Aluminium International Today May June 2020

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EXTRUSION May/June 2020—Vol.33 No.3


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COVID-19 7 UK aluminium industry helps in the fight

Volume 33 No. 3 – May/June 2020 Editor: Nadine Bloxsome Tel: +44 (0) 1737 855115




against COVID-19


Worker safety in the wake of COVID-19





The dark forest of COVID-19: Survival of the fittest business

Production Editor: Annie Baker May/June 2020—Vol.33 No.3



Sales Director: Ken Clark Tel: +44 (0)1737 855117

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aluminium extrusion 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 © Quartz Business Media Ltd 2020




THE ALUMINA CHRONICLES 46 The impact of the Section 232 Tariff FUTURE OF MANUFACTURING 50 New plans for cans 52 The return of Aluminium Matrix Composites SUSTAINABILITY 55 Entering the age of sustainable aluminium CHINESE SUPPLEMENT 61


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Future Aluminium Forum:

New dates announced In light of the evolving situation regarding COVID-19 and the inability to currently host live events, this year’s Future Aluminium Forum has been postponed to the 8th - 9th December 2020. The event will still be held at the Centre des Congrès de Québec in Québec City.

At the time of going to press, all exhibitors are still planning to join the Forum on the new dates and the speaker line-up for the conference programme remains unchanged. For full details and to find outwhat this means for exhibitors, sponsors, speakers and registered

delegates, please visit the Future Aluminium Forum website (www. for more information. On behalf of all of us at Quartz Business Media, we would like to thank our contributors for their continued support and patience during this challenging time.

Life after Lockdown What a difference a few months many others at the moment, I am writing this column from the comfort of my home-made office. Luckily enough, the set up was already in place, but it had been taken over by our attempts at building a ‘home gym’. Two words that when put together make an oxymoron! Occasionally swapping my office chair for an exercise ball makes the situation seem a bit more jovial, but there is no hiding from the unsettling feeling in the air. While some parts of the world are slowly re-opening and areas of our industry have never stopped producing, albeit at a slightly reduced capacity, who knows when or if the effects of this global ‘Lockdown’ will be felt. This issue takes a look at how aluminium manufacturers in the UK joined the fight against COVID-19 and produced aluminium for medical equipment and food packaging to keep the nation going. We also look at the changes required in plants as workers return. There is also a dedicated feature, which looks at finding the value in aluminium ‘waste’ and TOMRA launches a technology to sort magnesium from aluminium page 25. And, as business and supply chains in China start the road to recovery, we’ve put together a dedicated supplement to understand how new technologies can play a part in reducing costs, increasing efficiencies and optimising their manufacturing during this challenging time page 61.

Carbon Trust calls for labelling in primary aluminium sector The Carbon Trust recently released a report which outlines how the primary aluminium industry can move towards a more sustainable, lower carbon future. This recognises there is still a demand for primary aluminium as secondary aluminium cannot meet all demand. Through analysing the present practices the Carbon Trust have drawn up what are the lower carbon options with the purpose of encouraging companies to move towards them. One compelling action it recommends is the establishment of a reliable and trust-

ed carbon labelling scheme to demonstrate the carbon content of producing primary aluminium, to allow customers to choose lower carbon aluminium. A key finding the Carbon Trust discovered was that the choice of electricity that powered the aluminium production was the most important factor in determining the carbon content – a switch to renewable power sources was the most important single thing aluminium producers could do to lower their carbon impact and help play their part in the fight

against climate change. Hugh Jones, Managing Director, Business Services, the Carbon Trust, commented: “We want this report to accelerate lower carbon action in the primary aluminium sector. Switching to renewable power coupled with an independent and robust carbon labelling scheme would take things forward and that’s why we hope to collaborate with the aluminium industry to help them make the changes that will lead to a more sustainable, lower carbon future.”

AUMUND supplies conveying solution for bauxite This summer, AUMUND Fördertechnik GmbH will be supplying an AUMUND Arched Plate Conveyor to Mytilineos S.A. in Agios Nikolaos on the Gulf of Corinth in Greece. This is the location at which the Mytilineos metallurgy and technology group operates a plant, which produces aluminium in a two-step process. After mining and processing the bauxite, Mytilineos produces alumina from the enriched ore, which forms the basis for the electrolytic production of metallic aluminium in Agios Nikolaos. The conveying

process in the plant consists of discharging bauxite from a silo, and onward transportation to a rod mill by an AUMUND Arched Plate

Conveyor type BPB 250-1200. This is a specialised requirement in terms of both the material and the application. In designing the Arched Plate Conveyor, AUMUND Fördertechnik had to consider among other things the specific material properties of bauxite, such as abrasiveness, dustiness, angle of repose and also the fact that it can sometimes be sticky. A major advantage in winning the order was being able to arrange the customer’s visit to a cement plant in Volos, where a similar AUMUND Arched Plate Conveyor is in operation.

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Novelis completes Aleris acquisition Novelis Inc., announced the completion of its acquisition of Aleris Corporation, a global supplier of rolled aluminium products. “The Aleris deal marks a major milestone for Novelis, on its path to global leadership. The closure of this deal amidst challenging market conditions, reflects our conviction in the Aleris business and its value to our metals portfolio. Periods of turmoil have historically seen the emergence of champions, powered by quality leadership and sound business fundamentals. This is a long- term strategic bet, much like Novelis was in 2007,” said Kumar Mangalam Birla, Chairman Aditya Birla Group and Novelis Inc. Beyond its many strategic benefits, the acquisition will gener-

ate approximately $150 million in synergies and creates a strong financial profile. In addition, combined net debt to Adjusted EBITDA of approximately 3.3x is within the recently updated guidance of below 3.5x and well below the initial outlook of below 4x when the transaction was announced.

Novelis will acquire Aleris’ 13 plants across North America, Europe and Asia; however, to satisfy regulatory conditions, the company is required to divest Aleris’ plants in Lewisport, Kentucky, U.S.A., and Duffel, Belgium, as announced earlier.

Hydro postpones Husnes restart

To adapt to the fast-deteriorating market, Hydro will postpone the restart of 95,000mt capacity at the Husnes plant in Norway.

The ramp-up was originally planned to start in the first half of 2020 but is now postponed to the Q3 2020 at the earliest, pending market developments and outlook into the second half of the year. Hydro is also taking measures to reduce cost across the company, including forced vacations, delaying projects, and temporary layoffs. In total, Hydro has had to temporarily lay off around 1 400 employees as government-imposed restrictions and deteriorat-

ing demand have led to closures and reduced production at several plants. “Hydro’s top priority now is health and safety, while keeping the wheels turning, maintaining operations and generating cash,” says President and CEO, Hilde Merete Aasheim. “At the same time, we need to think ahead and position the company for the future as a robust and profitable industry leader, built on innovation and sustainability.”

Alcoa to close Intalco smelter Alcoa will curtail the remaining 230,000 metric tons of uncompetitive smelting capacity at its Intalco smelter in Ferndale, Washington amid declining market conditions. The full curtailment, which includes 49,000 metric tons of earlier-curtailed capacity, is expected to be complete by the end of July 2020. The smelter recorded a net loss of $24 million in the first quarter of 2020. “While our employees have worked diligently to improve the facility, the smelter is uncompetitive, and current market conditions have exacerbated the faciliAluminium International Today

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ty’s challenges,” Roy Harvey, CEO said. “This is difficult because of the impact on our employees, and we will ensure appropriate support as we work to safely curtail the facility.” The action will bring Alcoa’s total curtailed smelting capacity

to 880,000 metric tons, or approximately 30 percent of its total global smelting capacity. The Company will record estimated restructuring charges of approximately $25 million (preand after-tax), or $0.13 per share, in the second quarter of 2020 associated with the curtailment, for employee-related costs and contract termination costs, which are all cash-based charges expected be paid primarily in the third quarter of 2020. Intalco employs approximately 700 people, and the workforce will be significantly reduced due to the curtailment.

NEWS IN BRIEF Rio Tinto: Iceland According to reports, Rio Tinto is considering suspending production at its Straumsvík smelter in Iceland. The company is considering various options to reduce its losses during the economic downturn due to the coronavirus pandemic. There have already been previous conversations by Rio Tinto executives with regards to high power costs in the region contributing to losses. ASI and LME collaboration The London Metal Exchange (LME) and the Aluminium Stewardship Initiative (ASI) have developed a Memorandum of Understanding to underpin collaboration on responsible aluminium value chains. Key areas of focus include the 2020-2021 ASI standards revision in light of LME’s Responsible Sourcing initiative; the potential use of ASI Certification, metrics and audits by LME; ASI monitoring and evaluation projects; and other relationshipstrengthening activities that can promote the shared values of both organisations. Arconic stands alone Arconic Corporation has launched today as a leader in advanced aluminium sheet, plate, extruded and architectural products that primarily advance the ground transportation, aerospace, industrial, packaging, and commercial building markets. The company’s common stock began trading on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker “ARNC” on April 1, 2020.

In conjunction with the launch, its independently endowed charitable arm, Arconic Foundation, will continue to support programs that help prepare the 21st century engineering and manufacturing workforce. May/June 2020

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US facility supports increased demand for beverage cans Crown Holdings, Inc. will build a new beverage can manufacturing facility in Bowling Green, Kentucky, USA. The state-of-the-art plant will supply beverage cans to the Company’s customers serving a variety of categories including sparkling water, energy drinks, carbonated soft drinks, teas, nutritional beverages, hard seltzers, craft beers and cocktails. “Beverage can growth in North America is being driven by the

growing proportion of new products being introduced in cans versus other packaging, as both customers and consumers recognise the inherent portability, durability and sustainability of the beverage can,” said Timothy J. Donahue, President and Chief Executive Officer. “This new facility demonstrates Crown’s commitment to support its customers in meeting this growing demand. On behalf of Crown, I would like to thank our many partners for their en-

thusiasm and responsiveness in this initiative, including Governor Beshear, the City of Bowling Green, the Bowling Green Chamber of Commerce, Warren County, the Commonwealth of Kentucky, the Tennessee Valley Authority and Warren Rural Electrical Cooperative Corporation.” Located in the Kentucky Transpark, the 327,000 square foot facility is expected to begin operations in the second quarter of 2021 and create 126 new jobs.

Ball achieves global first with sustainability certification

Ball Corporation has earned the Aluminium Stewardship Initiative (ASI) certification for all 23 of its Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) beverage can plants. This accomplishment is a major

sustainability milestone for the company and Ball is the first beverage can manufacturer to meet ASI’s environmental, social and governance principles. The certification accompanies a commitment to significant carbon reductions by Ball, which is now covering all of its operations in the European Union, Serbia and the UK with renewable energy. Ball previously announced agreements for 100% renewable energy covering all of its North America operations by 2021. “We’re extremely proud to be the first aluminium beverage can

manufacturer to achieve ASI certification,” said Ron Lewis, President, Ball Beverage Packaging, EMEA. “With their infinite recyclability, aluminium cans are the fastest growing beverage packaging type in Europe. As consumers seek more environmentally friendly products, they can have confidence in aluminium’s strong sustainability credentials such as responsible sourcing. The certification, combined with our renewable energy investments, demonstrates Ball’s commitment to a low-carbon, sustainable economy.”

Hydro supplies aluminium for ‘The Ocean Cleanup’ The Ocean Cleanup has developed the first scalable solution to efficiently intercept plastic in rivers, before the plastic reaches the oceans. Their solution utilises corrosion-resistant aluminium. “Providing aluminium for such a unique project is truly inspiring.

It highlights the opportunities this represents in term of dealing with one the biggest environmental issues we are facing, in addition to the vast prospects of aluminium solutions,” says John Delamboy, commercial director for Hydro Extruded Solutions in the Benelux

region. The Ocean Cleanup is a non-profit organisation based in the Netherlands. Their statistics show that about 1% of our 100,000 rivers are responsible for 80% of the plastic which flows into our oceans via rivers. The organisation has developed the Interceptor, an autonomous system for collecting plastic pollution from rivers before it reaches the sea. Over the span of five years, they aim to halt the 80% of plastic coming from rivers into our oceans by focusing on the most-polluting 1,000 rivers around the world.

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COVID-19 7

UK aluminium industry helps in the fight against COVID-19 As the COVID-19 crisis unfolded globally, UK manufacturers and suppliers joined together to ensure aluminium played a vital role in providing much needed medical equipment and products. Nadine Bloxsome* explains Based in Fort William, the UK’s only smelter saw its aluminium gain a new use; to produce oxygen bottles for patients battling COVID-19, as the UK began to get to grips with the virus over the last few months. Bridgnorth Aluminium, based in Shropshire, which usually supplies aluminium to the pharmaceutical and food industries, placed the order for the oxygen bottles in March. The smelter’s Managing Director, Brian King, said: “Bridgnorth are our main customer and they have been for many years. “Originally, we faced some criticism for keeping the plant running, but the workforce have been hugely supportive and we are now being recognised by the community for these efforts.” The smelter was also praised in a motion submitted to the Scottish Parliament by Highlands and Islands MSP

Donald Cameron, which read: “That the Parliament commends the contribution made by the ALVANCE British Aluminium smelter in Fort William and its workforce to the action to mitigate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic; understands that the company is producing 20 tons of oxygen bottles, which will be used to treat patients with COVID-19; further understands that it donated protective facemasks to the Belford Hospital; acknowledges the support that so many businesses such as ALVANCE British Aluminium have given to their local communities in the Highlands and Islands and elsewhere, and wishes the smelter and its workforce every success in their future endeavours.” When passing the motion, Mr Cameron said: “The smelter is one of many local businesses that are going the extra mile during this emergency. “It’s very reassuring to see how our business community has been so flexible

and creative in its response to the pandemic.” ALVANCE also owns Europe’s largest smelter, which in turn is working to maintain production for aluminium use in blister packaging, as well as the food and pet food industry. Guillaume de Goys, Managing Director of the smelter based in Dunkerque, said: “While we have reduced production to 85%, we are continuing to serve our customers and meet this increase in demand for pharmaceutical and food packaging during this crisis. “Our customers experienced some difficulties in finding raw materials outside Europe, which is why we have focused our production in these areas.” Supplying the demand The entire UK supply chain has been commended in its efforts towards not only helping to manufacturer medical

*Editor, Aluminium International Today

Dunkerque smelter, France

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8 COVID-19

Metalex workers putting in extra hours to ensure demand is met for medical supplies

products, but also in the aluminium used in the rapid construction of temporary hospital structures and medical facilities. Metalex Products is currently working overtime at its sites in Poole, Horsham, Birmingham and Milton Keynes to process orders for aluminium plate and bar billets being used in the rapid production of medical equipment. “To date we have supplied over 80 tonnes of plate and bar to OEM’s such as Penlon, Luxfer, Mclaren, Renishaw and a huge number of subcontractors who are

working on this project, and have orders for a further 90 tonnes with more coming in every day,” said Managing Director, Paul Nicola. “As the UK’s largest independent distributor of aluminium plate and bar products we were ideally placed to assist in this work and have retained all of our staff whilst our competitors have been furloughing large numbers of theirs.” The team at Metalex are complying with strict social distancing regulations to continue working safely, but remain

committed to the cause, with many even volunteering to work over the Easter weekend to help meet the demand. “My staff have all been absolutely fantastic and have supported this program with huge enthusiasm. I would also like to thank some of our suppliers, both in the UK and in Europe who have unbelievably responsive during this critical time for all of us. It shows what a great engineering community we have got here in the UK and how they can respond,” said Paul. �

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10 COVID-19

Worker safety in the wake of COVID-19

Chinese Health officials informed the World Health Organisation on December 31, 2019 about a cluster of 41 patients with a mysterious pneumonia. Most were connected to the Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market, in the city of Wuhan. Initial reports claimed it was not contagious. This proved untrue. The world learned quickly of Coronavirus (COVID-19). Since the beginning of 2020, COVID-19 virus has infected 2,404,234 people resulting with over 164,891 deaths in more than 200 countries and territories. Two billion people have been instructed to shelter in their homes to mitigate the spread of this virus. Some aluminium plants temporarily closed. Many aluminium plants have been classified essential by their governmental authorities and are currently operating. This challenges our industry on how to prevent COVID-19 virus transmission in our workplace. The Center for Disease Control produced a useful resource “Interim Guidance for Businesses and Employers to Plan and Respond to Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)”. First published in March 2020 it is updated as new information becomes known. Businesses and employers have an important role in the prevention and the slowing down of the spread of COVID-19. They can educate and train workers on the latest safety and health practices. Every worker our industry trains and educates can better protect their family when they

are away from work. Companies should designate a workplace coordinator responsible for COVID-19 issues and their impact at their plant. If a company has multiple locations each location needs to have their own COVID-19 workplace coordinator. These coordinators will be tasked with being knowledgeable of the latest information and health recommendations. These coordinators would assist companies being flexible responding to varying levels of disease transmission in their country, region, and local community. Companies need to be prepared to refine their business response plans as needed. Companies are strongly encouraged to coordinate with local, regional and federal governmental health officials so timely and accurate information may guide appropriate responses. Local conditions will influence the decisions public health officials make regarding community-level strategies. All companies need to consider how best to prohibit the spread of COVID-19 and lower the impact to their workplace. This may include activities in one or more of the following areas: a. Reduce transmission among employees, b. Maintain healthy business operations, and c. Maintain a healthy work environment.

Reduce transmission among employees First and foremost companies need to actively encourage sick employees to stay home. That is easier said than done. Companies need to modify their sick leave policy to support employee’s decision to stay home. Employees need to be aware of and understand these policies. Flexible leave policies that permit employees to stay home to care for a sick family member or children due to school and childcare closures. Additional allowances might include giving advances on future sick leave and allowing employees to donate sick leave to one another. During the pandemic employers should not require a positive COVID-19 test result or a healthcare provider’s note for employees who are sick to validate their illness, qualify for sick leave, or to return to work. Doctor’s offices and medical facilities may be extremely busy and not able to provide such documentation in a timely manner during the pandemic. Companies should insist employees take their temperature prior to arriving at work. Employees who have symptoms (i.e., fever, cough, or shortness of breath) should notify their supervisor and stay home. Sick employees should follow government health official instructions and selfquarantine themselves immediately from family members. Employees should not return to work until the criteria to selfquarantine is over and in consultation

*General Manager, Wise Chem May/June 2020

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COVID-19 11

Many of the hazards our industry mitigates on a daily basis originate within our factory gates. Our industry is focused on making sure workers go home from their jobs just as they came, safely. The recent COVID-19 pandemic has altered possibly forever our industry’s focus to now consider new hazards including illnesses our workers may bring into our facilities. By Alex Lowery*

with their doctor and regional and local health departments. Employees who are well but who have a sick family member at home with COVID-19 should notify their supervisor and not report to work. Employees should follow their health official directions on when they are permitted to return to work.

where workers may congregate (i.e., time clock stations, locker rooms, cafeterias, etc.) needs to be investigated if social distancing practices are not possible. Companies have installed staggered shifts, removed chairs from cafeterias, and social distance markings on the floor in front of time clocks.

Maintain healthy business operations Companies need to look first at their employees’ individual health. Some employees may be at higher risk for serious illness, such as older adults and persons with pre-existing medical conditions or compromised immune systems if they catch COVID-19. This includes people who have heart disease, lung disease, cancer, high blood pressure, or diabetes. The simplest method to protect workers with pre-existing medical conditions or compromised immune systems is for them to work from home. If that is not possible, face-to-face contact with these employees should be minimized or eliminated. Where possible assign work tasks that allow them to maintain a distance of six feet from other workers, customers and visitors. Consulting a blueprint of your facility looking at the operations is a useful tool when reviewing the potential exposures of COVID-19 at the workplace. Marking where each worker’s job function(s) is located on the blueprint can be used to understand where social distancing measures need to be instituted. Any areas

Separate sick employees Employees, contractors, visitors, etc. who appear to have symptoms (i.e., fever, cough, or shortness of breath) upon arrival at work or who become sick during the day should be immediately separated from other employees, customers, and visitors and sent home. If an employee is confirmed to have COVID-19, employers should inform fellow employees of their possible exposure to COVID-19 in the workplace but maintain confidentiality if required by law. The employer should instruct fellow employees about how to proceed and connect them with the proper governmental health organisations. An aluminium plant in the USA initially had three workers test positive and then four more a few days later. All have recovered and are completing their two weeks of self-isolation prior to returning to work.

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telephones. Workers should avoid using other employees’ phones, desks, offices, and other work tools and equipment when possible. If necessary, clean and disinfect items before and after use. Companies should promote frequent and thorough handwashing. Including have a designated handwashing area where anyone entering the workplace must wash their hands. Workers should be instructed to wash their hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Hand sanitizers must be placed in multiple locations to encourage good hygiene. Soap and water are the best options. However if unavailable hand sanitizer must be at least 60% alcohol to be effective. Workers should also be instructed to practice respiratory etiquette. This entails three parts: Covering one’s mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing; dispose of tissue in nearest waste receptacle and frequent hand washing. Employees should maintain social distancing while at the workplace if possible. If it is not possible to maintain a 2 metre distance between workers proper respiratory personal protection equipment should be provided. As we have quickly learned there is nowhere that COVID-19 cannot reach and infect. Our hope is the aluminium industry acknowledge the hazard and take action. Only through insisting sick workers stay home, segregating workers with pre-existing medical conditions or compromised immune systems, good housekeeping, social distancing, and practicing respiratory etiquette can we stop the ever increasing number of positive cases. �

Maintain a healthy work environment Good housekeeping is essential in combating the spread of COVID-19. Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces such as doorknobs, handrails, workstations, keyboards, and May/June 2020

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COVID-19 13

The dark forest of COVID-19: Survival of the fittest business The COVID-19 came as an unexpected pandemic that turned into one of the greatest challenges to humanity since the Second World War and the Great Depression. In addition to the lost lives, COVID-19 dealt a crushing blow to international financial stability, consumption and global supply chains. Sergey Belskiy* explains What will the world be like after the end of the COVID-19 pandemic? How to survive the global reces-sion, which is coming our way? The survival of companies, industries, the future of thousands and mil-lions of jobs depends on the correct answer to these questions, especially among the old fashioned industries. COVID-19 revealed the imperfection of management and control systems, mobilisation resources and information flaws at all stages of production and logistics chains. Even before the current state of emergency these processes themselves required significant optimisation, review and search for alternative options. It is obvious that many market and social priorities and trends will change or lose their former im-portance for a while. The fastest recovery of national economies and industries will be a priority for the medium term. With these priorities in the background, it is possible that environmental issues and environmental protection will be put on the back burner, despite the fact that this situation is undoubtedly the direct consequence of the urban model of our society development and the thoughtless

exploitation of natural resources. Already now we see four main trends emerge: 1. The growth of national protectionism and competition in a situation where COVID-19 has revealed huge differences in management efficiency and mobilisation capabilities of different countries and systems. Some governments might get the opinion that labour unions and other associations have been weak, ineffective and unable to provide collective protection to their members. 2. Tighter competition in the face of declining demand during and after the pandemic. The need to reduce risks and costs caused by inefficient production and logistics chains. The growing desire to obtain alternative suppliers of raw materials and markets. 3. The increasing industrial dependence on financial institutions and government support in times of crisis. The struggle for access to institutional, investment and public finance can get even tougher. 4. Acceleration of business “metabolism”, additionally due to the forced introduction of digital re-mote

control and monitoring systems in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. The pandemic has shown how important it is to reduce the dependence of processes on labor by automating and eliminating unnecessary operating links. Each company will be forced to seek its own individual balance of power, taking into account the new market, fiscal and political realities of the world after COVID-19. At the same time, a number of changes will be shared by most market participants. If we draw an analogy with wildlife, then the keys to survival in the new world after COVID-19 will be ”heightened sensory system”, uninterrupted access to “sources of food”, and “the possibility of socialisation in new market groups/ prides.” “Sensory system” or a new control system In times of danger, a heightened sensory system - sight, hearing, smell, touch and balance become the key to survival of both an individual and whole species. For a company, operational control systems essentially work as its sensory organs.

