 delegates from across the globe gathered to hear from technical experts and uncover the myths behind Industry 4.0 and what this means for the manufacturing value chain. Keynote Stefan Koch, Global Lead Metals at SAP SE, presented the Keynote speech, which focused on automating knowledge and use cases for the aluminium industry to go digital. The message was clear from the beginning; digitalisation is not debatable and asset management in advanced manufacturing requires connectivity, collaboration and cross-industry data, information and knowledge sharing. Stefan emphasised to delegates that, “digital transformation is a marathon, even though it may start as a sprint.” The industry is already moving into an era of digitalisation, but key areas need to be

addressed and these first steps must be taken together in order to stay ahead. What is Industry 4.0? The following sessions set about unravelling the origins of the concept and processes the industry can follow in order to successfully implement Industry 4.0 technologies. Data and what to do with it, was a huge talking point. Dan Miller, Senior Process Consultant at Innoval Technology Ltd made it clear in his presentation that you have to transform data into tangible information in order to get the most out of it. He discussed the need to improve and monitor key parameters in order to prevent disappointing ‘data mining’. Mark Breeden from HSO seconded the need for accurate data and announced that we are “set for a tsunami of great technology, which is heading our way,” in an engaging presentation. Mark presented ‘HoloLens’ and how it will enable the integration of augmented reality into the factory for manufacturers to use onsite. Next to take to the stage was Hans Erik Vatne, Chief Technology Officer at Norsk Hydro, who reassured delegates that Industry 4.0 does not necessarily mean “goodbye to knowledge”. In order to

approach machine learning in aluminium extrusion, he explained that traditional domain competences must be combined with technology developments. These thoughts were shared by the following speakers. Hans Peintinger, General Manager, QuinLogic GmbH, presented the importance of correct tracking and data in order to form an educated decision. His presentation included the ‘quote of the morning’, which was: “Garbage in, gives garbage out,” meaning that data quality is essential. Touching again on the need for knowledge, Roger Feist from Achenbach Buschhütten GmbH & Co KG., said that sometimes human knowledge is the only valid tool for managing risk. This was an interesting point and raised a number of questions on the balance between a human and digital workforce. He went on to introduce a data platform for industrial cloud applications as a way of optimising efficiency. Smarter safety By now, delegates had hopefully gained a better understanding of how the industry can begin to approach the looming digital era, but what challenges lie ahead and how can we protect our plants and

*Editor, Aluminium International Today May/June 2018

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workers? With data harnessing and management comes cyber security threats and with automation and robotics come new challenges for workers with regards to workplace safety; therefore the next session was designed to look at these areas. Alexeis Garcia-Perez, a Reader in Cyber Security Management at the Centre of Business Society of Coventry University (UK) told delegates, “It is important to know the risks of manufacturing and the digital landscape so that you can understand and react to confidentiality, integrity and availability.” This sparked an interesting discussion, as cyber-security and prevention of data hacking will become more relevant as we begin to store and collect information more remotely. The next presentation by Mary Connie from Coltraco Ultrasonics explained the importance of protecting your assets, with a particular focus on fire safety and a system developed using the Internet of Things (IoT) and sensor-to-sensor technology. Mary revealed to the audience that instead of waiting for annual checks, owners and building managers can now identify any changes to their installed Aluminium International Today

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fire suppression system contents in real time and dispatch their servicing or maintenance team as soon as notification is received about a change happening to the installed system. This is now entirely possible through the reliance on recent IoT developments.

He told delegates, “We are in the age of seeking a low emissions future.” While, Maarten Meijer brought the element of automation to the forefront and discussed how operators and robots can and should work hand-in-hand to create a more efficient aluminium smelter.

The smelter of the future With smarter technologies already being applied in smelters and the opening of the Karmøy Technology Pilot, it was more than appropriate to dedicate a session to what the smelter of the future will look like and how autonomy can create a safe zone, as well as increase efficiency in aluminium manufacturing. Claude Vanvoren, President of the AVTAL Association led the panel, which also saw the return of Hans Erik Vatne, alongside Geoff Matthews, Vice President Energia Potior and Maarten Meijer, President of GLAMA Maschinenbau GmbH. Hans Erik presented the Karmøy Technology Pilot as an example of a smelter of the future and raised the question of whether we are heading towards more of a ‘micro-smelter’ approach in order to achieve maximum efficiency. Geoff Matthews supported the importance of a sustainability aspect in the smelter of the future and stressed the need for more renewable energy usage.

Sustainable technologies After a night of entertainment at a local restaurant and an open bar, thankfully all delegates were present and correct for the opening of the first session on Day Two. Jerome Lucaes, Marketing and Sustainability Director at UC Rusal took on the role of Chair and focused on how the latest technology is aiding the move towards a greener aluminium industry. His presentation showed a new lowcarbon aluminium market segment emerging and called upon the industry to pay more attention towards end of life recycling and not recycled content. David D’Aoust, Sales Manager for PyroGenesis Canada continued the green theme with a process designed for better recovery of aluminium waste and the need to eliminate landfill usage. Dr Melanie Williams rounded off the session and made an interesting point about how blockchain could play a role in sustainability certification and traceability. Melanie also told delegates: “As European May/June 2018

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Aluminium said in its comment on the Plastics Strategy, all packaging must be treated equally. However, industry cannot just rely on the EU and consumers, it must play its part as well.” Innovation Hub European Aluminium played a pivotal role in the early stages of planning the Future Aluminium Forum. It was realised from the beginning that the Forum would provide the perfect platform to present the Innovation Hub, which is a proactive community of innovative companies from across Europe’s aluminium value chain. The goal is to trigger research projects that advance a sustainable future and tackle technological challenges, thereby advancing the industry’s Sustainability Roadmap to 2025. The Innovation Hub Session saw Hans Erik Vatne, Serge Despinasse from Fives Aluminium Division, Claudio Pastrone from Instituto Superiore Mario Boella and Christian Leroy, Manager of the Innovation Hub at European Aluminium come together to discuss how digitalisation can boost innovation and sustainability in the aluminium sector, especially through collaborative public-private funded projects and a cross-sectoral approach. The panel discussion pressed the point that collaboration is crucial for innovation in areas such as safety. Hans Erik Vatne told the audience that he does not believe humans will be replaced by automation, but automation can increase workplace safety and create more interesting jobs by eliminating repetitive tasks. Training is also the key to safety prevention and the panel agreed that in order to aid digitalisation, staff must be properly trained to fill the skills gap in certain domains. By going digital, it is hoped that the aluminium industry will May/June 2018

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also become more attractive to a younger workforce. What does the future look like? The remaining sessions of Day 2 took a look at products and processes working to help streamline the supply chain and what the future of aluminium manufacturing will look like. Claudio Goldbach, Business Development Manager at Termica demonstrated a system he had developed, which can allow the furnace to talk to you! Claudio became known as the ‘Dr Doolittle’ of the industry and his engaging presentation demonstrated digitalisation of heat treatment and was a great example of Industry 4.0 in action in an aluminium manufacturing plant. It was for this reason, that Claudio was announced as the winner of the Innovation Award at the close of the conference. The Innovation Award is in collaboration with Aluminium International and recognises an innovative product or project from the Forum, deemed to make a difference to a process or optimise production. Congratulations to Claudio on being the first winner! Networking opportunities As well as a providing a wealth of content and a stepping stone for the industry to work towards digital production, the Future Aluminium Forum also hosted a number of networking breaks and a delegate dinner. The breaks were held alongside a dedicated table top exhibition, which saw companies such as ALTEK, QuinLogic GmbH, Innoval Technology Ltd, Achenbach Buschhütten, Ametek Land, Claudius Peters, GHI Hornos Industriales S.L, GLAMA Maschinenbau GmbH, Lintec

Europe, PyroGenesis Canada and Thermo Fisher all present their products and processes. Delegates were able to engage with exhibitors in an informal environment and view the technologies on display, which included Virtual Reality concepts and cloud based applications. A networking dinner was also held on the first night, which saw more than 100 delegates gather to enjoy the local Italian hospitality in relaxed surroundings. Closing remarks One of the most important points to take away from this inaugural event is that the industry needs to work together in order to streamline efficiency and create an environment open to innovation. Companies and even competitors need to support each other, sharing ideas and practices in order to allow us to move seamlessly into a digital age. The Forum highlighted that Industry 4.0 plays a role in research projects, applications, equipment, processes, efficiency and even the workforce. Delegates learned how best to collect and store data, the importance of reliable data and its protection against security threats. It is clear that new technologies are being put in place to prevent risks, increase safety, reduce energy usage and improve the impact of aluminium manufacturing on the environment. However, this integration of new technologies will not happen overnight and delegates expressed their gratitude to the organisers that the Future Aluminium Forum helped to solidify relationships across the value chain and with solution providers; making the industry more prepared than ever to enter the Fourth Industrial Revolution. � Aluminium International Today

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Towards 4.0: The Smelter of the Future Factory of the Future, Industry 4.0, Smart factory, various designations co-exist to name the Fourth Industrial Revolution: A profound mutation of production modes within a highly evolving supply chain. By Olivier Dufour, Patrick Richard, Claude Vanvoren and Coll* This fourth industrial revolution was preceded by mechanisation, electrification and automation. This revolution is mainly illustrated by Information Technologies (IT) and Operation Technologies (OT) convergence i.e. Internet linking previously isolated control and operation systems, allowing the transition to an open and interconnected “Digital supply network”. The development of this “plant of the future” aims at reaching a new threshold of competitiveness and sustainability leveraging the following main drivers: � Improving asset efficiency and use � Reducing waste, improving recovery and quality � Optimising processes and flows for cost reduction � Reducing capital employed and work in progress through virtual supply chain integration � Improving employee safety, reducing

environmental impact through efficient resource usage, in particular energy, ...

The smart factory marks a shift from automated mass production to personalised mass customisation. This latter element, coupled with the abovementioned aspects, opens up synergies between production hubs and customers, suppliers or partner locations and shortens the value chain (Fig. 1). “4.0 factories” are more developed in manufacturing industries. In contrast, there are only few examples in process and commodity industries such as cement, paper, chemicals or - closer to us - steel and aluminium. Based on this observation, we studied the manufacturing developments to identify concepts transposable to the “Smelter of the Future” and evaluate the industrial, technical and economic conditions that would make them attractive to decision makers in our industry.

1. Smart Factory overview Industry 4.0 marks the transition from partially automated plants, often managed in silos, with loose horizontal and vertical integration - factories 3.0 - to “smart” factories based on flexible, connected and optimised workshops composed of collaborative machines[1]. The plant of the future is therefore: A connected factory: � Digitally linked with partners, suppliers and customers, allowing real time, fully traced, adjustment of processes and products. � Using autonomous and self-powered low-cost sensors for in-depth process performance, equipment condition and product quality monitoring. � Based on advanced self-controlled flexible robotic tending equipment, collaborating with operators. � Allowing a shop-floor decisionmaking process and interaction through cyber-physical systems (CPS), machine-

Digital supply networks Synchronised planning Traditional supply chain

Dynamic fulfillment

Connected customer

Cognitive planning Quality sensing







3D printing Sensor-driven replenishment

Support factory

Digital development

Fig 1. Shift from traditional supply chain to digital supply network [2] Source: Deloitte analysis

Intelligent supply

*AVTAL: Association for promoting French aluminium technological heritage Aluminium International Today

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Opportunity value


Single asset Maximising the performance of a single asset (e.g. machinery, tools, inventory, equipment, people)

Production line Improving the performance of a series of dependent assets (ie production line or manufacturing cell)

Factory Optimising the performance of an individual plant by better connecting and utilising assets

Factory network Maximising network performance by sharing capacity across sites in real time and connecting to the entire supply chain and product development cycle

Exponential value can be unlocked for manufacturers by implementing a complete smart factory or network of smart factories across the enterprise

Fig 2. Progressive transformation towards 4.0 in manufacturing [2]. Source: Deloitte analysis

to-machine or even sensor-to-ERP communication (Internet of Things). � using “Big data analytics” algorithms, allowing to move from a reactive to a predictive scale on equipment and process drifts. An integrated factory: � where all flows, equipment and processes are modelled, allowing use of virtual reality for design, staff training or remote control. � in which Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), Manufacturing Execution System (MES) and process control are closely integrated. � where utility consumption is made flexible to allow partnership with suppliers. � A virtual factory made of several physical plants allowing systemic optimisation. Besides the major impact that this creates on employment, skills, work organisation and change management (see textbox), this development highlights also a set of other new challenges such as cyber-security, interoperability of heterogeneous systems, upstream integrated and life-cycle based co-design of product/equipment/process or even opportunities like moving to “remote service offer” models. 2. Smelter of the Future: from Manufacturing to Process Industry Building on manufacturing success, it’s time for the process industry to embrace the 4.0 concepts. The manufacturing journey towards 4.0 started several years ago as a logical next step to intensive automation. Manufacturing automation was driven by the significant weight of labour cost in overall production cost, directly (direct productivity, cycle time, access to labour May/June 2018

