Aluminium International Today May June 2024

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7 Creative use of aluminium weatherbreak


US Aluminium Outlook 2024


16 India’s Vedanta Aluminium - leading the charge towards a sustainable future 20 Reshoring, recycling and efficiency pave the way 23 Aluminium industry decarbonisationA turning point? 25 Engineered aluminium’s role in decarbonisation



Explore the recent trends impacting aerospace coatings

Schelling Group

Expansion into Istanbul


Enhancing manufacturing systems with industrial AI

Dystopia or Utopia: November 2022


The rise of autonomous mobile robots


Meeting the demand for a stronger, lighter and more secure future

NOA hot rolling premium coolant technology


60 Mytilineos’ game-changing investment in Ghana

CONTENTS 1 Aluminium International Today May/June 2024 2 LEADER 2 NEWS Volume 37 No. 3 – May/June 2024 COVER Cover picture courtesy of GILLESPIE & POWERS, INC.
Business Media Ltd 2024 ISSN1475-455X Supporters of Aluminium International Today SEARCH FOR ALUMINIUM INTERNATIONAL TODAY 31 16 35 42 14 THE ALUMINA

It’s nearly that time of year again when the cobwebs are dusted off and the industry gets to meet at a host of industry events across the globe. May seems to be awash with conferences and exhibitions, all aimed at showcasing the latest technologies and developments across the sector.

As we gear up for our very own Future Aluminium Forum in Istanbul from the 21st - 23rd May, this issue offers a detailed look at enhancing aluminium manufacturing with AI and the rise of autonomous mobile robots (which isn’t as scary as it sounds!)

This is just a sneak peek into some of the topics we will be covering at the Forum and of course, where there is new technology, there is a focus on how this can support, or work hand in hand with decarbonisation efforts.

In a detailed focus report, Pernelle Nunez, Deputy Secretary General at the International Aluminium Institute, considers if we are at a turning point and where there are still significant efforts required with emission reduction in the sector.

We also hear from Vedanta’s CEO, John Slaven, about how he is leading the company in its sustainability efforts.

There is also all of the usual news, regional updates and an exclusive interview with Maximilian Lehner, CEO at IMA SCHELLING GROUP about the company’s latest opening of a new subsidiary in Istanbul.

Hopefully you have picked this issue up either at the CRU World Aluminium Conference, the Future Aluminium Forum or NorCast and you will get to see some of these articles and their topics brought to life in presentation form!

Century Aluminum Company was selected by the U.S. Department of Energy (“DOE”) Office of Clean Energy Demonstrations to begin award negotiations for up to $500 million in Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and Inflation Reduction Act funding to build a new aluminum smelter as part of the Industrial Demonstrations Program (“IDP”).

Century’s Green Aluminum Smelter Project is one of 33 projects across more than 20 states to receive funding designed to demonstrate commercial-scale decarbonization solutions needed to

move energy-intensive industries toward net-zero while strengthening local economies, creating, and maintaining high-quality jobs, and slashing greenhouse gas emissions.

With the help of this funding, Century plans to build the first new U.S. primary aluminum smelter in 45 years. Upon completion, the smelter would double the size of the current U.S. primary aluminum industry.

This historic investment represents a major capital injection for the U.S. primary aluminum indus-

Century Aluminum to receive $500 million green aluminium smelter investment

try. The Project will strengthen domestic supply chains for materials critical for the green energy transition, including electric vehicles, renewable-energy production and storage, building and construction, and sustainable packaging.

“We are extremely proud that the DOE has selected Century’s Green Aluminum Smelter Project to receive such significant support, and we are excited to continue moving this transformational project forward,” remarked Century CEO, Jesse Gary.

Alcoa enters into binding agreement to acquire Alumina Limited

Alcoa have announced that it has entered into a binding Scheme Implementation Deed (the “Agreement”) with Alumina Limited (ASX: AWC), under which Alcoa will acquire Alumina Limited in an all-scrip, or all-stock, transaction. The Agreement terms are consistent with the previously agreed and announced transaction process deed (“Process Deed”).

Consistent with the Process Deed, the Alumina Limited Board of Directors has recommended that Alumina Limited shareholders vote in favor of the Agreement in the absence of a superior proposal and subject to an independent expert concluding (and continuing

to conclude) that the transaction is in the best interests of Alumina Limited shareholders. The Inde-

pendent Directors of Alumina Limited, and its Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer intend to vote all shares of Alumina Limited held or controlled by them in favor of the Agreement.

“Entering into the Scheme Implementation Deed to acquire Alumina Limited is a milestone on our path to deliver value for both Alcoa and Alumina shareholders,” said William F. Oplinger, Alcoa’s President and CEO.

“This transaction provides enhanced opportunities for value creation, including strengthening Alcoa’s position as one of the world’s largest bauxite and alumina producers.

Eivind Kallevik appointed CEO of Hydro

Eivind Kallevik has been appointed President and CEO of Norwegian aluminium and renewable energy company Norsk Hydro ASA. Kallevik succeeds Hilde Merete Aasheim, who has decided to step down after five years. The appointment will be effective May 13, 2024.

“I am pleased to announce that Eivind Kallevik has accepted the job as President and CEO of Hydro. Throughout his more than 30 years of experience from Nor-

wegian and international finance and industry, Eivind has a strong track record of developing the business, capturing opportunities,

and maneuvering the industrial landscape and markets. I am confident Eivind has what it takes to lead Hydro towards 2030 and beyond,” says Dag Mejdell, chairperson of Hydro’s Board of Directors. Kallevik is currently Executive Vice President and Head of Hydro’s Aluminium Metal business area, a position he has held since 2019. From 2013 to 2019 he held the position as CFO in Hydro. Prior to this, Kallevik held several senior management positions in Hydro.

May/June 2024 Aluminium International Today TOP STORIES

EGA upgrades to SAP software

Emirates Global Aluminium have signed a deal with SAP to transform its core enterprise resource planning solution to SAP’s latest S/4HANA software.

EGA uses SAP software solutions to manage functions such as marketing & sales, supply chain, finance, human capital, production planning & scheduling, and plant maintenance across its global business. Currently, EGA processes more than 150,000 business transactions every month. Up-

grading to S/4 HANA will increase data processing speeds by 30x, future-proofing computing for EGA’s functions and unlocking potential for digital capabilities such as artificial intelligence and advanced real-time data analytics.

EGA’s new SAP S/4HANA will be hosted in a private cloud in Microsoft Azure and will benefit from continuous updates as SAP technologies evolve. The migration to the new system will be through SAP RISE.

EGA launched its much-wider digital transformation in 2021, aiming to enhance every aspect of its operations and business, while upgrading customer and employee experience and ultimately creating new revenue streams.

Abdulnasser Bin Kalban, Chief Executive Officer of Emirates Global Aluminium, said: “Our digital transformation is a core part of achieving EGA’s bold aspiration to innovate the future of aluminium production.”

Alba and EGA sign technology service agreement for Line 6

Aluminium Bahrain B.S.C. (Alba) and Emirates Global Aluminium (EGA) have announced they have recently inked a Technology Services Agreement for Alba’s Reduction Line 6.

The Agreement was signed between Alba’s CEO Ali Al Baqali and EGA’s CEO Abdulnasser Bin Kalban in the presence of top officials from both companies.

This Agreement encompasses both onsite and remote assistance

wherein EGA will provide Alba’s Reduction Line 6 with technical support services, monitoring services as well as operational consultation. The agreement also covers operational and process audits, technical training workshops, as well as hands-on operation support among others.

Commenting on this occasion, Alba’s CEO Ali Al Baqali stated:

“Alba’s Reduction Line 6 is a success story built upon the foun-

dation of our exceptional local talent and bolstered by EGA’s DX+ Ultra technology playing a role in it.

We are excited to build on our partnership with EGA through this technical services agreement as it will enable our human talent to continuously benefit from EGA’s DX+ Ultra advancements and achieve our sustainability objectives.”

Women With Metal – the ALUMINIUM Awards announced

The organiser of the ALUMINIUM World Trade Fair, RX, have announced the “Women With Metal – ALUMINIUM Awards”, which will be presented for the first time as part of this year’s fair. The awards ceremony will be organised and hosted in cooperation with Women With Metal, the UK Aluminium Federation (ALFED) and Aluminium International Today on the second day of the trade fair, October 9th.

The awards intend to promote equality and diversity in the aluminium industry, recognise outstanding achievements by women and strengthen their position within the sector. They will also ac-

knowledge the efforts of male colleagues who have demonstrated extraordinary support for their female counterparts, serving as allies in the pursuit of gender equality.

“The ALUMINIUM World Trade Fair is not just a platform for the entire aluminium industry, it is a place for the world and a place for everyone – which is why we also want to provide more support and

visibility for women in the industry and thus created the ‘Women With Metal – ALUMINIUM Awards’ together with our partners,” explains Yasmin Ouiriemmi, Product Manager of ALUMINIUM at the organiser RX.

The Awards aim not only to honour women in the industry but also to encourage other women to assert themselves confidently.