*Sergey Belskiy has accumulated over 20 years of executive management experience leading a number of multimillion-dollar corporations. He currently serves as the founder and partner at Metal Supply Experts GmbH and VAREYE Chain of Custody System, providing guidance to multiple organisations across various industries. Aluminium International Today

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14 COVID-19

The competitiveness of a company, and its access to financing and investment, depend on the speed of obtaining and processing of information. In recent years, there has been increasing attention in various industries to Chain of Custody (CoC) certification. This is done by ASI (Aluminum Stewardship Initiative) in the aluminum industry, FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) in the woodworking industry, MSC (Marine Stewardship Council) in fisheries, and many others. These organisations are doing an extremely important and significant job in terms of standardisation, auditing and certification of suppliers. However, the systems of online control, warning and certification of the entire chain of transformations and logistics from raw material extraction to the delivery of the final product to the consumer are still poorly developed. The control of transformation chains and logistics is usually carried out by the participants themselves, without a uniformed system in place. A significant amount of information is processed after the fact based on the results of selective costly audits and survey supervision. Information is fragmented between participants in the production and logistics chain. Sometimes it takes up to several days or even weeks to recreate a holistic picture, to receive and reduce information from all participants in the chain. During the crisis of the COVID-19 pandemic, such a system of operational management and control showed its low efficiency in all its sad glory. The quality and speed of information received in many cases was unacceptably low and created significant risks for the company, its shareholders and the institutions that finance these operations. What should control system be like, both in times of crisis and peace? A company must have access to live information on geolocation, responsible parties and product characteristics throughout production and logistics chains. In addition, a company should

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receive immediate notifications about discrepancies between planned (target) and actual data, including geolocation, schedules, changes in product weight, etc. Such warnings should contain sufficient information to resolve an issue as soon as possible. It is important that such operational control system is universal and does not have restrictions on the types of cargo and the complexity of multimodal logistics. It is also equally important that the control system remains as cheap as possible, easy to use, does not require paper media, additional product labeling, the installation of additional equipment along with the cargo or the hiring of additional employees, which in the long run enables the companies to stay aware of their operations at all times, without having budgeting concerns. Finally, the system must be provided by an independent third party, with no interest connection to the company and any of the participants in a production and logistics chain. As an independent third party, such system should certify all the reliability parameters of the company’s production supply chains (geolocation of routes, time, responsible, changes in product characteristics, etc.) These certificates can then be provided to financial institutions, consumers, regulatory authorities, etc. Attempts to create such system have been made repeatedly in recent years, but were either unsuccessful or not widely used due to severe restrictions on the number of operations and high cost. There are known cases of creation of such systems by the companies themselves, which required them to make significant investments and expenses to maintain them. However, as far as is known, such platforms and their certificates were not considered by financial institutions as independent, which also significantly discounted their significance. An interesting solution to operational online monitoring, warning and certification is VAREYE system, which entered the market in 2019. VAREYE is based on a combination of a highly secure cloud platform, individual QR code generation, identification and geolocation systems, which can be embedded in all modern smartphones. The pandemic has truly shown, which companies have been preparing for a hypothetic disaster, and those, who either did not have

the means to do so or who missed this important business continuity element altogether. Access to “Extra Food Sources” or asset tokenisation As already noted, in the world after COVID-19 there will probably see an increase in dependence on financial institutions and state support. Due to the limited resources available, the market participants will be involved in an increasingly fierce struggle for credit and investment opportunities, as well as government support. Are there currently market niches and investment mechanisms that are not yet fully disclosed? The answer is yes. It is called asset tokenisation. A number of industry market participants use bank-issued or investment-funds-issued borrowed funds in order to expand, facilitate or increase their liquidity commitments and needs with relatively high costs related to the standard global or local financial market. The adoption of a utility token, backed up by the safest Blockchain technology, would allow accessing a wider public of potential investors at a much lower cost than standard money-lending institutions, thus giving the chance to industry participants to finance their projects (i.e., investments, consolidation of debt, market development) at a cost lower than the one offered by conventional financial institutions. In short, tokenisation is the creation of digital analog (certificates) for real values with the goal of quickly and safely working with them. Important: the token is not a cryptocurrency. Raising capital through asset tokenisation is a complex task and requires the creation of a team with IT technologists directly creating a token, lawyers providing protection and compliance with OFAC, FINMA, etc. requirements, as well as specialists in listing tokens on exchanges and organizing road shows to attract investors. It is expected that in the post COVID-19 world asset tokenisation will receive a powerful impetus for further development. “Socialisation in new market prides” In the context of the COVID-19 crisis, growth of protectionism and weakened current alliances and associations, it may make sense to turn to the Japanese experience of overcoming the economic decline. After the end of the Second World War, the country has shown a miraculous economic growth and expansion of its economy into world markets, particularly speeding things up in 1970s. The Japanese miracle was achieved Aluminium International Today

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COVID-19 15

through the creation of nine trading houses: Mitsubishi Shoji, Mitsui Busan, Itochu Shoji, Marubeni Corporation, Sumitomo Shoji, Nissho-Iwai, Toyo Menka, Nichimen and Kanematsu-Gosho, which accommodate more than 60% of Japan’s foreign trade, despite the fact that more than 12 thousand companies are engaged in the process along their side. The initial task posed by the abovementioned trading houses was the establishment of control of na-tional capital over the country’s foreign trade in order to facilitate and modernize the Japanese economy. This task was successfully completed. After several decades, Japanese firms share in country’s foreign trade balance increased from 1 to 80%. In addition to sales functions, Japanese trading houses took on a number of other functions related to the organisation and servicing of the flow of goods, including organisation of supply chains, creation of distribution warehouses in consumption centers abroad and financing of supplies. Japanese trading houses maintain close ties with the state. structures (Ministry of

Trade and Industry, Ministry of Finance, Export-Import Bank, etc.), being an important component of the country’s economy and ensuring its expansion, development and sustainability in the world markets of high-tech deep processing production. Perhaps, getting inspired by this experience of trading house creation, or strengthening of the existing trading houses and expansion of their activities in conjunction with financial institutions, will allow us to shake up the possible stagnation of the world economy to a vector of qualitative and quantitative development. Trading houses have always played a role of a “market buffer” between producers and consumers. Feasibly, we will observe a tendency to expand the range of existing and new trading houses, which in addition to the old-fashioned commodity operations will begin to deal more with products of deep processing technologies. In order to establish such trading houses, the world market players, as always, will gravitate towards those jurisdictions which offer stability of their financial systems, taxation, etc. In this light, the

tendency to create new and strengthen existing trading houses in such market centers as Switzerland is likely to receive an additional impetus for development. In conclusion The world will change after COVID-19, but the overall vector will remain the same. Does all of the above mean the end of globalisation? Of course not. Globalisation is, first of all, the prevalence of international financial institutions over national structures, which will increase due to lack of funding, acceleration of business “metabolism”, uneven degree of economic decline or speed of recovery and many other factors. Business does not forgive mistakes and procrastination, especially during periods of turmoil. The task of each leader is to ensure reliable development of their company in this changing world, to see and calculate actions several steps ahead. Surviving in the Dark Forest COVID-19 is and will not be an easy business. The ability to adapt and control the outcomes will become a true test and the natural selection process has already begun. Stay alert! �

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May/June 2020

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Finding the value in smelting waste


Based in the North West of England, Ultromex provides vital technologies to the aluminium smelting industry to help it deal with its production wastes. Nadine Bloxsome* met with Nigel Seddon, CEO of Ultromex, to discuss how the company is helping aluminium manufacturers reduce landfill and cut the carbon footprint of their smelting operations. After a successful career spanning nearly 20 years in the chemical industry, Nigel Seddon decided it was time for a change and made a move into the aluminium sector. Over the past five years, he and a select handful of trusted colleagues have brought Ultromex to life and are on the brink of global expansion. “Five years ago, Ultromex had been going for a couple of years and the investors asked me to take a look at the

company. It was based around technology in four metal recovery areas; one of which was aluminium,” says Nigel. “What struck me immediately was that we were never going to be able to continue with all four, so I believed that the aluminium industry looked the most likely to succeed. It was a growing industry and recycling aluminium was an interesting area.” It appears this was the right choice, as

six months later, Ultromex had already signed a deal with a remelter in the UK and also an outfit in the Nordics. “The project in the Nordics involved building a small plant to process salt slag. Looking back, it was optimistic that we could solve the industry’s environmental problems with just a handful of us! Now the organisation has grown to 15.’’ “We developed a technology that amazingly separates all the embedded

*Editor, Aluminium International Today May/June 2020

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Aluminium International Today

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4 1. Ultromex services range from designing, supplying, building and operating plants, to developing technology and problem solving. 2. Metal recovered in original form! 3. Delicate pieces of metal. 4. Zero loss to fines. 5. Foil passed through undamaged! 6. Non metallics - 12 months on, no smell and nature has taken over! 7. Expert chemistry & laboratory facilities. 8. Flux salt recovered. 9. Nigel Seddon, CEO of Ultromex.

Aluminium International Today

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7 aluminium from lumps of slag or dross by selectively downsizing non-metallics to ‘sand’ without damaging the metal. The metal is recovered in whichever form it went into the process, and so none of it is lost through being ground to dust,” Nigel continues. “If it’s in a coral shape, it will come out in a coral shape. Or if you add a milk bottle top for example, then it will come out undamaged.” Building a dross and slag database For various reasons, the Nordic company weren’t quite ready to install the plant once it was ready, so the team decided to use it as a pilot plant to test slag and drosses. “It was a great advantage to the business at the time, because we were

able to take in a number of slags and drosses for processing and demonstrate how exceptional our metal recovery is,” says Nigel. “We now have a big database of slags and drosses, so we know how they are going to behave and how different they can be, both physically and chemically.” Chemical reactions With the team behind Ultromex coming from different chemical backgrounds, attention soon turned to recovering valuable products, while making biproducts inert in the best way possible. “We have a patented process called SALTROMEX that alters the chemistry, so that toxic gases such as ammonia are not generated,” explains Nigel. “When we looked at the cost of May/June 2020

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processing the non-metallics, once you have recovered all the metal, a major cost was the gas abatement and what to do with these toxic gases. “This technology is going to be a gamechanger, because if these gases aren’t being given off, together with the inherent cost of treating them, then you’ve got a much more economic process.” Pre-processing solutions While investigating the full remelting process, the team also began looking into a solution to treat salt slag. “Our Operations Director Michael Glass, is used to going into chemical plants and questioning them in detail about how they operate and going back to establishing root causes,” explains Nigel. “We came to the conclusion that it is all well and good to want to treat salt slag, but what if you could create less salt slag in the first place?” The ALTROMEX offering, which is a dross concentration process, was therefore born out of this questioning. “The amount of salt added to a tilting rotary furnace is directly in proportion to the amount of waste in the dross, so if you can concentrate your dross before charging into the furnace, you will use less salt and create less salt slag. We can concentrate any dross up to a much higher yield without metal loss and cut salt slag volumes dramatically,” says Nigel. “If remelters concentrate their dross before remelting, they will also free up furnace capacity and only use energy to heat metal, rather than waste.” Landfill or stored waste problem solving Historically, aluminium smelting wastes such as slags, drosses, skimmings, spent pot liner and filter dusts were routinely landfilled, but these days, in the EU, Australia, parts of the Middle East and Americas, landfilling of these wastes is now prohibited. There are many hundreds of these historic landfills in existence all over the world and some of them are now causing significant geo-environmental problems, leaching soluble salts and other contaminants into the surrounding groundand watercourses. In addition, when these wastes come into contact with moisture they hydrolyse initiating May/June 2020

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exothermic reactions involving toxic, explosive and smelly gases. In order to address these industry issues, Ultromex developed TERRAMEX as a full service to fully remediate such landfills, removing and treating the toxic aluminium wastes to permanently eliminate the risks for the present and future generations and restoring the site for other uses. “We are working with Rio Tinto on a number of their legacy sites around Europe, one of which will see us processing in excess of 50,000 tonnes of material over a two year period,” says Nigel. The move into Europe will see Ultromex building and developing a plant in France, in order to position itself closer to emerging projects. “This means we will be looking to double in size and be 30 strong this time next year,” explains Nigel. “We have developed a strong relationship within Rio Tinto and we are looking at two other SPL sites for them and the plant in France will be a real springboard for us.” Sustainability drivers Over the last few years, the sustainability agenda has become essential across all industries, not just in aluminium manufacturing. But is the main driver one of economics or ecology? “It’s a different driver for different companies,” says Nigel. “Some want to clean up sites in order for new industries to develop, while others are looking more at reducing costs and optimising production.” “One example of driving change is in the Middle East. For the last 15 years or so, the focus has been on the primary side

and producing metal, but now, attention is turning to improving the management of dross, salt slag and SPL.” The Middle East is a key area where Ultromex has recently secured a contract to process dross and this will see the business grow into another region altogether. “We are in the process of building a plant in the Middle East, so we are in a prime position to continue to help the smelters in that region with other challenges.” ‘Seeing is believing’ These offerings to the aluminium industry are the result of many years of hard work by the team, supported by their investors and by Innovate UK, which have helped to accelerate development of these valuable technologies. With the technology ready to roll out, the team soon realised that potential customers would want to see it in action and has therefore built a multifunctional, flexible plant at the facilities in Bromborough, which will demonstrate the technology to potential customers on an industrial scale. “You can demonstrate certain expertise and put a plant together and a lot of it is consistent, but every customer really needs their process to be looked at from end to end and what we try to do is put our expertise and technology into areas that can give them the best economic value,” says Nigel. At the time of this interview, the plant was likely to be commissioned just before Easter and the team are keen to invite customers to see how the Ultromex technology performs processing a tonne or so of their own material, be it dross, salt slag or SPL. The laboratory-testing centre will also be able to analyse material before and after processing to demonstrate what the technology can deliver. “We encourage anyone who wants to know more to bring your samples of salt slag, dross or SPL to the new plant in Bromborough! We’d be delighted to show you what we can do.” �


Aluminium International Today

06/05/2020 09:35:28

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Creating value from aluminium dross In response to the growing interest for a circular economy, environmental restrictions and a very competitive market in terms of product quality, process productivity and profitability, the aluminium sector has been pushing the top equipment suppliers to develop competitive technologies and processes to recover the most of the aluminium dross and scrap. When aluminium is melted, the generated dross should be removed to ensure high quality aluminium. Typically, the black dross (from secondary melting operations) can contain from 5% to 30% of aluminium. By other side, the white dross (from primary smelters) is much richer and contains a higher concentration of metal, which can be from 20% to 80%. The aluminium content in the dross, even from black or white dross, can be recovered by means of a subsequent melting process. There are several technologies for this process, being the tilting rotary furnace the most effective way to process dross as it maximises energy efficiency and metal recovery. GHI Smart Furnaces, a leading European furnace supplier, with vast experience in aluminium recovery technologies has developed cutting edge equipment to increase the profitability of dross recovery plants. As an outstanding reference, GHI supplied and designed together with Befesa, its dross recovery plant in Germany with a total input capacity of 140.000 tpy and its two aluminium recycling plants in Spain with 100.000 tpy each. The state-of-the-art plants were Aluminium International Today

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developed with the efficient, safest and most sustainable technologies. The plant in Bernburg, Germany has a leading role in the Dross recovery industry. The final products are ingots and liquid aluminium, which are then sold to customers, mainly from the automobile and packaging industry. Recovering the aluminium from dross Today’s waste is not waste anymore, but a resource that can processed to create value. GHI’s tilting rotary furnaces along with the salt slag coolers, the holding furnaces and the implemented 4.0 technology, provide the highest aluminium recovery yield, an optimised energy consumption and provide the safest and the most environmentally friendly process of the market. The main equipment to recover aluminium from dross is the Tilting rotary furnace. GHI Smart Furnaces developed a new concept in rotary melting furnaces which provides profitable metal yields and produces significantly lower contaminant waste than traditional models, which produce high amounts of waste salts. Several references in Europe and Latin

America support these facts. The value proposition of this equipment can be resumed as: - Oxy-fuel burners produce a highintensity flame and better transmission of heat to load. - The TRF is available in different sizes from 10 to 65t capacity. - The amount of salts required in the process can be reduced by 50% compared with other types of rotary industrial furnace. - Lower costs of fume collection and filtration equipment since fewer combustion gases are produced. - The tilting body of the furnace makes it easier to empty and clean. - The proven lining designs and qualities increase the equipment lifecycle and minimise the maintenance costs. - The 4.0 technology developed by GHI, allows the characterisation of the melting process thus increasing the process control and optimising the cycle time. Increasing the profitability and minimising the environmental footprint The salt-slag from the rotary tilting May/June 2020

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furnace, usually contains between 3 to 10% of residual metallic aluminium. The salt slag cooling system designed by Befesa and supplied by GHI thanks to its technological partnership, holds the fumes and prevents the oxidation of the contained aluminium, increasing the metal recovery and drastically reducing the space required for cooling the traditional salt slag bins. The fumes, undesired emissions and odours are significantly reduced with this system. The principle of operation of GHI’s salt slag cooling system is based on the cooling down of the salt slag coming from the rotary furnaces, which is later classified depending on the size and metal content. The cooling system is automatically fed by a fit for purpose conveyor that carries the salt slag from the rotary tilting furnaces, avoiding the use of traditional baskets. The system triggers automatically when the emptying of salt slags of the rotary furnace starts. The salt slag is poured over the conveyor and is transported to the inlet of the cooler feeding a trommel where it starts to cool down. Cooling below 400°C is accomplished in a few minutes, avoiding the oxidation of the remaining aluminium, and increasing the aluminium recovery. The trommel has two directions of rotation based on its operation mode: cooling-wise and emptying-wise. At the outlet of the trommel, the temperature of the salt slag is continuously measured to determine the proper operation mode, and hence the direction of rotation, upon reaching the target temperature. The external side of the trommel is provided with several buckets positioned in such a way that depending on the direction of rotation allow to keep the salt slag inside the trommel, continuing their cooling down, or to discharge the salt slag emptying of the trommel once the target temperature May/June 2020

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is achieved. This fact allows this design to be 100% free of any water infiltration, the salt slag never comes in direct contact with the cooling water, which makes this system completely safe. Once the cooling cycle is completed, at the output of the trommel, the salt slag passes through a screen which based on their size are discharged on two different conveyors, one for dust and fines that transports them to the storage silos and other for coarse items, which convey them for its final storage on bins and recovery of any aluminium content. Finally, the storage silos are provided with a fully automated vibratory discharging system including a telescopic discharge protection sleeve with level sensors to minimise the formation of dust during the loading of the trucks for its further processing in the external salt slag processing plant. In addition, in order to control the dust emissions, a complete air treatment system with several suction nozzles is installed in critical points, such as in the cooling output screening, conveyors and storage silo discharge. Ensuring the aluminium quality The plants are also equipped with reverberatory furnaces, specifically designed for receiving, holding, alloying and preparing molten aluminium. The

open front of the furnaces, allows access to the entire chamber for cleaning and skimming operations, thus optimising finished product quality. The furnaces have a bath agitation system by means of porous plugs that homogenize the temperature and the chemical composition of the bath, resulting in premium quality metal. They are provided with automatic tilting systems for more efficient casting control, including a proportional valve in the hydraulic equipment, a tilt meter in the furnace and a laser system to monitor the level in the transfer channel next to each furnace. Smart Plant integration GHI offers a new concept of complete and intelligent plant with the highest performance in the market and a 4.0 solution that allows customers to move from data-driven insights to data-driven actions. All the equipment is sensorised, the captured data is analysed in the Beyond 4.0 platform with tailor-made algorithms and big data systems under the most robust cyber security systems. The dross recovery process is analysed by specialized GHI engineers to optimise the cycle time, improve the process control and provide predictive and preventive maintenance anywhere in the world. ďż˝ Aluminium International Today

12/05/2020 14:05:51

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Up to the challenge

This interview was due to take place at the ISRI exhibition that was supposed to be held in Las Vegas in April. Instead, the interview was carried out over the phone from remote ‘home office’ locations in the UK and Germany. Our carbon footprint was dramatically reduced and there were no Las Vegas distractions during the interview…

Magnesium XR

Both in the U.S. and Europe, scrap consumers are increasingly facing the task of producing pure aluminium end products that are free of not only heavy metals, but also of light fractions, such as magnesium. TOMRA has risen to this challenge and Aluminium International Today was among the first to find out how. Nadine Bloxsome* spoke to Brian Gist** about the company’s new technology launch and what it means for the sector. Approximately four million tons of Zorba is generated in the United States (U.S.) annually from the end-of-life vehicle shredding process. Zorba contains between 2-4% magnesium and was primarily exported to China prior to the implementation of National Sword. Post National Sword, Zorba did not meet the stringent purity standards, and, as a result, the limited export opportunities have resulted in a surplus of Zorba in the U.S. The market requires a furnace-ready aluminium product from Zorba with low magnesium with a weight percentage well below 0.5% for smelters.

Separating aluminium and magnesium Magnesium makes up between 1% and 4% of a typical scrap aluminium fraction and is usually regarded as an unwanted contaminant in the scrap mix, which in the end makes it difficult for recyclers to sell. Secondary aluminium smelters require Zorba to contain very low magnesium, well below 0.5% by weight, in order to better sell it within domestic markets. However, due to magnesium and aluminium being similar in density, technologies have difficulties in clearly differentiating between these materials

in order to separate them. To this end, removing magnesium from aluminium scrap is still a challenge that requires advanced technology. A recent upgrade of TOMRA’s X-TRACT machines for magnesium removal offers a reliable, consistent and cost-effective alternative to sink-float.


*Editor, Aluminium International Today **Global Sales Director, Metals, TOMRA Aluminium International Today

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Team TOMRA Recycling in front of Aluminum

Prior to the introduction of this new technology, the only way to remove contaminants like magnesium from aluminium was through a sink-float dense media process. “It is clear that quality is key,” says Brian Gist, Global Sales Director, Metals at TOMRA. “When the ring fence went up in China, the people that kept operating were those who made good quality material. What we see now, and what we have been focusing on, is making TOMRA the first sensor-based sorting company to achieve a furnace grade product across the across the Zorba size spectrum from 5-120mm.” The new TOMRA X-TRACT uses the existing TOMRA X-TRACT X-ray (XRT) technology, but in a new configuration capable of sorting material of different densities. May/June 2020

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For the first time, it is now possible to design and implement a full, dry, sensorbased sorting process that covers all necessary sorting steps and can improve quality of the gained aluminium further by separating wrought from cast aluminium in an additional step. “This technology means we can separate magnesium from the aluminium with a cost effectiveness in both process cost and CAPEX cost, to make a low magnesium twitch through Zorba,” explains Brian. “It is a significant application for the making of twitch in modern times. I have worked in the metals industry since 1990 and I don’t think there has been anything more significant than this in making twitch since then.” Closing the loop The aluminium sector is particularly

fond of the term ‘closing the loop’ and technologies such as this only help to demonstrate the significance of metal recovery as we work towards a more circular economy. “Aluminium is a wonderful product, it is infinitely recyclable. Why can’t we just close the loop and keep going round and round?” asks Brian. “Why do we need to do the carbon footprint thing and send it metal to another part of the world and have it sent back to you? “We know the significance of recovering and sorting material to a quality that can be re-used in the country or the geographical location it was sorted in. Surely this is the right thing to do.” Global launch While the original launch of this technology was due to be announced at the ISRI event in April, in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis, the TOMRA team have continued to move forward and roll the product out globally. “The need for making a low magnesium product and taking magnesium out of aluminium is a worldwide challenge,” says Brian. “I think we will need more and not less of this sorting capability across the world and being able to process and produce a cost effective, repeatable high quality product is paramount.” � Aluminium International Today

07/05/2020 11:02:47



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Combilift forklifts are the trucks of choice for Garnalex Garnalex is the latest venture from CEO and stalwart of the profiles industry Roger Hartshorn, who has now turned his attention to aluminium. The company has made substantial investments in a new extrusion factory in Nether Heage, Derbyshire to revolutionise the way aluminium windows and doors are fabricated, installed and sold. It has also invested in a fleet of Combilift multidirectional forklifts, which play an integral role in ensuring maximum efficiency in this advanced facility. “While PVC-U and timber windows and doors have been transformed over the past 30 years, there’s been little investment or development in residential aluminium ones,” said Roger. “We are extruding aluminium for trade customers now and the upcoming launch of our innovative Sheerline® system will significantly improve fabricators’ and installers’ experience of buying aluminium systems and windows, making them easier, faster and better to fabricate and install. In a similar vein around twenty years ago, Combilift was also instrumental in revolutionising handling and storage procedures when it developed its original C-Series forklifts. I was one of the first at the time to recognise the qualities of these trucks as being crucial to high levels of safety and operational flexibility.” The scale of production in the 100,000ft² factory, which is able to extrude four tonnes of aluminium an hour, requires a coordinated approach, and as well as May/June 2020

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doing the heavy lifting, the Combilifts are fitted out with weighing scales, bar code scanners, QR code readers and PCs. These feed information into the GarnerSys bespoke management and tracking system developed by Garnalex’ in-house software team, enabling the precise location of all products to be identified at any time. Garnalex initially took delivery of two 4 tonne C4000 trucks and a Combi-CB with 2.5 tonne lift capacity, all with LPG power, 4-way capability and painted in special Garnalex livery colours. Two more C4000 models are on order, which were chosen for their ability to be used as universal trucks, outside as well as inside, for handling raw materials and finished products in all areas. Multidirectional ability is a particular benefit for long loads, such as those typically handled by Garnalex. These forklifts offload incoming logs, 7m long, four to a pack, which each weigh around 800Kg. The exact weight of each load is checked, a barcode is affixed to the logs before they are taken to storage and then to one of the two extrusion presses. The trucks bring 7m long baskets of extrusions - identified by QR codes - to the ovens, and back to storage areas once the cooking process has been completed. The 5.5m triplex masts fitted to these models enable them to pass under low doorways, and lift goods to high storage bays when extended. They also handle and load the 3m long, 3 tonne boxes of scrap that are sent back to Wales for recycling.