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at acceptable rate, …) or indirectly (quality deficiencies associated with repetitive tasks, …). Automation enabled the rise of the Smart Factory and access to Mass Customisation. In contrast, automation in smelters suffered from a lower labour vs production cost ratio and higher investment costs. Moreover, until recently, product quality and product customisation were not significant drivers in the aluminium commodity market. Most smelters have today reached a competitiveness plateau and future gains cannot come from a new wave of headcount and cost reduction, but from a significant improvement of process performance. With this in mind, one can easily foresee how some 4.0 tools, applied to optimised processes, could be the answer to underperformance or process excursions, whilst enabling lower costs in raw material or energy usage. In manufacturing, automation was the stepping stone for the Smart Factory tools development. For the Smelter of the Future, the need and opportunity to use Smart Factory tools will trigger, through enhanced returns, a wave of automation which will lead to significant investments that will have to be coordinated across the plant to fully capture the benefits. This new automation wave will bring improved working conditions, higher safety levels, more attractive jobs, solutions to environmental challenges and opportunities for new product specifications. 3. Digitalisation of existing smelters As illustrated in Fig.2 for Manufacturing, there is no need to wait for a hypothetic “big bang” to enter the journey towards 4.0. Far better is the option to start small and scale up to unlock value. However, it would be misleading

to suggest this journey will consist of independent, incremental modernisations, decided on a case by case approach satisfying usual short-term profitability criteria. Company digitalisation requires a holistic vision of the end state and demands significant investments in order to fully reap the benefits provided by the synergies between the different transformations undertaken at plant and company level. When looking at existing smelter situation through the lenses of the sketch (see Fig.3), it becomes obvious that numerous initiatives have already been implemented, however often without a coordinated approach and, more importantly, without the compulsory competency portfolio and organisational shifts required. A more detailed analysis of the different smelter workshops helps identify which technologies are already available or in an advanced development stage. a. Substation Seen in the past as a “fire and forget” investment, the last twenty years have reminded the criticality of this workshop. Its failure leads to catastrophic loss of production and massive restart costs. Maintenance practices from manufacturing (predictive maintenance, remote servicing, ...) could be implemented immediately. This workshop is critically sensitive to real time action carried out by staff in emergency situation. Virtual training and remote expert engagement can prevent huge financial losses. b. Carbon plant Green Anodes Plant and Rodding Shop are very close to manufacturing lines, with high level of automation and process instrumentation. A Smart Data approach, combining process improvement and predictive maintenance[3] is well suited to support the continuous improvement (average level and spread) of anode characteristics. Anode Baking Furnace is probably the current weak point with a disappointing level of automation for a workshop which could be seen mainly as handling activities (green and baked anodes, raw material, equipment, …). Technology is already available([8], [9]) to support anode tracking from raw material, green and bake stage, performance on reduction cell up to feedback loop with butt characteristics at rodding shop. This is the critical element to improve, in an integrated way, carbon plant and reduction performance and is a perfect illustration of the “intelligent plant” concept. Aluminium International Today

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Smelter digitalisation examples

PTA monotoring

Reduction line(s) digitalisation Anode plant monitoring




Metal flow management


Equipment monotoring Anode tracing


Reduction performance

FTA monotoring

Operation center

0,8 0,7 0,6 0,5

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Smelter network

Fig 3. Digitalisation examples and organisational change progress

c. Casthouse Casthouse is also very close to manufacturing and will benefit directly from a Smart Data approach. However, casthouse specificities are elsewhere. This could be the place where Mass Customisation enters the Smelter of the Future. Less attractive for mega smelters producing commodities for the global market, it is much more relevant for small/medium size smelters producing Value Added Products, closer to downstream customers and final users, as commonly found in Europe. The smelter can reach another level of competitiveness by full metal flow integration from reduction to fabrication, moving from a “push” mode to a “pull on demand” using advanced control systems and automation in casthouse, reduction and transport. d. Reduction Finally, the reduction line also holds a key challenge of the Smelter of the Future. Even today, reduction performance is too often characterised by periods of underperformance in comparison with the technology’s full potential. These periods, as illustrated by curve 1 in Fig.4, range from limited disturbances to major process excursions, often caused by: � Cell operation disruption, possibly worsened by unreliable operating practices (intrinsic quality or timing inconsistency) � Poor adjustment by technical management and/or process control to external disturbances (raw materials, …) Moving from situation 1 to 2 and 3 implies a significant improvement in operational performance and, obviously, competitiveness. Such improvement is at reach, with technologies already available or in advanced stages of development, through a step change in automation associated with Smart Data tools.

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0,1 0


Fig 4. Schematic illustration of smelter operational performance

For example: � Heavy load handling by unmanned vehicles � Autonomous devices for tapping, measurement and sampling � Self-powered sensors enabling next generation of process control and Big Data usage However, the critical element will remain the automatic anode change. Several tests and attempts have been made during the last decades (Pechiney / ECL; Rio Tinto / Fives ECL; Hydro / NKM; ….)[10,11,12]. They have demonstrated the difficulties associated with safety (extreme complexity of safety systems until potrooms are considered as restricted area) and technical hurdles. Attempts to automate manual sequences have led to high complexity, long cycle times and insufficient success rate. It is now clear that an integrated cell and anode handling design could overcome those difficulties and unlock expected return on investment in a retrofit context. e. Smelter network The Factory Network concept is also perfectly suited to develop “Connected Smelters”: � Shared technical management, based on Smart Data and possibly Excellence Centres � Shared high level expertise � Real time support for crisis management � Integrated supply chain management when geographically applicable A progressive development of such network (both through the number of connected workshops and plants) is achievable as demonstrated by Rio Tinto [4] f. Smelter of the Future: an integral part of utility network The ever-increasing ratio of renewables in the energy mix (35% for electricity in Europe in 2030[5]) further complexifies

the utility network management. With time and experiments, most smelters are now able to offer basic utility network demand response systems by modulating power input, fully or partially, for a limited time, with acceptable impacts on process efficiency. This enables utilities to optimise their cost structure and smelters are rewarded by a lower average energy rate[7]. However, this calls for higher integration of the smelters in those networks. 4.0 tools will also support this welcome development: � The “Connected Smelter” will be part of the utility network, enabling more accurate preventive actions ahead of modulation needs � Automation and advanced process control systems will enable real time plant operation adjustments � Smart Data will feed selflearning simulation models which will minimise efficiency loss, particularly by supporting decision makers on their best compensation strategy g. Change management As with any transformation, the journey to 4.0 raises a human challenge probably even higher than the technical one. Here are some of the hot topics to be addressed: � Design of target organisation and identification of future competencies (see Smelter of the Future Organisation textbox) � Staffing of new competencies that cannot be developed internally � Destaffing of obsolete competencies � Management of “detrainingretraining” of internal competencies through individual development plans 4. Conclusion The advent of the Smelter 4.0 is today an opportunity triggered by the availability of Smart Factory tools and a necessity to unlock the next level of competitiveness. Unlike manufacturing where advanced Aluminium International Today

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THE COMBINATION OF A WIDE RANGE OF SERVICES WITH A NETWORK OF LOCAL EXPERTS IN THE ALUMINIUM INDUSTRY FIVES’ EXPERTS ARE COMMITTED TO ASSISTING CUSTOMERS in both improving their plant’s performance and availability, and ensuring the long-term sustainability of their installations. Thanks to highly-skilled and proactive Aluminium teams based in Australia, Bahrain, Canada, Europe, India, Russia, South Africa and UA E, Fives provides an efficient response to your daily needs. From preventive maintenance, modernization, inspection, repair to audit and training, Fives has a unique technical expertise coming from its experience as both equipment designer and supplier, and global solution integrator. Fives aims at enhancing production on a long-term basis while ensuring operators’ safety and equipment reliability. Aluminium

16 FUTURE OF ALUMINIUM automation gave birth to the Smart Factory, the availability of smart tools will support the Smelter of the Future full automation, with more attractive return on investments. The Smelter of the Future is not restrained to a hypothetical still-to-be-designed Greenfield plant. Digitalisation of existing smelters is not only feasible but desirable to preserve their competitiveness. This transformation will deliver its expected value only if the following fundamentals are fulfilled: � This transformation cannot only consist of isolated opportunistic incremental modernisations. A holistic vision of the end state is required. To be relevant, this vision needs to be developed by a multidisciplinary team as digitalisation encompasses the whole value chain. � Coordinated investments are required to fully capture the benefits of integrating the different workshops and of connecting smelters together. � This transformation requires a large portfolio of competencies which do not necessarily exist within the organisation: it needs to rely on an ecosystem all along its journey � Last but not least, this transformation requires a vision of the end state organisation, of the target competency portfolio and a change management plan meticulously prepared and rigorously executed. The advent of the Smelter of the Future

therefore requires a strategic vision of the whole primary aluminium value chain and this is where it converges with manufacturing. � Bibliography

1. Définir l’usine du futur, La Fabrique de l’industrie, available : http://www. Chantiers/Synthese_concept.pdf 2. R. Burke, A. Mussomeli, S. Laaper, M. Hartigan and B. Sniderman, (2017, August) “The smart factory – Responsive, adaptive, connected manufacturing”, Deloitte University Press, available: https:// industry-4-0/smart-factory-connectedmanufacturing.html 3. M. Hebert “Le big data au service de la maintenance chez Fives ECL”, L’usine Nouvelle, available: https://www. 4. C. Vanvoren, (2016, October) ICSOBA Conference “Data connectivity, a Key Feature of the Smelter of the Future” 5. EU (2014, October) “2020 climate & energy package” 6. Frédéric Laloux, (2014) “Reinventing Organisations, A guide to creating Organisations Inspired by the Next Stage of Human Consciousness” 7. N. Depree, R. Düssel, P. Patel, T. Reek, TMS light metals, (2016), The “Virtual battery”

– Operating an Aluminium Smelter with flexible energy input. 8. Outotec, 2013 http://www.outotec. com/company/media/news/2013/ outotec-artstm-anode-and-rod-trackingsystem-for-primary-aluminum-smelte rs/?td=1B2M2Y8AsgTpgAmY7PhCfg %3d%3d&_t_q=anode+tracking&_t_ tags=language%3aen%2csiteid %3a1cba21d0-a523-4c23-8a7ec8179d705391&_t_ip= NewsPage/_ea7b183b-9f62-41e7-838311b4ac835285_en&_t_hit.pos=1 9. D.d, A., Grle, I., Harwardt, A., & Beilstein, M. (2014). Arts-Anode & Rod Tracking System - A New Tool for Optimization of Anode Performance. In Light Metals 2014 (pp. 1259–1262). Springer, Cham. https:// 10. Innovations in Pot Tending at the Qatalum Smelter, https://www.qatalum. com/Media/News/Pages/Innovations-in-PotTending-at-the-Qatalum-Smelter.aspx 11. AP Technology™ Newsletter, Issue 19, (2015, March), AP_newsletter_2015.pdf 12. Michael Trideau, ICSOBA (2015) “Embedded service robot: towards an automated, efficient and green smelter”, files/2015paper/aluminiumpapers/AL09%20 -%20Embedded%20service%20robot%20 -%20towards%20an%20automated%20 efficient%20and%20green%20smelter.pdf

Smelter of the Future organisation During the past half-century, smelter’s organisations have evolved, pushed by technology evolution, along two main streams: � Direct productivity increase through headcount reduction, which today, due to lack of new technological breakthrough, has started to level off. � Concurrently, attempts to flatten organisations with self-managed teams have fell short of delivering expected results, mainly because of misalignment between company – set team objectives and those set by the teams for themselves. This often led back to pyramidal organisations with the reintroduction of front line management. This mid-management is however often overloaded with administrative tasks, sometimes leading them to overlook core technical tasks. Today, due to its working conditions, competency profiles and organisational structure, process industries don’t

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appeal to young graduates who cannot grasp how their professional aspirations will be met. To address this challenge, new organisations are proposed (i.e. F-form company[6]). However, we don’t think they will better perform until the root cause described earlier is addressed. The 4.0 plant as an enabler for such innovative organisations

By drastically improving working conditions through automation and by increasing work attractiveness by the usage of smart tools, the 4.0 plant creates

the conditions for more homogeneous teams, which is the key element to achieve satisfactory alignment between company and team objectives. With such level of expertise and accountability, each team member will feel on equal terms and will share the same objectives set through fact-based concerted decision-making processes. However, such organisations need to be sized with operation crisis in mind, as such situation in a smelter requires significant human resources on the shop floor. Thorough crisis situation analysis (i.e. blackout) would be required ahead of organisation design. In order to achieve expected productivity target, smelter employees would be required to be trained to crisis situation contingency roles and remote high-level expertise would need to be available, for example from a centralised Excellence Centre. All those competencies would need to be rigorously maintained, typically using a mix of virtual training tools and onthe-ground drills.