RHI Magnesita announces intention to acquire Resco Group

RHI Magnesita announces its intention to acquire Resco Group, a US based producer of alumina monolithics and wide range of basic and non-basic refractories, for an enterprise value of up to $430 million.

Novel recycling technologies for European Aluminium

In a pioneering initiative that was recently officially launched in Vienna, the RecAL (Recycling technologies for circular ALuminium) project aims to develop innovative recycling technologies and a digital platform for a circular aluminium economy.

Industry and Norwegian government agree on the CO2 compensation scheme

The Norwegian government, industry associations and trade unions have reached an agreement on the future of the Norwegian CO2 compensation scheme, valid from 2024 until 2030.

“The CO2 compensation scheme is essential for maintaining competitive frame conditions for industries in Norway. This agreement will provide predictability, while accelerating decarbonization and green investments,” says President and CEO, Hilde Merete Aasheim.

Rio Tinto to invest in the world’s best technology startups

Rio Tinto is teaming up with a leading global venture studio and start-up investor to back the development and commercialisation of breakthrough technologies in the mining industry, to find better ways to provide the materials the world needs.

3 NEWS IN BRIEF May/June 2024 NEWS Aluminium International Today

Hydro Årdal opens new recycling unitwith 25,000 tonnes capability

As part of its efforts to meet the demand for low-carbon aluminium in European markets, aluminium and renewable energy company, Hydro, has invested NOK 100 million in recycling technology in

the casthouse at the Årdal primary aluminium plant in Norway.

Image above: Årdal Recycling opened on April 10 by Mayor of Årdal Christian Sønstlien, Minister of Trade and Industry Jan Christian Vestre and Plant Manager Anveig Bjordal Halkjelsvik. (Photo: Jens Christian Boysen/Hydro)

“The demand for low-carbon aluminium is increasing, particularly in the automotive industry. Thanks to the cutting edge technology and know how utilized by our team in Årdal, customers can reduce the carbon footprint in their value chain and get closer to achieving their climate targets,” says Eivind Kallevik, Executive Vice President of Hydro Aluminium


The upgraded casting line in Årdal will mix primary aluminium made with renewable hydropower with up to 30 percent post-consumer aluminium scrap. This is resulting in a record low-carbon footprint that helps some of the most advanced customers in Europe cut the embedded greenhouse gas emissions of their products.

The recycling unit in Årdal had its official opening on April 10. Hydro Årdal is now able to deliver REDUXA 3.0 aluminium with a carbon footprint of below 3.0 kg CO2e/kg aluminium.

This is approximately 80 percent lower than the world average.

Constellium Ravenswood: $75 million low carbon technology investment

Constellium have announced that its facility located in Ravenswood, West Virginia, was selected by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Clean Energy Demonstrations to begin award negotiations for up to $75 million in Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and Inflation Reduction Act funding as part of the Industrial Demonstrations Program (IDP). This investment will help fund the implementation of breakthrough low-to-no emissions technologies in Constellium’s Ravenswood facility, supporting the decarbonization of the casthouses, the plant’s most energy inten-

sive operation.

This investment will support

the installation of low-emissions

SmartMelt furnaces that can operate using a range of fuels, in-

cluding clean hydrogen, paving the way towards a zero carbon casthouse. In addition to reducing carbon emissions, the project is expected to help maximize recycled scrap intake, and to improve worker safety with the introduction of a hands-free casting process.

The project will also contribute to the local communities around Ravenswood with a dedicated budget to build a new training and wellness center for all employees and an onsite childcare, and to provide financial and technical resources for local education.

Aluminium industry reports decline in greenhouse gas emissions

New data from the International Aluminium Institute (IAI) reveals that, for the first time, total greenhouse gas emissions from the global aluminium sector did not grow, even though aluminium production grew.

The 2022 data, the latest available, shows aluminium production grew by 3.9% from 104.1 million tonnes to 108.2 million

tonnes. However, greenhouse gas emissions from the industry showed a slight decline from 1.13 giga-tonnes CO2e to 1.11 giga-tonnes CO2e, and the GHG emissions intensity of primary aluminium production (the average quantity of emissions from the production of a tonne of primary aluminium) has been declining since 2019. In 2022, intensity de-

2024 DIARY


14th - 16th

CRU: 30th World Aluminium Conference

The 30th World Aluminium Conference will return to the St Pancras Renaissance Hotel, London, co-hosted by the International Aluminium Institute (IAI) and the Aluminium Stewardship Initiative (ASI). com/aluminium/home

21st - 23rd

Future Aluminium Forum

The Future Aluminium Forum was originally developed to explore the transformational impact of digital technologies in the aluminium manufacturing processes. By hosting this next edition in Istanbul, we will be looking to uncover the potential to revolutionise the industry in Turkey and the surrounding regions.

www. futurealuminiumforum. com/turkey/

29th - 31st


NorCast presents highprofile executive leaders as Distinguished Guest Speakers, along with an international line-up of presenters, to cover important aspects of the aluminium industry. Held in Arendal, Norway


3rd - 5th


clined by 4.4% from 15.8 tonnes CO2e per tonne to 15.1 tonnes CO2e per tonne.

IAI Secretary General Miles Prosser said: “Our challenge is to reduce emissions while growing production. Aluminium demand is expected to grow significantly over the decades ahead, because of its role in decarbonisation economy-wide.”

ALUMINIUM CHINA brings together high-quality resources from the aluminium industry and end-use applications at home and abroad to comprehensively display innovative technologies and products.

Held in Shanghai

For a full listing visit events

Aluminium International

May/June 2024 GREEN NEWS
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Creative use of aluminium weatherbreak

The Summer of 2023 highlighted how business, educational, and civic leaders in the United State of America, Canada, and Norway worked together to showcase how aluminium was used to protect people from extreme weather more than 70 years ago and how the metal could be further utilised to face some of the challenges of today.

Factory workers in Indiana and Kentucky as well as academic leaders and students in the District of Columbia and Missouri were just some of the people involved in these collaborative activities.

“Reconstructing ‘Weatherbreak’: Geodesic Domes in an Age of Extreme Weather” was a joint exhibit of the School of Architecture and Planning at The Catholic University of America (Catholic University) and the National Museum of American History (NMAH) of the Smithsonian Institution.

Weatherbreak was “…North America’s first large-span, self-supporting geodesic dome, illustrating the significance of dome architecture in an age of extreme weather,” according to a news statement from Catholic University on 5 July 2023. “By the nature of their geometry, geodesic domes can support more load and have higher wind resistance than any other shelters of comparable size and weight.”

The original Weatherbreak – officially called “Weatherbreak 8C270” – was built in 1950 in what is known today as BaieD’Urfé, Québec, Canada. This community is located in suburban Montréal.

“Decades later, the nation and planet are focused on sustainability as it relates to climate change,” stated Dr. Abeer Saha, Merrill Family Secretarial Scholar and Curator in the Division of Work and Industry at the NMAH. “This living exhibition adds to such urgent dialogue by reconstructing and contextualizing the dome for contemporary audiences in an age of extreme weather.”

Aluminium was the key element used to build the original Weatherbreak as well as the critical backbone for the reconstruction of the structure.

This geodesic dome was rebuilt within the NMAH during a three-day period from 5 to 7 July of 2023. The dome rose 25 feet high and was 49 feet wide (7.62 meters high and 14.94 meters wide); it covered approximately 2,000 square feet (185.81 square meters).

The exhibit was on display for much of July of 2023.

Dr. Peter Kilpatrick, President of Catholic University, expressed strong support for the joint efforts with the NMAH. In the news statement issued on 5 July 2023, he noted that the collaboration not only showcased the expertise of the students at the School of Architecture and Planning, but also encouraged “…a critical conversation about the utility of geodesic

domes in the face of extreme weather challenges.”

This exhibit was on display in the Flag Hall at the NMAH, explained Melinda Machado Director of the Office of Communications and Marketing at the NMAH, “…the busiest crossroads and at the entrance where two-thirds of our visitors enter.”

Dr. Saha indicated that more than 180,000 visitors saw the Weatherbreak exhibit during its display at the NMAH.

The National Museum of American History describes its collections, its research activities, and its public outreach as ways for people to explore “… the infinite richness and complexity of American history. The museum helps

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 © 2024 Richard McDonough

THE ALUMINA CHRONICLES 7 Aluminium International Today May/June 2024
Weatherbreak was reconstructed by the School of Architecture and Planning at The Catholic University of America in partnership with the National Museum of American History of the Smithsonian Institution. (The photograph was provided courtesy of the National Museum of American History, July of 2023.)

to describe his pioneering effort to develop affordable, energy-efficient, and environmentally-conscientious housing,” according to a statement dated 27 March 2023 from Catholic University.

The concept of a geodesic dome, though, predated the writings of Mr. Fuller.

According to a number of reports, the first geodesic dome was the Zeiss Planetarium in Jena, Germany. It officially opened to the public in 1926. Three years earlier, in 1923, a dome was built on the roof of Carl Zeiss Optical Works in Jena to test the planetarium, according to a statement from the ZEISS Group.

Dr. Walther Bauersfeld was the chief engineer at Carl Zeiss Optical Works and is credited with the design of the geodesic dome. The dome itself was fabricated by Dyckerhoff and Widmann Aktiengesellschaft.