The Combi-CB, the first truck of its kind to combine compact counterbalance design with multidirectional capability, was designed to carry pallets as well as longer loads and is also used for handling plastic extrusions at LB Plastics, now part of the Garner Holdings group and colocated in Nether Heage. “This truck’s clever design makes it a useful ‘halfway house’ so to speak and its versatility is a great asset,” said Roger. Roger continues: “Before we had Combilift machines in the companies I used to own, we had tried all sorts of different pieces of equipment in a bid to improve handling and storage, such as sideloaders and a prototype of a single jib machine but once we had discovered the C4000 – which was at the time a niche product we had the ideal solution. Martin McVicar and Robert Moffett came up with a good idea that that just keeps on getting better. Combilift’s trucks are now a standard in the industry, 100% fit for purpose and inherently safe. The engineers at the factory in Ireland continue to enhance and customise them to individual requirements as they did for us by incorporating the technology we needed. It’s important that we know exactly where our products are at all times, and with our new forklifts and GarnerSys to integrate them into the operation of the factory we do!” �

Aluminium International Today

06/05/2020 09:48:05

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Joining our strengths, today, more than ever By Éloïse Harvey* The global industrial environment is becoming more and more complex and competitive. Organisations of all sizes live it to various degrees of intensity. The industrial sectors as we know them are grappling with increasingly demanding production and profitability imperatives. This minimises the option of putting operational performance momentarily at risk to integrate a new advantageous technology. Indeed, in aluminium smelters, it is sometimes difficult to change wellestablished and functional ways to try establishing improvements that could have potential risks but also high rewards. How can we ensure that an industry like primary aluminium production continues the desired technological shift towards 4.0 industry while minimising risks as much as possible? How do we go about deploying equipment, such as a fleet of autoguided vehicles in an operating plant, which in addition to coactivity with other equipment, must communicate with other systems without impacting production? Mecfor has given some thoughts on how the dynamic of new technologies development and deployment in the aluminium industry could look like in the future to ensure the sustainability of the ecosystem that exists between equipment manufacturers, aluminium producers, governments, and research centres. This reflection was initiated, among other things, by the recent development and technological showcase experience of Mecfor’s first electrical auto-guided metal hauler, the AGV TEAM – Metal, under real

plant operating conditions. The process surrounding the startup and deployment of the AGV TEAM metal hauler in a smelter was revealing for Mecfor in terms of its complexity and the many factors that are difficult to identify otherwise in comparison with a conventional hauler fleet commissioning. Planning for the implementation of a fleet of AGV haulers in a continuous production plant must be carefully planned and worked out in close collaboration with all parties involved. Equipment manufacturers Over the past 20 years, Mecfor has developed a great expertise and a thorough understanding of the challenges encountered in smelters. Through its delivered projects, the company has gained a global vision of the industry allowing it to identify the common challenges of its customers. One of Mecfor’s engineering team daily realities is making its line of products evolve through innovation and integration of new technologies onto equipment. All is eager to see more technology breakthroughs, but it must be admitted that the equipment supplier’s facilities are light years away from the operating environment of an aluminium plant, thus making it hard to test these new technologies. Indeed, beyond modelling, workshops quickly become a limit to understanding the behaviour of a new component or equipment in real operating conditions and their implications

according to the specifics of aluminium production. In order to minimise the risks, it is ideal when possible to test upstream prior to undertake manufacturing of equipment. For example, in the case of AGV TEAM Hauler, several components were installed on conventional haulers for many months in order to validate their behaviour under magnetic fields, abrasive dust and other inherent conditions of the industry. Access to aluminium plants is a facilitating and reassuring element for an equipment manufacturer when developing new technologies. It allows the equipment manufacturer to validate its choices, to confirm design criteria and to ensure that components react well under real operating conditions. Of course, adding to the ability to test in a smelter, the ultimate is if a synergic alliance can be set between parts’ supplier, equipment manufacturer and aluminium producer. This kind of partnership energises the approach. In this perspective, the acceleration of the integration of new technologies can also go through the association with other experts who have developed targeted skills (e.g.: auto-guided navigation, robotisation, automation platform, etc.). Specifics of operational conditions Technologies also confront particularities of aluminium plant operating conditions. Profound changes such as a shift towards AGVs in the pot room, for example, require a holistic understanding of the metal flow and the functioning of the

*B. Eng. & Mgmt, President, Mecfor Inc. May/June 2020

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plant. The challenges are multiplying for the equipment supplier: the different technologies used to produce aluminium, the level of automation to manage the metal flow, plants’ layout (e.g.: floor load capacity), the practices and methods in place (e.g.: crucible on a stand or not), operating conditions (e.g.: temperature fluctuations, abrasive dust, toxic gases, coactivity, high magnetic fields that can be variable). Not only must the equipment designer present a solution adapted to the industry, but he must also be ready to adapt to many levels of customisation to meet requirements of each plant. This reality translates into almost a custom solution; thus, limiting possible volume savings. Governments and Research centres In the development of its AGV TEAM Hauler, Mecfor recognises that governments’ support to promote its project, both during the development phase of the equipment and to test the equipment under real operating conditions, has had a decisive impact. The business environment created by Mecfor’s provincial and federal authorities facilitates the development and integration of technologies by small and medium businesses that do so with minimal resources. Thanks to the onsite trial period, the equipment supplier and customer were both able to benefit from lessons learned. Access to research centres is also a favourable factor. Testing new equipment and technologies in a plant prior to real commissioning helps define required interventions, impact on production and employees, co-activity with equipment, etc. thus better plan full implementation steps. Prime contractors There seems to be a trend to shift responsibility of development and integration of new technologies to OEMs. About 15 years ago, the industry was showing a willingness to take more risks. Aluminium smelters are constantly seeking to optimise operational performance costs in order to maintain shrinking margins. They aim to know with full confidence that the introduction of a new technology will not compromise their production; this risk aversion is understandable. That is why, authorising to conduct tests directly at the plant can be reassuring for both parties (producer and OEM). By testing a new technology, the producer does not feel the pressure linked to the constraint of purchasing an unproven technology and down the road has the peace of mind that the component will perform its function properly without creating unexpected failures. The OEM also comes out a winner since without these tests in real operating Aluminium International Today

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conditions, it is difficult to demonstrate the proper functioning of new equipment other than by empirical assumptions. Another mean to improve the industry in general, could be for aluminium smelters to join efforts and contribute together to the development, testing and elimination of the risk of new technologies which are not targeted at the very heart of the process such as vehicles that are considered a commodity. This kind of alliance between a number of operators would allow an equipment manufacturer to invest more in R&D knowing that the industry supports its efforts. It is also likely that this dynamic could be favourable to the development of a high-performance industrial cluster, of a network of experts within which sharing feedbacks from field experience would benefit all.

Reinventing the wheel together To ensure continuity and profitability of our industry, testing in real plant environment, prior to launching new technologies is one of the winning conditions. Developing new technologies in partnership mode remains one of the most accessible approaches as its also reduces the risk for all parties involved. There is no need to limit the partnership model to a binary co-operation. The partnership can be composed of more than two companies, a tripartite co-development or other (many OEMs together, OEM and supplier, smelter and OEM, research centre and OEM, etc.). Design criteria could also be established jointly between several factories to harmonise expectations and minimise the risk of development onto the equipment manufacturer. Integrating the specificity of an application like a fleet of AGV haulers can be challenging. This type of dynamic implies that the linear procurement model as we know it would have to adapt. Open collaboration would ensure conducting promising projects for all. It is more than likely that the climate of trust will enhance sharing of information and knowledge. The business environment has atomized the players by inviting them to be increasingly

strategic to ensure the survival of their businesses. In our experience, close collaboration exponentially accelerates wealth and promotes a fertile and innovative socio-economic context. This collaboration reaches its full power when it is deployed on several levels, involving SMEs, large companies, governments, research and expertise centres and centres of technology transfer. Mecfor can testify that when all are in phase, a symbiotic relationship is woven, benefiting all. In addition, allowing equipment manufacturers to conduct tests in a real operations environment constitutes another solution. The equipment supplier can refine its design, accelerate its learning curve while sharing findings with client. A real bench test that allows making necessary adjustments to ensure the reliability and desired performance levels of equipment. It is not excluded that the equipment supplier may test specific parameters for the clients. Another aspect is the mutualisation of platforms and technologies, which brings operational security and makes the industry less dependent to one single developer while creating a business volume for a model that could be mass produced. In addition, it opens the possibility to multiple phases to a project. For example, when Mecfor selected the Kollmorgen platform (a non-proprietary software available on more than 20,000 vehicles worldwide) in its AGV TEAM, it was with the frame of mind that customers could add other types of AGV equipment over time inside the plant that could all be connected to the same platform (haulers, liftrucks, personal carriers, etc.). OEMs are actively involved in creating value in the aluminium industry. In their efforts to specialise to meet the requirements of their customers, the business volume is not always there. Within the context of a technological shift towards a 4.0 industry promoting cooperation and reducing risks for all would ensure that other impacting technologies emerge together with producers, OEMs and other players interested in taking on challenges. Finally, in recent years, we have seen the appearance of centres of excellence, teams dedicated to innovation and good practices, within corporations. These units are often the link between large business and SMEs. Governments have also recognised the importance of providing dynamic support to the everchanging environment, which increasingly requires advanced technologies. In short, the time has come to mobilise and create a participative co-operation within the industry to succeed in its digital transformation. � May/June 2020

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Automated handling: Location, location, location By Peter Stipan* With cranes handling thousands of pounds of aluminium to those transporting liquid metal at very high temperatures, the safety of both workers and equipment is critical. So too is keeping equipment running efficiently to minimise unplanned maintenance and repairs to ensure processes stay up and running. One product designed to improve the safety, productivity, and uptime of aluminium manufacturing and processing operations is Columbus McKinnon’s Magnetek® brand Intelli-Protect™ System with no-fly zone technology. No-fly zones refer to protected areas where normal crane operation is limited or entirely restricted. Intelli-Protect allows the operator to designate locations where a crane is programmed to slow down or stop, using motion control products such as variable frequency drives, radio remote controls, limit switches, laser positioning and sensors. “Implementing an Intelli-Protect System limits the risk of collisions, increases safety for equipment and personnel in protected areas, and improves facility throughput,” said Peter Stipan, Global Director, Automation Division. These versatile systems can be designed for simple or complex applications. IntelliProtect Fixed Location Systems utilise limit switches installed on bridge and trolley motions that interface with a controller for functional customisation. These systems are available in three configurations optimised for two-sided, three-sided, and four-sided areas where crane motion is limited or entirely restricted. This product is recommended in areas where there is a high concentration of particulates, or moisture in the air. A perfect application for Intelli-Protect in aluminium manufacturing is in moving large, heavy aluminium billets or rolls of aluminium to processing locations on the plant floor when they need to be maneuvered to or around a large piece of machinery or some other asset. The limit switches set the parameters so that

the overhead crane lifts the materials completely around the structure. Configurable Intelli-Protect Systems utilise laser positioning sensors installed on bridge and trolley motions that interface with a controller for functional customisation. Designed to be flexible and changes based on the application, these systems can be configured to exact requirements and easily modified from any personal electronic device as changing process, plant, and crane conditions require. Configurable systems also take into account the height of equipment or if the hoist is at the upper limit to create zones that the crane is allowed to pass over. When moving a crucible with molten aluminium, avoiding hazards or other equipment is a must. With the configurable systems capability to measure from 8” to over 900’ feet in 1” increments and the capability to have up to 31 programmable zones, the system is accurate and flexible to create a path for the operator to move and not lose efficiency.

Intelli-Protect is also ideal for aluminium extrusion manufacturers. Aluminium extrusions are designed into electric cars and trucks since aluminium is light-weight and the high thermal conductivity of aluminium helps cool battery packs. These hollow aluminium extrusions are placed underneath and sometimes in between batteries as a coolant runs through them to maintain proper battery temperatures during car operation. Once the aluminium is extruded into ingots, rolled into sheets or wire rod, Intelli-Protect can be used to help the crane avoid obstacles as it moves the material from the casting process to storage locations and shipping bays, avoiding costly repairs and damage caused by collisions. Ultimately, automating the movement of aluminium materials in plants improves safety, uptime, and productivity – ultimately lowering overall costs for manufacturers. Intelli-Protect is the first product in Columbus McKinnon’s family of Intelli-Crane™ automated products. �

*Global Director, Automation Division at Columbus McKinnon May/June 2020

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Getting to know Garnalex Garnalex is the new kid on the block in UK aluminium extrusions after being established in March 2018. Nadine Bloxsome* visited the brand spanking new site at the beginning of this year to find out more.

Garnalex’s CEO Roger Hartshorn is best known for founding and selling two leading PVC-U window systems companies, Eurocell Plc and Liniar systems. Commenting on the reasons behind entering the world of aluminium in such a significant way, Roger Hartshorn says: “After a lifetime in PVC, I’ve fallen for aluminium and its potential. With the changing climate we have to prioritise sustainability and I want more people to know that aluminium is one of the most recycled – and most recyclable – materials on the planet, with nearly 75% of all the aluminium produced still in use today. I also believe that it offers higher levels of precision and greater structural strength – perfect for the higher end home improvement products today’s consumers are demanding. We set up Garnalex to release aluminium’s true potential within the fenestration industry, offering customers enhanced levels of service and support, alongside a step change in reliability of delivery.” The most technically advanced factory for optimum efficiency, quality and service Garnalex’s 100,000 sq ft extrusion factory in Nether Heage, Derbyshire, UK has been designed to the highest specification, making it one of the most technically advanced aluminium extrusion facilities in

Visiting the factory in Derbyshire

the country. One of only a handful of aluminium systems companies with their own extrusion factory in the UK, Garnalex has invested in a £9 million state of the art factory to supply trade aluminium extrusions and its own window and

door systems. In addition, Garnalex has invested £1.5m in its plastics mouldings operations to design and make the PVC-U components for its own fenestration systems. With the most advanced machinery and bespoke software, investment in

Phase 1 - Logs are fed into the SMS HYBREX aluminium press

*Editor, Aluminium International Today Aluminium International Today

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months developing GarnerSys, a bespoke management and software tracking system.” Sitting between the factory machinery and SAP, GarnerSys links everything. It shows the status of an order, where it is in the manufacturing process, how much of the order is complete, the timescale for packaging, and when the order can be loaded onto stillages and into delivery vehicles, improving efficiency and giving customers accurate lead times. “We’ve provided every area of the business with fully-customised interfaces – on phones, machines, in Combilift and delivery truck cabs, you name it!” continues Adrian. “The software is operated via touchscreen and it’s

“After a lifetime in PVC, I ‘ve fallen for aluminium and its potential...

Garnalex’s CEO Roger Hartshorn


A and B. The furnace in the state of the art factory

the factory ensures maximum efficiency, quality control and accuracy to give customers high quality products and the best service and support. For example, Garnalex’170-tonne SMS HYBREX aluminium press delivers 35 MN force to produce up to four tonnes of extruded aluminium profile an hour and uses up to 55% less energy than a traditional press, utilising the latest servomotor technology to replace many hydraulic functions. To ensure efficient production, Garnalex has also adopted high speed die changes. While best practice lean manufacturing calls for Single Minute Exchange of Dies, Garnalex’ tool changes are six times faster helping ensure faster, reliable lead times for trade customers. A series of videos give a virtual tour of the factory and show the benefits of Garnalex’ investment. The videos can be viewed at garnalex Garnalex has also invested in its people and recruited some of the best technical and operational minds in the industry. Team members have extensive experience in their fields, from design, testing, standards and systems to operations and finance. Garnalex focuses on nurturing inhouse talent and a number of staff started their careers as apprentices. Supporting the next generation of leaders in the construction industry, the company offers May/June 2020

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Above: Logs are cut to size

apprenticeship programmes for those interested in STEM subjects. Integrated manufacturing with GarnerSys The integration of manufacturing processes was a critical factor in the Garnalex factory design, and the company has developed its own bespoke software to synchronise all elements of production. Adrian Girling, Garnalex Software Development Director explains: “We wanted to integrate ordering, production, tracking and delivery to offer the highest levels of quality, reliability and service. We quickly realised that existing software solutions would limit what we could achieve in the factory so we spent over 12

very intuitive and easy to use. It’s been designed so quality and testing are built-in, with checks throughout the manufacturing process, not just through random spot testing at the end. All technical drawings of the tooling are on the system, and the toolroom screen for example shows the status of the dies, highlighting when they need cleaning, how long have they been in use, when they’ve due a service along with carrying a log of previous modifications. Operators can even annotate drawings live on screen. GarnerSys enables us to remove many margins for error and operate the factory more consistently and efficiently. “Importantly, GarnerSys massively benefits customers by giving them better

Extruded aluminium in the state of-the-art factory

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quality products, and a faster, more reliable service.” Supporting British Manufacturing With a clear focus on quality, Garnalex was recently accepted to join ‘Made in Britain’, an organisation that recognises excellence in manufacturing and promotes Britishmade products across all sectors. Commenting on the accreditation, CEO Roger Hartshorn says: “Garnalex is proud to invest in British manufacturing. We’re one of only a few aluminium companies to extrude in Britain and supply both trade extrusions to other companies and our own Sheerline® window and door systems to fabricators. The investment gives us full control of the supply chain, enabling us to offer shorter lead times and first-class service.” “Having left the EU, it’s important we reduce our reliance on imported aluminium systems and products. Currently 190,000 tons of extruded aluminium is consumed in the UK, but only 110,000 tons is made here. Our raw aluminium comes from Wales, so this is an opportunity to reduce Britain’s carbon footprint and buy British. We plan to make a big dent in those import statistics!”

Roger Hartshorn and the Garnalex Technical Team

Sheerline® – an innovative new aluminium window and door system Over the past 18 months Garnalex’ designers and technical experts have examined every aspect of aluminium windows and doors – from how they’re fabricated, installed and sold – to develop an innovative new window and door system. The culmination of extensive research and development, Sheerline combines the latest technical innovations with beautiful, peerless aesthetics. It has been designed with aluminium fabricators

and installers in mind and engineered to be easy to fabricate, install and sell. Garnalex has completed testing on the Sheerline Classic window and it is ready to launch in the UK once the current Coronavirus crisis eases. � Contact Visit to track the factory’s development over the past 12 months. For Sheerline visit and follow @SheerlineSystem.

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Engineering for success Five tips to use dimensioning and tolerance in the design stage. By Rodney Floding*

1 1. Die Design – Aluminium extruded tolerances are affected by multiple extrusion factors, including press size, billet temperature, extrusion speed, and die shape and type, among several operations. Keep dimensioning formats simple by using the traditional primary, secondary and tertiary datum whenever possible. and outside diameters, tolerances, or deviations, critical surface areas and mechanical strength.

In today’s fast-paced manufacturing industry, it can be difficult to set aside time to define tolerances for a new aluminium extruded component design. Pressed for time, OEM design engineers often default to title block tolerances. This might save a little time, but it risks adding unnecessary cost to the part due to poor fit and function. On the other hand, a print filled with too many tight tolerances may cause extruders to not quote the part or excessively price a part that has tighter tolerances than needed for its function. Below are five tips to help manufacturers successfully engineer proper dimensioning and tolerance when designing aluminium components. These tips can help achieve optimal manufacturability and keep costs competitive. 1. Choose the critical dimensions Adding tight tolerances on non-critical dimensions is a major source of hidden costs. Many times manufacturers will

include tighter tolerances that do not affect the form, fit or function of the final product. These tight tolerance features can result in requests for print deviations, longer setups, reruns, costly die trials, unnecessary tooling alterations—all of which can lead to costly, late or rush deliveries, and ultimately price increases. Manufacturers can reduce those costs by identifying only the critical product dimensions, which can then reduce setup and inspection time. Some dimensions may not require tolerances at all—just a visual inspection to ensure a part has its intended shape. 2. Understand which tolerances are achievable Once manufacturers have identified the most critical product dimensions, their next step is to understand which tolerances are achievable based on the specific manufacturing process. Tolerances are affected by multiple extrusion factors, including press size,

3. Bending Extrusions – Alexandria Industries’

billet temperature, extrusion speed, die shape and type, cooling time, amount of post-stretch, air temperature, and multiple die copies, just to name a few. This is why having discussions with your aluminium extruder in the design/quoting stage to agree on tight tolerance features is important.  To help manufacturers, the Aluminum Association developed industry standard tolerances for extruded products. These tolerances try to encompass most of the variables in the extrusion process. While you should use the Standards Book as a guide, know that it cannot cover every possibility of design creation. Having discussions with your extruder in the design/quoting stage is key to mutual tolerance agreement and establishing tolerance hierarchy. Manufacturers can use these standards – as well as the information showing how differences in features or size can affect tolerances – as a reference guide when designing a product. Some extruders can

*Manager, Quick Response Office Cell, Alexandria Industries May/June 2020

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hold tighter tolerances than the standards – another good reason to discuss tolerances with the extruder beforehand. 3. Establish critical dimensional product measurement (CpK) values, if necessary Establishing the CpK value to use is a critical element in determining capability of dimensional tolerances. Some CPK


industries globally. For more complex component extrusions, geometric tolerancing may be necessary to maintain precise shapes and forms. When discussing flatness of the whole surface, as defined with geometrics, make sure that your extruder understands the difference between GD&T “flatness” and “straightness” compared to traditional

without taking into account manufacturability, can increase costs and frustration. Take for instance a part that has acceptable saw cut tolerances, but machined features and their tolerances are set from both ends of the part. This could cause you to have to add milling processes, multi clamping, or touch probing operations that can add costs. Keep the dimensioning format as


others. 2.Design Tolerances – Designing tight tolerances without manufacturability can increase process variation and costs, due to excess machining, re-clamping and handling engineers provide crucial input on the bending, shaping, and forming of aluminium extrusions during the design phase of a project. When bending extrusions, designers consider inside

requirements will necessitate a capability study to determine the extent to which the extrusion process can meet specified dimensions. Although this is an added cost, it will allow the extruder to understand process capability and repeatability. For example, a 1.33 CpK requirement, in effect, reduces the tolerance band to 75 percent. Likewise, requiring a 1.67 CpK reduces the tolerance band to 60 percent. Exhibit #1 shows illustrates that the higher the CpK requirement, the tighter of tolerance we need to hold. Exhibit #1. It is important to verify the extruder’s ability to control their processes to attain specified CpK values. This can eliminate many future complications when the product goes into production.   4. Understand Geometric Tolerancing Geometric Dimensioning and Tolerancing (GD&T) is becoming the internationally recognised language of the manufacturing world. Manufacturers are using GD&T more often on their prints throughout Aluminium International Today

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standard extrusion terminology of “flatness” and “straightness”. General flatness of an extrusion in standard extrusion terminology refers to the crosssectional flatness of the profile and straightness refers to the bow in the length of the part. Some geometric tolerances, such as the profile of a surface, can lead to increased inspection time and add significant cost to the part. A best practice is to use the profile of a line on the cross-sectional profile as well as noting twist and straightness to achieve the desired profile of a surface (Exhibit #2). This allows the extruder to verify the extrusion prior to machining to ensure its functionality. Another point pertaining to exhibit #2 is the use of symmetric ID grooves. When designing a symmetrical shape, add an identification mark to allow proper orientation. This reduces tolerance variance that is characteristic in the extrusion process. Exhibit #2. 5. Design for both functionality and manufacturability. Designing tight tolerance features

simple as possible by using the traditional primary, secondary and tertiary datum whenever possible. This can help reduce process variation and keep costs down by reducing excess machining operations, reclamping and handling operations. These five dimensioning and tolerance tips offer manufacturers an alternative to defaulting to block tolerances. Manufacturers who collaborate with their aluminium extruder early in the design process can productively design products that achieve both part functionality and manufacturing cost goals. These actions can improve an organisation’s competitiveness by making quality products that function properly. Taking advantage of these tips can also decrease a company’s overall manufacturing costs, while eliminating the hassle of sending countless design schemes and tolerance changes back and forth between the designer and the extruder. Work with your extruder early to get your tolerances set and get your products to market faster. � May/June 2020

06/05/2020 10:14:17



8-9 DECEMBER 2020 Centre des Congrés de Québec, Québec City, Canada Vincent Christ, Chief Executive Officer, ELYSIS

Antti Koulumies, VP Aluminium Business Line, Outotec

Éloïse Harvey, President, Mecfor Inc.

Hans Erik Vatne, SVP, Chief Technology Officer, Norsk Hydro ASA

FROM PILOT TO EVERYDAY If you want to know what’s happening in the world of digitalisation then look no further than the only aluminium conference in the world dedicated to Industry 4.0 and how it – and its related technologies – can aid and optimise the aluminium manufacturing process.



The Future Aluminium Forum will return on 8-9 Decemer 2020! Now in its third year, the Forum has established itself as the key event to show case studies, discuss optimisation through machine learning and examine robotics, automation and augmented reality across the value chain. The Keynote Speaker has been announced as the CEO of ELYSIS, Vincent Christ. He will discuss the opportunities that ELYSIS brings for the aluminium industry and for Québec, in view of the upcoming start-up of ELYSIS Research and Development Centre in Jonquière, Québec.

Implementation & challenges Industry 4.0 maintenance Additive manufacturing FutureAluminium_DPS_A4.indd All Pages

Cyber Security Resilience Workshop This 90-minute workshop will provide participants with an understanding of the unstructured and diverse nature of cyber threats/attacks in the aluminium sector, their potential impact in terms of costs and reputational damage to the industry, and the need for new approaches to manage the digital risks.

Sponsored by:

Official Media Partner:

Organised by: INIUM IND UM US AL




Supported by:

NEW FOR 2020


The intelligent casthouse Data capturing and handling Cyber-security: Prevention and cure


Particular emphasis will be put on the sector’s requirements for effective preparation, identification, prevention, containment, eradication and recovery from cyber attacks, as well as the lessons to be learned by the industry on how to maintain its business operations and legal obligations while dealing with a cyber-incident.

Join us to hear from other experts on:




TO FIND OUT MORE AND BE PART OF THE FUTURE, CONTACT: Nadine Bloxsome | Conference Director +44 1737 855115 Nathan Jupp | Sales Manager +44 1737 855027

24/03/2020 09:58



8-9 DECEMBER 2020 Centre des Congrés de Québec, Québec City, Canada Vincent Christ, Chief Executive Officer, ELYSIS

Antti Koulumies, VP Aluminium Business Line, Outotec

Éloïse Harvey, President, Mecfor Inc.

Hans Erik Vatne, SVP, Chief Technology Officer, Norsk Hydro ASA

FROM PILOT TO EVERYDAY If you want to know what’s happening in the world of digitalisation then look no further than the only aluminium conference in the world dedicated to Industry 4.0 and how it – and its related technologies – can aid and optimise the aluminium manufacturing process.