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Prospecting for gold in the aluminium industry Data is said to be the ’gold of the 21st century’[1]. The reasons for this comparison are the high values and profits derived from data in other branches like the telecommunications and consumer-industry. In the metals branch the usage of production data by disciplines like machine learning or predictive modelling is still in its infancy. One major difference between the metals-sector and the consumerindustry is the availability of data in a cloud-based environment and the openness to cloud-based technologies. By Roger Feist* In recent years, many applications and impressive studies about artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) were presented to the public. Maybe the most impressive one was Google’s AlphaGo which was able to win games against human champions[2]. Other AI-applications like speech- or textrecognition are already in use on every smartphone. But also more business related applications are published for the financial sector or in the production industry. All these applications have something in common; their success is based on big amounts of data. AlphaGo’s success is based on neural networks generating millions of different games and gamingsituations for its own training. It was only possible to realise it inside a cloudinfrastructure, where big amounts of memory and computational power from over 1200 CPU could be reserved for

some days. The huge computational infrastructure of the web built by companies like Amazon, Google and Microsoft offers flexible usage to private and business customers and relieve their users from IT-administration-tasks. On cloud-platforms powerful tools for data access and analysis are available and can be used under economic conditions. Obviously many of the successful approaches from other industries and many of the used algorithms are also applicable to tasks in the metals-production but the number of real applications is still small. In spite of the high performance and usability of the cloud based tools they are almost not used in the aluminium industry. One reason may be the strength of this industry in ‘classic’ ways of data analysis. Most producers have invested in powerful systems for data collection and analysis on premise. If events occur like strip-breaks or breakdowns the data is

used by the maintenance staff to find the root course of the event. Additionally some applications compute ‘aggregates’ like ‘maximum speed’ or ‘average thickness performance’ to send them to upper-level systems. As a consequence the major part of the data remains unused by today. Data security considerations A frequently heard argument for keeping the data in ‘on-premise’-networks and to forgo all the advantages of cloudplatforms is the data-security. But data stored in the cloud is not the same as ‘open’ or ‘public’ data. All major cloud platforms emphasise the protection and privacy of data. They employ hundreds of IT-security experts to monitor their infrastructure, they follow the guidelines of the international security-standard ISO 27001, they are audited by third parties regularly and in addition to their selfcontrol they also offer a reward-program

Fig 1. Dataflow in Optilink

*Business Unit Digitalisation, Achenbach Buschhütten GmbH & Co. KG Aluminium International Today

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for external people disclosing a leak[3]. Many organisations with sensitive data like banks or assurances are already storing data in the cloud relying on the security-measures. In the next years many productive systems like CAD or PDM will move to clouds or offer cloudbased-solutions because of the multiple advantages. Data accessibility Another reason for the scarce application of ML-algorithms in aluminium production is the storage-type of the data inside the local networks. Usually a single file for each production unit is written and it is only accessible by special software dedicated to this file format. If a learning algorithm is supposed to compare values of a month of production, it usually has no direct access to the data. By means of a manual process the data has to be extracted and transferred to a database before the algorithm can access it. As performing local databases are expensive and challenging in terms of administration the selections of extracted data is usually small. IoT-device-concept The alternative to this time consuming procedure is the application of the IoTdevice-concept. IoT-device-concept means that every physical device – in our case every machine – has a data based representation in the Internet. It contains the current situation of the machine as well as its history. As an example: For a rolling mill having important values like line speed, material thickness and flatness measurement at least these are stored. As in the physical machine, the access to the data is only possible by passing access control mechanisms like passwords. Once authorised, a user can easily generate valuable information by using the captured data. As the data is accessible in a cloud-environment all analysis tools used by other branches can be applied

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Achenbach OPTILINK An example for the successful implementation of such an IoTconcept is Achenbach OPTILINK (R). It is an IoT-platform made of three major components: 1) Hardware dedicated to be installed in machinery networks, to subscribe to data on the PLCs inside the network on the one side and to transmit this data on secure paths to the cloud on the other side. For the developers it was essential not only to connect to new systems but also to offer connectivity to ‘branchstandards’ like Siemens S7 or IBA. 2) A ‘backend logic’ providing realtime views on the incoming data, supervising the data-stream for events, executing the reaction process in case of events and storing the data in a highly accessible data warehouse. 3) A user frontend granting access to the information by providing preconfigured dashboards, a dashboard editor for the user, integration of MLtools and standard math-software of course including modern authentication mechanisms.

Fig 2. Users can choose from a big variety of available graphs Decelerate 8,19%

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like business intelligence tools, prediction algorithms or ML.

Instantly after connecting the machine to the platform a registered Optilink user has worldwide access via web-browser to the actual situation in his plant. Events can be configured to trigger explicit information by email; e.g. a person responsible for production wants to be automatically informed if a machine is stopped for more than one hour. With the increasing amount of production data the door is open to compare the actual situation with the past, to calculate and visualise KPIs or to start with learning algorithms. Production-line wide optimisation procedures based on data evaluation can start when more than one machine in the production chain is connected. Correlations between results on different machines can be found or end-customer claims can easily be tracked back to their origin. If there is a complete picture of the production available in Optilink, all units, which are eventually affected by a customer claim, can be found and the appropriate action can be chosen. Also comparison between different machines on different sites is easy. As all the data end up in the same datawarehouse, they can be accessed and compared with the same tools and again from every place in the world. Base Technology from Google Cloud Platform As the base-technology Achenbach is relying on Googles Cloud Platform and Google’s Data-Warehouse ‘Big Query’ for professional applications. Because of their leadership Google offers an excellent infrastructure to customers. Google is dedicated to highest availability, data security and offer attractive packages to the professional user. ‘Big Query’ is highly scalable and has very good streaming-capabilities, which means that there are no limitations in the amount of data to store and analyse. Even

Fig 4. Complete dashboard after assembly

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Terabytes of data can be searched in seconds because of the special columnar structure in the database. As a typical cloudservice there is no need to administer anything so the working time can be spent to analyse the data[4]. On basis of Google’s cloud-platform services the Achenbach engineers have worked together with the IT-specialists from GmbH in Stuttgart in order to generate a flexible and powerful product.


Sample applications The variety of possible applications is endless and easy to extend by the end-user of the system. There are an increasing number of dashboards of common interest provided directly with the installation, which are ‘ready to use’. Examples are ‘coil based reporting’ as well as analytic modules for KPI’s like ‘speed efficiency’, ‘weight efficiency’ and many more. The way to display these KPI’s can be chosen from a variety of options as shown in Fig 2. Extrapolations for all parameters can be calculated and displayed easily. All these options are accessible by means of a web-based dashboard editor integrated in the Optilink system (Fig 3). A production-engineer who is interested in improving stop times or coil change times could design a special dashboard monitoring this item like the one displayed in Fig 4, one who is interested in optimising quality can use another dashboard focusing on this. For top-level decisions productivity of different plants can be shown in a map-view with capabilities to ‘drill down’ inside the single locations or a single machine. What’s next? Besides all instantaneous benefits of such cloud-based system the most fascinating applications are the applications through artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML). Once an appropriate amount of production data is available and accessible the data-scientists can start their work. Data driven models can be implemented and trained in order to perform tasks called ‘anomaly detection’. The model will use the everyday data to identify the ‘normal’ behaviour of every valve and generate an alert if the behaviour suddenly changes. By these means defective parts can be identified and changed before they really break and incidents with the machine are less likely. To have powerful support in realising these tasks Achenbach’s team has integrated ‘Rapidminer Server’ and ‘Matlab-Apps’ into their platform. Rapidminer was recently named by Gartner to be a market-leader for datascience platforms[5]. Matlab is a frequently used framework commonly used for solving complex mathematical tasks like advanced statistics and ML. With this background Achenbach’s engineers are optimistic that in the near future ‘Artificial Intelligence’ will be able to give advices to the machinery owner how to optimise his production. The fundamental task to reach this goal is solved – digital twins for all machines taking part in the aluminium production can be realised today. �

Suitable for Indoor & Outdoor

Improved Storage Utilisation

Safer Product Handling

Increased Productivity

References: [1] [2] Big-Data Analytics for Cloud, IoT and Cognitive Computing; Kai Hwang, Min Chen; John Wiley&Sons; 2017 [3] [4] [5]

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The Internet of Things is here: How to get started By Jerry Foster* The Internet of Things extends smart connectivity to a whole new world of devices. As individual consumers, we can see the increasing influence of IoT in our everyday lives with “smart” light switches and thermostats, Amazon’s Alexa, and connected automobiles. The Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) is a subset of IoT specific to manufacturing. This describes a similar explosion of connectivity from the shop floor to the top floor of businesses around the world. The IIoT, while still just emerging, is only expected to grow. In fact, IIoT in the manufacturing industry alone has a potential economic impact of $1.2$3.7 trillion a year by 2025, says a new McKinsey Global Institute report. According to PwC, “The IoT is expected to drive a massive increase in connected devices and revenue across multiple industries,” with an increase in connected devices from 5.4 billion in 2014 to 30 billion in 2020. Defined standards, lower prices on connected devices, and IoT concepts applied to manufacturing will all contribute to changing business models for manufacturers. In short, IIoT is here to stay. And if you haven’t already started exploring IIoT and how it can benefit your business, now is a good time to start. Start with the business Each industry, and business, has its unique challenges. Understanding these issues can help set manufacturers up for success when interpreting IIoT for their business. As a CTO, I often see leaders unsure of where to start. True connectivity is more than just implementing tablets, sensors or wearables on the shop floor. Leading manufacturers look deeper, and use a common platform to bring together facilities, people, processes, systems the supply chain and customers in a closely linked ecosystem. By looking at connectivity as an opportunity to improve the business, manufacturers can design and deploy a

system that connects the right things and delivers the right kind of data to operators, managers and leaders. Accurate data can be delivered to both local and centralised dashboards where employees can see, interact with and analyse information to make better decisions in real-time. Recent advancements in analytics tools allow this huge amount of data to be broken down and served up in a visual, actionable way, making it easier than ever

before to understand the vast amount of information being collected. Learn from manufacturing leaders Our 600 customers alone process more than 5 billion transactions every single day in 2,000 facilities in 20+ countries, with a significant amount of those transactions coming from connected devices on the shop floor. This gives us a first hand look at how companies are using IIoT for their

*Plex Systems May/June 2018

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specific needs. Consider MFC Netform, a metalforming manufacturer of components used for powertrains in automotive and agriculture. MFC implemented a cloud ERP system to improve quality and reduce scrap, and then started adding other capabilities - connecting their people, equipment and processes to the cloud. MFC’s machine vision inspection system automatically rejects any part that doesn’t meet quality specifications. The system will then pull the accumulated value of Aluminium International Today

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the scrapped part from the ERP system and multiply it by the number of scrapped units. This allows the operator to quantify the actual ‘value’ of the scrap, rather than just a pile of parts in a bin. Because MFC’s entire enterprise is connected, machine-tabulated information and any related reporting is accessible to all users. The company can automatically correlate shop floor machine inspection results to product values to produce an accurate scrap cost. Contract metal manufacturer G&W Products provides metal fabrication, stamping and powder coating services to the automotive, heavy equipment, military, transportation and retail industries. The company’s leadership realised that by empowering operators with individual connected devices, they could help their team become more efficient and more effective on the shop floor. By digitising its operations with 250 connected devices on the shop floor, G&W was able to eliminate manual entry on Excel spreadsheets. Gains included a 25 per cent reduction

other departments. A cloud platform can serve as the technology backbone that connects multiple departments and stakeholders in addition to the connected machines and devices helping deliver relevant information. Cloud solutions have the added benefit of being designed, from the outset, to connect to devices and other third-party systems. The next step is to focus on a clear initial project. You will want to use IIoT to identify, collect and analyse the relevant data necessary to solve a specific business problem (reduce scrap, for example), improve a particular process (replace a manual task with an automated one) or to reduce cost (move manufacturing from one facility to another based on electricity costs). Consider clear ways the information can be used by different departments and leaders to make corrections or forwardlooking changes for your business. Finally, look at the IoT endpoints. There are literally thousands of connected devices that can be used by manufacturers. From

in inventory, a significant improvement in on-time delivery and a 12 per cent increase in profitability.

industrial equipment, to iBeacons to smart switches, IP-enabled tools, and more, not to mention the commercial devices now available, exploring different technologies is an opportunity for experimentation and innovation at a relatively low cost. IIoT is no longer theoretical; it’s practical. By starting with the business, relying on established best practices and fostering a willingness to experiment, today’s manufacturers will find themselves defining the future of the industry. �

Follow best practices An IIoT strategy starts with an enterprise technology strategy. Think about your business’s technology foundation and how it connects across the organisation. The ideal system of record should enable your company to access information from the shop floor, as well as vital business information from finance, HR, sales and

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Smart aluminium temperature sensors for Industry 4.0 Dr Fiona Turner* looks at smart aluminium temperature sensors and how to achieve smart control and automatic alignment for autonomous operation and perfect aluminium pressing.

Press exit temperature profiles automatic press control using SPOT AL EQS

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Press exit temperature/C

Press exit temperature profiles manual press control

Press exit temperature/C

If we consider mechanisation, electrification and computer control to be three industrial revolutions that we already have experienced, then Industry 4.0 represents a fourth industrial revolution bringing autonomous control. It is a vision of the near future, whereby a smart factory might control itself based on detailed feedback from vast networks of sensors at all stages of a process with intelligent modelling and interpretation of their signals. In Industry 4.0 terminology, the key features are “interconnectivity” of “cyber-physical systems” handling “big data” by means of “cognitive computing”. AMETEK Land designs and manufactures infrared temperature measurement instrumentation. Our current product range for the aluminium industry is based on the SPOT AL EQS, a spot pyrometer that runs complex embedded software algorithms for both temperature and emissivity outputs. Coupled with a smart actuator for automatic alignment, the SPOT AL EQS can provide accurate temperature measurement for most current extrusion, quench and strip applications. We now are focussing our development efforts towards facilitating Industry 4.0 levels of data capture, interpretation, management and autonomy. With Modbus TCP communication and 10ms response time, huge amounts of data can be captured quickly. This “big data” itself, may be useful for quality purposes. However, it is “cognitive computing” that opens up new opportunities for smart control and autonomous operation through the intelligent interpretation of data from multiple instruments, with application appropriate logging of derived parameters.