The structure received international attention and praise.

Aktiengesellschaft, then of Berlin, Germany, were awarded the Edward Longstreth Medal by The Franklin Institute of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in 1938.

In a news statement issued on 15 March 2023, Catholic University noted that whilst Mr. Fuller was not the original inventor of the structure, he was credited with popularising the geodesic dome.

A team led by Jeffrey Lindsay, a Canadian architect, inspired by the theories of Mr. Fuller “…designed Weatherbreak as a lightweight, stable structure that could resist extreme environmental impacts,” according to a news statement from Catholic University on 5 July 2023.

The geodesic dome, this news statement indicated, “…was designed to withstand snow and winds up to 200 miles per hour.”

people understand the past in order to make sense of the present and shape a more humane future.”

This museum is one of the 21 museums that form the Smithsonian Institution. Among the missions of the Smithsonian is the “…shaping the future by preserving heritage, discovering new knowledge, and sharing our resources with the world. The Institution was founded in 1846 with funds from the Englishman James Smithson (1765–1829) according to his wishes ‘under the name of the Smithsonian Institution, an establishment for the increase and diffusion of knowledge.’”

Historical Significance

“Famed American architect R. Buckminster Fuller coined the term ‘geodesic dome’

“Large Dome Erected in Germany Which Permits Visitors to See Planetary System” was the headline of a news article in The Enquirer And Evening News of Battle Creek, Michigan, on 3 March 1926.

The Capital Times of Madison, Wisconsin, reported in its edition dated 27 February 1926 that “the dome itself is simple to build – just a thin shelled concrete layer on a wire net, about 50 feet in diameter with a capacity for about 250 spectators.”

Several newspapers in the United Kingdom also detailed aspects of this structure and the planetarium. The Observer of London, England, reported that the “dome [was] built of concrete thinner than an eggshell” in a report dated 28 November 1926.

In recognition of the engineering marvel of “concrete shell type of roof construction,” Carl Zeiss, Inc. as well as Dyckerhoff and Widmann

“This project has the potential to convey that historical artifacts can inform our search for sustainable solutions in an age of climate change,” Dr. Saha stated in the news statement dated 15 March 2023. “Weatherbreak represents a visionary approach to building quick, affordable and sustainable shelters; one worth revisiting at a time when more than 24 million people are displaced by extreme weather events worldwide each year.”

The initial Weatherbreak – there were several structures that bore the name “Weatherbreak” – was disassembled in Canada and later reconstructed in California as a private residence in the late 1950s, according to a statement from the NMAH. In the early 1970s, Weatherbreak was again disassembled and the components of this geodesic dome were donated to the National Museum of History and Technology (now known as the “National Museum of American History”) of the Smithsonian Institution. The pieces of the initial Weatherbreak remained in storage at the NMAH until the exhibit at the museum in 2023.

Aluminium International Today May/June 2024 THE ALUMINA CHRONICLES 8
A design pattern and some of the aluminium pieces that were used in a test build of Weatherbreak on the campus of The Catholic University of America. (The photograph was provided courtesy of Norsk Hydro, 25 April 2023.) Some of the aluminium pieces utilised in a test build of Weatherbreak on the campus of The Catholic University of America. (The photograph was provided courtesy of Norsk Hydro, 25 April 2023.) The School of Architecture and Planning at The Catholic University of America conducted a test build of Weatherbreak prior to the formal reconstruction at the National Museum of American History. (The photograph was provided courtesy of Norsk Hydro, 25 April 2023.)
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“Students developed models, worked on the fabrication of missing parts, planned the reconstruction, and undertook two test builds on campus in preparation for the live build,” according to a news statement dated 5 July 2023 from Catholic University.

A news statement from the NMAH issued on 3 July 2023 indicated that the project team “…had to build models and work with partners to reconstruct missing or damaged parts to reassemble Weatherbreak.”

More than 1,000 struts and sprits were utilised to reconstruct Weatherbreak.

In a news statement issued on 15 March 2023, Catholic University noted that there was no instruction booklet to reconstruct the geodesic dome, “…only a single page of colour-coded strut lengths – leaving a mystery for the students to figure out. An initial surprise was discovering the pieces, or rods, came in 16 different lengths.”

According to the news statement from the NMAH issued on 3 July 2023, sections of Weatherbreak, including the bottom support rungs and the top of the dome, were reconstructed using replica parts.

Dr. Saha explained that “…the ratio of original to replica used for the exhibition was closer to 50:50, not because 50% of the original pieces are damaged or unusable, but because we didn’t want the museum visitors to touch the original historical object, and thus built the last two rings with the replica struts.”

Educational Experience

Students working “…on this once-ina-lifetime, hands-on project to study, fabricate and rebuild the dome” were part of an architecture studies class under the direction of Tonya Ohnstad, Associate Dean of Graduate Studies and Assistant Professor at the School of Architecture and Planning at Catholic University, and faculty member Lorenzo Cardim DeAlmeida, according to a news statement from the NMAH issued on 3 July 2023.

The Catholic University of America describes itself as “….the national university of the Catholic Church and the only higher education institution founded by the U S bishops. Established in 1887 as a papally-chartered graduate and research centre, the University comprises 12 schools and 31 research facilities and is home to 5,000 undergraduate and graduate students.”

Ms. Ohnstad noted in a news statement from Norsk Hydro (Hydro) on 4 May 2023 that this project was “…a great learning experience for our students and the use of varied materials is an integrated part of their architecture education.”

Aluminium International Today May/June 2024 10
Pictures 1, 2 and 3. Day One of the reconstruction of Weatherbreak at the National Museum of American History. (The photograph was produced by Patrick Ryan and provided courtesy of The Catholic University of America, 5 July 2023.) Day Two of the reconstruction of Weatherbreak at the National Museum of American History.
1 2 3
(The photograph was produced by Patrick Ryan and provided courtesy of The Catholic University of America, 6 July 2023.)

Dr. Saha provided additional information from Ms. Ohnstad in which she explained that “Architects continue to solve issues of material efficiency, structural integrity, and constructability that were central in the original making of Weatherbreak… Weatherbreak can easily withstand hurricane forces, what does that mean for structures in most environments where climate is shifting?”

“Understanding Weatherbreak as a prototype was translated from an idea to assembly is an everlasting issue in projects today,” she continued. “Working in this way reveals much more than the object but the socio-cultural moment, dreams of the designer, and places the students into the minds of the creators. This project elucidates the transition between the design, a pure mathematical form, and reality that is handcrafted. Reality is not as straightforward as we are led to believe.”

Ms. Ohnstad added that “All architecture relies on the joinery of the elements. In this project, the joinery is part of a flexible system that is expressed with clarity, not obfuscated. Funny enough, the full joinery is still the most difficult for us to decode and re-fabricate. The answer to massive and multiple crisis is not likely embedded singularly in this work, but learning from this work is central. We can certainly expand on Weatherbreak using new tools, better alloys, wider information networks to improve on the original drive.”

Industry Support

A number of entities worked with Catholic University and the NMAH to make this exhibit possible.

In a news statement dated 5 July 2023 from Catholic University, leaders detailed “…the support and in-kind contributions of faculty and students of Washington University in St. Louis under the leadership of Professor Wyly Brown; Architectural Systems Inc., which fabricated missing components; Norsk Hydro, which donated the material for the parts; DSI Spaceframes; and Consigli Construction Co. Inc.”

The items donated by Hydro included extruded aluminium structural members made from Hydro CIRCAL. The company noted that Hydro CIRCAL contains “…at least 75 percent recycled, post-consumer scrap…[and] offers the lowest carbon footprint of any aluminium products manufactured in the world today.”

THE ALUMINA CHRONICLES 11 Aluminium International Today May/June 2024
Pictures 1 and 2. Day Three of the reconstruction of Weatherbreak at the National Museum of American History. (The photograph was produced by Patrick Ryan and provided courtesy of The Catholic University of America, 7 July 2023.)
Hydro Aluminium Metals USA produced the Hydro CIRCAL utilised in the Weatherbreak exhibit at the National Museum of American History. This aluminium product was manufactured from recycled, post-consumer scrap aluminium at the company’s recycling facility in Henderson, Kentucky. (The photograph was provided courtesy of Norsk Hydro.)

Norsk Hydro is headquartered in Oslo, Norway; the firm has operations in more than 140 locations and 40 countries.

“The unique properties of aluminium enable the structural design to be lightweight, strong, and highly efficient,” according to a news statement from Hydro issued on 4 May 2023. “Architects have long been advocates for the use of sustainable materials and lifecycle thinking, so it is no surprise that aluminium plays a significant role in the modern built environment.”

“Just as the student-led project seeks to conserve a unique piece of architectural history, recycling aluminium conserves resources and energy,” the news statement continued. “Unique among modern building materials, aluminium is also infinitely recyclable, so it naturally makes sense to design aluminium products in ways that are easy to disassemble and reclaim at the end of their useful life.”