The Future Aluminium Forum will return on 8-9 Decemer 2020! Now in its third year, the Forum has established itself as the key event to show case studies, discuss optimisation through machine learning and examine robotics, automation and augmented reality across the value chain. The Keynote Speaker has been announced as the CEO of ELYSIS, Vincent Christ. He will discuss the opportunities that ELYSIS brings for the aluminium industry and for Québec, in view of the upcoming start-up of ELYSIS Research and Development Centre in Jonquière, Québec.

Implementation & challenges Industry 4.0 maintenance Additive manufacturing FutureAluminium_DPS_A4.indd All Pages

Cyber Security Resilience Workshop This 90-minute workshop will provide participants with an understanding of the unstructured and diverse nature of cyber threats/attacks in the aluminium sector, their potential impact in terms of costs and reputational damage to the industry, and the need for new approaches to manage the digital risks.

Sponsored by:

Official Media Partner:

Organised by: INIUM IND UM US AL




Supported by:

NEW FOR 2020


The intelligent casthouse Data capturing and handling Cyber-security: Prevention and cure


Particular emphasis will be put on the sector’s requirements for effective preparation, identification, prevention, containment, eradication and recovery from cyber attacks, as well as the lessons to be learned by the industry on how to maintain its business operations and legal obligations while dealing with a cyber-incident.

Join us to hear from other experts on:




TO FIND OUT MORE AND BE PART OF THE FUTURE, CONTACT: Nadine Bloxsome | Conference Director +44 1737 855115 Nathan Jupp | Sales Manager +44 1737 855027

24/03/2020 09:58


Automatic surface inspection during aluminium extrusion While automatic surface inspection is state of the art in most metal flat rolling processes, it is basically not used in aluminium extrusion plants. This is mainly due to the complex geometry of the profiles and the nature of the process itself. However, automatic surface inspection can offer a vast variety of benefits in the extrusion process. This article gives a general overview of metal surface inspection, describes how surface inspection can be used in the extrusion business and which benefits it can deliver. The results of the first installation of an automatic inspection system at a European extruder already show the future potential and inspire the vision of the future extrusion plant. By Dominik Recker*

Supreme surface quality is one of the most important quality features for aluminium extrusion. Especially for the automotive industry and for decorative application, the process chain has to guarantee a surface free of any defects for the extruded product. Surface defects are usually blisters, inclusions, streaks, scratches and grooves, and these defects are either caused by insufficient process parameters, the die, the input material or handling. While the requirements of customers of extrusion companies are rising, most extrusion companies still rely on manual surface inspection, to this day. Usually, the surface inspection is carried out manually by an operator by eye. Different human judgement of different operators at different process steps, therefore, can result in inconsistent quality decisions. Furthermore, some surface defects might not even be seen by the human eye. An additional challenge is that the long feedback time from manual surface defect detection until corrective measures are initiated might result in an unnecessarily high amount of defective material, which in turn has to be scrapped or possibly downgraded. Automatic inspection of the surface by machine vision offers a fast, reliable and consistent detection and classification of surface defects during the production. Especially in flat rolled metal production lines (for aluminium, steel etc.), automatic surface inspection was established as state of the art over the last three decades, and

is nowadays standard quality assurance equipment. [1] Although it is not widely used yet during aluminium extrusion, automatic surface inspection offers a vast variety of benefits for extruders, such as the following: � Inspect sides which are not seen by operator (e.g. bottom side) � 100 percent inspection � Short feedback time � Less scrap � Cut according to defect size and position � Higher yield � Reduce unnecessary downstream processing (heat treatment, coating,

cutting/handling etc.) � Reduce customer reclamations � Avoid unnecessary costs � Predictive Maintenance (Predict die change, etc.) � Better use of equipment � Automatic process optimization � Smart factory The future vision of an aluminium extrusion plant is a smart factory in which the whole surface inspection plays an integral part. The surface inspection system (SIS) will not only detect surface defects, but it will also help to optimise

Fig 1. Flow of information/ data in an automatic surface inspection system

ISRA Parsytec GmbH May/June 2020

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Fig 2. Comparison of different resolutions and the impact on the gathered information

Fig 3. Influence of the illumination brightness on the gathered information

Fig 4. Influence of different field of views on the defect appearance in the camera image

Fig 5. Basic infrastructure of an automatic surface inspection system in the metals industry

the production process automatically. This paper describes the first steps to realising this vision by explaining the possibilities of automatic surface inspection in the extrusion, describing the results of the first installation at an extrusion company and the steps toward the smart aluminium extrusion plant.

to the classifier, which sorts the defect into groups and determines the correct defect name. A graphical user interface (GUI) displays the defect distribution across the entire surface of the manufactured product, delivers statistics automatically and supports with decision making, also see Fig 1.

Basics of automatic surface inspection A surface inspection system generally consists of the following components: � Cameras � Illumination � IT � Detection � Classification � GUI/Operator display

Camera, Illumination and IT Infrastructure For the inspection of metal surfaces, in most cases monochrome cameras are used. These can be either line scan or area/ matrix scan cameras, which are chosen based on the application. For the camera resolution a compromise between data amount and accuracy has to be chosen. In Fig 2, left the resolution is twice as fine as in the camera image in Fig 2, right. This results in twice the amount of data that has to be stored; however, the information (defect peaks in the gray value distribution) is the same. As illumination, theoretically any light source can be used. Brightness, wavelengths, etc., strongly depend on the intended inspection application. As for the settings of the camera, the settings of the illumination have a significant impact on the level of information gathered from the defect image. While an illumination set to a high brightness might result in loss of information (peaks in the gray

In the automatic inspection system, the material to be inspected is illuminated and images of the surface are continuously shot by a camera. Camera and illumination are synchronised with the production line so that images are taken at the right speed and the entire material surface is inspected. Detection algorithms process each image and, as soon as suspicious pixels (deviating from the even background structure of the surface) are detected, the detected defect is sent to classification, while non-suspicious images are discarded. The defect images are sent Aluminium International Today

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value distribution are disappearing), the illumination has to be set to an appropriate intensity value (Fig 3). The angle of the illumination and the camera to the vertical (of the inspected surface) significantly influences the appearance of the inspected surface in the camera image (Fig 4). While the same absolute value of the angle of camera and illumination to the vertical (bright field) emphasises contrast defects like streaks, stains etc., a different absolute value of the angle (dark field) emphasises topographic defects like scratches, blisters etc. In a bright field image, the defect usually appears much darker/brighter than the homogeneous surface. On the other hand, in a dark field image, a topographic defect reflects the light into the camera letting it appear very bright, while the homogeneous surface appears extremely dark. The threshold between bright field and dark field is normally not a sharp border, but a soft one. Therefore there is kind of a transition from bright field to dark field, with bigger differences in the angles. All of the described phenomena strongly depend on the kind of light, camera resolution and surface condition of the inspected product. Next to camera and illumination, the IT components and infrastructure play an integral role in the design of an automatic surface inspection system (Fig May/June 2020

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Fig 6. Simplified example of basic thresholding to determine anomalous pixels

Fig 7. Sensor of the extrusion surface inspection system in the production (left); and a prototype at a trial installation in an extrusion line behind the intensive cooling unit (right)

Fig 8. Influence of the profile height on the field of view during inspection with a matrix camera and a wide LED illumination. Although the height of the inspected surface might change, the surface is still sufficiently illuminated for the camera to take bright surface images

5). Image acquisition is normally either triggered by a frame grabber or directly at the camera via a hardware signal. The trigger is synchronised with the speed of the manufacturing line which, in case of flashed exposure, also triggers the illumination. The image processing algorithms can either run directly on the camera (embedded/smart camera), the frame grabber or a connected PC. Power supply, external signals (digital/ analog input and output), as well as the speed signal are fed to the system at the junction, which usually is a (small) electrical cabinet, the electrical core of the inspection system. The defect images and information are stored in a database on a server for long-time storage. An online display shows the current status of the system, current inspection results, defect locations on the surface, statistics etc., and gives the operator direct feedback on the current surface quality. Detection and classification For defect detection on metal surfaces, sophisticated algorithms are required. Every acquired image is checked by an algorithm to determine if any anomalies are on the surface. The algorithm can work in various ways, e.g., thresholding, image comparison, etc. As an example, Fig 6 shows a very basic approach of identifying anomalous pixels by simply comparing the gray value distribution of each image May/June 2020

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line to an upper and lower threshold. For inspection of metal surfaces, normally a highly developed combination of several algorithms is required due to changing surface quality requirements, changing surface texture, varying geometries, etc. These algorithms help to detect even the smallest and low-contrast surface anomalies. Once the surface defects are detected in the image, the found defect is classified. Together with the detection algorithms, the classification is the digital brain of the inspection system and strongly influences the performance of the inspection system. The classification sorts the detected defect into a defect class and finally has to give it the correct name. This is most important for accurate defect/process/ quality statistics, proper defect root cause analysis and process optimisation. For the correct naming of the surface defects, rule-based-, vector-space- or neuralnetwork-classifiers are commonly used. Inspection during aluminium extrusion The surface inspection system for the aluminium industry provided by ISRA Vision Parsytec AG is based on the experience of over 800 surface inspection system installations in the aluminium and steel manufacturing industries. Challenges like low contrast defect detection, complex defect classification

and difficult mechanical integrations have been overcome manifold times by the ISRA Vision Parsytec team in the past three decades. The extrusion inspection system EXTRUSION MASTER is the result of this experience, and the most important features will be described in the following. For the illumination, flashed infrared LEDs are used (Fig 7, left). The flashing ensures the capturing of sharp- and highcontrast images. Because infrared light is invisible to the human eye, it does not bother press operators and no special protection e.g., glasses is needed during operation of the system. Additionally, using infrared pass filters for the camera, the environmental light does not interfere with the inspection. The camera uses matrix/area scan technology, which means its sensor uses a large matrix of pixels for acquiring images (comparable to regular digital/cellphone camera technology). Combined with the wide LED illumination, the matrix camera is very robust against profile-height and pass line variations (Fig 8). The surface inspection sensor (camera and illumination) inspects the moving extruded material. For this, the sensor requires an unobstructed view of the surface. While the integration of the top side sensor is comparably simple (Fig 7, right), the installation of the bottom side requires space under the roller table. The sensor is designed to fit into a space of ≤ 1m in height underneath the roller table. A possible installation location is directly behind the intensive cooling on the runout table. This would ensure direct feedback of the process quality and would enable early countermeasures in case of surface quality issues. However, for surfaces defects induced by downstream handling, the stretcher or the finishing saw would not be detected. Therefore, another possible installation location would be directly at/behind the finishing saw. As they have proven over 800 times in the metal surface inspection, the IT/electrical infrastructure, detection algorithms and Aluminium International Today

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classification of flat-rolled metal inspection systems are used. However, because the majority of the extruded profiles are not flat, the detection and classification algorithms had to be modified to be able to deal with grooves and elevations in the profile surfaces. The edges of the grooves and elevations normally cause a continuous streak in the camera image, which will cause the detection algorithms to constantly detect a defect in every part of the profile (Fig 9, left). As dark streaks caused by the die or inclusions still have to be reliably detected, the sensitivity of the detection algorithms can only be adjusted to a certain degree. Therefore, a dynamic masking was introduced, which excludes certain areas of the profile surface from inspection. With this, only the relevant defects are detected and groove edges do not appear as defects anymore (Fig 9, right). The areas to be masked are defined in relation to the detected profile edges. This makes the masking independent of pass line variations of wandering of the profile within the camera image. The positions of the masked areas have to be defined once, and can be stored together with the die/ profile number. Once the die is changed, the information of the masked areas is automatically sent to the inspection system via protocol. The GUI displays online the detected defects and their location in relation to the extruded profile length and width (Fig 10). Filters help to (de-) select certain defect classes and to give a clear overview of the current surface quality. By clicking on a specific defect, the defect information/description and the actual defect image are displayed. In combination with the recorded profile data of previous processes, basic quality statistics give an overview of defect trends and help to analyse root causes. First installation results The first prototype of the Extrusion Master was installed at a European extrusion press, Aluminium International Today

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Fig 9. Exclusion of the groove edges out of the detection algorithms and its influence on the detection results

Fig 10. Operator display of the surface inspection system extrusion lines

Fig 11. Selected detection and classification results of the first automatic surface inspection system at an aluminum extrusion line

directly behind the intensive cooling unit (Fig 7, right). For this installation, only the top side of the profiles is inspected. The system consists of the inspection sensor, a small electrical cabinet and a server for detection, classification, storage and display. The system is running independently around the clock. Based on the initial detection tuning and training of the classifier, the inspection system delivered the first results within the first few days

(Fig 11). To train a classifier properly, usually thousands of defect images are needed for each defect class/type. In relation to the amount of produced material, the defect rate is low for the extrusion process, if compared to e.g., hot rolling of steel. Therefore, training the classifier properly needs some time and was not finished at the time of writing of this paper. However, the first results already show the potential of automatic surface inspection in an extrusion plant.

Fig 12. Using the data delivered by the surface inspection system for upstream and downstream decisions

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the container sealing force and face, the dummy block, the furnace temperature, and the extrusion speed. If they confirm to be according to specifications, the die shop is automatically informed to check the currently used die and correct it if needed. The inspection system will also be able to detect extreme low-contrast defects, which cannot be seen by the human eye yet. This is especially helpful if the extrusion die is causing streaks in the profile surface, because the inspection system will catch these defects before they cause problems in later process stages. With detecting low-contrast defects, the system can be used to get information if an extrusion die has to be changed and repaired before it is too late (predictive maintenance).

Fig 13. Example of using the quality data to improve the yield at the finishing saw

Fig 14. Example of using defect information at the press for upstream decision/statistics

The future extrusion plant The future benefits of automatic surface inspection in an extrusion plant are manifold. With the quality data gathered during production, decisions either for further production steps like the finishing saw (downstream) or for the heating process (upstream) can be made (Fig 12). Some of these theoretic possibilities are described in the following. Information about the surface quality can directly improve the yield of the extrusion process. The inspection system gives information about the defect severity, location and concentration. The process defines the location of the cuts at the finishing saw. If there are parts with defects above a defined threshold, these parts can be directly scrapped and further processing, like aging, coating etc., can be avoided and unnecessary costs can be saved (Fig 13). Alternatively and if possible, the parts with a certain defect level could be downgraded for a customer order with lower quality requirements. Theoretically, surface quality data can also allow feedback about upstream process steps. If the density of e.g., metallurgical defects is above a certain tolerance level, the operator is automatically alarmed (Fig 14). The next steps are either done automatically or the May/June 2020

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operator is instructed to do them. Butt length and the lubrication are checked. If this is according to target values, the recorded data of homogenisation is compared with the alloy specifications. If these specifications are met, the current billet will be registered in a statistic. In this statistic, amount of metallurgical defects are collected for every supplier. With this, feedback about the supplied billet quality can be collected and evaluated. Alternatively, if e.g., blisters are constantly detected, the operator can be notified to check

Conclusion Automatic surface inspection offers a fast and reliable way to support and import the aluminium extrusion process. The first test installation at a European customer delivered detection and proper classification results within a few days and is still being optimised at the moment. However, the first results already outline the future potential of automatic surface inspection at extrusion presses. In the future extrusion plant, the surface quality will play an integral part in the production process. It will help to optimise the process, reduce costs and customer complaints. All quality data will be automatically stored and will support the complete quality management circle from order intake and supplier qualification to finished, high-quality product and delivery. � REFERENCES 1. Neogi, N., Mohanta, D.K., and Dutta, P.K., “Review of Vision-Based Steel Surface Inspection Systems,” EURASIP Journal on Image and Video Processing, November 13, 2014, p. 19.

Fig15. In the future extrusion plant, the surface quality will be inspected automatically, so that the plant managers can use quality statistics to constantly improve the extrusion process

Aluminium International Today

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The impact of the Section 232 Tariff Fig 1. A new aluminium rolling mill for Novelis Corporation under construction in Guthrie, Kentucky, in December of 2018 (The photograph was provided courtesy of McGhee Engineering through the City of Guthrie.)

A new aluminium rolling mill for Novelis Corporation is seen here as it was under construction in Guthrie, Kentucky, in December of 2018 (Fig 1). According to Novelis Corporation, the company’s estimated (US) $300 million investment will create an “automotive aluminium finishing plant preparing aluminium for use in vehicle parts such as body-in-white, hoods, doors, lift gates, and fenders.” A news release dated February 11, 2020, stated that: “The company's greenfield automotive finishing plant in Guthrie, Kentucky, is in the commissioning process, with commercial shipments to customers expected to commence in the coming months.” The implementation of a broad-based tariff on aluminium imported into the United States has had mixed results. This 10% tariff enacted under Section 232 has brought in additional revenue into the Treasury of the USA. According to some, the Section 232 tariff on imported aluminium has also been utilised to increase pricing and profit margins for certain businesses. (The name of this aluminium tariff comes from the “Section 232” of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962 passed by May/June 2020

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the U S Congress and signed into law by President John Kennedy.) “Certainly, the Section 232 tariffs on imported aluminium have impacted the industry in a number of ways,” stated Mr. Matt Meenan, Senior Director of Public Affairs of The Aluminum Association. “Our belief and position has long been that a more targeted approach to trade enforcement – including a focus on addressing persistent aluminium overcapacity in China – is preferable to across-the-board tariffs.” Businesses are able to submit requests to have individual products excluded from the Section 232 tariff. Those requests have to be made for each specific type of each product. For example, the same product manufactured in two different sizes would require two separate exclusion requests. An exclusion request, if granted, generally allows for exclusion from the Section 232 tariff for one year for that specific product. To provide a perspective of the some of the impacts of the 10% broad-based tariff on aluminium imported into the USA, several statistical reports were reviewed. Requests to be excluded from the Section 232 aluminium tariff are found in two separate databases maintained by

the Federal government of the USA. One database includes all exclusion requests made prior to June 13, 2019; the second database includes all exclusion requests made on that date and since. Where decisions have been made regarding exclusion requests submitted since June 13, 2019, detailed in that second database, the Administration of President Donald Trump has acquiesced to almost every request from businesses for exclusions to the Section 232 aluminium tariff. Specifics for the second database of exclusion requests as of April 15, 2020: Since June 13, 2019, there have been a total of 6,446 requests to have specific products imported into the USA without paying the Section 232 tariff on imported aluminium. Of those total requests, decisions have been made by the Bureau of Industry and Security of the U S Department of Commerce for 3,519 requests; 2,927 requests are still in process and no decisions have been made whether to approve or disapprove those specific requests. Of the 3,519 exclusions requests decided in the second database, 3,518 Aluminium International Today

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Fig 2. Details of the estimated share of product exclusions granted by the U S Department of Commerce. (This image was provided courtesy of The Aluminum Association, 2020.)

requests were granted. One exclusion request – one – made since June 13, 2019, has been denied by the US Department of Commerce. A broader perspective can be found through a report of The Aluminum Association which has compiled information from both databases. As of March 31, 2020, The Aluminum Association indicated that there had been a total of 16,922 exclusion requests made since March 29, 2018. Of that total, The Aluminum Association indicated that 11,009 were granted, 2,635 were denied, and 3,278 remain to be decided. Overall, using the numbers from The Aluminum Association, the approval rate was 80.7% for all exclusion requests decided by the U S Department of Commerce as of March 31, 2020. “The Aluminum Association has called for significant reforms to the Commerce Department’s Section 232 aluminium tariff exclusion process,” Mr. Meenan stated. “Exclusions granted for massive volumes of imported aluminium flatrolled products that are already made by domestic US aluminium manufacturers have created a market dynamic that gives foreign competitors an unfair advantage over domestic producers. The current system is creating major distortions in the marketplace, causing significant harm to U S aluminium companies and their workers.” Mr. Meenan cited an example involving can stock: “In 2020 alone, the Commerce Department has granted around 5 billion pounds of can stock exclusion requests, with a significant portion coming from China. These granted exclusions are considerably larger than the entire domestic aluminium can stock market. The exclusion process is directly undermining the Administration’s stated goal of getting tough with China and helping U S Aluminium International Today

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aluminium companies.” “Some members of The Aluminum Association have requested and received product exclusions,” noted Mr. Meenan. “And many of our members have also opposed exclusions requests – in some cases successfully; in some cases not.” Among those that have requested and received exclusions from paying the additional 10% tariff for one or more specific aluminium products have been leaders within the aluminium industry, including Arconic Architectural Products, Ardagh Metal Beverage USA, Ball Metal Beverage Container Corporation, Constellium, Crown Cork & Seal, Gränges International, JW Aluminum, Novelis Corporation, Pepsico, Reynolds Metals Company, Rusal America Corporation, Sumitomo Corporation, and UACJ. Businesses that have not requested exclusions continue to pay the Section 232 tariff on imported aluminium. While exclusions are designed for businesses seeking to be excluded from the tariff, exemptions are designed for nations that are exempt from having their businesses pay the tariff. Three countries are exempted from the Section 232 aluminium tariff: Australia, Canada, and Mexico. A fourth country, Argentina, remains subject to a quota. Other nations continue to strive to be added to the list of countries exempted from the tariff. The United Arab Emirates [UAE] is one of those nations. On January 28, 2020, a meeting was held by six officials with the U S Department of Commerce with four individuals representing Emirates Global Aluminum (EGA). According to documentation from the U S Department of Commerce, the representatives of EGA “asserted that the UAE meets all the criteria for an exemption from the aluminium tariffs and that they would like to be exempted

from the tariffs. They expressed hope that, given the strong relationship between the United States and the UAE, they could secure a country-wide exemption from the tariffs rather than have to go through the formal annual product-specific exclusion process.” The document from the U S Department of Commerce indicated that Mr. Ian Steff, Assistant Secretary for Global Markets and Director General of United States and Foreign Commercial Service, “thanked the EGA representatives for their comments and assured them that he would convey their message to the Secretary of Commerce and the Office of the U S Trade Representative.” The pie chart graph (Fig 2) details the estimated share of product exclusions granted by the U S Department of Commerce. The impact of the Section 232 tariff has varied within segments of the aluminium industry. Part of those differences can be traced to additional anti-dumping and countervailing duties placed on certain aluminium products, especially particular aluminium products manufactured in China. Take, for example, semi-fabricated aluminium products. Of the top twenty countries that have been the beneficiaries of exclusions granted to businesses by the U S Department of Commerce, Canada, China, France, and Indonesia have seen declines in the actual amount of semi-fabricated aluminium products exported to the USA between 2017 and 2019, according to a document dated March 31, 2020, from The Aluminum Association. While those four nations have seen decreases, Bahrain, Brazil, Egypt, Germany, Greece, India, Italy, Japan, Norway, Oman, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, and the United Kingdom have seen increases in the amount of semifabricated aluminium products exported to the USA in 2019 as compared to amounts in 2017, according to that same document dated March 31, 2020, from The Aluminum Association. Each of these nations are also among the top twenty countries that have been the beneficiaries of exclusions granted to businesses by the U S Department of Commerce. One of the businesses facing domestic and international competitors is JW Aluminum. The company employs more than 600 people at three plants in Goose Creek, South Carolina; Russellville, Arkansas; and Williamsport, Pennsylvania. “At our South Carolina location, we are building one of the most state-of-theart aluminium continuous cast facilities in the world to secure the future for our teammates, customers, communities and May/June 2020

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ultimately, manufacturing in America,” stated Mr. Lee McCarter, Chief Executive Officer of JW Aluminum. This American company has advocated for “targeted trade measures that promote fair trade and provide a level playing field to support a global marketplace,” according to Mr. McCarter. “This industry cannot continue to allow certain entities from certain countries to manipulate the marketplace. Unfortunately, it’s been going on for decades and it continues to go on, which is why we need targeted trade actions to enforce rules-based trade. In light of the coronavirus pandemic, now more than ever, we must understand how important it is to foster fair trade for a healthy supply chain.” Mr. McCarter noted there’s “a clear distinction between tariffs and duties. Over the past few years, the U S government has approved several types of tariffs and duties – the 232 and anti-dumping and countervailing duties – to address the unfair trade practices impacting the entire aluminium supply chain. While the 232 tariffs are broad-based with no specific duration, we know targeted actions toward unfairly-traded imports result in a more even playing field and promote investment in the industry here in the United States. Although the expansion at our South Carolina plant was years in the making and contemplated well before any tariff or duty activity had been enacted, as targeted duties have been put in place, we’ve seen much greater interest in the investment community. And again, as supply chains suffer during this pandemic, it highlights the need for continued investment in American manufacturing.” JW Aluminum is one of a number of businesses in the USA that has requested exclusions from the Section 232 aluminium tariff. The firm has made a total of 20 exclusion requests. Of those requests, 3 were denied, 7 were granted, and 10 remain to be decided. “We support and participate in a global marketplace, and we also make a distinction between tariffs like the [Section] 232 and targeted duties to enforce trade laws,” stated Mr. McCarter. “We have filed exclusion requests as it relates to imported products that we don’t have the capability to produce in our plants.” “Whether through tariffs or duties, trade actions and enforcement create the level playing field that is necessary for the longterm health of the aluminium industry and critical supply chains,” concluded Mr. McCarter. A different perspective comes from the Beer Institute. “In order to compete, American brewers need a fair and transparent pricing system for aluminium,” stated Mr. Jim McGreevy, May/June 2020

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President and CEO of Beer Institute. “The Beer Institute supports the repeal of the [Section] 232 tariffs establishing tariffs on imported aluminium.” “We support the [President Donald Trump] Administration’s desire to create and grow jobs here in the United States, which is why our member companies are proud to source nearly all of their aluminium from the U S,” Mr. McGreevy continued. “However, the U S market is experiencing a cansheet shortage, and neither the United States nor other nations outside of China can meet the demand required both in the United States and across the globe for aluminium cansheet. The federal government previously removed aluminium cansheet from products subject to 301 tariffs, and granting an exclusion for cansheet would allow brewers and beverage makers the ability to meet consumer demand and supplement their U S supply with supply from additional countries.” According to Mr. McGreevy, “Imported primary aluminium and cansheet are critical to the beer industry as more than 60 percent of all beer produced and sold in the United States is packaged in aluminium cans and aluminium bottles. In 2017, brewers bought over 36 billion aluminium cans and bottles, and aluminium is the single largest input cost in American beer manufacturing.” The importance of the beer industry is noted by statistics cited by Mr. McGreevy: “There are more than 8,000 active breweries in the United States, supporting more than 2.1 million American jobs.” The Beer Institute is supporting several proposals that would affect the aluminium industry, including “legislation that would provide the Commodity Futures Trading Commission and Department of Justice [in the USA] the necessary authority to provide oversight over price benchmarking entities, including those that publish the Midwest Premium,” said Mr. McGreevy. According to the Beer Institute, the Section 232 aluminium tariff is not only being assessed on imported aluminium from non-exempt countries, but is also being placed on exempt aluminium imported products as well as domesticproduced aluminium. “Since aluminium tariffs went into effect in March 2018, the American beverage industry has been charged tariffs in the form of a duty-paid Midwest Premium on all metal purchased, including tariffexempt metal such as scrap,” said Mr. McGreevy. “As a result, the American beverage industry paid (US) $582 million in ‘tariffs’ while the U S government only collected 14% of that amount. The rest went into the pockets of upstream suppliers.”