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Fig 1. Press Exit Temperature Profile Graphs – Manual Press Control & Automatic Press Control

Fig 2. SPOTExtrusion and I/O Manager Software

*Physics Section Manager, AMETEK Land Aluminium International Today

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Smart control for perfect pressing Aluminium must be extruded within a tight temperature band. Too hot and the surface finish is ruined; too cold an extrusion or too slow a quench and it will not achieve the required hardness. Historically, manual measurements would be made occasionally with a surface thermocouple as the profile was moving, so the thermocouple had to move along at the same speed while it measured. Measurements were necessarily performed infrequently, so active feedback was not possible. Press settings that had worked well in the past were generally adopted and tweaked a little if post-process quality measurements were not up to standard. Now, with a temperature profile of every billet and active feedback from an AMETEK Land SPOT AL EQS thermometer at the press exit, the extrusion press can be fine-tuned to produce a perfect “top-hat� temperature profile. The graphs in Figure 1 show data taken before and after a SPOT AL EQS was integrated with an extrusion press control system to provide immediate feedback of press exit temperature. Fig 1. Further down the line, the quench rate also can be optimised. Press and quench exit temperatures can be integrated with a speed sensor to derive quench rate, which is directly linked to material hardness. Fig 2 shows our SPOTExtrusion and I/O Manager software. In this example, two SPOT AL EQS thermometers are mounted at the press exit and quench exit positions. Once the user has entered their separation, live input from a Doppler speed sensor measuring the rate of the movement of

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the extrusion enables calculation of the quench rate between the two positions. Alarms can be triggered in real time if conditions exceed permitted ranges to stop production long before an off-line quality check could identify a problem. Alternatively, a full log of processing conditions can be provided as a guarantee of quality to the end user. Automatic alignment for autonomous operation Perfect pressing requires alignment of the thermometer with a profile. On modern presses, multicavity dies are frequently used, so the number of cavities may change every few minutes. A single thermometer mounted above the press exit pointing vertically downwards no longer suffices. It would look straight through the gap in the middle of a symmetrically distributed even number of profiles. Historically, an operator would manually adjust the position of the thermometer, possibly climbing over the hot extrusion to do so. Industry 4.0, as well as a modern health and safety culture, demands automatic alignment. AMETEK Land has developed an intelligent actuator to enable autonomous operation of the temperature monitoring and control system. Mounted above or to one side of the profiles, the actuator rotates the axis of the thermometer to scan across all the extruded profiles, then selects one profile to monitor during continuous operation. The selected profile should be the one that a human operator would choose instinctively. The computer algorithm

for profile selection is surprisingly nontrivial, and the final system allows for several user options to be configured during the commissioning phase. Profiles are identified as regions in the scan with a temperature above a threshold value related to the maximum temperature of the current scan, but also related to the maximum scan temperature seen previously at that position in an example of machine learning. The measurement profile is selected by a further algorithm that endeavours to emulate human choice. If a user were to select a profile by eye, a user would naturally prefer the profile that subtended a wider view to the thermometer and was least likely to move out of view to a slightly hotter profile that presented only a narrow target. In this screenshot of the actuator/SPOT embedded webservers, the dotted green line on the graph indicates the chosen measurement position. Once the automatic alignment is complete, the selected position is held while the extrusion temperature profile for each billet is measured and controlled to enable the perfect pressing. The scan data, itself, is useful. The variation in peak temperatures between separate profiles at the press exit, as shown in the graph, contributes to perfect pressing in a second way. A profile that runs at a higher temperature indicates a cavity that is becoming obstructed, so a press exit scan can form a valuable health-check. Further down the line, a multiple profile scan performed after the quench section provides a similar health-check on the even distribution of the air- or water-quenching

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system and serves as a quality record of the quenching validity across all profiles. Scans can be triggered automatically on die change to align the thermometers correctly with a profile in the new arrangement. Scans also may be triggered automatically for particular billets or at pre-set time intervals to correct for gradual settling of the die. True autonomy occurs if the system itself detects when it needs to trigger a scan. We, therefore, have introduced a “threshold” scan trigger option, in which the actuator, itself, triggers a scan if the temperature falls below a threshold percentage of its maximum value. This is particularly important at post-quench locations at which profiles may not be tightly constrained laterally as they run along a roller bed and can appear to ‘wander’ from side to side. In “threshold” triggering mode, the actuator can be set to repeat its scan if the measured temperature drops by a user-configurable percentage. The threshold scanning mode currently provides automatic re-alignment once profile movement has occurred. Coupled with software that holds the previous temperature measurement while doing

a quick scan, it can be invisible to the press control software. However, a further enhancement is under development to offer more subtle tracking. The SPOT AL EQS algorithm is designed to work with low emissivity surfaces. The AL EQS algorithm works by fitting the current measurements to a complex, pseudo-3D dataset of previously calibrated emissivity, radiance and temperature values for different aluminium alloys. From the radiance received at the different wavelengths of the thermometer, emissivity as well as temperature can be calculated. Emissivity is a function of alloy type, wavelength and temperature, but once the SPOT has been aligned with a profile during its scan, and its measured values are used to perfect the press control settings, the emissivity values at the SPOT measurement wavelengths should not change during that press. Any fall in the measured value is likely due to misalignment. For example, consider an alloy with emissivity 0.1 being pressed at temperature of 550°C. If the measurement spot of the SPOT AL EQS was correctly aligned in the middle of the hot profile, it would be

measured as temperature of 550°C and emissivity 0.1. If the target spot was aligned with half of its area off the side of the hot profile, it would be measured as temperature of 550°C but emissivity closer to 0.5. Thus, by monitoring the calculated emissivity during steady state pressing, it is possible to identify when misalignment is starting to occur before the measured temperature has been affected and move the actuator a step or two to realign. Our next-generation actuator will feature an additional scan tracking mode based on emissivity monitoring. In these ways we aim to provide our Industry 4.0 vision for the future of aluminium extrusion. An “interconnectivity” of smart thermometers and actuators, handling “big data” by “cognitive computing” will automatically scan to identify profile positions after a die change; alert the customer to uneven die cavity or quench conditions; provide temperature measurements for perfect press/quench control; and make slight positional adjustments to track wandering profiles. � Contact


ALUMINIUM 2018 12th World Trade Fair & Conference

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Combilift officially opens €50 million g headquarters and manufacturing fa

Nadine Bloxsome* was invited to attend the opening celebrations at the new facility in Monaghan, Ireland. FORKLIFT manufacturer and material handling solutions provider Combilift has officially opened its new global headquarters and manufacturing facility in Monaghan, Ireland. Celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, the company also announced that it will be significantly expanding its workforce with the creation of 200 new jobs in the next three years. Speaking at the opening ceremony, the Irish Prime Minister An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar TD said: “Combilift is an incredible home-grown Monaghan success story. When the company was founded 20 years ago, it had three employees, a brilliant concept, and the ambition to make it a reality. Combilift is playing a significant role in Monaghan’s success, and I would like to congratulate Robert Moffett and Martin McVicar and everyone at Combilift on their achievements to date and wish them every success for the future.” Built at a cost of €50 million, the investment in the new 46,500 sq. m. (500,000 sq. ft) facility will allow Combilift to realise its ambitious growth plans. Martin McVicar, Managing Director said: “We have employed an additional 230 people since we announced our plans for this factory in 2015 and the combination of this state of the art production plant and the growing skilled workforce will allow us to double production within the next 5 years.” Combilift currently exports 98% of

its products to 85 countries through its 250-strong international dealer network. The current workforce stands at 550 people and the new employment opportunities will be for skilled technicians, design engineers, logistics and supply chain specialists and those with mechanical and electrical mechatronics skills. Mass customisation Martin McVicar attributes the company’s impressive growth and its status as an acknowledged world leader in the materialhandling sector to mass customisation. “Combilift has set the benchmark for the mass production of customised innovative products. Mass customisation is the new frontier for both the customer and the manufacturer as customers are increasingly expecting products to be tailored to their requirements. We listen to and take feedback on board from our customers and dealers to identify solutions that best match their individual specific needs.” Combilift invests 7% of its annual turnover in Research and Development to enhance its customisation capability and to maximise ROI for its customers. “The flexibility in our new facility means that we can continue to accommodate any request for a customised material handling solution. We also see ourselves as much more than a forklift manufacturer and are transforming the transport and logistics

sector with our innovative, space-spacing products and our services.” Combilift offers a free logistic and warehouse design service which enables customers to see the benefit that its products will bring to their business. “Our engineers proactively design, plan and produce material flow analysis and 3D animations - 150 to 200 per day for our worldwide customers - which clearly illustrate the capacity potential as well as the optimum flow of materials on their site.” said McVicar. Growth of Combilift Established by Martin McVicar, Managing Director and Robert in Moffett, Technical Director, in 1998, Combilift is a privately held and fully capitalised company. It developed the world’s first multidirectional all-wheel drive IC engine powered forklift in 1998. In the first year of operation it produced 18 units,17 of which were exported. The company has more than doubled in the last five years and now has 40,000 units in operation in over 85 countries. Combilift’s product portfolio has expanded way beyond its first multidirectional model according to McVicar: “Combilift has always focused on a number of niche market segments and has a proven track record of launching one or two new products annually. In the first 10 years we focussed

*Editor, Aluminium International Today May/June 2018

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n global g facility


FACTS � The new 46,500 sq. m purpose– built factory is set on a 100-acre site with room for future expansion when required. With 11 acres of roof space, it is one of the largest manufacturing operations under one single roof in the Republic of Ireland. � Four 90 metre moving assembly lines produce a finished truck every 15 minutes. � There are 60 welding bays, two

on the long load material handling sector with the multidirectional range which revolutionised the handling of long materials, allowing customers to handle long products in less space more safely.” Between 2008 and 2018 Combilift diversified its product ranged by developing a number of innovative space saving warehouse and heavy load handling products; the Aisle Master articulated truck and the Straddle Carrier (Combi-SC) respectively. Pedestrian products were introduced into the range in the last five years, enabling Combilift to gain a foothold in this growing market. The Combi-WR, Combi-WR4 and the Combi-CS all incorporate Combilift’s unique patented multi-positional tiller arm technology. “There is a growing demand for pedestrian trucks, driven by safety concerns where customers and/or employees are in the vicinity of operating forklifts,” said McVicar. “It is our intention to significantly expand this range, as can be seen with the launch of the new high lift capacity Combilift Powered Pallet Truck (Combi-HC-PPT).” New factory The new 46,500 sq. m purpose–built factory is set on a 100-acre site with room for future expansion when required. With 11 acres of roof space, it is one of the largest manufacturing operations under one single roof in the Republic of Ireland. Incorporating the latest manufacturing processes with a focus on sustainability, the new factory will enable Combilift to double its output in a single shift across all Aluminium International Today

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plasma cutting machines, three paint lines which use sustainable waterbased paints and three automatic shot blasters to cater for different sized products. � 12,000 pallet locations ensure ample storage space for parts and components. � Solar panels supply 185 kW of energy with a 1 MW Biomass plant fuelled by recycled wood � More than 50 truckloads of finished products are dispatched from the factory each week

The assembly lines in action

The Irish Prime Minister officially opens the factory

production lines. Four 90 metre moving assembly lines produce a finished truck every 15 minutes. There are 60 welding bays, two plasma cutting machines, three paint lines which use sustainable water-based paints and three automatic shot blasters to cater for different sized products. 12,000 pallet locations ensure ample storage space for parts and components. The facility also includes a 50-seat cinema training room, 5,000 m² of office space and a dedicated R&D Development and Testing Centre. Approximately 23% of roof space is covered in skylights, enabling staff to work in natural daylight without the assistance of artificial lighting. Other lighting is provided through 1100 LED light with individual PIR sensors. Solar

panels supply 185 kW of energy with a 1 MW Biomass plant fuelled by recycled wood (pallets etc.) to heat the spraying booths and assembly area. 110,000 litres of rain water are harvested for jet washing and bathroom facilities. More than 50 truckloads of finished products are dispatched from the factory each week, and spare parts are shipped across the world to the dealer network. Certified to international quality and safety management standards, the new headquarters and manufacturing facility has been awarded ISO 9001 international quality management system, ISO 14001 Environment Management and OHSAS 18001 Occupational Health and Safety Assessment Series. �

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MES on the move Nadine Bloxsome* spoke to Larry Harmon** to find out more about integrating Manufacturing Execution Systems within the aluminium industry. Q: What is MES? A: Simply stated, Manufacturing Execution Systems (MES) are computerised systems used in manufacturing to track and document the transformation of raw materials to finished goods. MES provides information that helps manufacturing decision makers understand how current conditions on the plant floor can be optimised to improve production output, in real time and in automatic generated reports.

1. Reduce waste, re-work and scrap. 2. Quicker setup and turn-around times for Furnace Charging and Casting. 3. Fast and accurate capture of costinformation (e.g. labour, scrap, downtime, and tooling). 4. Increased uptime.

Q: How long has Alizent/ Keops been installing MES Solution Systems? A: Alizent/Keops has been providing Manufacturing Solutions for over 30 years. Q: Which region is Alizent/ Keops primarily focused? A: We are currently placing a focus on the GCC as we have multiple clients in the region. We prefer to consider our Clients as Partners, because in the end, we will be there with them through good-times as well bad-times. We are also moving into Europe and the United States in 2018. Q: In the aluminium world, where does MES fit? A: As you know, the aluminium world is relatively small. There aren’t that many aluminium companies in the world. It is extremely competitive, and everyone is looking for an edge. There are a few basic principles of cost effective targets for any company, including the aluminium companies:

5. Incorporation of Paperless Workflow Activities. 6. Reduced inventory, through the eradication of just-in-time inventory. 7. Predictive Maintenance. An effective MES is a great tool to manage this entire list and then some. You begin saving money the instant you install and begin using it. Q: What are the challenges regarding MES in the market? A: One issue is that a lot of companies with smaller IT departments will try to copy or

develop their own type of system such as MES, but they soon realise it is much more beneficial to bring in a company with a proven product, and with the expertise necessary to justify the investment. Q: There is a lot of talk about increased production and faster turnaround times. Where does quality fit into this with MES? A: Quality is a critical component of MES. For example Sampling Practices can be determined, and managed as a prerequisite to Shipping. Additionally Physical Inspection criteria can be determined, collected, and also managed as a prerequisite to Shipping as well as trending on critical process issues. Q: MES sounds very good. Is this an off the shelf type service? A: Yes, We have a Core System that has been developed over many years. When a company is interested, our technical experts will make an onsite assessment and map out the areas in which we can help, for example improve production, save money, and increase quality. Using our Core System, we can modify and customise solutions that best fits an operation as required by our Client. Q: What are the true highlights of a MES System such as yours? A: Scheduling, Hot Metal Management, Furnace Charging, Production Management, Inspection, and Quality.