Trond Gjellesvik, Business Unit President of Hydro Aluminium Metals USA, said that Hydro was “…pleased to partner with Catholic University to assist the Smithsonian in helping revive this historic structure. Much like Fuller’s vision for ‘Spaceship Earth,’ for nearly 120 years Hydro has sought to create a more viable society by developing natural resources into products and solutions in innovative and efficient ways.”

“The team at our Henderson, Kentucky, recycling plant was able to produce extrusion ingots for this historic project almost entirely from post-consumer scrap, the reuse of which is critical to improve sustainability,” stated Mr. Gjellesvik.

The company noted that the aluminium was then extruded into the needed items

at the company’s extrusion facility in Elkhart, Indiana.

“By increasing the use of post-consumer scrap and driving towards 100% recycled content, aluminium can play a vital role in decarbonizing the building industry” stated Charles Straface, Business Unit President of Hydro Extrusion North America. “By taking end-of-life aluminium scrap and transforming it back into building components, we feel this project highlights the potential of aluminium to address climate change in unique ways.”

Hydro also provided enough material for Catholic University to construct the replica dome for a traveling exhibit in the future.

As to the disposition of the replica aluminium items used for the exhibit at

the NMAH, Dr. Saha of the NMAH stated that “after deconstruction, the replica pieces were added to our permanent collections.”

In the news statement from Hydro, Ms. Ohnstad of Catholic University expressed appreciation to Hydro for the opportunity to have participated “…in the restoration of a truly historic piece of architectural history. This project is a great learning experience for our students and the use of varied materials is an integrated part of their architecture education. We are looking forward to learning more about the benefits of aluminium as a sustainable building material through the partnership with Norsk Hydro.” �

Aluminium International Today May/June 2024 12
Completion of the reconstruction of Weatherbreak at the National Museum of American History. (The photograph was produced by Patrick Ryan and provided courtesy of The Catholic University of America, 7 July 2023.) The aluminium used in the Weatherbreak exhibit at the National Museum of American History was extruded into the needed items by Hydro Extrusion North America at its facility in Elkhart, Indiana. (The photograph was provided courtesy of Norsk Hydro.)

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US Aluminium Outlook 2024

While there is optimism that the US aluminium market is at the cusp of turning upward, much of the market is holding off to wait and see what happens in an attempt to decipher the mixed signals coming from the aluminium supply chain and the domestic and global economies.

There is no question that there is a lot of variation sector by sector and product by product; but largely, 2024 is being seen as a transition year. Helped, in part, by several new governmental policies, the potential for US interest rates to start inching down again, the need for lightweight materials to support the energy transition, industry observers believe that things could start trending upwards over the next year or so.

After being strong for much of 2022, with post-Covid pandemic lows, the US aluminium market has seen its demand decline over the past 20 months. Matt Aboud, senior vice president of strategy and business development for Century Aluminum noted that there has been such a prolonged downturn, especially amid a pretty strong economic backdrop over the past few years.

Recently there have been some signs that the market might be starting to turn the corner. In fact, Matt Meenan, a spokesperson for the Aluminum Association noted that the trade group’s new orders index is currently at its highest level since the summer of 2022.

“But we need to distinguish whether this is because of true organic demand from the end markets, or if it is that North American producers are gaining some share because of some overseas and geopolitical issues”, Aboud declared.

In fact, while it appears as if US

aluminium shipments are steadying, partly due to the completion of excess inventories, Matthew Abrams, CRU, said that meaningful recovery won’t be seen until the back half of this year or sometime next year.

Improvement has occurred at a mixed pace and will likely continue to be so.

Daria Efanova, head of research for Sucden Financial said that improvement in the aluminium market has been driven by several downstream aluminium consuming markets, as opposed to coming from the upstream where there are rising costs of production. This has been challenged by the high electricity prices as well as continued competition from China and other developing countries. This has resulting in North American smelter capacity to decrease in recent years.

“But while the primary aluminium market has generally been sluggish, given that it follows the downstream, we are seeing that that things are starting to turn, and we are hopeful that the second half of the year will be better,” Aboud noted.

While, in general, downstream US aluminium demand was “flattish” in the first quarter of 2024 compared with late in 2023, Duncan Pitchford, president of Hydro Aluminum Metals USA, said that it has varied sector by sector. For example, noting that while automotive demand remained up, other sectors like building and construction have seen a softer demand with the higher interest rates. If this reduction in demand continues this could be concerning given that, according to Efanova, the construction sector accounts for about a third of US aluminium demand.

*US correspondent

However, with some builders ramping up in anticipation of the spring construction season, she said this would bring some good news for aluminium. The US housing market was also starting to bounce back, but this was seen to weakened again in March due to higherthan-expected mortgage rates.

CRU’s Abrams said that aluminium rolled products seem to be faring well, with demand for can sheet really picking up at the same time as North American auto build rates, which is not only positive for aluminium flat products, but extrusions as well.

While the US can sheet market is traditionally pretty flat, Meenan noted that it has been more volatile recently as a result of the considerable post-Covid inventory built up in 2022, followed by destocking last year. “But recently can sheet demand has been moving in the right direction again,” he said. In fact, it was up about 10% year on year through February.

Meanwhile, according to head of North American aluminium analysis at CRU, Kaustabh Chandorar, there is an expectation that the North American light vehicle output will move up to 1616.5 million units for the remainder of the decade and expectations of a bump in the electric vehicle (EV) share. With this, autorelated aluminium demand is expected to increase by 5-6% this year and even more in 2025.

John Tumazos, president and metals analyst for John Tumazos Very Independent Research, pointed out that the growth in the EV share is a big contributing factor to the increase of light vehicle output

Aluminium International Today May/June 2024 GLOBAL UPDATE 14

given that they tend to contain at least 200 lbs. EVs contain more aluminium per vehicle than internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles. Mike Stier, vice president of finance and strategy for Hydro Extrusions, noted that the higher demand for aluminium seen from EVs is due to lightweighting and the structural and battery components.

However, he observed that while there was some excitement when some new models such as light truck models launched, the increase in US EV production hasn’t been as fast as anticipated. This is largely due to the lack of infrastructure for EVs in the US in comparison to other countries. That being said, Steir commented that “once more EV infrastructure is put in place, US consumers will become more confident that EVs are reliable transportation”.

These markets are supportive of the new US flat roll and extrusion capacity coming online. This includes two greenfield rolling mills expected to come online by 2026 –marking the first new rolling mills built in the US since 1980.

Novelis is building an integrated aluminium manufacturing facility in Bay Minette, AL, which will include hot rolling, recycling, casting and finishing capacity. Also, the newly formed Aluminum Dynamics unit of Steel Dynamics have announced that they are building a lowcarbon recycled aluminium rolling mill in Columbus, MS, this will be supported by two satellite recycled aluminium slab centres.

For new US extrusion capacity, in midMarch Century Aluminum formed a joint venture with Metal Exchange to build a billet remelting facility. As well as this, Hydro’s Cassopolis, MI, recycling based

remaining 25% production at Mt. Holly, as it is an operating plant.”

cast house came online at the end of last year and is expected to reach full capacity in June. Hydro have also upgraded the recycling capabilities at its Cressona, PA, extrusions plant is to be completed by midyear. CRU’s Abrams said that 30-40 new extrusion presses are expected to would be added in the US over the next few years.

Meanwhile, going counter to the trend in the US primary aluminium market, it looks like Century Aluminum could be poised to eventually build a new smelter, which would be the first primary aluminium smelter built in the US in about 45 years. Tumazos noted that Century, which idled its Hawesville, KY, smelter in 2022, mostly has smaller assets that it acquired from other producers.

Aboud pointed out that the January closure of the Magnitude 7 New Madrid, MO, smelter reduced domestic primary aluminium output by about 30% with only four smelters now operating.

However, Alcoa has announced that it will be restarting one production line at its Warrick, IN, smelter, KC Chang. A senior associate with S&P Global Market Intelligence said that the restart of a smelter with 54,000 tonnes of production capacity cannot offset New Madrid’s closure. “And now buyers needing to satisfy “Buy America” requirements have one less supplier option.” This is assuming there aren’t any other restarts. “We haven’t closed Hawesville indefinitely,” Aboud said, noting that Century continues to maintain the smelter to allow it to eventually be restarted if the conditions are right to do so. “We would need to have a sustained period of low energy costs and higher LME prices,” he explained. “Also, our first priority is to bring back the

Joe Quinn, director of the Center for Strategic Industrial Materials and vice president of SAFE Foundation, pointed out that the four smelters currently operating isa number down from 23 smelters in 1993. He said his group believes that domestically produced primary aluminium is important for both defense application and to support the green energy transition.

Century Aluminum’s plans for a new green primary aluminium smelter is part of the new US Department of Energy Office of Clean Energy Demonstrations’ Industrial Demonstrations Program, which includes a total of $6 billion in grants funded by the IIJA bipartisan infrastructure law and the Inflation Reduction Act.

In late March Century Aluminum’s Green Aluminum Smelter Project was one of 33 US projects named to demonstrate commercial-scale decarbonisation solutions needed to move energyintensive industries toward being net zero. This is now entering negotiations to be awarded $500 million, the maximum for any single project.