While some have advocated for the repeal of the broad-based 10% tariff on aluminium, others continue to see the value of retaining the Section 232 tariffs on both aluminium and steel. One of those groups is the United Steelworkers (USW). This union represents a number of workers at aluminium and steel plants throughout the USA and Canada. In a statement dated March 19, 2020, Mr. Tom Conway, President of the USW International, noted that “Removing tariffs on those products now just invites more of the cheating that led to the penalties in the first place. Chinese goods, for example, would swamp U S markets at the worst possible time, as American industries – still trying to recover from the illegal trade of the past – also face the COVID-19 economic slowdown. In the wake of increased dumping, U S factories would be forced to scale back or close, throwing more Americans out of work.” “The Chinese government subsidises steel, aluminium and other manufacturing with cash, loans that producers don’t have to repay, and other kinds of aid,” Mr. Conway continued. “Then China dumps products in foreign markets at artificially low prices, undercutting domestic producers and costing workers their jobs... Yet America’s core industries remain vulnerable. Production increased after the tariffs went into effect, but demand fell again last year. Removing tariffs now in a misguided effort to stimulate the economy will only knock the industries on their heels again... Right now, China sits on huge surpluses of steel and aluminium. If Congress lifts the tariffs, these products would deluge American markets almost immediately, U S manufacturing might never recover. America must keep the steel and aluminium tariffs in place.” “But those defensive measures aren’t sufficient by themselves to ensure the long-term survival of America’s core industries,” stated Mr. Conway. “The nation must ramp up domestic demand – significantly invest in these industries itself – to keep factories operating and workers employed. A national infrastructure program – carried out with American labor and U S-made products and materials – would help accomplish this. Investments in roads and bridges, environmentally safe sewer systems, clean-energy buses, highspeed rail and modern ports would create millions of jobs…The nation also must find and tap other potential sources of industrial demand.” “Congress must leave the steel and aluminium tariffs in place and redouble efforts to find new uses for American products,” Mr. Conway concluded. “That’s the way to get America’s economy healthy again.” Aluminium International Today

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JW Aluminum has invested approximately (US) $300 million to substantially expand its operations in South Carolina Photo provided by JW Aluminum

JW Aluminum is an example of a business facing the changes in the aluminium industry in the USA and globally. The company has invested approximately (US) $300 million to substantially expand its operations in South Carolina (above) with a focus on the building products market. JW Aluminum reported that a 220,000 square foot building included in the expansion “is complete and we are currently finalising the installation of the new equipment, scheduled to come online early third quarter of this year… The new technology at this facility will be using 100% scrap.” Also, during 2020, JW Aluminum will be closing its foil plant in Saint Louis, Missouri

(below); the closure date is set for May 30, 2020. An estimated 190 people worked at this facility. According to a news statement from JW Aluminum, this facility was acquired from Alcoa in 2004 “when Chinese imports of foil represented less than one percent of the total aluminium market. Since that time, Chinese imports of foil grew to almost a quarter of the market, largely due to China’s unfair trade practices. This surge in Chinese imports resulted from government-supported, massive overcapacity in China to produce aluminium and aluminium products. China’s exports of large and increasing volumes of these products have disrupted

markets in the United States and throughout the world.” “This outcome is one we all worked diligently to prevent,” stated Mr. Lee McCarter, Chief Executive Officer at JW Aluminum. “However, even with multiple tariffs and duties now in place, it hasn’t been enough to overcome the devastating effects of China’s marketdistorting behavior. The decision about St. Louis is a difficult one. Strategically, it is an important step for JW Aluminum to maintain a healthy and robust US manufacturing presence in the decades to come.” �

JW Aluminum will be closing its foil plant in Saint Louis, Missouri on May 30th 2020. An estimated 190 people worked at this facility. Photo provided by JW Aluminum

Do you have questions about the aluminium industry? Governmental regulations? Company operations? Your questions may be used in a future news column. Contact Richard McDonough at © 2020 Richard McDonough Aluminium International Today

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May/June 2020

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New plans for cans Marvin Foreman, Sales Manager at Tonejet explores the benefits of digital print for packaging and how Quebecbased printer, Solucan is utilising its direct-to-pack technology to revolutionise beverage can production and provide a future-proof solution to the market.

The beverage industry continues to experience significant change and the push for sustainable packaging alternatives grows stronger and stronger. Fortunately, large global brands and small businesses alike are hearing this call to action loud and clear and are already answering back with a much greener drinks packaging solution: the aluminium can. With a much wider recycling rate, a vastly more efficient recycling process, and directto-can printing eliminating the need for additional wraps and shrink sleeves, it is not surprising that so many are making the switch. Even water is now being packaged in 100% recyclable lightweight aluminium, too. Why digital print for beverage cans? Digitally printing directly onto cans is very cost-effective, allowing brands of any size to capitalise on short run packaging for May/June 2020

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limited editions or special promotions. Products can be printed exactly as required, in the exact quantity needed, without any of the set-up costs or time required for traditional printing formats. We have already seen many of the larger brands using digitally printed shrink sleeves to create marketing hype and increase consumer focus on traditional products or products variations. The same approach has routinely been taken by craft beer companies and small batch beverage producers. However, this was primarily to overcome the minimum order boundaries set by can suppliers and decreases environmental integrity of the final product. This is where direct-to-can digital printing really comes in. The true advantage of digital print is that every single can could be produced with a different image, creating virtually limitless design possibilities. Long lead

times and minimum order constraints are eliminated. So, essentially, a digital can printing solution removes one of the most expensive and restrictive parts of beverage can production today. New digital printing technologies can print several batches a day, decreasing product time-to-market. This means that larger brands can leverage digital print to respond to market or seasonal trends quickly and produce limited edition versions for events and social media campaigns much more easily. But brands should start to look beyond digital print for customisation and limitededition products and start to take full advantage of this technology for its economic advantages for mainstream packaging decoration - on any scale. ‘Interactive’ packaging design is also becoming more commonplace as brands adopt methods to engage with customers Aluminium International Today

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company to offer this market a complete digital printing solution in flexible quantities and at a lower cost per can than traditional methods. Digital printing direct to the can offers a future proof solution and anticipates new government regulations enforcing the elimination of single use plastics, rendering some beverage containers obsolete. Solucan is producing hundreds and thousands of cans in production runs from 48 cans to 165,000 for a growing number of customers including the use of AR and interactive packaging campaigns. The use of food quality inks further minimizes the environmental impact of these digitally printed cans avoiding the use of plastics or adhesives and results in cans having the same look and feel to those produced traditionally, and all at a lower cost per can. It’s easy to see why the orders are rolling in. At Tonejet, we are also working with local, Cambridge based craft beer producer BrewBoard on a number of highly customised campaigns, further expanding their range of exclusive and

original craft beer can designs. BrewBoard prides itself on producing craft beers with distinctive and characterful branding and Tonejet’s solution gives them an edge in the highly competitive world of craft beer, affordably. The Tonejet Cyclone gives craft beverage brewers, contract fillers, packaging suppliers and large brand owners the ability to create bespoke packaging for short-run product variations at much lower running costs than those associated with shrink sleeves or pressure sensitive labels, and without compromise on print quality. By eliminating the need to procure, stock, apply and recycle labels a brand owner saves money and makes their product more sustainable. Direct-to-can printing technology benefits both the environment and the bottom line for manufacturers, by reducing time to market and making workflow quicker, simpler, more energy efficient and more cost-effective. It seems entirely possible that moving away from plastic bottles and wraps, committing to greener packaging solutions, and embracing pioneering technologies such as direct-to-can printing will become more than a clever marketing strategy or tickbox for corporate social responsibility, but could in fact become integral for brand survival in this increasingly competitive climate. Aluminium cans produced using the Tonejet Cyclone system remain 100% recyclable. No plastics, no adhesives, no waste! � For more information contact Marvin Foreman, Sales Manager at Tonejet

through content such as how-to videos and promotions which can be accessed on a smartphone or device via a printed code or augmented reality (AR) app. This will also have a significant impact on the kinds of data that brands are able to collect about the consumers that are interacting with their packaging. Let’ face it, there is a huge opportunity for brands to engage, entertain, and educate consumers in real time, opening the door for brands to capitalise on specific packaging features for local markets. The same digital print technology is also empowering smaller beverage producers to access global markets. A true revolution in beverage packaging production Doing it well Leading this revolution in North America is Trois-Rivieres based Solucan, as the first Aluminium International Today

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The return of Aluminium Matrix Composites After finding some short-lived success in the 1980s, are Aluminium Matrix Composites (AMCs) about to take off again? Richard Thompson* from Alvant says with some sectors under pressure to improve performance and reduce weight, there are significant benefits offered to engineers across a host of different applications. AMCs first became known in the 1980s for their use in automotive components. At this time AMCs were in their infancy, their properties were largely unproven and sometimes the advantages were oversold. Consequently, the reputation of AMCs suffered and as carbon composites became more widely adopted, AMCs were largely forgotten by engineers and designers. However, in the three decades since research and development into the manufacturing of these composites has resulted in game-changing progress and with pressures on weight reduction, AMCs are now firmly back in the spotlight.

Adding beneďŹ ts not weight AMCs are in fact not a single material but a family where the metallic material has been reinforced with a secondary high-performance material, the format of which is typically a long-fibre, short fibre or particulate. Their properties, such as stiffness, strength and density properties can be tailored through particle-reinforcement with continuousfibre-reinforcement (CFR) preferred for applications where higher performance is needed. AMCs combine the properties of high strength, high stiffness, low weight, enhanced damage tolerance or wear

and corrosion resistance, and in some cases also have special thermal and electrical properties. These result in several advantages over alternative materials that might be considered for the same types of application. (Fig 1) The gains can be significant; for example, AMCs can offer superior longitudinal strength to that of steel at one-third of the weight. Advantages of using AMCs rather than say, polymer fibre reinforced materials such as carbon composite, are manifold and include higher transverse strength, stiffness, better temperature and fire resistance, no moisture absorption, improved damage tolerance, and easier

*Commercial Director, Alvant May/June 2020

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repairability. Table 1 quantifies the key advantages of a typical continuous-fibre-reinforced AMCs (CFR-AMCs). As can be seen, AMCs are a good 50 per cent stiffer than carbon fibre (unidirectional carbon-epoxy composite) in the longitudinal direction, and close to three times as strong in the transverse direction. By retaining their properties at high temperatures, unlike carbon fibre, AMCs are also suited to high service temperature components in applications such as engines, electric motors and defence products. For harsh environments AMCs can have superior fatigue strength to steels. And if AMC components do get damaged while in use, they are more impact-tolerant than carbon fibre, meaning that they retain more performance after damage. Developing AMCs for today’s applications Spearheading the development of AMCs is a UK firm, Alvant. Established as CMT originally in 2003, Alvant’s goal has been the exploration of the potential of Liquid Pressure Forming (LPF) as a process for manufacturing AMCs. This has resulted in the creation of a more sophisticated process known as Advanced Liquid Pressure Forming (ALPF). ALPF is the method by which Alvant brings together aluminium, which acts as the matrix, and the high-strength reinforcement materials to create four AMC materials families, namely AlXal (pronounced AlZal)- a continuous fibre reinforced AMC, ParXal – a particle loaded AMC; AerXal – an aluminium syntactic foam and CorXal; a unique high-performance multi-phase AMC similar in concept to a sandwich material but made in a single-shot process providing ultra-high stiffness and low density (~1.5g/cc). To manage cost and complexity, components are not necessarily manufactured entirely from aluminium matrix composite; for example, if they have regions of low stress where enhanced mechanical properties are not required. In such cases, components can be reinforced locally in a method known as hybrid-AMC. In these applications, performance is provided precisely where it’s needed by using AMC inserts applied to the larger aluminium component. This limits the fibre content, simplifies the AMC insert geometry and reduces costs whilst increasing the performance and capability of the component Alvant now owns the proprietary rights to the ALPF AMC manufacturing process and has already attracted interest in several key projects in aerospace, defence and automotive fields. For many of the Aluminium International Today

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Fig 1. A comparison of AMC properties versus four relevant metals and composite materials)

projects they mark the transition from R&D to commercial viability, something that is being reflected through a steep rise in demand for its unique AMC products over the past several years, both nationally and internationally. An alternative to conventional metals and more expensive composites in a host of applications The potential benefits of the materials that Alvant is developing means they have potential uses in a wide range of engineering applications including electrified transport, renewable energy and healthcare but are equally suitable for high-end consumer products that need to be light, strong and capable of sustaining damage such as mobile devices, biomechanical prosthetics, sports equipment and personal mobility products including wheelchairs, and folding bicycles. According to Alvant, where safety and reliability are essential, AMCs could find use applications in high-pressure seals, aircraft landing gear and seats. Where performance, efficiency and precision are vital, use cases include robotics, electric motors and automotive suspensions. And it is their lightweight high strength and stiffness characteristics that provide the automation industry with a method for increased productivity through increased speed and reduced maintenance. The list of possibilities doesn’t stop there AMCs’ capability of withstanding extreme temperatures makes them suitable for components in high-voltage battery systems, unmanned aerial vehicles that fly at high altitudes and vehicle powertrains.

A new sandwich on the menu Looking ahead and taking AMCs one step further, Alvant is working on a customisable metal matrix composite (MMC) multi-phase material called CorXal, that offers a viable alternative to titanium and carbon sandwich composite offerings. (Fig 2) Traditional sandwich materials are typically assembled from carbon composite or unreinforced metallic panes with a variety of honeycomb cores. The metallic pane sandwiches are typically flat, 2D panels, while carbon composite varieties can take 3D forms. Positioned as a sustainable and capable alternative, Alvant’s MMC is produced with a ‘oneshot’ manufacturing process and can significantly increase a component’s strength and stiffness to weight ratios. According to Alvant, the multi-phase material method ensures the product is more resistant to shrinkage, damage and high temperatures, making it eminently suitable for harsher environments. It is also possible to create more complex shapes whilst reducing the post-processing and assembly times usually associated with sandwich panel construction by as much as 30 per cent. Alvant also claims that different material selections for both the skin and core are possible so that the MMC multiphase material properties can be tailored to suit specific requirements at the lowest weight. It is a combination of these highperformance properties when incorporated into a ‘sandwich’ type May/June 2020

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3.4 g/cm³

AMCs have much greater strength than steel at less than half the weight.

Youngs modulus

250 GPa

This measure of stiffness indicates the material’s ability to resist deformation under load. AMCs perform better than most grades of steel (200 GPa).

Ultimate tensile strength

1230 MPa

The amount of force AMCs can take before failure is double that of structural steel (approximately 600 MPa).

Compressive modulus

250 GPa

With greater elasticity under compression than unidirectional high-modulus carbon fibre (135 GPa), AMCs have superior impact tolerance.

Compressive strength

1530 MPa

The compressive strength of AMCs is greater than that of carbon fibre (850-1200 MPa depending on grade of carbon). AMCs are stronger in compression than tension because the fibres form complex strengthening mechanisms in the aluminium.

Youngs modulus at 250°C

230 GPa

Ultimate tensile strength at 250°C

1150 MPa

The stiffness of AMCs is reduced only fractionally at high temperature, whereas the stiffness of most carbon composites greatly diminishes at about 125°C. The strength of AMCs is reduced only fractionally at extreme high temperature, and doesn’t drop significantly until about 350-400°C, whereas carbon fibre loses much of its strength at around 125°C.

Transverse Youngs modulus

160 GPa

Stiffness in this direction is far greater than that of carbon fibre (10-15 GPa).

Ultimate tensile strength

150 MPa

Strength in this direction is also far greater than in carbon fibre (40-50 MPa).

Fig 2. The key advantages of a typical continuous-fibre-reinforced AMCs (CFR-AMCs)

castings as another example of how AMCs are back in fashion. “These industries face the challenge of finding suitable materials that will reduce weight whilst maintaining reliability and lowering whole-life ownership costs,” adds Thompson. “AMCs offer an exciting potential to industries that need a step change in performance to meet ever stringent market and The future Beyond the projects mentioned Alvant legislative demands. We are in the growth claims there is further significant interest in stages of an age of New Materials, now other applications, such as aerospace and is the time for the industry to stop relying automotive, and cites a recent program on traditional technologies and embrace with Ford to look at reducing weight OL1-2019.qxp_Layout of change.” � RefractoryTech 1 1/7/19 11:09 AM Page 1 architecture that provide: • Ultra-high strength • Ultra-high stiffness • Lightweight (~1.9g/cc) • Wear resistance through ceramic fibre reinforcement • 3D topography

Fig 2. Alvant’s CorXal multi-phase material)

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Entering the age of sustainable aluminium By Dr Mike Clinch* There has never been a more important time to be in Materials Science and Engineering. From our very early days at school, we are taught how the major advances in civilisation have been driven by materials; as we journeyed from the stone age through to bronze and then iron ages. Societies and communities grew as we learned how to make and use tools to build structures and dwellings. Centuries later, it is impossible to imagine a world without engineering materials as the fundamental building blocks of everything around us. Where would we be without wood, glass, steel and concrete? Functional materials such as semiconductors, smart coatings and sensors bring immense power to our fingertips, both at home and daily in our working lives. We are truly in a material-rich age. Aluminium is still a relatively young material, but nevertheless it has grown to become one that touches the lives of most of us every single day. And the growth story is continuing, with aluminium’s remarkable combination of properties and functionality leading to increased demand in many important sectors including transportation, packaging, construction, electrical and power components and consumer goods. Public awareness of materials is also at an all-time high, as people strive to contribute towards the global battle against climate change. Aluminium can play an important role in solving many of society’s grand challenges and is increasingly being turned to as a material of choice, boosted by its inherent recyclability. However, it is important to recognise that not all aluminium is equal. This article will review some of the major innovations that have taken place over the history of the industry and showcase some new technology developments that have the potential to dramatically reduce the environmental impact as demand for aluminium grows. We are entering the age of sustainable aluminium… Today, aluminium is widely used to

package our food and drinks, to transport us between cities and countries, or to encase the technology we use to communicate with one another. It is easy to forget that commercial scale use of this wonder material was only really made possible just over a century ago, with the introduction of the Hall-Heroult process in 1886. In fact, in the late 19th century, aluminium was still viewed as a precious metal – perhaps due to its highly reflective, shiny surface qualities – and was often deployed as a symbol of wealth or opulence. Famous examples are the

Aluminium for the circular economy

banqueting cutlery used by Napoleon III for his most prestigious of guests (those deemed less worthy had to make do with gold), the decorative cap on the top of the Washington Memorial in the US, and the statue of Eros in Piccadilly Circus, London. The 20th century saw the birth of many industries but one of the most striking is the establishment of commercial aviation as we know it today. This is a genuine story of innovation that highlights how technological developments in the aluminium industry can drive growth in other important sectors. The journey began in 1903 when the Wright Brothers

made their first successful flight. There were several unsuccessful attempts prior to that historic achievement on December 17, but the major breakthrough came after switching out the original iron engine block for a cast aluminium one to save weight. Just 16 years later, the Junkers F13 became the world’s first allmetal transport plane with its extensive use of aluminium. Moving on another 16 years to 1935, the Douglas DC-3 was providing non-stop flights across North America for the first time. This was a major breakthrough as, for the first time, people realised that there was money to be made from commercial aviation. 1967 saw the maiden flight of the Boeing 747, the first wide-bodied aircraft for mass passenger and cargo transport. This transformed the industry and made non-stop long-haul flights a reality for many millions of people. It is no exaggeration to say that this would not have happened without aluminium – quite an achievement for a material that was still a precious metal that could be produced a few grams at a time in the years before the Wright Brothers! The growth of aviation was enabled by the development of new highperformance alloys based on the principles of age (or precipitation) hardening. This followed the work of Alfred Wilm, metallurgist at the Neubabelsberg Scientific and Technical Analysis Centre close to Berlin, who, in around 1906, discovered that the aluminium samples he had prepared on a Friday afternoon were much harder when he returned to his lab after a long weekend of sailing. Wilm had inadvertently produced the first Al-Cu alloy ageing curve, and his work became the pre-cursor to the development of the 2xxx and 7xxx series alloys that are still used in aerospace and other demanding applications today. Other major developments in the 20th century were the establishment of aluminium as a preferred material for hygienic food and beverage packaging,

*Senior Consultant & Materials Development Group Leader, Innoval Technology Ltd. Aluminium International Today

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Sustainable aluminium technologies

the growth of extrusions in construction and other structural applications and a trend towards substitution of steel in applications where ‘lightweighting’ provides economic or performance benefits, such as passenger vehicles. If the essence of the 20th century can be captured by “harder, better, faster, stronger,” then the world certainly feels like a different place as we approach the quarter-point in the 21st century. The impact of climate change is being felt across the planet and people – especially the younger generations – are more aware than ever of the need to take action in order to restrict the rise in global average temperatures to less than 2°C above ‘preindustrial’ levels. This is the main objective of the December 2015 Paris Agreement and has been brought to centre-stage by the work of David Attenborough and Greta Thunberg, among others. Natural resources and materials are becoming increasingly scarce, and industries are under the microscope as they seek to demonstrate social and corporate responsibility. Consumers care more than ever where their products come from and want to know that they are not damaging the environment in the process of being manufactured. To achieve this requires a commitment to reducing and eventually eliminating CO2 emissions; often referred to as ‘decarbonisation’ or the transition to ‘net zero’ (CO2 output). Increasingly, there is an ambition to move away from conventional ‘linear’ supply chains to a so-called circular economy. Essentially this involves using the right materials for the right applications, sourcing those materials responsibly, and using them sustainably which means keeping them in service for as long as it is safe and practical to do so. Re-use and re-manufacturing are to be encouraged to keep valuable materials in circulation for as long as possible, with recycling as a further option. Aluminium is an excellent candidate material for the circular economy as it has a vital role to play in strategies for reducing CO2 emissions from the transportation sector. May/June 2020

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Simply put, lighter vehicles require less energy to move and are therefore more fuel efficient – leading to lower fleet emissions. Of course, as we have already established, aluminium also benefits from being recyclable. However, it is not enough to simply say that because a product or component is made from aluminium, it will be ‘green’. The reality is that primary aluminium production is extremely energy – and therefore CO2 – intensive. The picture is further complicated by the fact that smelters in different parts of the world use different energy sources for electricity generation and, as a result, aluminium can have vastly differing amounts of ‘embodied’ CO2 depending on where it is sourced. To put this in context, as a global average across the industry, it takes around 17.0 tonnes of CO2 to produce one tonne of primary aluminium [source: European Aluminium ‘Circular Aluminium Action Plan’ executive summary published April 2020]. However, aluminium produced from coal-fired power is estimated to contain 20.0 tonnes of CO2 per tonne. The average figure for aluminium in Europe, where the energy mix for the electricity used for the smelting of primary aluminium is much cleaner as it is mainly sourced from hydro-power, is estimated at 6.7 tonnes of CO2 per tonne of production. The major breakthrough comes when using recycled rather than virgin metal, since this is

generally acknowledged as requiring 95% less energy than primary production. The world’s aluminium producers have started to take this onboard and many have launched new product lines and branding to highlight their ‘green’ or low carbon aluminium credentials. Examples include Hydro’s ‘CIRCAL’ and ‘REDUXA’, Rio Tinto’s ‘RenewAL’ and Rusal’s ‘ALLOW’ products. At the end of 2019, Apple announced that they had taken delivery of the first batch of ‘ELYSIS’ material, a joint venture between Alcoa and Rio Tinto which claims to offer ‘carbonfree’ aluminium via new electrolysis technology. In parallel, schemes such as the Aluminium Stewardship Initiative (ASI) are driving improved levels of sustainability performance and standardisation across the industry. Innoval Technology has been at the forefront of recycled aluminium technology development for much of the past decade. A number of successful collaborative R&D projects have been undertaken with industrial partners and financial support from UK and European government agencies. Examples are ‘REALCAR’ (REcycled ALuminium CAR), which aimed to develop lower cost, sustainable aluminium sheet for automotive structures; ‘CAAHS’ (Carbon Aluminium Automotive Hybrid Structures), which aimed to deliver a significant reduction in vehicle cost and CO2 emissions using an advanced aluminium-carbon fibre monocoque; ‘REALITY’ (REcycled ALuminium through Innovative TechnologY), incorporating sensor-based scrap sorting, remelting and full-scale coil production; ‘RACEForm’ (Rapid Aluminium Cost-Effective Forming), based on validating and scaling up HFQ® Hot Form Quench technology for mass production and establishing it as a global standard for lightweighting; and ‘LIBERATE’ (Lightweight Innovative Battery Enclosures using Recycled Aluminium TEchnologies), aiming to develop and demonstrate sustainable aluminium intensive battery enclosures for

Sustainable aluminium technologies

Aluminium International Today

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partner network in this way provides our clients with flexible access to a diverse range of expertise and state-of-the-art facilities for technology development. The world of aluminium is responding to the global climate challenge. There is a shift towards cleaner primary production together with increased levels of high performance, high recycled content alloys. A new ‘secondary aluminium’ industry is emerging, which is projected to be of the scale of 40 million tonnes per annum by 2025. To put that in context, in five years’ time, the demand for recycled metal will

be greater than the total output of the global aluminium industry at the turn of the 21st century. As we continue our journey towards net zero CO2 emissions, aluminium looks certain to enjoy further success as a strategic material of choice for the circular economy. Lightweight low emission vehicles, smart food and drink packaging and energy efficient buildings are expected to provide major growth opportunities for some time to come. However, it is important to remember that not all aluminium is born equal. The age of sustainable aluminium is now! �


30 YEA R




In addition to providing metallurgical input and knowledge of industrial process technology input to collaborative projects, Innoval also creates integrated process-energy-cost models that enable manufacturers to have full visibility of operational, economic and environmental aspects prior to commercialisation. In addition to the listed projects, Innoval has also established strategic alliances with other leading universities in the UK such as Loughborough, Manchester and Southampton. Utilising an extended

Cost profiles for processes and products


integration into electric vehicles. Industrial collaborators on these projects have included Axion Recycling, Bentley Motors, BMW, Constellium, Gestamp, Gordon Murray Design, Grainger & Worrall, Impression Technologies Ltd, Jaguar Land Rover, Norton Aluminium, Novelis, Stadco, Volvo and Zyomax. Academic partner institutions include Brunel University, Imperial College London and Warwick Manufacturing Group. Further information on these and other recent projects is available online at https:// cutting-edge-knowledge/.