*Editor, Aluminium International Today **Business Development and Sales Director, Aluminum Division KEOPS a division of ALIZENT May/June 2018

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04-05-18 10:35


AGV’s: A new vision on safety and increased efficiency By Peter Vanvuchelen* When Hencon started as a company, the focus was on building quality machines for the aluminium Industry. Together with increasing experience and know-how, Hencon felt that industries were looking more for suppliers who are able to think with them about strategic choices, about how to facilitate in their production processes and about how to improve safety and climate in their plants. Low emission of the machines and a zero-tolerance on accidents are parameters that become crucial. In the meantime, higher productivity and increasing competition are factors that cannot longer be denied. Several high-profile trendsetting customers of Hencon are looking for possibilities to set up a ‘smart factory’, as soon as possible. Cyber-physical production systems are not just a dream any longer, with Industry 4.0., a new way of thinking is born. Smart Industry and AGVs The trend towards more automated, intelligent and interconnected systems is often referred to as ‘Smart Industry’ or ‘Industry 4.0.’ AGVs fit perfectly into this trend, in the first place because they operate fully autonomously. They connect to all other systems, such as the traffic management system, on its turn connected to the plant’s Manufacturing Execution System. An almost unlimited amount of data, such as the AGV’s live positions, battery status and readings from their scanners and sensors, can be made available for data gathering software, for example via OPC UA. In this way, a fleet of AGVs equipped with state-of-the-art sensors can - besides their primary task - serve as a troop of ‘explorers’, constantly collecting data on its trips through the plant, to feed a constantly updated model or visualisation of the state of the plant.

The collected information helps operators and plant managers to make better decisions based on actual and historical data. All this collected operational information is kept within the plant’s own protected network - so cybersecurity is assured. Specific challenges Hencon wants to offer the right products, services and solutions, to get ready for those new needs and started to develop Automatic Guided Vehicles. The first challenge that needed to be tackled, in order to respond to Smart Industry requirements, was the specific environment in aluminium plants. Dust, electromagnetic fields and extreme temperatures are the conditions under which AGV’s – highly precise technological machines – need to operate (in potrooms). Another remarkable change that grew into the organisation was the way in how to interact with its customer. ‘In the old days’, customers ordered machines for a well-specified purpose. Nowadays there is a continuous dialogue between Hencon and its customers, during which solutions for a smart industry are born progressively, after a mutual exchange of ideas, and the will to achieve goals that have never been set before. The relationship resulting from this kind of collaboration is based on mutual trust and the ambition to set new standards and can rather be described as a solid and durable partnership than as a traditional customer-supplier relationship. In the paragraphs below, I will highlight two aspects: � Safety � An example of how AGV’s increase efficiency (in this specific case: Furnace Charging Vehicles) Safety: New target = zero accidents Safety is always priority number one

because, although AGV’s are conceived to operate totally autonomously, the reality is that in most of the factories it is impossible to avoid situations in which machines and human being cross their paths. Therefore, Hencon equips its AGV’s with the latest/state of the art safety features, giving a significant improvement on worker’s safety. Our vehicles have all systems on board to detect humans wherever they might appear, and to avoid accidents. If people have been detected, the AGV will slow down or stop completely, long before a collision takes place. A 100% safe environment is at the benefit of every party involved and it must be emphasised that realisation of AGV’s, but even more the implementation of the final product in a real-life environment can only be successful under the condition of a strong relationship between both parties: The customer and Hencon. It takes a lot of time and mutual efforts. An example of how AGV’s increase efficiency Example: Furnace charging AGVs – high precision allows to make a vehicle as big as the furnace � Dimension of AGV matches furnace door opening size and minimises heat from escaping the furnace; � High charging capacity per batch (>10t per batch is possible) minimises the open time of the furnace door and therefore minimises heat loss and energy consumption even further; � Automating transport between the scrapyard and the hot furnaces take away people from the hot furnaces. They can focus on charging containers with the right type and amount of scrap, after which the AGV will take care of the rest. � In a typical setup of a furnace charging system with AGVs, the container is loaded with scrap while it is off the vehicle. By this means, the AGVs can be utilised much more efficiently compared

*Director Business Development, Hencon BV Aluminium International Today

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Impression of a typical setup of person- and object detection scanning fields on an AGV

With current anode bucket

to scrap charging machines with a nonexchangeable container � Compared to conventional (automatic) rail-bound charging systems they are much more flexible: Instead of requiring to be charged near the furnace, the AGVs can drive to the scrapyard themselves to pick up a container that is filled with a load of scrap. When not in use, the AGVs can park anywhere, without obstructing access to the furnace. � AGV’s can be charged and loaded at the same time (while docking on the loading station, the battery will be charged at the same time). This is a tremendous step forward in time-efficiency Thanks to all these steps, cycle times have been considerably shortened. Compared to furnace charging with traditional machines, an AGV fleet is for all these reasons smaller than a traditional fleet. In addition to this, the relatively simple set-up of our vehicles also leads to maintenance costs which are reduced to an absolute minimum and a durability of the vehicle that can be doubled compared to operator driven vehicles. Overview: Benefits of AGV’s AGVs will contribute to the efficiency of all kinds production processes and all kinds May/June 2018

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of logistical processes while increasing safety and reducing costs. The following benefits and properties can be identified: � Suitable for picking up, transporting and unloading any load (fluid aluminium, anodes) � Electrifying the powerpack leads to zero emission and less noise � Low costs (maintenance costs are extremely low, personnel costs are reduced tremendously) (in combination with a much higher output) � 100% Safety (no personnel involved) � Constant communication between machine and supervisors � System helps to track & trace quantities and locations of the transported materials) � Remote and even off-site monitoring of operation � Remote OEM support � The AGV will be directed via a Supervision system to the specific locations that are indicated by the Manufacturing Execution System (MES). This guarantees that the AGV is always at the right time at the right place and ensures the best production efficiency � Machine works 24/7 with an unprecedented reliability � More compact machines (no cabin required, no combustion engine)

� Complying with specific needs of Industry 4.0 � A beneficial collateral effect of AGV’s is that an AGV moves in a much more predictable and controlled way than a human-operated vehicle (e.g. it doesn’t bump into its load when picking this up). This – in combination with the lack of an operator’s cabin, electric engine etc. - results into a much lighter construction than conventional vehicles. Thanks to this, impressive energy consumption can be achieved and floor loads are lighter as well, allowing further maximisation of transport capacity of transport vehicles within the same floor load limitations, by pushing the vehicle/ cargo weight ratio further. Because our AGV’s are much more compact than traditional machines, they are also able to enter areas with limited width/height - where a human driven vehicle would be too large. If you’d like to know if/how AGV’s can be applied in your industry, Hencon is at all time available for more detailed information. Appointments can be made at the customer’s offices or at Hencon’s. � Contact

Aluminium International Today

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New financial partner allows Mecfor to accelerate development According to reports, Mecfor is poised for growth. Benefiting from a major investment by its new Canadian financial partner – SeaFort Capital – and from a strong and unchanged management team, the Quebec-based company has become independent and now wants to double its revenues. Mecfor is committed to a development plan focused on mergers and acquisitions in the primary and secondary aluminium sector, innovation and diversification towards rail maintenance equipment and the nuclear sector. – “We are pleased to announce this historic transaction, which gives Mecfor a new financial partner, providing access to capital and resources that will enable us to accelerate our ambitious development plans. We aim to reach new heights by focusing on a bold strategy based

on mergers, acquisitions, sustained investment in innovation, and operational diversification,” says Éloïse Harvey, B. Eng. & Mgmt, President of Mecfor. “SeaFort Capital is pleased to invest in Mecfor at a key stage in its development. We have great confidence in Éloïse Harvey and the entire Mecfor management team, and we are convinced that this partnership will foster growth, helping to make Mecfor a leader in heavy industry innovation and increasing its market share in the global metals, nuclear and rail industry,” adds Rob Normandeau, President of SeaFort Capital. “I endorse Éloïse’s wish and the strategic direction and expansion she has planned for Mecfor. The most important thing remains a company’s sustainability and I trust in the dynamism of Éloïse and my former partners to lead Mecfor towards a

prosperous future,” says Jeannot Harvey, Eng. MBA, President of Groupe Ceger. An ambitious development plan Through this transaction, which consolidates over 85 jobs at its factory and headquarters in Chicoutimi, Mecfor becomes independent from Groupe Ceger. Mecfor now has the financial resources and the capacity to continue its growth. The Quebec company is considering several merger and acquisition projects, both in Quebec and at the international level, and is actively engaged in discussions with key players in the primary and secondary aluminium sectors. Mecfor’s growth will be accompanied by significant investments in innovation, especially in artificial intelligence, and by the development of its rail maintenance equipment operations. �

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New cabin VISIO+ With lifting and rotation possibility on ECL Pot Tending Machines. By Jean Paul Leroy*

Fives has always been a pioneer in the supply of key equipment for the Aluminium Industry in order to maximise the performance of equipment and industrial installation. Fives’ teams are continuously developing technological innovations notably for the automation of pot operation services, aiming at enhancing productivity and improving the safety and health of operators. The Pot Tending Machine availability rate and performance is not only linked to the equipment itself but also to the comfort of the driving operator visibility. As an example, a standard potline with 9 high performance PTMs, eight in operation and 1 in preventive maintenance, tapping operations included, can operate today 360 pots instead of 264 few years ago. To meet such high requirements, Fives developed a new PTM driving cabin, named VISIO+. The comfort of the operator has been highly improved not only thanks to the new ergonomic seat integrating two joysticks and a better cool air circulation, but also thanks to a unique glazing configuration, which reduces the blind spots. More than 10 years ago, Fives developed a cabin-lifting device, which gives the possibility to access the PTM anywhere in the potroom. Consequently, there is no need to move up or down the machine using a dedicated access staircase. This function allows for a total flexibility and optimises the time of taking the job at each shift changing. The floor operator and the cabin operator can exchange very quickly without disturbing the colleague who is working on the next PTM to access the stairs. If this system is very useful for the operations in the potline, the maintenance teams also appreciate it. Indeed, with the possibility to go down the driving cabin

in the maintenance bay, the access to the cabin is much safer. Thus, maintenance operations like replacing glazing or aircooling device can be done from the floor without using any cherry picker or scissor lift. Many smelters already benefit from this feature with their ECL Pot Tending Machine. But today, Fives is now going further by offering his customers a new function of its PTM cabin with a possibility of extra angular motion on its latest generation PTM. Because in recent years, the use of the PTM mono-turret, where the tools and the driving cabin are fixed on the same frame, has become more and more current due to the compactness of the new pot line which optimises the building height, thus the cost. Nevertheless, sometimes, for specific operations, the visibility is a little bit less good than on the old double turret PTM, where the operator could turn around the tools with its cabin. Thus, for maximising his visibility, the operator has now the possibility to rotate his cabin from -30° to + 30° to eliminate eventual blind spots. This rotation is done thanks to a circular rail and electrical motorisation. The choice for this kind of motorisation enables to warranty an easy adjustable motion with acceleration and deceleration smooth slope for a maximum operator comfort. Conclusion The safety of people was one of the main considerations in the design of this system which is CE certified. Better working conditions of operators and optimised visibility in the cabin lead to increasing production and making operations faster and in a safer environment, key points for the global performance of the smelter. �

*Process Cranes Product Manager, Fives ECL, France May/June 2018

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Photo: courtesy Qatalum


Flexibility and efficiency

TAPPING SYSTEM BASED ON VEHICLES HMR’s tapping system consists of a tapping vehicle, crucible cleaner and auxiliary equipment, all one-man operated and completely closed for the benefit of safety and environment. HMR’s technology for smelters has been the reference in primary aluminium since 1956. HMR is situated in Norway with customers from all over the world. To stay tuned to the world of modern solutions for the primary aluminium smelter, meet HMR at Aluminium trade fair in Düsseldorf, Germany, 09 – 11 October 2018.