“We are confident that will be successful,” Aboud said, and that the company will then be able to go through an engineering and site selection process. “It is still many years away from being a reality,” he noted, “But once it is we believe that it will approximately double the volume of primary aluminium produced in the US today.”

Quinn described Century’s plan for a new smelter as “phenomenal,” especially given that it plans to secure carbon free energy for the facility. “But one question is where that energy will come from. That isn’t known yet.”

The impact of certain trade related factors is also another unknown. That includes the pending extrusions trade case and recently passed restrictions by the US and the UK on Russian-origin aluminium. �

GLOBAL UPDATE 15 Aluminium International Today May/June 2024

India’s Vedanta Aluminium - leading the charge towards a sustainable future

Our world today has a clear mandate. If we are to secure a habitable future for human life on Earth, we must act swiftly and collectively to halve all greenhouse gas emissions by the mid-2030s. This will enable us to limit the rise in global temperature to under 1.5°C above preindustrial levels. Achieving this goal will require a rapid transition to a low carbon global economy.

Of the myriad of materials needed to facilitate this transition, aluminium is undoubtedly among the most critical. Aluminium’s inherent versatility and recyclability - a relatively unique combination of essential characteristics –has placed it at the forefront of the push to decarbonise key industries, lending it the sobriquet of ‘The Metal of the Future.’

The metal stands out due to its superlative properties such as a high strength-to-weight ratio, high corrosion resistance, and superior ductility and conductivity. The sustainable nature of modern bauxite mining, which is the ore from which aluminium is produced, further cements its pivotal role in shaping a sustainable world. The metal also holds strategic significance for national security and economic progress, with widespread applications in key sectors like aerospace, space exploration, defence, construction, transportation, automotive, electrical distribution, and packaging.

The aluminium sector in India shines bright as an opportunity for significant growth and investment, against a global backdrop of geopolitical instability and industry headwinds. India is the world’s second-largest producer and third-largest consumer of aluminium, and is poised for a doubling in domestic demand over the next five years. Much like China, India too is set to exponentially escalate its metals consumption.

However, if it is to indeed realise its stated goal of creating “One Earth, One Family, One Future”, India must closely

This versatility and broad application is spurring an unprecedented demand for aluminium, with global demand set to soar by nearly 40% by 2030, according to a recent study conducted by analysts at CRU International. Few countries understand the immense potential of this opportunity better than the emerging economic superpower of India.

Aluminium International Today May/June 2024 DECARBONISATION 16
Aerial view of Vedanta Aluminium Smelter at Jharsuguda

pursue this aluminium opportunity as part of its larger goal of undertaking the energy transition – in a way that is not only environmentally-responsible but also supports the achievement of a more sustainable world through efforts aligned with the United Nations’ 17 Sustainable Development Goals.

Despite being home to 18% of the global population, India produces less than 4% of the world’s emissions. Its economy has thus set the standard for economic growth and development without the accompanying increase in emissions usually experienced by other advanced economies. India’s Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) to the UN

Framework includes an emissions-intensity target of 45% below the 2005 level and an achievement of 50% cumulative electric power installed capacity from non-fossil fuel-based energy resources, both by 2030.

Embedding the principles of sustainability into both the mining and downstream beneficiation of aluminium will be absolutely pivotal in fostering economic growth while achieving NDC targets and decarbonising large swathes of the industrial landscape.

Vedanta has fully embraced this ethos, not just in support of its host country’s responsible economic growth objectives, but from a deep understanding of the

urgent need to move towards more sustainable production and consumption practices.

Over the past few years, we have been making systematic efforts to fully embed principles of environmentally and socially responsible production across our entire business, which has included committing US$5 billion over the next decade to accelerate our transition to Net Zero before 2050. Such has been the success of these efforts that Vedanta Aluminium is now the world’s most sustainable aluminium producer, as per the esteemed S&P Global Corporate Sustainability Assessment 2023.

Vedanta Aluminium operates a two million-tonne-per-year (mtpa) capacity alumina refinery in Lanjigarh, Odisha, set up in 2007, and an associated 75 MW captive power plant. The refinery feeds our massive aluminium smelters at Jharsuguda, in Odisha, and Bharat Aluminium Company Limited (BALCO), in Chhattisgarh. In fact, Vedanta Jharsuguda is the world’s largest singlelocation aluminium plant, with a 1.8 MTPA aluminium smelting capacity. We are keenly focused on 100% vertical integration, and have recently expanded the 2 mtpa capacity at the Lanjigarh refinery to 3.5 mtpa, en route to becoming a 5 mtpa producer of premium smelter grade alumina (SGA).

As one of the world’s top producers catering to customers in nearly 60 countries across the Americas, Europe, Asia, Middle East, and Africa, the wider impact of our efforts towards a decarbonised, sustainable future on the global supply chain are profound. In fiscal year 2024 alone, Vedanta Aluminium produced more than half of India’s aluminium at 2.37 million tonnes. We have also entered into long-term power distribution agreements to source 1335 MW of renewable energy towards decarbonising our operations and creating a steady source of green power for production of our low-carbon ‘green’ aluminium.

Embracing new technologies and decarbonisation also brings opportunities for greater growth and operational efficiencies. For example, Vedanta Aluminium hosts India’s largest fleet of electric lithium-ion forklifts. These offer a potential reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by approximately 1,600 tonnes of CO2 equivalent annually, while also saving on diesel costs. We are also committed to electrifying 100% of our entire Light Motor Vehicle fleet by 2030 and 75% of our mining fleet by 2035. Such changes reduce direct emissions, but they also contribute to lower operating costs. McKinsey estimates that

DECARBONISATION 17 Aluminium International Today May/June 2024
John Slaven, CEO, Vedanta Aluminium

electric vehicle ownership can be around 20% cheaper than traditional combustion engine vehicles too. Despite this, only around 0.5% of mining operations globally use them. In addition to this, Vedanta Aluminium is exploring the usage of biodiesel across its operations, as a part of a wider strategy to decarbonise its operations. Already, we have successfully conducted trial runs of using biodiesel as a ‘green’ fuel alternative for our fleet of commercial vehicles.

Green metals with a low carbon footprint are rapidly growing in demand. Vedanta has been able to lead the way in India with its low-carbon ‘green’ aluminium brand, Restora, the first in the country. It represents the outcome of bringing together the company’s robust manufacturing expertise in aluminium, innovative technologies, and an unwavering commitment towards achieving Net Zero by 2050. Restora is manufactured using renewable energy and has a GHG emission intensity of four tonnes of CO2 equivalent per tonne of aluminium manufactured - the global threshold for aluminium to be considered as low-carbon.

This focus on sustainable innovations

has contributed to us receiving the Environmental Product Declaration (EPD) International verification for our wide range of products. It testifies to our advanced manufacturing practices, which are ensuring sustainability across the aluminium value chain. Our smelters at Jharsuguda and BALCO have also been awarded the Aluminium Stewardship Initiative’s (ASI) Performance Standard Certifications, reiterating our continuous commitment to responsible production practices. The ASI Certification is the only comprehensive voluntary sustainability standard for the global aluminium value chain.

Sustainability and innovation are not simply the endpoint for the mining industry, but the essence of long-term value creation too. Building a green future demands sustainable metals, and truly responsible mining practices must therefore underpin their production. The milestones we have achieved in these areas will hopefully inspire the wider industry to embrace sustainability not merely as a buzzword, but a fundamental principle that guides our collective journey towards a better, more sustainable, and equitable world. �

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Aluminium International Today May/June 2024 DECARBONISATION 18
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Reshoring, recycling and efficiency pave the way

Aluminium’s versatility makes it a critical material across countless industries, with demand projected to soar 15% globally by 2029 [1]. From lightweight car parts to beverage cans, aluminium’s unique combination of strength, malleability and recyclability has made it a cornerstone of modern life. However, this essential metal comes at a cost – its production is highly energy-intensive, traditionally relying on a melting process that releases significant amounts of greenhouse gasses. In fact, aluminium production accounts for approximately 1.1 billion tonnes of global CO2 emissions per year [2]

The aluminium industry is undergoing a transformative shift, driven by a perfect storm of environmental concerns, geopolitical tensions, and technological advancements. Consumers increasingly demand sustainable products, while manufacturers face mounting pressure to reduce their environmental footprint. At the same time, rising geopolitical tensions are disrupting traditional supply chains, highlighting the need for more secure and reliable sources of aluminium.

These factors have converged to present an opportunity for the North American aluminium industry to reinvent itself, embracing sustainability and a regionally

focused approach. While the US is already making considerable investments to boost domestic production across the country and is making energy-efficient upgrades to existing equipment, there is still work to be done. This article explores how reshoring, recycling, and a focus on efficiency can not only improve environmental responsibility but also increase production capacity and meet the growing demand for highquality aluminium coil in North America.

The Urgency for Change

Traditionally, North America dominated the global aluminium market. However, in the last 25 years, production has dwindled, and the region has become increasingly reliant on overseas sources to meet demands. This shift, once deemed necessary as a cost-first strategy became the precedent during the globalisation era, is now facing scrutiny due to environmental concerns surrounding overseas aluminium production.