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Overview of aluminium industry in UAE and Bahrain The United Arab Emirates and Bahrain have spearheaded aluminium production in the Middle East region for very long. Currently, both the countries account for a major proportion of primary aluminium produced in the region. Despite, the economic downturn, aluminium production in the region has a bright future. Aluminium International Today presents an overview of aluminium production in UAE and Bahrain in this feature. By Seema Gahlaut* The aluminium industry has contributed significantly in the development of the economies of UAE and Bahrain. Both the countries have a competitive advantage in terms of massive reserves of raw material, energy and natural gas and easy availability of cheap skilled labour, compared to other leading aluminium producers in the world. Both these countries are not only key aluminium producers, but are also among major consumption markets of the metal. In the United Arab Emirates, since production began in November 1979 at Emirates Global Aluminium’s (EGA) site in Jebel Ali, then known as Dubai Aluminium, Dubal, the aluminium sector has grown into one of the UAE’s largest industries. The UAE is the world's fifth largest primary aluminium producing country, accounting for more than 50 per cent of the region's aluminium production. Estimated to be around AED 20 billion (USD 5.4 billion), the UAE's aluminium industry accounts for 1.4 percent of the country's GDP. The country produced a total of 2.64 million tonnes of aluminium in 2018. Of this, about 255,000 tonnes is currently utilised in the country and the rest being exported to over 70 countries around the world. Prior to the onset of COVID-19, the UAE’s aluminium production had got a boost from ongoing construction activities due to Expo 2020 preparations. In fact, the last two years have been very satisfactory from production and consumption of aluminium in the Emirates. In the case of Bahrain, aluminium has been part of the fabric of the country for over 40 years through the sole producer Alba. The company has recently added a capacity of 540,000 metric tonnes of aluminium by commencing production at its Line 6. The country’s aluminum sector contributes an estimated 12% to GDP, a

figure Alba’s management have projected will increase to 15% - 16% when Line 6 reaches maximum output. Low energy/electricity cost is one of the prime region, which has contributed to a healthy aluminium production in the region. Globally, electricity costs vary widely depending on the region. Power tariffs range around USD 26/MWH in the Middle East region, while it is in the range of USD 40- 45 in Europe and Americas. Economic pressure of diversifying their economies has also given a boost to aluminium in the Middle East region. The UAE and Bahrain are at the forefront of the development of the aluminium industry in the region. In a decade and half timeframe, the region has become one of the highest aluminium producing regions of the world. Major aluminium producers in the UAE and Bahrain Primary aluminium production in the

UAE and Bahrain is controlled by two aluminium production giants, Emirates Global Aluminium and Alba. In the downstream processing segment there are about 50 companies in both the countries. Emirates Global Aluminium (EGA) The UAE’s sole primary aluminium producer, Emirates Global Aluminum (EGA) is the largest aluminum producer in the Middle East and contributes four percent of global aluminum production. EGA, which recently completed 40 years of its operations, came into its present form as a result of a merger of Dubai Aluminium (Dubal) and Emirates Aluminium (Emal) in 2013 and has an installed capacity of 2.70 million TPA. EGA’s core operating assets comprise Dubai Aluminium (DUBAL, also known as EGA Jebel Ali) and Emirates Aluminium (EMAL, also known as EGA Al Taweelah). Commissioned in 1979,

*Correspondent May/June 2020

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DUBAL’s operations comprising a 1.2 million tonnes per annum smelter and a 2,350 MW power station is one of the world’s largest single-site primary aluminium smelters. EMAL’s operations, commissioned in 2009, comprises 1.5 million tonnes per annum smelter, a 3,100 MW power station and other facilities. Owned equally by Mubadala Development Company of Abu Dhabi and Investment Corporation of Dubai, EGA is an aluminium conglomerate with interests in primary aluminium smelting and bauxite/ alumina. EGA’s portfolio comprises high quality aluminium products in four main forms: re-melt products (standard ingot, HDC, properzi, sow), billet, rolled products and liquid metal. EGA also produces anode bars and bus bars, used in the electrolytic aluminium production process. Most of EGA’s annual production is value-added products; with about 90 per cent of total production being exported across the world. The company’s key markets are Asia, the Middle East and North Africa region, Europe and the Americas. The company reported a net income of USD 325 million in 2018, after reaching record output levels of 2.64 million tonnes of cast metal, exceeding 2017’s 2.6 million tonnes. Sultan bin Saeed Al Mansouri, Minister of Economy, said, “Today EGA is a national industrial champion and a global UAE success story making one in every 25 tonnes of aluminium worldwide. EGA, and the aluminium sector that has grown around it, contributes some Dh20 billion to our economy every year. EGA has played an important role in growing our national prosperity for the past four decades and I look forward to the company’s future contributions to further economic diversification.”

the company has a capacity to produce 1.5 million metric tonnes per annum of the high grade aluminium, with products including standard and T-ingots, extrusion billets, rolling slab, properzi ingots, and molten aluminium. Around 34 percent of its output is supplied to Bahrain's downstream aluminium industry, with the rest exported to regional and international customers in the Middle East, Europe, Far East, South East Asia, Africa, and Americas. Founded in 1968, the company was privatised in 2010, with 69.38 percent now owned by the sovereign fund Mumtalakat, 21.62 percent by Saudi Arabia’s SABIC and 10 percent by the general public. Alba’s Line 6 Expansion Project was inaugurated on 24 November 2019. Line 6 expansion project has made Alba the world’s largest smelter (excluding China). Potline 6 will boost Alba’s per-annum production by 540,000 metric tonnes, bringing Alba’s total production capacity to 1.54 million metric tonnes per year. With the latest expansion, Alba plant comprises six reduction lines, three cast houses, four dedicated carbon plants, a 550,000 mtpa coke calcining plant, a water desalination plant, 11 fume treatment plants, a marine terminal and 5 power stations. With a CAPEX of approximately US$ 3 billion, the Line 6 expansion project was the largest brownfield expansion in the region. The Project comprised:

construction of sixth pot line utilising EGA’s proprietary DX+ Ultra Technology, a 1,792 MW Power Station (Power Station 5) and other industrial services. Half of Alba’s new production will be exported in the form of ingots, billets, foundry alloys and slabs to the U.S., European and Asian countries. The remainder will be used within Bahrain to build added value through downstream industries. According to Tim Murray, Previous CEO of Alba, “We use Bahraini natural gas and have five power stations, the newest of which uses highly efficient turbines. This leads to Alba’s other advantage: Cost, which it maintains at a competitive level by running an annual cost-savings “Titan” program that targets all aspects of its operations.” Downstream processing The downstream processing industry is not as healthy as primary aluminium production in the UAE and Bahrain. However, of late, some downstream processors have invested in upgrading their facilities. The region’s largest aluminium producer, EGA sells approximately 10 percent of its production to 26 local downstream processors. The rest of EGA’s production is exported to more than 60 other countries. In Bahrain the current size of the downstream industry is about 550,000 tonnes. However, as mentioned in the last paragraph, some of the downstream processors are moving aggressively in recent years. For example, Gulf Aluminium Rolling Mill Company (Garmco), a Bahrainbased producer of flat rolled aluminium stock, including sheets and coils exports its products to 45 countries across the globe. In November 2018, the company received tariff exemptions in US market, where it operates a subsidiary. This exemption could give Garmco and the Bahraini aluminium sector an advantage over Chinese rivals, especially if American China’s trade dispute further escalates. �

Aluminium Bahrain B.S.C. (Alba) Aluminium Bahrain B.S.C. popularly known as Alba is the leading aluminium producer in Bahrain. The company is counted among one of the largest and most modern aluminium smelters in the world. With the recent addition of Line 6, Aluminium International Today

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May/June 2020

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Driving sustainability with the Outotec alumina calcination solutions The aluminum industry is taking steps towards a greener future as new technology reduces fuel consumption and emissions. Outotec alumina calcination technology helps producers minimize their environmental footprint while ensuring high product quality. In recent years, Outotec introduced a new generation of alumina calciners, enhancing the sustainability of the entire process. The new calciners are more fuel-efficient than the previous generation. They are also more compact, making them more sustainable from a construction and manufacturing perspective as well. For the alumina industry, energy efficiency is one of the main drivers for technology development. Alumina is the primary feedstock for aluminum metal production, and calcination is one of the main energy consumers in that production chain. Alumina calcination requires approximately 3 GJ of energy per ton of alumina produced, which can be more than 30% of the total energy for the alumina production process alone. “Most of this energy is supplied through the combustion of fossil fuels. We have more than 60 delivered installations, and some of these are already becoming outdated in terms of efficiency. By modernizing them, we can reduce their emissions. Even a small improvement can have a significant impact, not only on emissions but also on plant economics. Therefore, we are placing more and more focus on upgrading the large installed base,” says Dr. Linus Perander, Head of Calcination at Outotec. Heavy reliance on fossil fuels for energy is one of the sustainability challenges of alumina and aluminum production. The highly endothermic and high-temperature processes require large amounts of energy, which generates CO2 emissions. Research into alternative fuels is ongoing, with some of the larger producers looking into supplementing or substituting fossils with, for example, solar or hydrogen-based concepts. FUEL SAVINGS WITH CALCINATION OPTIMIZERS Calciner optimizers have proved to significantly reduce the energy consumption of alumina calcination by stabilizing and optimizing the process. These digital solutions help run the plants more efficiently and find the optimal operating points, which may sometimes seem counter-intuitive and difficult to deduce for a human operator. Optimizers are especially useful in the installed base and older plants, playing a significant part in improving efficiency. Outotec’s Pretium Calciner Optimizer has sparked significant interest among customers. The two already active cases in alumina calcination have proven the tool’s usefulness and potential, driving both fuel savings and increased output. “We applied our calcination optimizer in an old generation plant and were able to reduce its energy consumption by up to 10 percent. And a 10% fuel reduction means 5500 tons of CO2 avoided per year. That is equivalent to the yearly CO2 emissions of more than 600 average EU citizens. In newer plants, the potential for specific fuel energy

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reduction is somewhat lower. However, then again, newer plants operate at a higher capacity, so the overall impact can still be quite significant,” Dr. Perander says. “What sets us apart from the competition is our fundamental process knowledge about these plants. We can provide advanced analytics and diagnostics as well as operational advice that add a lot of value to our customers. We’ve applied the same principles to, for example, roasters used to refine copper concentrate before refining.” EXPERTS IN THE SPOTLIGHT With digitalization technology and solutions becoming more prevalent, new skills are needed to maintain the position of a technology leader. A shift must be made from pure engineering expertise to the ability to apply machine learning and AI, for instance. Outotec has already taken steps to enhance the company’s digital capabilities and recruited new experts. External collaboration is also essential in this regard. “Digital solutions require openness between customers and vendors, which in turn requires a trust-based relationship. Customers must be willing to share their data, as that is the basis for optimization. In turn, vendors must take cybersecurity and information integrity seriously. The customer also needs to have a systematic approach to their systems architecture while making it flexible to cater for digital applications. Restricting themselves too rigidly early on will limit possibilities in the longer term,” Dr. Perander comments. FUTURE FOCUS ON DECARBONIZATION The aluminum industry continues to seek ways to improve efficiency further. While in new installations, theoretical limits are getting closer and closer, gains to be had are still significant, especially in the older installed base. At the same time, global emission limits are becoming more and more stringent, so not doing anything is not a viable option. However, many players realize that it is not enough just to meet the regulatory limits. Being a good corporate citizen goes above and beyond the minimum requirement, and many have launched initiatives to improve their sustainability and benchmark themselves against each other. An excellent example of this development is the Aluminium Stewardship Index, which has started to gain traction globally in the last couple of years. There is also talk of introducing new classes of exchange-traded aluminum, based on the level of environmental footprint, driven mostly by consumer demand. “We at Outotec have distinct advantages when it comes to sustainable technology and process expertise, and we aim to maintain that edge. In the longer term, there is interest in the industry in decarbonizing the entire production chain as far as practically possible. Alumina refining and calcination is part of this equation. We invest quite heavily in development, using our pilot plants as well as modeling to validate our designs, and employing people in new fields to ensure we have the right skill-sets. As always, we are pioneering to help our customers meet their sustainability goals,” Dr. Perander concludes.

12/05/2020 14:19:16





There is only one Optifine™ the world’s best Grain Refiner

Innovative casthouse solutions t +44 (0) 121 684 0175

AIT may june chinese MQP.indd 1



07/05/2020 11:57:33


Chinese supplement May/June 2020

CONNECT WITH CHINA As business and supply chains in China start the road to recovery, and demand from downstream manufacturers increases following the Coronavirus shutdown, we are supporting the aluminium manufacturing industry with this dedicated Chinese Supplement. The idea behind this special publication is to provide a vital resource as aluminium manufacturers look to understand how new technologies can play a part in reducing costs, increasing efficiencies and optimising their manufacturing during this challenging time. With an extended distribution to aluminium smelters and producers in China and the wider region, the articles are available in both English and Chinese language, offering a unique and timely opportunity for international suppliers and OEMs to showcase products and services to this important market.





随着中国商业和供应链开始 复苏之路,并且在新冠病毒疫 情后下游制造商的需求增加, 我们将通过这一专门的中文 增刊来支持铝制造业。 该特别出版物的初衷是提供 重要资源,因为铝制造商希望 了解新技术如何在这一艰难 时期内降低成本,提高效率并 优化制造过程。 这些文章以中英文两种语言 提供给中国和更广泛地区的 铝冶炼厂和生产商,从而为国 际供应商和OEM提供了独特 而及时的机会,向这个重要市 场展示产品和服务。

Aluminium lady is back - MQP to showcase ground-breaking refiner



铝伴侣归来 - MQP 将展示 里程碑性的细化剂


Less dross and higher energy efficiency




There is only one Optifine™ the world’s best Grain Refiner


Innovative casthouse solutions t +44 (0) 121 684 0175



AIT may june chinese MQP.indd 1



New generation of Novelis PAE “hands free” casting

07/05/2020 11:57:33

Cover picture courtesy of MQP


Novelis PAE 新一代的“免手动”铸造


Nadine Bloxsome, Editor, Aluminium International Today





Future concepts in battery foil production





REDEX Group opens technical centre for strip processing solutions




瑞德克斯集团开设了一个新的技术中心,进一 步增强集团提供金属带材处理方案的能力


OxyTM offers new lease of life for long-suffereing carbon anodes



OxyCIR™ 让长期遭受侵蚀的碳电极重获新生


May/June 2020

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Aluminium International Today

11/05/2020 12:20:00


China stand

Visitors to last year’s Aluminium China show might well remember the ‘Aluminium Lady’, an iconic symbol representing aluminium specialist MQP’s unwavering pledge to raise industry standards and the quality of what is potentially one of the world’s most sustainable materials. This year, she’s back at stand 11K71, with MQP set to unveil its latest, ground-breaking work in the ongoing development of its pioneering grain refiner, Optifine…

Aluminium lady is back - MQP to showcase ground-breaking refiner Game-changer With the climate change agenda hotting up, aluminium has come to the fore as one of the most environmentally efficient materials, resulting in casthouses having to rapidly increase production of high internal and surface quality slabs and billets to produce everything from aluminium car roof panels, cosmetic trim and aeroplane fins and skins to lightweight cladding. While the market has grown exponentially, however, the process of grain refinement has left a lot to be desired, resulting in casthouses still relying on variable quality grain refiners and ultimately, having problems in reaching the required internal and surface quality Aluminium International Today

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standards demanded by customers. With this widescale problem in mind, MQP developed what pledges to be one of the most efficient grain refiners on the market, Optifine. First used in production in regular production in 2010, this ground-breaking innovation can achieve the level of grain refinement needed to avoid ingot cracking at up to 80% lower addition rates than standard TiBAl grain refiners, resulting in improved quality and reducing operating costs by typically 50% over a wide range of aluminium alloy compositions. Produced in a state-of-the-art facility by MQP’s new partner, STNM, Optifine is now achieving exceptional results in the

production of over three million tonnes of aluminium alloys annually in 34 major casthouses worldwide, and is increasing its market share in around the world and particularly China and Asia. “The development of Optifine came about due to our own experience of the aluminium industry and observing the day to day problems that casthouses experience in dealing with a range of grain refinement related issues which occur from time to time such as cracking, large grain sizes and high incidence of both internal inclusions and surface defects, often resulting in scrapped or downgraded product and ultimately waste,” said MQP chairman John Courtenay. May/June 2020

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Hexagonal plates

LiMCA chart


LiMCA reading

10 8 6 4 2 0

Optifine workshop

“Companies were demanding better quality products and through the launch of MQP, we came up with a unique high efficiency grain refiner, Optifine. Today, we operate through a network of regional sales managers, consultants and distributors in all parts of the aluminium world, from Australasia to South Africa, Europe to the Americas. In recognition of the huge potential in the growing Chinese market we formed MQP China in 2018 to spearhead our market entry. The results Demonstrating just how innovative and effective Optifine is, if casthouse completely converts to using Optifine, the cost would look like this: Typically a large smelter or remelt casting 300,000 tpy would purchase 300t of standard grain refiner at a cost of $1,170,000. When converting to Optifine we guarantee to reduce costs by half saving $585,000! On top of this, a 70% reduction in the amount of grain refiner used means the number of potential particles that can cause casting defects is reduced by 70%. Evidence for this can be seen in a recent study using LiMCA at a major casthouse that regularly uses Optifine. There are also benefits for casthouse personnel, who have to make less coils changes per week, with less transportation around the casthouse and less inventory in the warehouse.

Filter life <100T <800T <1700T <2400T <3100T >3100T

Opticast Optifine is routinely used in casthouses in conjunction with MQP’s Opticast system, a unique technology and methodology for the in-line control and optimisation of grain refinement. Conceived by Lennart Backerud and Rein Vainik at Stockholm University, it has been successfully adopted into routine production in aluminium plants worldwide to improve quality and reduce costs. “With Optifine high efficiency master alloy, and the grain refinement process closely monitored with our Opticast system, the risk of cracking of ingots and billets is virtually eliminated,” said John. “Providing comprehensive technical support to casthouses is a key part of what we do, ensuring optimum Optifine addition rates can be reached safely and consistently to deliver maximum savings.” Importantly the Opticast Technology is also at the core of MQP’s extensive testing and quality control regime under the leadership of Dr Rein Vainik at our laboratory facilities near Stockholm, Sweden. Our guiding philosophy is that testing should be carried out completely independently of the manufacturing operation to ensure the gold standard of Optifine’s high efficiency is maintained at all times. Future growth In terms of growth, the new partnership with STNM has literally been a gamechanger. In 2016, after five years of trials, sales of Optifine really took off, seeing 67% growth on 2015, with tonnage increasing to nearly 1,000t, equal to 3,000t of standard grain refiner or 10% of the market outside of China. With such growth, MQP concluded that a new production facility was needed and an agreement was signed with STNM, Hebei Sitong New Metal Material Co. With a 70% shareholding in MQP, STNM now produces Optifine at its plant in Baoding, which is capable of producing

16,000 tpy of grain refiner, increasing to 38,000 when the new plant extension is commissioned later this year. John said the partnership with STNM meant MQP was geared up to bring new grades of Optifine grain refiners to market in the near future. “STNM is an excellent partner and we are benefitting from Optifine being produced in a modern, high capacity production plant, with planned expansions, significant expenditure on R&D, new product introductions, extensive global stocking facilities and excellent quality control,” he said. Ground-breaking research MQP is currently undertaking a major, twoyear research project at Brunel University to find ways to improve the efficiency of Optifine even further. The research is being conducted using High Resolution Transmission Electron Microscopy (HRTEM). There are only four such units in existence worldwide and MQP has unique access for the purpose of the unprecedented study. “Theories point towards the possibility that effective grain refinement can only take place once a layer of Al3Ti has been deposited on the surface of TiB2 particles,” said John. “Using this state-of-the-art electron microscopy, the surface of TiB2 particles can be studied at the atomic level revealing the true nature of Al3Ti layers. “We can distinguish the number of atomic layers involved and, therefore, the thickness of the layer. The equipment can also distinguish the composition of those atoms, which can possibly help in the understanding of the poisoning mechanism with respect to transition elements, such as Zr. By studying this, we hope a solution to the poisoning problem can be found. “As leaders in advancing melt quality, we are committed to innovating to benefit the industry as a whole,” he added. �

For more information, visit You can also follow MQP’s developments on LinkedIn and Twitter. May/June 2020

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Aluminium International Today

07/05/2020 11:30:16


Less dross and higher energy efficiency By Benjamin Köster*

Over 65 installations of the QUADRAFLO SWEEP© Aluminium Melting System have shown various benefits compared to conventional air fuel and oxy fuel systems, (Fig 1): • Proven Energy Saving 15-60% • Typical heat dross reduction about 20% and more • Reduced cycle time and increased melting capacity • Low NOx and reduced CO2 emissions • High bath coverage with less burner installed • Extended furnace refractory life time • Improved control

The QUADRAFLO SWEEP© Aluminium Melting System is an oxygen based combustion system. Of course oxygen burners are generally more energy efficient than cold air or pre-heated air burner, but how is it possible to reduce the dross so drastically, when applying oxygen combustion technology? Aluminium is the third most abundant material in Earth´s crust. Aluminium metal has a strong affinity for oxygen and because of this affinity aluminium does not occur as a metal naturally in nature. Therefore you may ask how and why is it possible to use pure oxygen with natural gas to melt aluminium without increased oxidation. It is achieved through proper application of oxygen burner technology within an aluminium melting or holding furnace. XOTHERMIC Inc. has developed the QUADRAFLO Sweep© Aluminium Melting System. Instead of applying a burner used in other high temperature applications like glass, steel, copper or other related fields, XOTHERMIC researched aluminium melt applications and developed through field trials an optimal design. The QUADRAFLO SWEEP© Aluminium Melting Technology offers the highest energy efficiency, lowest dross formation for the best economics.

Fig 1. Two QUADRAFLO SWEEP© burner flame pattern

Hotwork International has the license for the QUADRAFLO SWEEP© Technology, being a direct partner for the industry to apply this technology in cooperation with XOTHERMIC Inc. Design philosophy Our initial penetration into the aluminium market was secondary aluminium Reverbratory furnaces. This is the traditional furnace utilised worldwide for both primary and secondary aluminium melting. It is primarily a refractory lined steel box with energy input from a combustion system, an exhaust port, cold metal charge port, in some cases a separate dross port and a molten metal discharge port. There are many configurations of this design, however the basic principle of operation is the same for all designs. A heat source from the combustion system transfers heat into the cold metal with sufficient force to cause the metal to retain the heat until the melting point is reached, on average 657°C. During this process it is most desirable to do this heat transfer with minimum amounts of oxidation. Further heating is required to provide sufficient energy to maintain the aluminium in a molten state during the final end process of the production cycle,

on average 750°C. What causes excess oxidation? All aluminium forms an oxide layer from interaction with the oxygen in the atmosphere. This degree of oxidation depends on the age of the metal and its condition, such as paint, enamel or other types of passivation. This in most cases, is minor. The oxidation that is referred to is oxidation created during melting as a byproduct of the combustion process. Excess oxidation is generally generated from exposure of the cold charge to excessive heat and oxygen concentrations. How to prevent excessive oxidation? This is the main premise behind the design philosophy of the QUADRAFLO SWEEP© Aluminium System. We designed a burner system that minimised generation of a hot spot on the charge material. This was achieved with the use of a flat fishtail shaped flame that moved or swept across the charge. Another requirement is that burner velocities are low momentum to minimise disturbing the molten metal bath. The flame movement is up to a 45-degree angle. Moving the flame over a period of several seconds allows the heat to be transferred over a significantly greater area than a fixed flame. Fixed flame burners heat an area of the charge

CEO, HOTWORK International AG Aluminium International Today

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May/June 2020

12/05/2020 09:32:21


to excessive temperatures in an effort to transfer heat to other parts of the pile. This creates significant hot spots and greater dross formation. Also provided are flow control systems that maintain a very close tolerance on the oxygen to fuel ratio. This is vital as you are paying for the oxygen and therefore do not want to waste it, excess oxygen, even with air creates more dross. It must be understood that regardless of the oxygen source, air or pure oxygen, the excess oxygen is still the same, on the order of several percent. Because pure oxygen is used, does not mean the dross will go up. It is the excess temperature that has a greater effect. In fact putting a blanket of pure oxygen over a bath of molten aluminium at 657 degrees C and no flame will show little or no increase in dross over a blanket of air at 21 percent oxygen.