HMR Hydeq AS | N-6884 Øvre Årdal, Norway | e-mail:


Industry 4.0 in the aluminium smelter By Tor Arne Litlere*

The fourth industrial revolution of automation and data exchange in manufacturing technologies is rapidly entering into the well-known electrolysis environment. How can the old and established ways of handling this domain meet the new and innovative technical possibilities? It will demand all the owners, management, operators and suppliers throughout the whole value chain to grasp the extent of possibilities it offers. It will not only relate to the adapting of new sensors, or utilising possibilities in data and artificial intelligence, but just as much about “re-thinking” how things used to be done and whether an “outside the box” way of looking can help to renew the traditional approaches. HMR Hydeq designs and produces machinery for efficient handling of the

molten aluminium from the potroom to the casthouse. The tapping concept based on vehicles already provides a very efficient way of tapping, transporting and discharging aluminium. But Industry 4.0 and new technology opens up new doors. To succeed in this development journey, the company needs a close cooperation with, and a deep understanding of, the clients’ needs and operations. The most important aspects to cover are operational patterns, interfaces, standardisation of components and functions, adaption of new sensor technologies, and so on. Through this work, it is easier to analyse where in the cycle improvements and efficiency can be achieved, and at what cost and resource allocations. To harvest new possibilities and see the solutions in a new light, we all need to challenge our minds and accept different solutions to

well-known cases. We do know one thing for sure: Resources, functions, tasks and competences for the tapping cycle in the future will differ from the past – given that Industry 4.0 thinking is implemented. It means that the business strategy and product management value chain will also require new tools and new competences. HMR Hydeq has started the work with the autonomic handling of aluminium transport in the tapping cycle. This is not a new vision, but it gradually grows into focus, as technology to support this concept increasingly becomes accessible and commonplace. The potroom environment with its harsh and demanding operational conditions, much related to the strong electromagnetic fields, demands that new and more software configured products are able to

Next generation smelter - How to get there? An industry 4.0 development journey - for HMR and for its clients:

Monitoring and operational insights as basis for decisions

Reduced maintenance efforts and higher availability

Less manual operations, more standardized automatic and safer operations, clear interfaces

Higher utilization Ultimate of assets, improved utilization of planning, better asset, less direct operational operated and efficiency, more monitored less operations, energy next generation consumption products

*Eng. Automation, General Manager at HMR Hydeq AS, Norway, May/June 2018

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of rect nd ored , ion

deal with the challenges not known from the past. At the same time, these software configured technologies, cyber-physical systems, the Internet of things (IIoT) and components are key factors in moving of the smelter cycle products onwards into Industry 4.0 context. We know now that the resource and competence investment in developing of the aluminium smelter environment into the Industry 4.0 trend will be challenging, both in terms of Return on Investment perspective and technically. If we add the high rate of technology evolvement to this picture of the “smart factory”, we realise that we need to think ahead of ourselves. The Gartner’s Hype Curve for Emerging Technologies is a good illustration of how we can look at this process. Only a few years back, the technology that we experience today as a “commodity” and “well-known”, was seen as “possibly in the future”. Today we see new emerging technologies that will define how we experience commodity in a few years, and hence we, as a product developer, need to gain competence and knowledge much more rapidly and continuously as we move ahead. When we observe Gartner’s graph, we should pay special attention to the technologies, which are on the Slope



TUBE CLEANER HMR Hydeq designs, produces and services machinery for efficient tapping and transporting molten aluminium, based on the vehicles. All the products in this complete closed system, along with all externally interfaced equipment will be a part of the Industry 4.0 journey

of Enlightenment, as these will most probably define trends in the near future. At the same time, the users expect that the technologies that are already to be found on the Plateau of Productivity shall be utilised at large scale today, in order to be ahead of the development. As we chase towards the next generation smelter design, it is important for all parties to harvest along the way. For HMR it means to add functionality to its products, that address core challenges and represents value for clients. There is, and there will always be a gap between

possible solutions and feasible solutions for the adaption of technology in the aluminium smelter environment. It must be our mission to implement those that will bring most value to this environment and our customers. The steepness of the Industry 4.0 climb for the aluminium smelter environment will be determined by how well we all are able to redefine the processes, and utilise the emerging technologies presented for us. This is an exciting journey that for sure will take paths not yet spotted. �

Connected home Deep learning

Virtual assistants IoT platform Smart robots Edge computing

Plateau will be reached in: less than 2 years

Machine learning Automomous vehicles Nanotube electronics Cognitive computing Blockchain

Augmented data discovery Smart workspace

Conversational user interfaces Volumetric displays

Brain-computer interface Quantum computing

2 to 5 years 5 to 10 years more than 10 years

Commercial UAVs (drones) Cognitive expert advisors

Digital twin

HMR believes in a step by step approach to the Industry 4.0 journey, where the technology triggers and the business opportunities in conjunction will draw the road map




Serverless PaaS 5G Human augmentation Neuromorphic hardware

4D printing

Deep reinforcement learning Artificial general intelligence

Enterprise taxonomy and ontology management Software-defined security

Virtual reality

Augmented reality

Smart dust

Innovation trigger

As of July 2017 Peak of inflated expectations

Through the disillusionment

Slope of enlightenment

Plateau of productivity


Gartner Hype Cycle for Emerging Technologies, 2017 (Source: Gartner, Inc.

Aluminium International Today

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Towards 2030 By Germano Mendes de Paula*

On February 27th 2018, the Brazilian Aluminium Association (ABAL), in cooperation with the Ministry of Industry, Foreign Trade and Services (MDIC) and the National Industry Confederation (CNI), launched the Roadmap for the Brazilian Aluminium Value Chain 2030. This is a very interesting effort, especially when it is taken into consideration that long-term initiatives of such type are quite rare, not only in Brazil, but in the Latin America a whole. Motivations According to ABAL, among the base metals, aluminium is the most recent one. It has been utilised for industrial purposes for only 100 years, which brings possibilities for greater dynamism of market growth in comparison with the average of other materials, since aluminium is still is in the phase of introducing for several new uses. On the other hand, this also imposes some challenges, such as creating a knowledge base accessible to all industry participants. In addition, the worldwide aluminium industry has completely changed in the last fifteen years, mainly because China has displaced countries that throughout the century have been at the forefront of this market. This has brought much more complexity and uncertainties for aluminium producers around the world and Brazil is not an exception. At late 2016, ABAL decided to discuss in depth answers to this new competitive environment that were not just an exercise about possible futures. In this context, the mentioned association engaged in a longterm planning about the sustainability of the Brazilian aluminium value chain. Participants The Roadmap of the Brazilian Aluminium Value Chain 2030, which emphasises the new paths of innovation and sustainability, took more than a year to be concluded. It was a result of an ample process of collective building conducted

by the Observatory of the Federation of Industries of the State of Paraná (FIEP), aiming to propose a long-term plan in a structured and participative manner for this sector. The elaboration of the Roadmap involved 140 specialists and mobilised 75 public and private institutions. Aside from the participation of ABAL members, the study counted on the voices and contributions from government agents, academic institutions, third sector and other stakeholders. It is important

Various governmental entities contributed with the Roadmap, such as the MDIC, the Ministry of Science, Technology, Innovation and Communication (MCTIC), Brazilian Agency for Industrial Development (ABDI), National Bank for Economic and Social Development (BNDES), National Institute of Industrial Property (INPI) and others. When the Roadmap was officially launched, the Minister of Development, Industry and Foreign Trade, Mr Marcos Jorge de Lima, declared: “Participation in the development of the Roadmap for the aluminium industry will help the government to devise innovative and competitive public policies for the sector. MDIC will act directly in the implementation of the actions suggested in the Roadmap, facilitating the dialogue among the different actors of the sector, aside from making spot interventions in defence of the sector’s interests within the sphere of federal government.” Themes The Roadmap addresses specific issues for four value chain’s main stages:

to reinforce that besides aluminium producers (Alcoa, Alubar, Arconic, CBA, Hindalco, NorskHydro, Novelis, Prysmian, and South32, among others), some key customers also took part: auto assemblers (Renault and Volkswagen), airplane assembler (Embraer), manufacturer of steel and aluminium wheels (IochpeMaxion), packaging producer (Tetra Pak) and construction companies (Método Engenharia and Tecnica Engenharia), at least.

� Mining and primary transformation: gathering from bauxite mining, ore refining to obtaining the alumina, until the production of the primary aluminium; � Recycling and secondary aluminium: responsible for the recycling of final products and industrial scrap of the metal; � Semi-manufacturing: the first phase after the production of aluminium (primary or secondary) and its transformation into sheets and profiles, for example; � Application of aluminium products: goods that contained aluminium. The discussions were consolidated in 242 strategic actions (approximately 60 proposals for each of the four productive stages) in connection with the following ten themes: � Articulation of actors;

*Professor in Economics, Federal University of Uberlândia, Brazil May/June 2018

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� Communication and marketing; � Market expansion; � Infrastructure and logistics; � Quality, certification and standardisation; � Human resources; � Energy security; � Sustainability; � Technology and innovation; � Taxes and formalisation. Among these 242 actions, fourteen refers to technology and innovation properly: � Development of concept and application of Design for Recycling; � Research projects on aluminium alloys, processes and products; � Creation of a technological surveillance program for the aluminium value chain; � Extension of development lines for research, development and innovation (RD&I) focused on the aluminium value chain; � Attracting investments, modernising and increasing competitiveness; � Projects aimed at the creation and acceleration of start-ups linked to the aluminium value chain; � Development of the Industry 4.0; � Databases for modelling and simulation for processes and products; Aluminium International Today

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� Development of open innovation projects; � Systems that allow the traceability of aluminium loads; � Innovation in the treatment and aggregation of value to waste in the upstream sector; � Incentive to the technological modernisation and the infrastructure of the primary aluminium value chain; � Analysis of government incentives and fundraising to support RD&I projects; � Creation of a high-performance technology centre for aluminium value chain products. New steps According to Mr Milton Rego, Executive President for ABAL, the Roadmap will reorient the value chain in order to stimulate integration among the productive stages and enhance the value added activities. Also related the 242 actions, 60 of them were chosen as strategic ones. After the conclusion and release of the Roadmap, the next phase will be dedicated to deploy actions according to their order of priority. The specific goals (metrics and timetable) are not publically available yet. Even though, it can be argued that the elaboration of the Roadmap was a remarkable initiative by the ABAL. � May/June 2018

14/05/2018 14:10:58


ALUMINIUM CHINA 11th - 13th July 2018 Shanghai You are welcome at: Stand 1E25

OTTO JUNKER GMBH Jaegerhausstr. 22 52152 Simmerath Germany

Phone: +49 2473 601-0 | Fax: +49 2473 601-600 E-Mail:



Briquetting: For more efficiency ZF Gusstechnologie simplifies its mill chippings handling with a RUF briquetting press. RUF’s briquetting technology helps the automotive supplier ZF Gusstechnologie GmbH to shape its processes in a more efficient way. With the help of RUF units, the pressure die-casting specialist presses the aluminium chips, which arise when working on passenger car gearboxes and gear parts, into solid briquettes and, at the same time, frees them to a great extent from adhesive cooling lubricants. This means the company saves a lot of space and logistics expenditures, avoids lubricant carryover, protects the environment and raises the sales revenues from the aluminium chips. ZF Gusstechnologie GmbH operates in one of the most demanding industries, considering that the automotive industry requires the highest quality and flawlessness from its products, as well as a highly cost-conscious production. This Aluminium International Today

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of course also applies for the passenger vehicle gearboxes and gear parts made from aluminium and magnesium, which the pressure die-casting plant in NĂźrnberg produces, with around 1,000 employees. The products are supplied both to an intragroup gear plant of ZF at Friedrichshafen, as well as a number of distinguished OEMs. The aluminium parts, which are cast on machines with a clamping force of up to four tons, subsequently undergo a machining process before being delivered, ready for mounting. This process creates around 150 tons of emulsion coated aluminium chips in the machining centres per year. For the persons responsible, it already became clear that an efficient, clean and environmentally friendly solution had to be found for handling the chips, when they introduced machining in addition

to pressure die-casting in the nineties. Right from the start, they trusted in RUF briquetting presses, in order to turn production waste into valuable secondary raw materials. The briquetting systems from the Zaisertshofen based manufacturer are still satisfying ZF to this day. The first press, installed in the mid-nineties, was replaced with a different RUF system in 2001, which was more adequate for the current chip volume. This RB 4/3000/60 machine model is still running to this day and has, up until now, produced six million aluminium briquettes in 42,000 operating hours. The numbers in the type description stand for 4 kW electric drive power, a pressing pressure of 3,000 kg/ cm² and a diameter of the cylindrical briquettes of 60mm. The third analoguedesign RUF press, which will replace the May/June 2018

16/05/2018 09:07:57


old unit by the beginning of 2018, will be ordered soon. In addition, ZF also uses RUF briquetting systems at other locations, both for aluminium as well as grinding sludge. Alongside ZF, many other aluminium pressure die-casting foundries with mechanical machining use briquetting systems to efficiently process chips. Bulk volume reduced to one-tenth – increased revenues Andreas Dotterweich, Manager at ZF Gusstechnologie, explains: “The most significant benefits of briquetting lie in the space savings, the environmental friendliness and in avoiding lubricant carryovers.” The figures concerning space savings and the accompanying simplified handling speak for themselves. The bulk volume is lowered significantly through briquetting: For loose milling chips, it lies at around 140 to 150 kg/m3. This means that they use up about seven cubic meters of space per ton. The aluminium briquettes, on the other hand, only fill up slightly less than a tenth of this volume. Accordingly, less storage space is needed and collections by a metal trader can occur a lot less often, which leads to lowered transport costs. Since for ZF, the optimal process structuring, cleanliness of the plant and the environmental friendliness are sufficient arguments by themselves, specific amortisation calculations May/June 2018

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have not been made here. These do, however, exist for numerous other users. Due to the highly simplified logistics alone, the proceeds from chip briquettes are, in many cases, about 100 euros per ton higher than when compared with loose chips. Other excess proceeds can often be added to this, since briquettes open up new marketing channels, which means that the total proceeds can add up to several hundred euros per ton. Another important benefit can also only be achieved through briquetting: Loose wet chips often include a varying amount of residual moisture which is hard to control and leads to deductions on the market. Chip briquettes, on the other hand, are made up of defined aluminium scrap, with a consistently (low) residual moisture value. This ensures clarity when marketing and makes sure incorrect billing is avoided.