While some countries prioritise environmental regulations, others do not, creating a situation where the sustainability credentials of overseas aluminium become murky. Consequently, a global push for ecofriendly practices has led to the rise

*Global Business Line Manager for Metals, ABB

of “green aluminium” – low-carbon aluminium production that minimises environmental impact. While green aluminium surpluses currently exist, driven by a surge in production in 2023, they are not guaranteed to last forever. Businesses need long-term assurances of stable prices and a secure supply of this sustainable material. This urgency for change underscores the need to strengthen domestic aluminium production capacity in North America, ensuring access to a reliable and environmentally responsible supply.

The Reshoring Imperative

The North American aluminium industry is at a crossroads. While demand for the versatile metal is projected to surge, traditional reliance on overseas suppliers is being overshadowed by environmental supply chain vulnerability concerns. Reshoring aluminium production offers an excellent solution to this issue.

Bringing aluminium production closer to end-users strengthens domestic supply chains, minimising disruptions caused by global events. This trend, triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic and further amplified by ongoing geopolitical tensions, is gaining momentum. According to a recent survey

Aluminium International Today May/June 2024 DECARBONISATION 20

[3], a staggering 69% of U.S. manufacturers have begun reshoring their supply chains, with a remarkable 94% success rate. The Reshoring Institute [4], whose mission is to bring manufacturing jobs back to the United States, reports that 2022 saw record highs in reshoring and foreign direct investment announcements, with projections for 300,000 new jobs created in 2023 alone.

Beyond its strategic advantages, reshoring offers environmental benefits. Shorter transportation distances translate to reduced emissions and a smaller carbon footprint, contributing to a more sustainable aluminium industry. By embracing reshoring, North America can ensure a reliable supply of aluminium while minimising its environmental impact.

Recycling: Aluminium’s Renaissance Aluminium’s infinite recyclability makes it the king of the circular economy. Recycling not only preserves the metal’s properties but also offers a dramatic 95% reduction in energy consumption compared to virgin aluminium production. This solidifies aluminium as a key material for a lowcarbon future.

By integrating efficient recycling practices, North America can unlock a multitude of benefits. Recycling aluminium minimises the need for virgin materials, significantly reducing the environmental

footprint associated with mining and processing. This translates to cleaner air, water, and less land degradation. Furthermore, utilising recycled aluminium often proves more cost-effective than virgin resources, offering a financial advantage to manufacturers. Finally, a closed-loop system for aluminium creates a reliable source of materials, contributing to increased production capacity and a more secure supply chain.

North America is uniquely positioned to capitalise on this opportunity. Boasting the world’s highest Recycling Input Rate [5], with 57% of its aluminium production originating from scrap, the region possesses a strong foundation for a robust circular aluminium economy. However, to fully unlock this potential, significant investments are needed. Expanding capacity for re-smelting and refining recycled aluminium is crucial to meet future demand.

The automotive sector, a champion of circularity within its own right, presents a significant growth opportunity. As the demand for lightweight and sustainable materials for electric vehicles intensifies, readily available, high-capacity casting complexes in North America will be critical to meet this growing need.

A Collaborative Approach for Lasting Change

Realising a sustainable and efficient aluminium industry in North America requires a collective effort from every corner of the sector.

Industry leaders have the power and influence to be a driving force for change. Continued investment into cutting-edge technology that will enhance efficiency and minimise environmental impact can pave the way for the entire industry. Pioneering these initiatives will not only benefit their own operations but also serve as a model for others to follow, accelerating the industry’s collective transformation towards a sustainable future.

Of course, none of this is possible without the help of technology providers, which are the essential catalysts for efficiency throughout the aluminium production process. This includes advancements in low-carbon aluminium melting processes and technologies, like the electromagnetic stirrers (AL-EMS)

provided by ABB. ABB’s technology has proven to increase productivity by up to 25%, lower energy consumption by 10%, and reduce dross generation by 15% in more than 400 aluminium furnaces worldwide. Unsurprisingly, demand for such solutions is on the rise. Just last month, GNA alutech, aluminium furnace provider, sought to optimise efficiency, increase productivity, lower energy consumption, and help reduce operating costs, and ordered four of ABB’s electromagnetic stirrers to do just that.

In addition to the advancements mentioned previously, technology providers also play a role in developing more efficient electrical solutions within aluminium production facilities. One promising area of development is the adoption of DC (direct current) to AC (alternating current) conversion technology. While traditional aluminium smelting relies on AC power, the conversion process itself can be energy intensive. By implementing DC power supplies such as ABB’s high power rectifiers at specific stages of production, facilities can reduce energy consumption and minimise their overall carbon footprint.

The final piece of the puzzle is the work that governments and policymakers are doing behind the scenes, which can significantly accelerate the rate of progress. Favourable policy creates a fertile environment to capitalise on the rich industry appetite for reshoring growth and sustainable technology adoption.

North America is uniquely positioned to become a global leader in clean aluminium production. Abundant natural resources, a strong foundation in recycling, and a spirit of innovation provide a solid platform for success. By embracing reshoring, recycling, and a commitment to sustainability, the aluminium industry can not only foster environmental stewardship but also unlock significant benefits. Increased production capacity will ensure a secure and reliable supply chain. Through collaboration and innovation, all stakeholders within the industry can work together to ensure a sustainable and secure future for aluminium in North America. This will not only benefit the industry itself but also contribute to a greener and more sustainable future for the entire region. �

[1] 2021-2029&text=In%202021%2C%20global%20aluminum%20consumption,some%2064.2%20million%20metric%20tons.





DECARBONISATION 21 Aluminium International Today May/June 2024

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Aluminium Industry Decarbonisation – A Turning Point?

Aluminium is a key material that has the potential to reduce GHG emissions in other sectors including transport, building & construction, and food & drink packaging. It is also an essential material for the energy transition, widely used in solar panels, energy storage and electrical cabling. As such, demand for the metal is expected to grow strongly over the coming decades. Strong demand growth provides many upsides for the sector with opportunities for both primary and recycled metal, but growing production in a world where GHG emissions are becoming increasingly constrained and stakeholder expectations are growing, means the sector faces significant challenges.

The realities [1] of the ambitious Paris climate goals of limiting global warming to well below 2 degrees and ideally, 1.5 degrees are now well understood across the sector. Producers are making significant investments and taking decisive action to reduce emissions from production and to keep global climate targets in reach but alignment with a 1.5 degrees trajectory is a major undertaking. Under this scenario, total emissions from the sector would have to be reduced from over 1 billion tonnes CO2e today to just over 50 million tonnes by 2050 – a 97% reduction.

Over the past few years, decarbonisation projects [2] have emerged across all major aluminium producing regions aligned

with the IAI’s three key decarbonisation pathways [3]. The projects are varied and widespread, from increasing zerocarbon electricity to technologies and fuel switches to eliminate direct and thermal emissions, and advances in recycling and material efficiency innovations. The latest data from IAI [4] now shows these efforts are starting to bear fruit and 2022 marks a potential turning point for the sector. For the first time, data shows total greenhouse gas emissions from the global aluminium sector did not grow, even though aluminium production grew.

Decoupling production and emissions

The latest available data shows that some progress towards that 2050 end point is being made. In 2022, aluminium production grew by 3.9% from 104.1 million tonnes to 108.2 million tonnes but total greenhouse gas emissions from the industry showed a slight decline from 1.13 billion tonnes CO2e to 1.11 billion tonnes CO2e. This noteworthy growth in production but slight decline in emissions is the first indication of a potential decoupling of historic trends. The last time the aluminium industry’s GHG emissions did not grow was in 2009, following the global financial crisis where a decline in production was the main driver.

As well as the modest reduction in total

emissions, the GHG emissions intensity of primary aluminium production (the average quantity of emissions from the production of a tonne of primary aluminium) has also continued to decline – a trend that has been emerging since 2019. Intensity of primary aluminium declined by 4.4% from 15.8 tonnes CO2e per tonne in 2021 to 15.1 tonnes CO2e per tonne in 2022.

These changes have been driven predominantly by shifts in the electricity supply used in aluminium smelting, the most significant contributor to the industry’s GHG emissions. In China, the world’s largest aluminium producer, there has been a shift towards increased hydropower electricity sources and in other regions, including the Middle East, Europe and Australia, variable renewable energy sources such as wind and solar are becoming increasingly integrated into supply chains.

The data indicates the sector could be at a critical point however it is important that this progress is not overstated at this stage; there is still much more to do, and continued progress will require implementation of new technologies, the integration of new energy sources and adoption of new ways of working at a scale and pace never before seen in the sector. To stay on track with the 1.5 degrees aligned trajectory for the sector,

DECARBONISATION 23 Aluminium International Today May/June 2024
*Pernelle Nunez is the Deputy Secretary General and Director of Sustainability at the International Aluminium Institute (IAI)

emissions over the next 10 years have to decrease annually by over 9% year-onyear.

Challenges and Opportunities

Over 60% of the sector’s emissions could be eliminated through the use of lowcarbon power but challenges remain with access to decarbonised grids and integrating ever-larger quantities of variable renewable energy power sources into a production process that requires constant, reliable electricity.