Fig 2. Burner block and typical set-up

Application and experience As mentioned before, there are numerous reverb and other furnace designs therefore there is a demand for Individual design modifications unique to the particular furnace design and application.

Fig 3. Reverb furnace with QADRAFLO SWEEP© burner 49 mton tilting reverb Burner position

Tilting reverb Regenerative to Oxygen Conversion Oxygen burners produce about 60-80% less exhaust gasses than an air burner as the nitrogen has been removed. This results in better energy efficiency, less NOX

Air fire

Oxygen burner competitors

Quadraflo sweep Roof

End wall

End wall

Cycle time (h)




Cycles per day




Melting capacity mt/d




Melting rate mt/h




Capacity increase`-



NG demand NM/mt











Metal savings per year mt

Fig 4. Table comparison

Fig 5. Reverb furnace with QUADRAFLO SWEEP© burner

May/June 2020

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Fig 6. Tower Melter with QUADRAFLO SWEEP© burner

production and less gas to clean prior to exhausting to the atmosphere. The energy efficiency compared to regenerative burner can be as high as 50% better. On top, the furnace pressure can be reduced significantly, avoiding flames during high fire to damage refractory and furnace doors, etc. The Furnace generally operates cooler as with air fuel burner. Various conversation have proven: • Energy saving 35-40% • Dross reduction: 20-40% • Melt rate increase: 20-40% Oxygen to Oxygen Conversion Existing oxygen combustion system produce localised overheating and as a result increased dross. Low momentum QUADRAFLO SWEEP© Burners with full automatic controls are installed. The roof mounted QUADRAFLO SWEEP© burners utilise a greater area of the furnace for melting with a very even heat and no localised overheating, as the flame is not fixed in one spot. The charge pile melts down evenly with less oxidation. Post combustion, to compensate for hydrocarbon gases from burned off coating etc., can be achieved with the automatic control system. In addition to the production increase, a corresponding increases in energy efficiency and metal recovery can be seen. • Energy saving 15-25% • Dross reduction: 20-40% • Melt rate increase: 20-40% Conclusion Today, focusing on environmental friendly production and products, such as lighter products in vehicles and air crafts, we at Hotwork International facing these challenges with our oxy-fuel aluminium Melting Technology. With lower emissions and higher efficiency, the QUADRAFLO SWEEP© burner assists customers in reducing their CO2 footprint, getting credits and Aluminium International Today

12/05/2020 09:32:26


Fig 7. (left) QUADRAFLO SWEEP© burner hot face

Fig 9. (right) QUADRAFLO SWEEP© burner typical skid on roof installation

Fig 8. QUADRAFLO SWEEP© typical flame

improving production all at the same time. We continuously work on further improvements, based on client’s requests and feedback. Recent improvements to the system make installation and

operation much more simple and cost effective. During the past few years, these improvements and upgrades have resulted in improved performance, longer part life and increased safety. �

扫一扫 官方微信 获取更多资讯

扫一扫 官方微信 获取更多资讯

Aluminium International Today

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May/June 2020

12/05/2020 09:32:31


New generation of Novelis PAE “hands free” casting The development of hands free automatic DC casting started at Novelis PAE more than 40 years ago, in the 70’s. It was mainly driven by safety issues such as keeping the operator away from the pit and protecting him from the different risks, in particular from the risk of explosion. In the 80’s, major aluminium plants in Europe such as Aluminium Dunkerque, AluNorf, Constellium Neuf Brisach, Hydro Neuss, Hydro Hamburg, implemented the AUTOPAK® system, thus enabling safe hands-free casting. It was the origin of the first automatic metal level control system for DC casting: Novelis PAE now proposes a further step with AUTOPAK® Metal Drive System, a flexible and reliable system based on new, fully digital capacitance sensors and actuators, dedicated to revamping and new automation projects, paving the way to Industry 4.0 equipment. The choice of a reliable CAN Bus solution for low foot print plug and cast solution A weak point of some existing casting launders is the number of embarked electrical devices. The necessary cables and connectors to control this equipment are located directly on the launder in a hot and harsh environment. In some cases, a control cabinet with control

Fig 1. Network architecture

May/June 2020

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modules is located outside the casting pit: This implies the use of sensitive signal cables, with a risk of damages during the handling of the casting launder. To limit this phenomenon, the control cabinet can be embarked directly on the casting launder. This last solution remains space consuming, and is often complicated to implement. The new metal level control system proposed by Novelis PAE is much more compact: The control modules of the sensors and actuators are directly embedded inside the sensor or actuator enclosures. Only standard CAN bus and standard power supply cables are used to communicate and control the sensors and actuators from the plc system. Industry 4.0 ready, flexible interface for future evolutions By using the CAN bus network, sensors and actuators are set up and controlled automatically from the main control interface. This access is also given on line through a Web Server and a dedicated software, called AUTOPAK® Interface, to check and set all data through an Internet link. A specific network hub is available to make the interface between the CAN bus used on the casting launder and the customer standard networks

communication protocol such as Ethernet, Profinet or Ethernet I/P, to name a few (Fig. 1). All the internal parameters can be collected and sent back immediately to the main supervision system. The data collection of each parameter in a large database makes a detailed and interactive data analysis possible. It leads to a potential predictive maintenance of the components and finally extended lifetime of the sensors or flow-controller. It leaves many future possibilities of improving the process by automatically analysing this data. Visual management If a camera system can be added on the pit to help the operator in the cabin to visualise the pit, a simple and robust programmable led bar graph (Fig. 2) is integrated on each flow controller and sensor. Configured according to the needs of each cast house, it helps the operator to have an instantaneous idea of the sensor status and casting stage. An alarm can also be visualised easily not only inside the control cabin, but also all around the pit during maintenance works. The new AUTOPAK® Metal Drive System was recently implemented at the Alunorf cast house in Germany. An automatic metal level regulation system was installed on an existing casting pit to modernise and replace a manual system. The new generation of sensors and actuators have been successfully tested in real and industrial conditions. �

Fig 2. CS-F240 Capacitance Sensor

Aluminium International Today

07/05/2020 11:43:10

FOIL 69 Achenbach SUPERSTACK® II Rolling Oil Filtration System

Achenbach OPTIMILL® Foil Rolling Mill

Future concepts in battery foil production New Greenfield aluminium foil production plant in Hungary ACHENBACH BUSCHHÜTTEN, specialist and world market leader for aluminium foil rolling mills and foil slitting machines was ordered by LOTTE ALUMINIUM, subsidiary of the multinational LOTTE group which is the fifth-largest company in South Korea, to establish a new Greenfield production plant in Hungary. There, thinnest aluminium foils as a sophisticated carrier material for rechargeable batteries are produced highly productive with Achenbach machinery in the near future. In the first expansion stage the scope of supply and performance comprise three OPTIMILL Foil Rolling Mills automated with OPTIROLL Control Systems and each run with a SUPERSTACK Rolling Oil Microfiltration System. A high efficient AIRPURE system ensures the exhaust air purification of the rolling production for both, environment protection and rolling oil recovery. The processing of the primary material for the battery cell production is made by two SepaSlit Aluminium Foil Separators slitting the sensitive battery foil highly efficient. By comparison, the production per year is sufficient to produce 500,000 pure e-cars or correspondingly more hybrid cars. This visionary major Greenfield investment is the first new aluminium foil production plant of this size in Europe for decades. In the run-up of the order placement it was Achenbach who consultatively supported the customer concerning the planning of the new plant’s layout and technology on the basis of the type and extent of the requested output, always keeping an eye on ensuring an optimal material and work flow concept at a maximal automation level. The trust Lotte Aluminium grants to Achenbach in advance as the supplier for nearly the complete machinery is enormous.

André E. Barten, CEO, says: “Achenbachs integrative solution is benchmark and blueprint of producing battery foils with highest quality assurance and highest productivity. It is an honour to be part of this new era of production in Europe.” Certainly the most modern technology was decisive primarily by placing the order: Regarding engineering, manufacturing and pre-assembly to the greatest possible extent, Achenbach machinery is really ‘Made in Germany’. The following synergies between engineering and production on the one hand and between rolling and processing on the other hand can thus be used for a sustainable client

benefits. Furthermore, the Achenbach OPTILINK® technology brings out big data applications with high customer benefit. This includes in particular the cloud-based IoT platform for the overall machinery networking of the individual value chain levels. This platform allows the operator to control and operate his current production concerning both, quantity and quality at anytime and anywhere in the world. Due to its high relevance, OPTLINK enjoys great popularity in the market by now. Concerning the individual machines it is the combination of great expertise and decade-long experience in rolling mill building for the production of thinnest

André E. Barten, President & CEO, ACHENBACH BUSCHHÜTTEN and Cho Hyuncheol, President & CEO, LOTTE ALUMINIUM

Aluminium International Today

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07/05/2020 11:45:28

70 FOIL Achenbach AIRPURE® Exhaust Air Purification System

Achenbach SepaSlit® Separator

foils. Only one of lots of highly complex technology components is the Achenbach OPTIROLL® Automation Technology with its modules MillModelling Process Simulation, MillView Visualisation, MillGauge Strip Thickness Control, MillFlat Strip Flatness Control, MillDrive Drive Control and MillMove Squence Control. The OPTIPURE Media Systems is of big importance for the economically and ecologically efficient exhaust air purification, rolling oil microfiltration and rectification, all working in a closed loop principle together; here too, Achenbach is the state-of-the-art world leader. Finally, it is the positive experience with Achenbach machinery – own or thirdparty – being confidence-building and the personal relations which – as in this case – grew over decades. Geographically South Korea belongs to those countries

where Achenbach has particulary significant references. For example, Lotte Aluminium bought its first foil rolling mill for its Ansan plant 25 years ago and already before the investment decision for a new production plant in Hungary Lotte Aluminium ordered another Achenbach OPTIMILL® Foil Rolling mill in 2018 going into operation in 2020 in South Korea. It will increase the local capacity of thin and ultra-thin rolled aluminium foil significantly. Furthermore, this foil rolling mill will be able to produce single-layer rolled battery foil as well as double-layer rolled aluminium foil highly productive and in best quality. Furthermore, one new NovaSlit® slitting machine complements the increase in production in South Korea for high-quality foil slitting. Technical highlights characterising the new plant of Lotte Aluminium in

Hungary are the integrated, digital and modular designed automation system OPTIROLL®i3, the Achenbach DVC Backup Roll System with dynamically variable adaption of the crown, the Achenbach UniSpray® Coolant Distribution System with adaptive nozzle valve header, the hoseless roiling oil supply including hot spray system for roll cooling for optimum heat discharge, the highly efficient Achenbach UniDry® Rolling Oil Blow-off System for evenly dry strip surfaces, the automatic foil feeding system Achenbach FFS or the ironing roller system of Achenbach for highest rewinding speeds. Examples for technical highlights within the slitting machines are: A hydropneumatic, weight-balanced pressure system with innovative double

The enormous demand for efficient lithium-ion batteries result on the one hand from the mega trend electric mobility: By now, electric cars resp. hybrid vehicles emancipated from being niche vehicles for idealists. The number of registrations increase rapidly worldwide in all developed countries and its advantages become clearer and clearer to the consumers. A respective charging station infrastructure and the people’s willingness to contribute to climate protection especially in city traffic are basic preconditions. On the other hand so-called ‘power-tools’ of daily life such as vacuum cleaners, leaf blowers, cleaning robots or battery hammer drills with efficient lithium-ion batteries and also industrial applications as in operating forklifts or drones are used more and more.

The new NovaSlit® in preassembly phase for LOTTE ALUMINIUM in Korea

diaphragm cylinder, a new cutting dust suction system in combination with an optimised scissors cut for thinnest aluminium foil, high ambition to keep the machine clean from dust and oil, machine utilisation for the single-layer and doublelayer foil production without additional set-up times. To sum it up, the new aluminium production plant in Hungary focussing on battery foils has the potential to become strategically, conceptually as well as technically down to details a ‘lighthouse project’ finding world-wide attention. �

Aluminium International Today

Achenbach english.indd 2

07/05/2020 11:45:35


REDEX Group opens technical centre for strip processing solutions After taking over UNGERER GmbH in 2017, REDEX Group has acquired strategic patents from BWG GmbH.

As a result, REDEX Group is now able to offer the largest portfolio of Metal Strip Processing solutions, from foil to heavy gage coils. With the aim to develop new technologies and support metal strip producers worldwide, REDEX Group has strengthened its R&D by opening an Engineering Center in Duisburg. Modern production and assembly facilities in France (Ferrieres) and Germany

(Pforzheim), as well as service centers in China (Shanghai) and the USA (NewJersey) allows REDEX Group to offer full service, from engineering to key equipments through complete strip Processing lines, and from automation or measuring & control systems, to spare parts and training. Portfolio of Metal Strip Processing solutions from REDEX Group includes consulting service, engineering and line

modernization, complete process lines (heat treatment, coating, cleaning...), finishing lines (Tension leveling, slitting, cut to length), in-line flatness measurement and closed loop control systems, as well as key equipment (skin-pass mills, flying shears, Stacking units, edge trimmer...) and toolings (20-high mill backing Assemblies, leveler cassettes and working rolls...). ďż˝

REDEX Group is a 70 year old family owned European group with facilities in Europe, USA, China and India. With more than 100 engineers and 450 employees worldwide, a portfolio of 40 patents, REDEX Group is an innovative company with a global footprint and strong expertise on key industrial processes.

Aluminium International Today

Redex english.indd 1

May/June 2020

07/05/2020 11:49:40


OxyCIR™ offers new lease of life for long-suffering carbon anodes Aluminium engineering firm CIR Technologies has developed a ground-breaking sealant system for use at smelters that forms a white coating over pre-baked carbon anodes to extend their lifespan within aluminium electrolysis cells. Vice-president and General Manager Ghislain Gonthier, P.Eng., PMP, shares how the OxyCIR sealant works and who can benefit. Giant problem, simple solution A recurring challenge in operating a safe, efficient, productive, profitable and environmentally responsible aluminium smelter operation is the severe air burn oxidization of carbon anodes that takes place within the electrolysis cells, one of the factors governing the replacement frequency of corroded anodes at a great cost to companies in time, expense and environmental impact. To solve this problem, CIR Technologies created the OxyCIR sealant to protect and extend the life of the pre-baked anodes. While the rate of corrosion and frequency of anode replacement is variable depending on factors such as May/June 2020

CIR english.indd 1

the intrinsic air reactivity of the anode, it is well known that the excess carbon consumption caused by air reactivity corresponds to up to 20% of the gross anode consumption. Yet even when exposed to the harsh conditions within the aluminium electrolysis cells, the OxyCIR coating system effectively decreases severe oxidation. Specifically, the system acts as a physical barrier between the carbon and the surrounding air, keeping oxygen away from the carbon surface thereby achieving the inhibition of the oxidation process of the exposed areas. With an OxyCIR sealant, the isolation of the anode surface from the harsh environment is achieved so

the carbon mass remains better preserved during the whole anode cycle, from insertion into the cell and up until its butt has completely cooled down outside of the cell. The sealed anode surface highly reduces its permeability and the reaction between the air and the carbon is allbut avoided. At the same time, since the anode maintains its original shape, the sealed anode area available for the flow of electrical current is increased so more aluminum can be produced per kilo of carbon, which corresponds to a decrease in the net carbon consumption. Perfecting the product and process The thin coating of OxyCIR is applied to Aluminium International Today

11/05/2020 12:07:34


the anodes in the same way other sealants can be simply painted or sprayed on to a surface. Perfecting the compounds that make up the sealant took years of research and testing in the CIR lab and at company smelters. OxyCIR is therefore formulated to be perfectly compatible with the bath and all the elements involved in the aluminium electrolysis process. No undesirable elements will be added to the bath when using the system. The impermeable feature of the OxyCIR-coated anode can also greatly minimise the production of carbon dust generated as an effect of the corrosion taking place during oxidisation in the cell. This reduction of dust will then turn into less carbon contamination in the bath, hence a reduction in the resistivity of the bath.

being recycled without being coated. Since the spent anodes for recycling have a greater size and quality, the requirement for new prebaked anodes will decrease as will the raw material requirement, leading to lower future production costs. OxyCIR success and more OxyCIR is one of three key innovations

developed by Canadian-based CIR Technologies and available to smelters .. Together with his research, laboratory and engineering team, company President Claude Allaire, P.Eng., PhD, also invented: Refraseal™, a refractory sealant for cell liners (learn more in Aluminium International Today magazine, March/ April 2020 Edition, Page 7) and; Plastic Patch™, a non-toxic material used to caulk expansion joints in anode baking furnaces, replacing traditional ceramic fibres (learn more at Factory trials and testing currently underway all produced the same results to-date: success. And while very specific details remain private at this time to respect client agreements and relationships, rest assured that consulting services include a complete and customised experience with extensive data discussed and deployed. Across the globe, CIR Technologies and the companies who take action and benefit from product innovations, can help to build a bright future for the global aluminium industry and together, can help to bring a hundred-year-old smelter process into the 21st Century and beyond. �

How OxyCIR benefits spent anodes An added benefit of OxyCIR is that even when the anode has eventually completed its lifecycle, the seal remains as an external protection. And, when the anode butts are returned from the smelters for stripping, they will retain a bigger size than those May/June 2020

CIR english.indd 2

Aluminium International Today

11/05/2020 12:07:40

浇铸厂技术 75


去年的中国铝展的参观者可能会清楚地记得“铝伴侣” ,它是代表铝 业专家 MQP 坚定承诺提高行业标准和可能是世界上最可持续的材 料之一的质量的标志性符号。 今年,她回到 11K71 号展位,MQP 将展 示在其开创性的晶粒细化剂 Optifine 的持续开发中所取得的最新突 破性成果……

铝伴侣归来 - MQP 将展示 里程碑性的细化剂 游戏规则改变者

随着气候变化议程的日渐升温,铝已成 为最环保的材料之一,因此,浇铸厂必 须迅速提高具有出色的内部和表面质 量的板坯和钢坯的产量,以生产从铝制 车身顶板、饰条、飞机翼片及外壳到轻 质包层在内的各种产品。 然而,尽管市场呈指数级增长,但晶 粒细化的工艺依旧存在诸多亟待改进 之处,因此,浇铸厂仍依赖质量参差不 齐的晶粒细化剂,并最终在满足客户 要求的所需内部和表面质量标准方面

Aluminium International Today

MQP-downgrade.indd 1

存在问题 。考虑到这一普遍存在的问 题,MQP 开发了致力于成为市场上最高 效的晶粒细化剂之一的 Optifine。 这款突破性的创新产品于 2010 年首 次投入正常生产中,可实现避免铸锭开 裂所需的晶粒细化水平,其添加率比标 准的 TiBAl 晶粒细化剂最多可降低 80 %,从而在各种铝合金合成物中,均可 以提高质量并降低 50% 以上的运营成 本。 Optifine 由 MQP 的新合作伙伴 STNM 在最先进的设备上生产,目

前,Optifinee 在全球 34 个主要浇铸厂 每年超过 300 万吨的铝合金生产中取 得了卓越的成果,并且其在全球(尤其 是中国和亚洲)的市场份额不断增长。 “Optimine 的开发归功于我们自 身在铝行业积累的经验以及关于浇铸 厂在处理不时发生的一系列与晶粒细 化相关的问题时遇到的日常难题的研 究成果,例如开裂、大晶粒尺寸以及高 发生率的内部夹杂物和表面缺陷等问 题,这些问题通常会导致产品报废或性 能下降并最终导致浪费。 ”MQP 董事长 2020 年 5 月/6 月

07/05/2020 11:34:55

76 浇铸厂技术





LiMCA 读数

10 8 6 4 2



过滤器使用寿命 <100T <800T <1700T <2400T <3100T >3100T

Opticast Optifine 通常与 MQP 的 Opticast 系统 结合应用于浇铸厂,该系统采用独特的 技术和方法,用于晶粒细化的在线控制 和优化。为提高质量并降低成本,由斯 德哥尔摩大学的 Lennart Backerud 和 Rein Vainik 设计的 Opticast 系统已成 功地应用于全世界铝厂的日常生产中。 John Courtenay 表示。 “使用 Optifine 高效中间合金,并通 “ 随 着 公 司 对 更 高 质 量 的 产 品 的 需 过我们的 Opticast 系统密切监控晶粒 求以及 MQP 的积极投入,我们开发出 细化工艺,实际上消除了铸锭和钢坯开 了独特的高效晶粒细化剂 Optifine。 裂的风险,”John 表示。 如今,我们通过遍布铝市场各个地区( “为浇铸厂提供全面的技术支持是我 从澳大拉西亚到南非,从欧洲到美洲) 们工作的关键举措,从而确保可以万无 的区域销售经理、顾问和分销商网络运 一失且始终如一地实现最佳 Optifine 营。由于认识到日益增长的中国市场的 添加率,以最大程度地节省成本。 ” 巨大潜力,我们于 2018 年成立了 MQP 重要的是,在 Rein Vainik 博士的领导 中国公司以率先进入市场。 下,在我们位于瑞典斯德哥尔摩附近的 实验室设施中,Opticast 技术也以 MQP 结果 的广泛测试和质量控制体系为核心。我 合理展示 Optifine 的创新性和有效性, 们的指导理念是,应完全独立于制造过 如果浇铸厂完全转用 Optifine,成本将 程进行测试,以确保始终保持 Optifine 如下所示: 高效率的黄金标准。 通常,年产量为 30 万吨的大型冶炼厂 或熔铸厂将采购 300 吨标准晶粒细化 未来增长 剂,其成本为 1,170,000 美元。 在增长方面,与 STNM 新的合作伙伴关 当转用 Optifine 时,我们保证将降低 系确实无疑成为一个转折点。 一半成本,即节省 585,000 美元! 经过 5 年的试水,Optifine 的销量在 除此之外,晶粒细化剂的用量减少了 2016 年真正开始增长,与 2015 年相比 70%,这意味着可能导致铸造缺陷的潜 增长了 67%,吨数增加至近 1,000 吨, 在颗粒数量降低了 70%。 最近在一家经 这相当于 3,000 吨标准晶粒细化剂或中 常使用 Optifine 的大型浇铸厂,我们利 国以外市场的 10%。 用 LiMCA 的研究结果可以证明这一点。 凭借如此大幅的增长,MQP 得出了需 对于浇铸厂的员工来说,Optifine 同 新建生产工厂的结论,并与 STNM(河北 样能带来好处,他们每周不得不在减少 四通新型金属材料股份有限公司)签署 浇铸厂周围的运输并降低仓库中的库 了协议。 STNM 拥有 MQP 70% 的股份, Optifine 车间

目前在位于保定的工厂生产 Optifine, 该厂每年可以生产 16,000 吨晶粒细化 剂,到今年晚些时候,新工厂扩建投产 后将增至 38,000 吨。 John 表示,与 STNM 的合作伙伴关 系意味着 MQP 已经为在不久的将来将 新品种的 Optifine 晶粒细化剂推向市 场做好了准备。 “STNM 是一个理想的合作伙伴,我 们将受益于在现代化、高产能的生产工 厂中生产的 Optifine,该工厂计划进行 扩建,并准备在研发、新产品推出、完善 的全球库存设施以及卓越的质量控制 方面投入大量资金,”他说。


MQP 目前正在布鲁内尔大学进行一项 为期两年的重点研究项目,以寻求进一 步提高 Optifine 效率的方法。 我们正在使用高分辨率透射电子显微 镜 (HRTEM) 进行这项研究。 全世界仅有 四家此类机构,MQP 拥有独一无二的机 会,旨在进行前所未有的研究。 “理论表明,只有在 TiB2 颗粒表面沉 积一层 Al3Ti 之后,才能进行有效的晶 粒细化,”John 表示。 “使用这种最先进的电子显微镜,可 以在原子层面上研究 TiB2 颗粒的表面 结构,从而揭示 Al3Ti 层的真实本质。 ” “我们可以识别所涉及的原子层的数 量,因此可以识别该层的厚度。”该设备 还可以识别这些原子的构成,这可能有 助于了解有关锆等过渡元素的中毒机 理。通过研究这一课题,我们希望能够 找到解决中毒问题的方法。 “作为提升熔体质量的领导者,我们 致力于创新以使整个行业受益,”他补 充说。�

有关更多信息,请访问。 您也可以在 LinkedIn 和 Twitter 上关注 MQP 的最新动向。

2020 年 5 月/6 月

MQP-downgrade.indd 2

Aluminium International Today

07/05/2020 11:34:58

能源效率 77


作者 Benjamin Köster*

与传统的空气燃料和含氧燃料系统 相比,QUADRAFLO SWEEP© 铝熔炼 系统 65 个以上的装置表现出多方面 的优势(图 1): • 已证明节能 15-60% • 在典型情况下,可减少热浮渣 约 20% 及以上 • 缩短循环时间并提高熔化能力 • 降低 Noxx 并减少CO2 排放量 • 熔池覆盖率高, 无需安装较多燃烧器 • 延长熔炉耐火材料使用寿命 • 改善控制

图 1.两种 QUADRAFLO SWEEP© 燃烧器火焰图谱

QUADRAFLO SWEEP© 铝熔炼系统 渣 形 成 量,从 而 实 现 了 最 佳 的 经 济 Hotwork International 持有 是一种基于氧气的燃烧系统。 当然,氧 效益。 气燃烧器通常比冷空气或预热空气燃 QUADRAFLO SWEEP© 技术的许可证, 烧器具有更高的能源效率,但是在应 从而成为该行业与 XOTHERMIC Inc. 用氧气燃烧技术时,如何大幅减少浮 合作应用该技术的直接合作伙伴。 渣呢? 铝是地壳中含量第三丰富的材料。 设计理念 铝金属具有很强的氧亲和性,由于这 我们以二次铝反射炉作为进入铝市场 种亲和性,铝在自然界中不会作为金 的切入点。这是全球范围内用于一次和 属自然出现。 二次铝熔炼的传统熔炉。该熔炉主要由 因此,您可能会问,如何以及为什么 砌有耐火材料的钢箱(其能量来自燃烧 可以将纯氧与天然气一起使用来熔化 系统)、排气口、冷金属进料口组成,在 铝而不会增加氧化程度。这是通过在 某些情况下还包括单独的浮渣口和熔 铝熔炼或保温炉中合理应用氧气燃烧 融金属出料口 。此设计有多种配置可 器技术来实现的。 选,但是所有设计的基本工作原理都是 XOTHERMIC Inc. 开发了 相同的。来自燃烧系统的热源以足够的 QUADRAFLO Sweep© 铝熔炼系 力将热量传递到冷金属中,以使金属保 统。 XOTHERMIC 并未应用用于玻 持热量直至达到熔点(平均为 657°C)。 璃、钢、铜等其他高温应用或其他相 在此过程中,最理想的是在进行热传递 关 领 域 的 燃 烧 器,而 是 研 究 了 铝 熔 的同时尽量减少氧化作用。在生产周期 体应用并通过现场试验开发了最优 的最终过程中,需要进一步加热以提供 设计。 QUADRAFLO SWEEP© 铝熔 足够的能量,从而将铝保持在熔融状态 技 术 提 供 了 最 高 的 能 效 、最 低 的 浮 (平均为 750°C)。

Aluminium International Today

hotworks for Chinese-downgrade.zh-CN 27th april.indd 1

哪些因素会导致过度氧化?所有铝 均由于与大气中的氧气相互作用而形 成氧化层。这种氧化程度取决于金属 的老化及老化状况,例如油漆、搪瓷或 其他类型的钝化作用。在大多数情况 下,这是次要因素。 所谓的氧化是在熔 炼过程中作为燃烧过程的副产物而产 生的氧化。 通常,由于冷料暴露于过高 的热量和氧气浓度而产生过度氧化。 如 何 防 止 过 度 氧 化 ?这 是 QUADRAFLO SWEEP©铝系统设计理 念的主要前提。我们设计了一种可以 将装料上产生的过热点降至最低的燃 烧器系统。这是通过使用移过或扫过 装料的扁平鱼尾形火焰而实现的。另 一项要求是燃烧器速度的动量应较 低,以尽量减少对熔融金属熔池的干 扰。 火焰移动的最大范围为 45 度。 在 数秒钟的时间内,移动火焰即可将热 量传递到比固定火焰大得多的区域。 固定火焰燃烧器试图将装料区域加热 至过高温度,以将热量传递到灌注桩 的其他部分。这会产生明显的热点并

HOTWORK International AG 首席执行官

2020 年 5 月/6 月

12/05/2020 09:35:21

78 能源效率

形成更多的浮渣。 还提供了对氧气/燃 料比保持极严格公差的流量控制系 统。 即使用空气会产生更多的浮渣,但 由于要为氧气付费,因此您不希望浪 费氧气,这一点至关重要。 必须了解的 是,无论氧源、空气还是纯氧,多余氧 仍然保持约百分之几的相同比例。由 于使用纯氧,因此这并不意味着浮渣 会增多。如果温度过高,则影响更大。 实际上,如果在 657 摄氏度的熔融铝 熔池上覆盖一层纯氧且无火焰,则结 果表明,在氧气含量为 21% 的空气覆 盖层上,浮渣几乎没有或根本未增加。 应用与经验 如前所述,由于具有多种反射及其他熔 炉设计,因此需要针对特定的熔炉设计 与应用作出独特的个性化设计变更。

图 2.燃烧炉体和典型安装

倾斜反射 蓄热到氧气的转化

图 3.采用 QADRAFLO SWEEP 燃烧器的反射炉 ©

49 容积吨倾斜反射

由于除去了氮气,氧气燃烧器产生的废 气比空气燃烧器约减少 60-80%。 这样 可以提高能效、降低 NOX 的产生并减少 排放到大气之前要清洁的气体。与蓄热 式燃烧器相比,其能效可提高 50%。 最



Quadraflo 扫过











熔化能力 mt/d








熔化速度 mt/h

天然气需求 NM/mt

每年节省的金属 mt


120 -

2.1 70

8% -

8 3

70.5 2.9 55



图 4.比较表

图 5.采用 QUADRAFLO SWEEP© 燃烧器的 反射炉

2020 年 5 月/6 月

hotworks for Chinese-downgrade.zh-CN 27th april.indd 2

图 6.采用 QUADRAFLO SWEEP© 燃烧器的塔式 熔炼炉

重要的是,可以显著降低炉膛压力,从 而避免了高火期间的火焰,以免损坏耐 火材料和炉门等。炉膛通常与空气燃料 燃烧器一样在较低的温度下运行。各种 讨论已证明: • 节能 35-40% • 减少浮渣:20-40% • 提高熔化速度:20-40%


现有的氧燃烧系统会产生局部过热,因 此会增加浮渣。已安装具有全自动控制 装置的低动量 QUADRAFLO SWEEP© 燃烧器。由于火焰未固定在同一点上, 顶部安装式 QUADRAFLO SWEEP© 燃 烧器能够利用较大的熔炉面积进行熔 化,同时热量极为均匀且无局部过热。 装料桩熔化均匀,氧化较少。通过自动 控制系统可以实现二次燃烧,以补偿燃 尽的涂层等产生的碳氢化合物气体。除 了提高产量外,还相应提高了能源效率 和金属回收率。 • 节能 15-25% • 减少浮渣:20-40% • 提高熔化速度:20-40%



如车辆和飞机的轻量化产品,Hotwork International 正面临与氧燃料铝熔炼 技术相关的挑战。

QUADRAFLO SWEEP© 燃烧器具有 更低的排放量和更高的效率,有助于 客户减少 CO2 排放量,从而获得信誉 并同时提高产量。 Aluminium International Today

12/05/2020 09:35:25

能源效率 79 00

图 7.(左) QUADRAFLO SWEEP© 燃烧器加 热面

图 9.(右) QUADRAFLO SWEEP© 燃烧器安装在 顶部时的典型滑轨


我们会根据客户的要求和反馈持续 致力于进一步的改进。该系统的最新 改进使得安装和操作更加简单且更具

成本效益。 在过去几年间,这些改进和 升级带来了更强的性能、更长的零件 寿命和更高的安全性。 ■

Quadraflo© Sweep Aluminum Melting System 铝 熔 系 统

熔铝系统 经过验证节能率为15%-60% 热渣减少约20% 低氮氧化物/减少二氧化碳排放 高熔化面积 客户自定义配置

您可以通过下面的电子邮 件和网站与我们联系。

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2020 年 5 月/6 月

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80 准备迎接工业 4.0

Novelis PAE 新一代的 “免手动”铸造 Novelis PAE 在 40 多年前的 70 年代即着手开发免手动的自动 DC 铸 造 。安 全 问 题 是 促 进 开 发 的 主 要 驱 动 力 ,例 如 避 免 操 作 员 接 近 铸坑并保护操作员免受各种危险 (尤其是爆炸危险)的伤害。 80 年代,Aluminium Dunkerque、 AluNorf、Constellium Neuf Brisach、 Hydro Neuss、Hydro Hamburg 等欧洲 主要的铝厂均实施了 AUTOPAK® 系统, 从而实现了安全的免手动铸造。 这是首个用于 DC 铸造的自动金属液 面控制系统的由来:Novelis PAE 目前提 出了采用旨在改造和新建自动化项目 的 AUTOPAK® 金属驱动系统的进一步 建议,这是一套基于新型全数字电容传 感器和执行器的灵活而可靠的系统,从 而为转向工业 4.0 设备铺平了道路。

选择可靠的 CAN 总线解决方案, 以实现低占用空间填塞和浇铸解 决方案 现有的一些浇铸流槽的弱点是 所搭载电气元件的数量。在炎热

和恶劣的环境中,控制本设备所 必需的电缆和连接器直接位于 流槽上。在某些情况下,带有控 制模块的控制柜位于浇铸坑之 外:这意味着需使用敏感的信号 电缆,因此在操作浇铸流槽时存 在损坏的危险。为了减少这种现 象,可以将控制柜直接置于浇铸 流槽上。最后一种解决方案仍然 占用较大空间,并且实施起来通 常复杂重重。 Novelis PAE 建议的新型金属液面控 制系统则更为紧凑:传感器和执行器的 控制模块直接嵌入传感器或执行器的 外壳内。 仅使用标准的 CAN 总线和标 准的电源电缆通过 PLC 系统控制传感 器和执行器并与之进行通信。

面向工业 4.0 的灵活接口,可应 对未来发展

通过使用 CAN 总线网络,可以从主控 界面自动设置并控制传感器和执行 器。 还可以通过 Web 服务器和名为 AUTOPAK® Interface 的专用软件在线

授予此访问的权限,以通过网络链路检 查并设置所有数据。 一台专门的网络集线器可用于在浇 铸流槽上使用的 CAN 总线与客户标准 网络通信协议(例如 Ethernet、Profinet 或 Ethernet I/P,仅举几例)之间建立连 接(图 1)。 可以收集所有内部参数并将其立即 发送回主监控系统。通过采集大型数据 库中每个参数的数据,可以进行详细的 交互式数据分析。因此,可以对组件进 行潜在的预见性维护,并最终延长传感 器或流量控制器的使用寿命。通过自动 分析这些数据,为未来改进工艺保留了 多种可能性。

可视化管理 如果可以在浇铸坑上加装摄像 头系统以帮助控制室中的操作 员实现浇铸坑的可视化,则每个 流量控制器和传感器上均应集 成一个简单而强大的可编程 LED 条形图(图 2)。 由于可以根据每 个铸造车间的需求进行配置,因 此有助于操作员即时了解传感 器状态和铸造阶段。在执行维护 作业期间,不仅在控制室内而且 在整个浇铸坑周围,均可以轻松 查看报警。

最近,在德国的 Alunorf 铸造车间实 施了新型 AUTOPAK® 金属驱动系统。 在 现有的浇铸坑上安装了自动金属液面 调节系统,以现代化并取代手动系统。 已经在实际和工业条件下成功测试了 新一代传感器和执行器。�

图 1.网络架构

2020 年 5 月/6 月

AMDS - for chinese-downgrade.zh-CN 27 april.indd 1

图 2.CS-F240 电容传感器

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箔材 81 Achenbach SUPERSTACK® II 轧制润滑油微滤系统

Achenbach OPTIMILL® 箔材轧机

蓄电池箔材生产中的未来概念 新建的匈牙利 Greenfield 铝箔生产工厂 铝箔轧机和箔材分切机的专家 及全球市场领导者 ACHENBACH BUSCHHÜTTEN 受韩国第五大公 司 LOTTE 跨国集团的子公司 LOTTE ALUMINIUM 的委托,在匈牙利新建 了 Greenfield 生产工厂。 在不久的将 来,即可在该工厂使用 Achenbach 机 械设备高效地生产作为可充电电池的 先进载体材料的最薄铝箔。在首个扩 张阶段,供货和产能范围包括三台通 过 OPTIROLL 控制系统实现自动化的 OPTIMILL 铝箔轧机,并且每台均配有 SUPERSTACK 轧制润滑油微滤系统。 高 效的 AIRPURE 系统可确保轧制生产中 的废气净化,从而既环保又可回收轧制 润滑油。加工用于蓄电池单元生产的主 要材料时,是通过两台 SepaSlit 铝箔分 卷机高效地分切敏感的蓄电池箔材而 完成的。相比之下,每年的产量足以生 产 500,000 辆纯电动汽车或相应更多 的混合动力汽车。 这项富有远见的重大 Greenfield 投 资是数十年来欧洲首家如此规模的新 铝箔生产工厂。由于始终关注以最大 的自动化水平确保最佳的物料和工作 流程概念,因此在订购的准备阶段,正 是 Achenbach 在客户要求的产出类型 和范围的基础上,就新工厂的布局和技 术的规划向客户提供咨询服务。作为 几乎整套机械供应商的 Achenbach 事 先就赢得了 Lotte Aluminium 极大的 信任。 首席执行官 André E. Barten 表 示: “Achenbachs 总体解决方案是生产

蓄电池箔材的标杆和蓝图,具有最高的 质量保证和最高的生产效率。我们很荣 幸能够加入欧洲这一新的生产纪元。 ” 当然,即使是最先进的技术,只有下 达订单后才能发挥其决定性的作用:在 涉及最大程度的工程、制造和预装配 方面,Achenbach 机械真正是“德国制 造”。因此,一方面在工程与生产之间, 另一方面在轧制与加工之间的以下协 同效应可为客户带来持续的利益 。此 外,Achenbach OPTILINK® 技术带来 了具有高客户效益的大数据应用。尤其

是,其中包括面向各个价值链级别的整 体机械网络的云计算 IoT 平台。 利用该 平台,操作员可以随时随地控制和操作 现行生产的数量和质量。由于具有高度 相关性,OPTLINK 目前在市场上享有很 高的知名度。 就 单 台 机 器 而 言,它 是 轧 机 制 造 领 域丰富的专业知识与数十年经验相 结 合 的 产 物 ,以 实 现 最 薄 箔 材 的 生 产。 Achenbach OPTIROLL® 自动化技 术只是众多高度复杂的技术组件之 一,其模块包括 MillModelling 工艺

ACHENBACH BUSCHHÜTTEN 总裁兼首席执行官 André E. Barten 与 LOTTE ALUMINIUM 总裁兼首席执行官 Cho Hyuncheol

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82 箔材 Achenbach AIRPURE® 废气净化系统

Achenbach SepaSlit® 分卷机

仿真、MillView 可视化、MillGauge 带 钢厚度控制、MillFlat 带钢平直度控 制、MillDrive 驱动控制和 MillMove 顺 序控制。 OPTIPURE 介质系统对于在经 济上和生态上高效的废气净化、轧制润 滑油微滤和精馏至关重要,所有这些作 业均以闭环原则同步进行;在这一领 域,Achenbach 同样在全球处于领先地 位。 最 后 ,这 是 数 十 年 来 锐 意 进 取 的 Achenbach 机械(自有或第三方)在建 立信任和建立人际关系方面的积极经 验,如本例中的情况。在地理位置上,韩

国属于 Achenbach 尤具重要价值的国 家。 例如,Lotte Aluminium 在 25 年前 就为其 Ansan 工厂购买了第一台箔材 轧机,在决定在匈牙利建立新生产工厂 之前,Lotte Aluminium 已于 2018 年 订购了另一台 Achenbach OPTIMILL® 箔材轧机,并将于 2020 年在韩国投入 运营。这将显著提高薄和超薄轧制铝箔 的本地生产能力。此外,该箔材轧机将 能够以高生产率和最佳品 质生产单层 轧制蓄电池箔材以及双层轧制铝箔。而 且,一台新的 NovaSlit® 分切机填补了 韩国高品质箔材分切的增产空白。

匈牙利 Lotte Aluminium 新工厂的技 术亮点为采用集成化、数字化和模块化 设计的自动化系统 OPTIROLL®i3、具有 动态可变适应凸度的 Achenbach DVC 支撑辊系统、带有自适应喷嘴阀头的 Achenbach UniSpray ® 冷却液分配系 统、可实现最佳散热的无软管轧制润滑 油供应系统(包括用于辊冷却的热喷淋 系统)、用于均匀干燥带钢表面的高效 Achenbach UniDry ®轧制润滑油排放系 统、可实现最高收卷速度的自动箔材进


到目前为止,电动汽车已经成为现实,混合动力汽车从理想主义者的特殊汽车中解放出来。 全球所有发达国家的注册数 量都在迅速增加,其优势对于消费者而言越来越明显。 基本前提是各个充电站的基础设施以及人们为气候保护做出贡献 的意愿,在城市交通中尤为如此。 另一方面,所谓的“电动工具”在日常生活中越来越普遍,如使用高效锂离子电池的吸尘 器、吹叶机、清洁机器人或电锤钻,此外,工业应用的使用也越来越广泛,如操作叉车或无人机。 韩国 LOTTE ALUMINIUM 处于预装配阶段的全新 NovaSlit®

料系统 Achenbach FFS 或 Achenbach 熨压辊系统。分切机的技术亮点示例包 括:具有创新双隔膜气缸的液压气动、 重量平衡的压力系统,新型切割吸尘系 统与优化的交叉切割相结合,可切割最 薄的铝箔,保持机器清洁、无尘、无油脂 的宏伟目标,单层和双层箔生产的机器 利用率高,无需额外的布置时间。 综上所述,专注于蓄电池箔材的匈牙 利新铝生产工厂有可能在战略、理念以 及技术上逐步发展成为全球瞩目的“样 板项目”。�

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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

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Furnaces International brings readers a selection of technical features focusing on all aspects of the international furnaces market, as well as industry news, events, and regular columns from the British Industrial Furnace Constructors Association (BIFCA).

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84 带材加工

瑞德克斯集团开设了一个新的技术中心,进 一步增强集团提供金属带材处理方案的能力

在2017年收购了德国恩格勒公司之后,瑞德克斯集团又收购了来自德国BWG公司的战略性专利,这些使 得集团能够提供最完整的金属带材精整解决方案,从箔材到非常厚的卷带。

公司的目标是开发新的技术并 服务全球的金属带材生产商,瑞 德克斯集团强化了其研发能力, 通过一个位于德国Duisburg的工 程团队,该团队由Guyon先生和 Baukloh先生管理。 凭借位于法国(Ferrieres)和德 国(Pforzheim)的现代化生产和 装配车间,,以及位于中国(上海)

和美国(New-Jersey)的服务中 心,瑞德克斯集团能够提供完善 的服务,从工程设计到核心设备, 贯穿完整的带材精整生产线,自 动化到测量系统,备件和培训。 瑞德克斯集团能够提供完 整 的 带 材 精 整 方 案,包 括 咨 询 服 务 ,工 程 设 计 和 生 产 线 自 动 化,完 整 的 处 理 线(热 处 理,

彩 涂,清 洗 … ),精 整 设 备( 拉 弯 矫 直 机 ,纵 剪 机 组 ,横 切 机 组 ),在 线 板 型 测 量 系 统 ,以 及其他核心设备(平整机,矫直 机,切边机…) ,部件(20辊轧机支 承辊系统,矫直机辊箱,矫直机工 作辊…)。

瑞德克斯集团是一家拥有70年历史的欧洲家族企业,在欧洲,美国,中国和印度设有分公司。 全球拥有超过100名工程师和450名员工,以及40个专利。 瑞德克斯集团是一个具有创新精神的企业,享有遍布全球的足迹并在核心工业加工领域拥有强大的专业技术。 REDEX中国/ REDEX(上海)维修服务 上海市松江区三浜路388号12栋 邮编201611 联系电话: +86 21 6448 0636 传真: - 2020年5月/6月

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合作伙伴关系从未如此重要 «我们随时为您服务»

« 在当前困难时刻,我们的专家团队保持在 全世界为您提供免费的咨询和服务» Bruno Grandjean, CEO REDEX Group

基于在金属带材加工行业超过70年的经验,瑞德克斯集团提供 独一无二的带材处理方案集合 轧制,清洗,彩涂,热处理,拉弯矫直,切边,板型测量, 纵剪,横剪

从自动化工程到提供整条生产线,以及测量和控制系统,精密 部件(如20辊轧机支承辊系统,拉弯矫直机箱,拉矫工作辊)

Group Great achievements start with us


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03/05/2020 11:19:02

86 冶炼解决方案

OxyCIR™ 让长期遭受侵蚀的 碳电极重获新生

铝工程公司 CIR Technologies 开发了一种适用于冶炼厂的突破性密封剂系统,该系统在预焙 碳阳极上形成白色涂层,以延长碳电极在铝电解槽中的使用寿命。 副总裁兼总经理 Ghislain Gonthier(工程学教授,项目管理师)分享了 OxyCIR 密封剂的工作原理以及谁可以受益。 复杂的问题,简单的解决方案

在经营安全、高效、多产、可盈利和环保 铝冶炼厂过程中经常遇到的挑战是发 生在电解槽内部的碳电极的空气燃烧 氧化,该问题是决定受腐蚀阳极更换频 率的因素之一,给公司在时间、费用和 环境影响方面带来了巨大的成本 。为 解决此问题,CIR Technologies 开发出 OxyCIR 密封剂,以保护预焙阳极并延长 其使用寿命。 虽然腐蚀速率和阳极更换频率是变化 不定的,具体取决于诸如阳极的固有空 气反应性之类的因素,但众所周知,由 2020 年 5 月/6 月

CIR english-downgrade.zh-CN.indd 1

空气反应性引起的过度碳消耗占阳极 总消耗量的多达 20%。 即使暴露在铝电 解槽内的恶劣条件下,OxyCIR 涂层系统 也能有效减轻严重的氧化。 具体而言,该系统充当碳与周围空气 之间的物理屏障,将氧气与碳表面隔 离,从而实现了对裸露区域氧化过程的 抑制。 有了 OxyCIR 密封剂,阳极表面与 恶劣环境的隔离得以实现,从而在整个 阳极循环过程中(从插入电解槽开始直 至其对接端在电解槽外部完全冷却), 碳质得以更好地保存。密封的阳极表面 极大大降低了其渗透性,但完全避免了

空气与碳之间的反应。同时,由于阳极 保持其原始形状,可用于电流流动的密 封阳极面积增加,从而每千克碳可生产 更多的铝,这对应于净碳消耗的减少。


以与其他密封剂简单地涂抹或喷涂到 表面相同的方式,将 OxyCIR 的薄涂层 涂覆于阳极上。 在 CIR 实验室和公司冶 炼厂进行了多年的研究和测试,以完善 构成密封剂的化合物。 OxyCIR 因此而配制为与镀液和铝电 解过程中涉及的所有元素完全兼容。使

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11/05/2020 12:09:15

冶炼解决方案 87

用该系统时,不会向镀液中添加任何不 需要的元素。 OxyCIR 涂层阳极的不可 渗透特性还可以极大地减少因电解槽 内氧化过程中发生的腐蚀而产生的碳 粉尘。粉尘的减少意味着镀液中的碳污 染减少,从而降低镀液的电阻率。

开发并可供冶炼厂使用的三项关键 创新之一。 此外,公司总裁 Claude Allaire(工程学教授,哲学博士)与他 的研究、实验室和工程团队一起发明

了:Refraseal™,一种用于电解槽内衬 的耐高温密封剂(有关更多信息,请参 阅《Aluminum International Today》 杂志,2020 年 3 月/4 月刊,第 7 页);以 及 Plastic Patch™,一种无毒材料,用于 填塞阳极烘烤炉中的伸缩缝,取代了传 统的陶瓷纤维(有关更多信息,请访问。 迄今为止,正在进行的工厂试验和测 试均产生了相同的结果:成功。虽然目 前为了尊重客户协议和关系,具体细节 仍然处于保密状态,但请放心,咨询服 务包括完整的和定制的体验,并讨论和 部署大量的数据。 在全球范围内,CIR Technologies 和 采取行动并从产品创新中受益的公司 可携手为全球铝业打造光明的未来,并 将已有 100 年历史的冶炼工艺带入 21 世纪以及更远的将来。 ■

OxyCIR 如何使废阳极受益

OxyCIR 的另一个好处是,即使阳极达 到了其使用寿命,密封仍可作为外部保 护。此外,当从冶炼厂返回阳极对接端 进行汽提时,它们的尺寸将比回收的未 经涂覆的对接端更大。由于用于回收的 废阳极具有更大的尺寸和更高的质量, 因此对新的预焙阳极的需求将随着原 材料需求的减少而减少,从而降低未来 的生产成本。

OxyCIR 的成功及更多

OxyCIR 是加拿大 CIR Technologies Aluminium International Today

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Still setting the standard in Aluminium Grain Refining Performance

Aluminium from old windows and cans For more than 70 years, Vestre has made products with the same foundation – to be long lasting and sustainable. Today, Vestre makes furniture for public spaces and is a leader in sustainable production and design. Vestre wants environmentally friendly materials that last. Using an advanced sorting technology, we can make use of aluminium in old windows, cans, doors and car parts and shape it into high-quality metal. The higher the recycled content, the lower the carbon footprint. We are proud to be able to help Vestre achieve its ambitious goals with Hydro CIRCAL, aluminium guaranteed containing more than 75% recycled content, for the furniture series Folk. Visit to learn more.