Metal chips and cooling lubricants are separated The pressing process leads to an almost complete separation of metal and cooling lubricants. In the collecting tanks, where the chips are collected at the machining centres, part of the emulsion drips off and accumulates in a double bottom. By the time the chips are filled into the briquetting system at ZF, the cooling lubricant proportion lies at around 20 per cent. During the pressing process, more of the emulsion is pressed out, lowering the residual moisture in the briquettes to about three per cent. In certain cases, even lower figures can be achieved. This ensures that no cooling lubricants, which can soil the surroundings, leak out during further transport and storage. The cooling lubricant which is pressed out is collected in a pan below the pressing chamber, pumped into collecting tanks from there and then disposed of. Treating the emulsions and reusing them again would be too cumbersome for the emulsions used at ZF Gusstechnologie. It can, however, be worthwhile to filter and reuse the pressed-out oils, especially for companies, which use pure oils as cooling lubricants. The personnel requirements for briquetting are minimal, not least because RUF delivered the briquetting system with an automatic feeding device. Andreas Dotterweich explains which tasks still need to be done manually: “The cooling lubricant which drips off the chips is drained out of the double bottom of the chip trolley, the trolley is pushed onto the lifting device of the press, lifting and emptying is started at the touch of a button and after that, the automatically emptied trolley is rolled away.” A light barrier on the inside of the hopper registers when enough chips are in the hopper and automatically starts the briquetting system. The high hydraulic pressure presses the loose aluminium chips into solid briquettes and adhesive cooling lubricants are pressed out almost entirely. Next, the unit pushes the finished briquettes directly into the collecting container via an output rail, which has a capacity of about one cubic meter. As soon as the press has briquetted all of the chips, the machine also stops automatically and awaits new material. At ZF Gusstechnologie, the unit remains in standby mode during the complete operating time of 144 hours per week. It Aluminium International Today

16/05/2018 09:07:58

— Millmate Thickness Gauging systems Gapless gauging for aluminium strip

The Box Gauge measures aluminium strip thickness with a gapless sensor – excitation and receiver in one single unit. The compact and robust design, together with insensitivity to alloy variations and harsh rolling mill environments, enables accurate measurements in any position, even interstand in a tandem mill. Thus the MTG Box Gauge is ideal for use with all types of AGC, for control of thickness as well as for reducing thickness errors.


around the clock. Only once the collection containers are filled with briquettes, they must be swapped manually with empty containers. For ZF Gusstechnologie, a direct connection of this sort would not have paid off, according to Andreas Dotterweich, because the accruing amount of chips is too low. In consideration of the good experience with RUF units in the past two decades,

it was clear to the responsible persons that the briquetting specialists from Zaisertshofen would be called upon when it came to procuring a replacement. Because “the unit runs very reliably”, Oliver Kniesburges stresses. “Therefore, the decision concerning the procurement of a replacement was relatively easy and taken quickly”, Andreas Dotterwich adds. �

spends 75 per cent of this time in operation and presses chips with a throughput rate of around 50 kg/h, as Oliver Kniesburges knows. As a service technician, he is responsible for CNC machines and also looks after the briquetting press. Designed for unmanned operation all around the clock RUF presses, which are connected to automatic collection and conveyor systems for chips at other customer sites, can also be operated, unmanned,

Setting The Standards For Highest Efficiency In Thermal Processing

Stand: 10C10


EcoMelter© WSO 80/20, Capacity: 80 t/d 3 MW Regenerative Burner System

Gesellschaft für Energiewirtschaft und Kybernetik mbH / Bönninghauser Str. 10 / D-59590 Geseke Telefon: +49 2942 9747 0 / Fax: +49 2942 9747 47 / / May/June 2018

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AIT may june chinese 1.indd 1

14/05/2018 15:39:40

48 批注

中国对外开放 欢迎阅读本期专为支持



Aluminium International Today


年中国铝行业展会推出的 中文版刊物。

注,自中国报告今年第一季度铝 提高。

该展会每年都能吸引 20,000 多


的 500 多家参展单位。

较 2017 年同期提高 20 个百分

名贸易参观者以及来自铝价值链 希望您在展会上领取了这本特别 刊物!

会,希望您喜欢这本特别补充刊 物,顺祝您旅途平安。

国的铝出口量达到 127 万公吨, 此致, 点。

Nadine Bloxsome



Aluminium International Today

DKS- Drache Calcium Silicate DBN- Drache Boron Nitride Made by Drache.

Casthouse Technology - worldwide.

Tr a n s i t i o n P l a t e s H o t - To p R i n g s

Boron Nitride Coating for Aluminium DC Casting w w w. d r a c h e - g m b h . d e

· Aluminium International Today

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14/05/2018 14:13:01

50 焦点:阳极

绿色阳极工厂 -10 年的成功

在过去 10 年中,Fives 的绿色阳极工厂基于 Rhodax® 工艺。 该工艺允许进行选择性破碎从而实现更高的

绿色和烘烤阳极密度。 源自 Christophe Bouche* Fives 在铝业领域开发三个专业技术领域:  绿色阳极工厂的碳、碳残极粉碎和





炉用多功能机组、阳极组装车间、槽加工 和回收装置

烘烤 废料



Rhodax® 历史

Rhodax 工艺是 90 年代初开始的两项并


一方面,Aluminium Pechiney(现在的

Rio Tinto)正在验证高颗粒/沙子比例的新

概念。已证明该概念是最大限度减少阳极 热冲击问题的关键因素。

另一方面,Solios Carbone(Fives Solios)

已开发一种用于矿物加工应用的新型破 碎机(Rhodax ®),其关键特征与床内压缩 传统流程图


备件大大减少 减少维护

物品减少 40%

颗粒 >300mm


图 1.Rhodax® 关键工艺特征



PSD 不敏感


 出 口 粒 度 分 布(P S D )几 乎 对 入 口

 选择性粉碎是通过保留硬而粗的原

料颗粒(主要是烘烤过的废料) ,同时优先 粉碎较弱、多孔或预裂化的颗粒(主要是

原焦炭)来完成的。在碳阳极应用中,它也 可防止从烘烤废料中生成细小颗粒。

在本世纪初,Fives 和 Aluminium Pechiney

联合研发并共同拥有 SCAP-RHODAX® 工 图 2.Rhodax 干 混制备线



 混合所有固体(原焦炭、绿色和烘烤


 基于两种尺寸的部分生成配方,仅

导致流程图得到极大简化 Rhodax® 关键工艺特征

全尺寸 35t/h 工业样机于 2002 至 2004 年在法国 Aluminium Dunkerque 成功进

行了测试。设计和操作概念已得到验证, 发现焙烤阳极质量至少与传统工艺一样 出色。

Rhodax® 工艺流程图




绿色和烘烤 废料 Rhodax® 流程图

细粒 70% < 32mm


主筋减少 15%

起重机减少 20% 电气设备减少 20%



 带熔炼保温炉的铸造车间、热处理炉








绿色 废料

 减少气体处理中心、铝电解多功能




破碎机 (R)、两个 TSV 动态分离器 (C)(一 个用于砂分量,另一个用于细粒级)以及 一个球磨机 (B)。

Rhodax® 干混制备线


干集料最终产品仅由两部分组成:0.3 至

30mm 的颗粒和 0 至 80μm 的细粒,而颗 粒/沙子(G/S)比率高于 5。

*Fives Solios 和 André Pinoncely 技术总监,Fives 铝业部技术副总裁 Aluminium International Today

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52 焦点:阳极


Rhodax® + Horomill® 流程图




在考虑整个研磨电路的能耗时,Rhodax ® + Horomill® 解决方案似乎最高效:


解决方案 (*)



Rhodax® + 球磨机 78

Rhodax® + Horomill® 59 (*) 包括过滤风扇和其他设备


图 3.Horomill® 原理 项目(地点)


ALBA Line 5(巴林)



此外,Horomill ® 还引入其他一些有意



 噪音水平低(在 1 米的距离低于

1 GAP: 1 Rhodax® + 混合机/冷却器 35


85 dBA)

1 GAP: 1 Rhodax® + 1 IMC® 36


HINDALCO Mahan(印度)










HINDALCO Aditya(印度)

 几乎没有铁污染,

生产力 (tph)


 工厂中的占地面积非常小,

4-6 个研磨操作

1 GAP: 1 Rhodax® + 1 IMC® 60

表 1.Rhodax® 绿色阳极工厂参考


平衡的若干监管控制循环,该回路运行平 稳且持续。

Rhodax® 绿色阳极工厂随附两种混合技

术:混合机 + Eirich 冷却器,或者密集混合   级联 (IMC®) + 两台 Eirich 混合器。

总之,这些参考示例代表超过 150 万吨

的阳极装机容量(中国之外的新装机容量 的 60%)和 260 万吨铝。


Rhodax ® 工艺现在被视为用于绿色阳极


已经销售了 20 多年。随着在水泥和矿渣

加工行业中的应用,目前有超过 50 家工


对 Horomill® 成功进行试验规模下的成功

产能力为 60 吨/小时的两条阳极生产线。


1995 年,在传统绿色阳极工厂工艺方面, 测试,但当时没有决定任何工业应用。在


阳极属性的代表性成果。 基于 Rhodax® 的


微调以整合 Horomill ®,其并非风扫式而

的 CO2 和空气反应性残留物水平,其范围 分别为 90 到 95% 以及 75 到 80%。



现 在 建 议 进 行 进 一 步 改 进 ,整 合

Horomill ®  来替代用于生产细粒的球磨

机,从而降低磨削能耗、避免铁污染并降 低噪音水平。

作为一个积极进取的合作伙伴,Fives 正

合的解决方案。 


基于 Rhodax ®  的烘烤阳极展现出极佳



好的,其范围分别为 1.58 至 1.60g/cm 且

低于 54 µWm。

量,基于 Rhodax® 的烘烤阳极性能已证明

Horomill 原理




代表超过 1,500,000 百万吨/年的阳极产 是同类中最佳,并且对锅运行性能做出重


经过 10 年的工业参考,编写了关于烘烤

历史,凭借 7 个绿色阳极工厂参考示例,

厂正在运行,吞吐量范围从每小时 10 吨

2013-2014 年,针对 Rhodax 工艺执行了

Rhodax 绿色阳极 ®

的干混制备的最先进技术。经过 10 年的

图 4.Rhodax® + Horomill® 流程图


Rhodax® 工艺

Rhodax® 工艺:新挑战

Fives 致力于开发生态设计的解决方案。 该

到混合和 形成线


Eolios(这是基于干法净化和 RTO 组合的 高效沥青烟处理解决方案)或可持续工厂 性能工具 Amelios。

高压研磨机 Horomill ® 是另一个例子。


这 是 一 种 基 于 与 辊 压 机 、立 式 磨 机 或 Rhodax ®  破碎机相同的床内压缩磨削原

Aluminium International Today

Anode fives.zh-CN.indd 2

14/05/2018 14:14:02


ALUMINIUM 2018 德国国际铝工业展览会

2018年10月9日- 11日 Messe Düsseldorf 德国·杜赛尔多夫

Organised by


54 主要 以下是挑战:建立生产铝的电解池。 该电解池要具有全 球最低能耗和全球最低二氧化碳排放量,同时保持高

质量和生产力以及较低的资本支出。 简而言之,这就是 Hydro在Karmøy的技术试验意图完成的事项:在工业

规模下,验证是否为世界上最具气候和能源效率的铝 技术。

Hydro 的新技术试验: 在能耗领域开辟新局面 自从Hydro研究者和工程师开始研究下 一代电解技术以来,已过去十多年的时

间。今天,已在H y d r o 位于挪威K a r m ø y

的技术试验中并排建造结合了Hydro的 HAL4e技术的60个新型电解池。 48个电解

池所生产的铝的能耗为12.3 kWh/kg铝, 显著低于世界平均值,而CO 2排放量低于

1.5 t Co2/t2/t铝。剩余的12个电解池配备

HAL4e Ultra技术,可将能耗降至行业基 准,达到11.5-11.8 kWh/kg。


工艺控制系统。其中的许多要素也可以针 对现有铝工厂进行定制并进行应用。 驾驭电磁场



的技术研发主管Johannes Aalbu表示:

“我们已研发一款非常复杂的F1赛车,很 少有人会成功驾驭,但现在我们已经培训 一些驾驶员来驾驶这种赛车。”他还补充

道: “这就像开发新车型一样,不同之处在 于您同时建造汽车和工厂。 ”

Hydro的首席技术官Hans Erik Vatne强

调驾驭电磁场的挑战。Vatne说: “技术试 验项目的独特之处在于,我们每年在有限






来巨大的挑战。我们通过一个电解池发送 450,000安培的水电生成电流时,它会产


铝生产。我们可以完美地管理热平衡,添 至最低。我们甚至使用激光技术来监测和 限制排放。 ”





驾驭电解池内产生的力量、实现稳定的金 能耗。 ”

Vatne说: “我们还通过开发新的控制平

Hydro的技术试验是在内部开发的。该公 的研究中心为此试验做出了贡献。项目经 理Asgeir Bardal领导HAL4e技术工作,他 Aluminium International Today

Primary Hydro.zh-CN.indd 1

14/05/2018 15:31:33

55 5

为金属轧制工业提供 优质在线检测仪表

测宽仪 激光测速仪 优化剪切系统 张力测量系统 轧制力测量系统

KELK 中国  地址:中国上海市徐汇区文定路 200 号盛源恒华大厦 703-705 室,邮政编码 200030  电话:021-52191757, 021-52191767 | 传真:021-5219-1082  电子邮件 ©2017 Vishay Precision Group, Inc.