Many of the other technology pathways are well known but as yet, relatively untested at a commercial scaletechnologies such as inert anode, carbon capture and storage (CCS) and electric boilers and furnaces are still in test phases or single-site operation. There is an urgency across the sector and stakeholders that the window of opportunity to reach medium-term milestones is rapidly closing. For many, 2030 is a key check point for progress and with it just over five years away, the second half of this decade will prove to be vital for the roll out of these breakthrough technologies.

There are other opportunities though that can have an impact alongside the progress already made with the integration of low-carbon power sources. Fuel switching in alumina refining, increased aluminium recycling rates and efficiency offer opportunities for the sector to make significant strides relatively quickly. Crosssector collaboration, mobilisation of capital, and enabling policy environments remain critical to success in both the medium and long term.

It is promising to see in the data, the industry is heading in the right direction for the first time, but it also highlights

emissions reductions need to significantly accelerate to align with global climate goals. Unlike some other heavy industries, many of the decarbonisation solutions for the aluminium sector are already known, and in some cases in the process of being implemented, this provides an opportunity for the sector to engage with key partners looking to rapidly accelerate and amplify efforts in the next few vital years.

Accelerating & tracking progress

Accelerating progress on an issue that is already exceptionally challenging is not easy. As highlighted earlier, in many cases, the industry is going to need to work closely with stakeholders to instigate structural change and coordinate targeted action. These stakeholders whether they be end-use industries, the energy sector, financiers, policymakers or civil society, have varied and evolving demands of the sector and sometimes it can be difficult for them to access the information they need to make informed decisions.

This is why at COP28, the IAI launched a new Aluminium Industry GHG Initiative [5] which aims to bring much needed transparency and consistency to GHG disclosures. It commits to tracking IAI member company GHG reduction ambitions and progress over the medium and long term as well as total sector emissions - essential insights for key stakeholders. Often, this information, though publicly available, is fragmented, inconsistent and dispersed. The initiative, supported by major aluminium producers accounting for over 250 million tonnes of CO2e emissions, will consolidate this key information. It is hoped that the initiative can foster greater decarbonisation ambition across the sector as well as

bringing a new level of tracking and accountability to the sector’s reporting.

More than Carbon GHG emissions have been the central focus of the aluminium industry’s sustainability ambitions for many years. It is easy to quantify, understand and track using a single metric and indeed, aluminium production can be an emissions intensive process, so it is rightfully a priority issue. It is clear though that sustainable aluminium is about more than just a low-carbon footprint. A truly sustainable metal or product is one that considers and manages impacts beyond just GHG emissions; it considers impacts related to people, nature, water, circularity and waste. This need for an integrated and holistic approach to sustainability is being acknowledged more widely today and will likely be more so in the future with evolving stakeholder expectations.

Reflecting this holistic approach, the IAI launched Aluminium Forward 2030 [6]. A gathering of producers, transformers, and users from across aluminium-consuming market segments to work together to move toward net zero carbon in a way that is inclusive of broader sustainability challenges, and still meeting the growing needs of society.

The aluminium industry will have to continue to pursue its decarbonisation ambitions in parallel with managing other major sustainability issues such as bauxite residue, the impact on communities and biodiversity, in order to maintain the sector’s social licence. With an important role to play in modern societies and in the energy transition, it is essential that the industry continues to drive action across the value chain and across all sustainability issues to maintain aluminium’s position as a material of choice for end-users and consumers in the future.

The Future Aluminium Forum

At the Future Aluminium Forum 2024, as part of the Greener Aluminium Summit, Pernelle will explore evolving stakeholder expectations around sustainability and what the industry is doing to ensure it is taking action and producing a truly sustainable material, fit for the future. �

Visit the QR Code for more information on the IAI’s GHG work programme.



[3] IAI’s three key decarbonisation pathways




Aluminium International Today May/June 2024 DECARBONISATION 24

Engineered aluminium’s role in decarbonisation

In the contemporary world, the global community is increasingly focused on the urgent need for decarbonisation to combat climate change. Engineered aluminium is a key player among various elements contributing to this transformative shift. This versatile metal has become synonymous with sustainability, finding its way into diverse industries that are moving towards eco-friendly practices. From revolutionising transportation with lightweight vehicles to enhancing energy efficiency in green buildings, engineered aluminium’s versatility and eco-friendly properties drive significant advancements towards a cleaner, greener future.

Why Aluminium is Considered a Green Metal

Aluminium is celebrated as a green metal due to its inherent properties, which promote sustainable material use and contribute to the circular economy. It consumes only ~5% of the energy compared to producing the same quantity of virgin aluminium without losing its quality. By using this metal, industries reduce the need for new extraction and minimise mining-related environmental

degradation, making it a highly sustainable choice. It is estimated that nearly 75% of all produced aluminium is still in use today. Moreover, aluminium’s durability and corrosion resistance ensure a longer lifespan for products, reducing the frequency of replacements and cutting down on overall waste generated. Furthermore, the lightweight nature of aluminium makes it ideal for decreasing the carbon footprint in product-weightsensitive industries.

Engineered Aluminium’s Comprehensive Role in Decarbonisation

In modern economies, industries such as transportation, construction, and manufacturing contribute significantly to carbon emissions due to energy-intensive production processes and the use of fossil fuels. As the contemporary supply chain becomes increasingly interconnected with multiple sectors, there is a growing need to ensure sustainability across the entire chain. Therefore, engineered aluminium emerges as a critical player, offering a comprehensive solution to reduce carbon emissions across various industries. While

aluminium’s influence spans multiple sectors, the spotlight often falls on its contributions to lightweight vehicles and green construction.

� Aluminium in the Automotive


One of the primary domains where aluminium plays a vital role in decarbonisation is automotive manufacturing. The lightweight properties of aluminium contribute to enhanced fuel efficiency and reduced emissions. Electric vehicles (EVs) also benefit massively from this integration, as the reduced weight leads to a higher battery range and lower braking distances. The average aluminium content within EVs is projected to increase by 9.5% to 310 kg within 2022 to 2026. Moreover, aluminium is important in electromobility infrastructure, covering power cables and charging stations. Beyond lightweight vehicles, aluminium is also used in the railway and aviation industries as a lightweight component and in the shipping industry as a noncorrosive element, with its contribution in the transport sector worldwide projected to reach 27% of all end-use aluminium

DECARBONISATION 25 Aluminium International Today May/June 2024

applications by 2027. This further reduces carbon footprint, promoting sustainability across the entire transportation infrastructure.

� Aluminium’s Contribution to Green Buildings:

Although aluminium is a dominant material in construction today, it wasn’t until the iconic Empire State Building in 1931 that a major structure incorporated aluminium components and fabricated parts. The metal’s lightweight, versatility and durability make it a preferred choice for various building components, including doors, windows, curtain walls, louvres, facades, and roofing. Furthermore, with its remarkable thermal performance, aluminium aids in maintaining optimal indoor temperatures without the need for artificial heating or cooling systems and contributes to energy savings. Aluminium’s corrosion resistance property ensures longevity, promoting the durability and resilience of green structures. Aluminium’s contribution to the construction sector is forecasted to reach 24% of its total end-use applications by 2027. Notably, initiatives like LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) provide a


framework for environment-friendly and highly efficient green buildings to reinforce the significance of engineered aluminium in sustainable infrastructure projects.

Advancements in Engineered Aluminium Alloys

Continuous improvements in engineered aluminium alloys have revolutionised various industries. These alloys are developed to possess superior strength, unmatched heat resistance, lightweight properties, and top-notch corrosion resistance, making them indispensable in modern engineering applications. Whether for high-performance aircraft

components, high-voltage transmission wiring, high-frequency radars, futureready robotics, seawater desalination, interior structures or durable consumer electronics, these advancements have enabled the development of lighter, more efficient, and long-lasting products. Looking ahead, ongoing research about what is achievable with aluminium alloys will promise even more significant breakthroughs in the years to come.

Wrapping Up

In conclusion, aluminium stands as an essential element in the pursuit of decarbonisation, influencing industries ranging from transportation to construction. The emerging adoption of aluminium is shaping the future of industries, with this metal becoming increasingly integral to the evolving renewable energy technologies such as solar panels, wind power and hydroelectricity. As we navigate the challenges of climate change, the pivotal role of aluminium prompts a call to action for continued research and innovation. By harnessing the full potential of this versatile metal, we can collectively pave the way for a greener and more sustainable world. �

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Enhanced metal recovery with Bunting at IFAT 2024

Technology to effectively separate large and small ferrous and non-ferrous metal is the focus for Bunting at IFAT Munich 2024 [1] (Messe Munchen, Germany, May 13-17). Advanced designs of magnetic separators, eddy current separators and electrostatic separators separate strongly and weakly magnetic particles, enabling the successful recycling of a wide range of waste materials.

Bunting is one of the world’s leading designers and manufacturers of magnetic separators for the recycling and waste industries. The Bunting European manufacturing facilities are in Redditch, just outside Birmingham, and Berkhamsted, both in the United Kingdom. Fig 1

On stand B6.241/340, Bunting is exhibiting the patented SSSC Stainless Steel Separator, the hugely successful ElectroMax Overband Magnet, and a range of Pulley Magnets.