Consultancy and technical support to the aluminium industry • Build long-term partnerships with our aluminium experts

表示技术试验是全公司范围的团队努力成果。 Bardal说: “我很自



• Solve your current aluminium production problems • Prepare a downstream business case


• Detailed investigation and testing


• Product and process training courses



该项目共投资43亿挪威克朗 - 其中包括ENOVA的16亿挪威克

• Aluminium industry expertise

朗。自Hydro在2002 - 2004年扩建Sunndal铝厂以来,该公司在

Karmøy的技术试验中的投资是挪威大陆行业在石油和天然气领 域以外最大的一笔投资。 

Primary Hydro.zh-CN.indd 2

Tel: +44 (0) 1295 702800 Email:

14/05/2018 15:31:45 Tel UK: +44 1246 383737

Tel USA: +1 484 713 0070

意大利焦点:增值 57 5


Properzi Technology正在用于生产特种产品的商品。 电 导 体(E C )铝 条 通 常 定 义 为 以 9 9 . 5 -






urukawa、Midal、Trimet、Alcoa和Alcan等) 供重达2,000kg或更大重量的完好卷材。






十年来已成为全球范围内用于生产架空 最近,合金铝条正在若干种不同应用中




金元素,并添加一些镁和铜。有些被定名 拥有专有名称。

生成这种铝条只是第一步 。多线机器

4047和5386、到用于机械用途的6063、 中,9.5mm铝条必须拉到不寻常的直径

5056、5019以及许多其他合金。专门用于 (0.16-0.25mm)。而且,束线是一项精巧 这些特种产品的若干条Properzi生产线已





金条,汽车行业现在还特别关注用于大多 数现代和未来车辆的电缆专用铝条。


数必须稳定并得到精确控制。轧制顺序甚 至必须避免产生轻微的表面缺陷。只有最



商都选择原装的Continuus-Properzi机器。 平稳、一致和经济的生产基于数百个细

节,只有拥有70年经验的公司才能以最优 方式进行管理。  联系人

Aluminium International Today

italian properzi.zh-CN.indd 1

15/05/2018 09:18:51

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Contact Charles Moses FRICS for a confidential initial discussion without obligation.

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安全 59 5


作者:Alex Lowery*



厂时使用  W i s e   C h e m   产品。随着时间

巨大的经济损失。在我们行业的历史中, 究。该指导原则被视为行业的最佳安全操



人员的参考文件。该指导原则第 8 章“浇

要对涂层表面进行维护的原因。 “您最

额超过 1.75 亿美元。中国的铝工厂最近

E-212-F 和 Wise Chem E-115 列为“被确

多家公司因为发生爆炸而永久性地关闭。 作规范。大多数公司将此文件用作其工作 司设备和设施受损以及收入损失,损失金

发生了多起灾难性的爆炸事故。如果铝业 公司遵循了行业最佳安全操作规范,那么

铸坑和设备的防护涂料”将 Wise Chem 定为能够防止爆炸的涂料”。

W i s e   C h e m   产品一直是全球熔融金


属 爆 炸 预 防 领 域 的 示 范 产 品,并 享 有


在他们的设施中使用 W ise Chem 涂


熔融金属爆炸相关教育方面,美国的铝业 协会一直居于领导地位。40 多年前,美国

铝业协会便开始研究为什么会发生熔融 金属爆炸以及如何防止爆炸发生。已确定

的爆炸发生原因有多个。最常见的原因是 熔融铝与钢、混凝土或不锈钢的裸露基体

上的水分(水)发生接触。爆炸发生的第二 个原因是熔融金属与未经美国铝业协会 的研究批准的油漆或涂层发生接触。美国


此殊荣逾  3 5   年。大多数铝业公司需要

料。Wise Chem E-212-F 和 E-115 应用于

钢制模具、混凝土浇铸坑、不锈钢模具、工 厂地面和熔炉下的混凝土坑。各公司信赖


从而暴露出下层的危险基体。这就是需 近是否使用了 Wise Chem 产品?”是管

理层经常询问维护人员的问题。他们承 认 Wise Chem 在防止熔融金属爆炸对设


试显示,在 6.25 平方厘米的最小裸露面 积内暴露基体(例如钢、不锈钢)时会发生 爆炸。应该定期进行维护,或在发生渗出

后进行维护。需要每 16 个月对浇铸坑进 行定期的重新涂层,每 12 个月对模具进 行定期的重新涂层。

在中国,Wise Chem 产品由 Pyrotek 销

最大限度地提高产量。Wise Chem 的浅色




使得公司能够轻松确定是否需要维护。如 进行密切的目视检查来确定涂层表面是 否受损。


中国有多家公司试图仿造 Wise Chem 涂

同样颜色的 Wise Chem 产品,并且对买

家谎称“这就是 Wise Chem 产品”。如果

不是直接从 Pyrotek 购买,则产品属于仿

*Wise Chem LLC 总经理 Aluminium International Today

A LOWRY.zh-CN.indd 1

14/05/2018 15:33:40

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Published quarterly in a digital format, the magazine is sent straight to the inbox of over 50,000 professionals from across the aluminium, steel, and glass industries.

As publishers of Aluminium International Today, Steel Times International and Glass International, we are able to bring you the latest developments and news from across the furnaces industry.

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安全 61 5




为当爆炸发生时,它距离工作台面更近, 从而会导致爆炸力扩散更广。低水浇铸坑

爆炸发生在浇铸坑底部,爆炸力像枪管一 样被向上引导,相比高水浇铸坑,其导致 的损害微不足道。


原因而不选择使用 W ise Chem 产

品?2018  年 4 月 3 日(星期二),一场爆 炸事故毁掉了中国的一座浇铸厂。当地政 府表示, “不受控制的铝液体流入一口浇

铸井”引发了爆炸。该浇铸井和模具未采 造产品。请要求承包商或设备制造商提供


联系您当地的 Pyrotek 销售工程师来进行


从 Pyrotek 购买产品的证据。始终可通过 最终确认。


造厂和浇铸厂使用 Wise Chem 产品?他

用 Wise Chem 涂层。


媒体的增长和 24 小时的新闻报导立即

使用 Wise Chem 涂料,您的设施(可能



解 Wise Chem?Pyrotek 在全中国拥有分 支机构和销售工程师,为 Wise Chem 客

Molten Metal Level Control

包括您的公司)有遭破坏的风险。 “ 最大

回答为什么一些公司愚蠢地选择不使 用 Wise Chem 涂料。 ■

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•‌Expertise‌to‌assist‌with‌system‌design‌&‌commissioning Aluminium International Today

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MQP 65 5

适应未来需要的晶粒细化 技术终于进入中国 -  Optifine / Superfine 服务西方的浇铸厂近十年之后,Optifine 产品系列终于进入中国市场。


中国被称为 Superfine,将于 2018 年中期


该产品将由  M Q P   U K   的全资子公司

MQP China 通过其设立在上海附近的行 政管理和仓储设施独家经销。

MQP China 平台将向中国市场的客户

供应现货,并提供所有必要的技术支持, 从而为我们的客户提供涵盖评估、试用和 持续供货的全方位服务。

全球有超过 400 万吨铝已采用

Optifine 进行了晶粒细化,相关的质量和

图 1.Optifine 卷材


Optifine 是由 MQP 向铸铝行业供应的

异常强效的 TiBAl 晶粒细化剂,如图 1 所 示,其产品形式为 186 公斤卷材。

结合 Opticast 技术,Optifine 在帮助全



要参加 Optifine 知识测验和了解您的浇铸厂能够实现的成本节省,请扫描下面

的二维码(微信) ,并与我们联系。

请阅读下文,了解关于 Optifine 晶粒细化及其带给浇铸厂的效益的信息。

厂,通过 Optifine 实现最优的、高效的晶 粒细化的技术被视为提高熔体质量的巨 大资产。

Optifine 是一种成熟可靠的、非常有效


平,从而避免铸锭在比标准、商用 TiBAl 晶 粒细化剂低多达 80% 的添加率的情况下


此而得到改善,运营成本也因此而降低。 这也意味着成品中含不必要的 TiB 2 和氧 化物的风险被最大限度地降低。 Aluminium International Today

QP.zh-CN.indd 1

14/05/2018 15:35:04

66 MQP

图 2 显示的是经过良好细化的 AA6060

合 金 的 断 面 。这 是 通 过 添 加 极 少 量 的

Optifine 来实现的──添加量为 0.16 公

斤/吨,相比其他商用 TiBAl 晶粒细化剂, 这个添加量低了许多。

图   3   显 示 出 相 似 的 趋 势,它 绘 制 了

各种 AA 合金实现成功细化所需的 Optifine(深蓝色)与标准 Ti BAl(浅蓝

色)的 对 比 情 况 。每 种 合 金 以 低 得 多 的 Optifine  添加量实现了令人满意的晶粒 细化。

Opticast Opticast 系统是一种独特的技术和方法, 用于晶粒细化的在线控制和优化。

图 2.采用 Optifine 晶粒细化剂以非常低的添加率(0.16 公斤/吨)处理过的 AA 6060 合金的、经过成功细化


图 4 显示了在客户的设施用于晶粒细

化剂优化的 MQP 移动设备。MQP  已成

功地将 Opticast 引入全球铸铝厂的常规


的添加率,毫无疑问地增强了 Optifine 的





Optifine 在浇铸厂的使用情况

现在,全球的主要铝工厂结合 Opticast



0.50 0.40

使用 Optifine,每天生产超过三百万吨铝


这两种产品逐渐被国际 MQP 团队引入



■ 更多浇铸厂。

系列 1 系列 1



04 50 003 05 52 82 42 83 82 61 54 30 3 31 50 51 50 50 60 60 57 AA AA AA AA AA AA AA AA AA AA 合金



图 3.各种 AA 合金的 Optifine 需求量(系列 2)与标准 TiBal 需求量(系列 1)对比情况。

图 4.Opticast 实验室设备

Aluminium International Today

QP.zh-CN.indd 2

14/05/2018 15:35:06

创新的 铸造车间 解决方案

MQP 提供新型 Batchpilot 熔炉重量测量技术、 独特的 Opticast 晶粒细化剂优化方法、 Premetz 基于 web 的实时质量控制、 Optifilter 先进过滤技术、 Optifine 高性能晶粒细化剂和环保的 Refinal 熔炼熔剂, 并不断提高铸造车间熔炼质量。


电话 +44 (0) 1564 200 443





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Distributed to more than 50 countries and read by thousands of industry contacts, it contains a comprehensive alphabetical listing of company and contact details. CARBON ELECTRODES

R&D CARBON PO Box 361, Sierre 3960, Switzerland T: +41 27 459 29 29 F: +41 27 459 29 25 E: W: R&D Carbon provides expertise for the worldwide metal, oil and coal industry through R&D studies,onsite audits and process optimisation, carbon test equipment, quality control, certification and training courses.


POLYTEC GMBH Polytec Platz 1-7, D-76337, Waldbronn, Germany T: +49 7243 604-0 F: +49 7243 69944 E: W: Polytec is the market leader for non-contact, laser based vibration and velocity measurement instrumentation. Our innovative solutions allow our customers to maintain their own technical leadership across many fields.

Here is a sneak peak at some of the listings that will appear in the 2018 Buyers’ Directory.


AJ CHARNAUD & COMPANY (PTY) LTD Tel: RSA +27 11 794 6040 T: +27 11 794 6040 EU: +44 (0) 1133 507651 E: W: With over 40 years of experience AJ Charnaud & Company (Pty) Ltd. has been at the forefront of the development and manufacturing of specialized personal protective clothing. With a complete head-to-foot range of certified products, supported with advanced professional and technical assistance. HEAT PROCESSING SOLUTIONS

SECO/WARWICK S.A. 8 Sobieskiego Str., 66-200 Zwiebodzin, Poland T: +48 68 38 20 500 F: +48 68 38 20 555 E: SECO/WARWICK has 11 companies located on three continents with customers in nearly 70 countries. It provides standard or customized state-of-the-art heat processing equipment and technologies and is a leader in innovative heat processing solutions. Expertise includes end-to-end solutions in 5 categories: vacuum heat treatment, atmosphere and aluminum thermal processing, controlled atmosphere brazing of aluminum heat exchangers and vacuum metallurgy.

Aluminium International Today

15/05/2018 11:29:02


Casting Confidence

Built on innovation and refined through experience, Wagstaff billet and ingot casting technologies are a gateway to profitability. Casthouses around the world rely on the history, experience, and service offered by Wagstaff to foster confidence within the casting operation. That casting confidence is vital for success in high quality aerospace alloy casting for downstream rolling, extrusion, and forging.

Wagstaff® LHC™ Rolling Ingot Casting Technology for can, sheet, and plate stock

Wagstaff ®AirSlip® Billet Casting Technology produces high-quality extrusion billet

The leader in Direct Chill Casting Technology › Casting Machines

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Find out how Wagstaff innovation can increase your profits Call +1 509 922 1404 | Wagstaff, Inc. | Spokane, Washington USA

You too can bring immortality to your lips. Aluminium can be endlessly regenerated, without losing its essential qualities. And for added allure â&#x20AC;&#x201C; it has the slimmest recycling energy cost of any metal.

Aluminium International Today May June 2018  
Aluminium International Today May June 2018