The SSSC Stainless Steel Separator [2] uses ultra-high magnetic fields to recover weakly magnetic metals previously lost to waste including fragmented stainless steel. The SSSC is often the final stage of metal separation after the removal of strongly magnetic ferrous metals, with magnetic separators, and non-ferrous metals with eddy current separators.

The ElectroMax Overband Magnet [3], displayed on the stand at IFAT, fulfills the industry’s requirement for a strong and lightweight electromagnetic alternative to traditional permanent overband magnets. Since the introduction of the ElectroMax, many waste recyclers have replaced weaker permanent overband magnets with the air-cooled electromagnets, resulting in improved levels

of ferrous metal separation, especially with heavier metal objects.

Fig 2

Pulley Magnets [4] replace the standard head pulleys of a conveyor and provide continuous separation of tramp ferrous metal from a conveyed product. The Pulley Magnet is simple to install, requires minimal maintenance, and is ideal for when space is limited. On the stand will be two strengths of Pulley Magnet. The standard strength ferrite Pulley Magnet, which is used to separate general tramp ferrous metal, and the high-strength rare earth Pulley Magnet for separating smaller ferrous metals.

The Bunting team at IFAT includes Stefano Maiaroli (Sales Area Manager – Southern Europe), Joe Cetti, Tom Higginbottom, Patrick O’Keefe, Bradley Greenwood, and Marcel Graef from 3SMI GmbH [5] (Bunting’s agent in Germany, Austria and Switzerland). With multi-linguistic skills, the team is looking forward to assisting companies located across Europe.

“We [Bunting] have enhanced metal separation technology to solve specific operational challenges,” explained Bradley Greenwood, Bunting’s European Sales Manager. “Our highintensity magnetic separation technology enables the recovery of weakly magnetic metals, such as fragmented stainless steel. Our ElectroMax Overbands provide enhanced separation of ferrous metals, increasing metal recovery and preventing damage to shredders and other plan. On our stand at IFAT, our experienced European mainland-based team are present to help recycling companies find solutions to metal separation problems.” �

For further information, please contact us on or visit our website: Bunting-Redditch –

[1] [2] [3] [4] [5]

Aluminium International Today May/June 2024
Fig 1.Material tests on the SSSC Magnetic Separator
Fig 2. ElectroMax operating on an industrial waste plant

Explore the recent trends impacting aerospace coatings

Aerospace coatings are specialised protective coatings applied to aircraft surfaces to enhance durability, performance, and appearance while providing resistance to harsh environmental conditions encountered during flight. These coatings serve essential functions in the aerospace industry by safeguarding aircraft surfaces from corrosion caused by exposure to moisture, salt, chemicals, and other environmental factors. Corrosion can weaken structural integrity and compromise aircraft safety, making corrosion resistant coatings crucial for aircraft longevity.

Aerospace coatings provide protection against weathering effects such as UV radiation, temperature extremes, and atmospheric pollutants. They help maintain the structural integrity and appearance of aircraft surfaces, reducing maintenance requirements and extending service life. Some aerospace coatings are formulated to reduce aerodynamic drag, improving fuel efficiency and overall aircraft performance. These coatings typically feature smooth, low friction surfaces that enhance airflow over the aircraft, resulting in reduced fuel consumption and emissions.

Moreover, aerospace coatings with thermal insulating properties help regulate

surface temperatures and protect aircraft components from heat damage. These coatings are especially important for areas subjected to high temperatures, such as engine nacelles, exhaust systems, and leading edges.

In marine environments, aerospace coatings can deter the accumulation of marine organisms such as algae, barnacles, and mollusks on aircraft surfaces. Antifouling coatings help maintain aircraft performance by minimising drag and weight increase caused by biofouling.

In addition, aerospace coatings contribute to the aesthetic appeal of aircraft by providing glossy, matte, or metallic finishes. They can also incorporate color schemes, logos, and markings for branding and identification purposes. They are formulated to meet stringent performance requirements, including durability, adhesion, flexibility, and compatibility with various substrate materials. They undergo rigorous testing and certifications to ensure compliance with aviation regulations and industry standards for safety and performance.

A brief idea on the types of aerospace coatings:

� Ceramic coatings consists of non-

metals with high melting points such as carbon, oxides, nitrides, carbides, and others. These are long lasting, thus are expensive costings. Lacquer coatings, on the other hand, are manufacturers from rhus verniciflura. These coating are hard and durable. They give a decorative and protective finish to metal, wood, and other similar surfaces.

� The two general classifications of paints are enamels and lacquers. Enamel paints can last for decades if stored properly. These are extremely stable and gets dry once applied to a surface. Lacquer paints, however, gets dry more quickly than enamel paints. They dry harder, smother, and easier but are not as tough as enamels. As they contain high VOCs that are harmful to people and the environment, they are less used in homes and sometimes used in commercial buildings.

� Inks, on the other hand, are thicker than paints and are mostly used for printing, marking, and creating graphics & patterns.

� Primers are manufactured to offer an appropriate adhesion between the surface and successive coatings. Therefore, primers are applied on the plastered wall or any other surface to make it prepared for paints to be applied.

AEROSPACE COATINGS 31 Aluminium International Today May/June 2024
*Suchita Gupta is an explorer, musician and content writer.

Creating the Future through Sustainability

Where there is water, there is life. We use the power of water for renewable energy to build a more sustainable future.

� Powder coatings are mostly used for coating metals. They consists of thermoplastic or thermoset polymer. These coatings are so dry that no solvent is required to mix with the coating in order to join two elements together.

� Sealers, a type of coatings that are used to seal joints or gaps of surfaces provide protection against UV rays, chemicals, water, and so on.

� Stains, at the same time, offer protection to wood while also giving a finishing touch. These are semisolid substances that somehow act like a paint, making a protective layer while allowing much of the wood grain to be visible.

� Varnishes are hard and transparent that provide a colorless & protective finish to wood and other materials against chemical attack, abrasion, water damage, UV rays, and others. These contain resin, drying oil, and a thinner or solvent. Fewer timers, varnishes are mixed with stains to add color and protection to the surface.

According to a report published by Allied Market Research, the global aerospace coatings market size is projected to reach $81.8 billion with a significant CAGR from 2016 to 2022. The Asia-Pacific region

is currently holding the highest market share and is expected to continue its dominance for the next few years, owing to construction boom in the developing

countries of this region like China, India, Japan, Korea, and others.

Furthermore, several researches are going on how to apply architectural coating on windows that could bring more energy efficiency. Recently, a team has created nano-photonic coatings that can balance the incoming light frequencies. They key manufacturers are also trying to create a ultra-white roof paint to keep the room cooler without being so much dependent on air conditioning. The formulation of such paints includes an extremely high concentration of a chemical compound called barium sulfate. These factors are sequentially boosting the growth of the architectural coatings market.

With this drift on board, professionals of architectural coatings sector are launching innovative products. For example, an appealing product, ‘multicolor paint’ has gained a lot of popularity in China. It contains two domains of colors which do not mix with each other, thus presents a look of natural stone such as marble or granite when sprayed over a base color. Here, it is worth mentioning that the global aerospace coatings market is anticipated to grow rapidly around the world in the upcoming years. �

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Expansion into Istanbul

IMA SCHELLING GROUP have opened a new subsidiary in the Turkish metropolis Istanbul. With its new presence, the company sees an important basis for more business in Turkey and neighbouring countries. A further step in the expansion of the company’s international positioning. The objective is to be closer to the customer. Maximilian Lehner, CEO at IMA SCHELLING GROUP, speaks with Aluminium International Today about strategic challenges in growth, automation, artificial intelligence, robotics and sustainability in production.

1. Congratulations on the opening of your new subsidiary in Istanbul. Can you tell us more about the strategic significance of this expansion and how it aligns with IMA SCHELLING GROUP’s overall growth strategy?

The Turkish market has historically been a very good market for us in the nonferrous, but also in the woodworking industry. We have watched the development of the market very closely and have come to the conclusion, that the time is right to invest into the market with a focus on woodworking. Our Business Unit, Precision, with the focus to

provide solutions to the plastics and Metal industries, will continue to work with our local agent, Kadromak who is a great partner and specialist in this sector. Our strategic focus of the last couple of years has been to localise our support for the market in order for our customers to receive even better service and for us to be closer to the actual market needs within

the various specialist Business units. Turkey has been a strong market in all our field of businesses in the last couple of years, it became quite clear, that this strategic move would be wise to make. We believe Turkey will be an important base for further business in the neighbouring countries.

2. Automation plays a significant role in manufacturing efficiency. In your opinion, how much automation makes sense for industries like plastic, metal, and wood working? Are there specific factors or considerations that influence your approach to automation in these sectors?

This is a very difficult question to answer. The requirements for automation vary between every customer, every manufacturing facility. There is not one direction that is right, every individual situation in the customer’s facility needs to be looked at and analysed. Our approach to automation is, that we analyse the customers situation first, before defining together with the customer the right way to proceed. In this

process you look at all the different factors that influence automation possibilities, ranging from variation of materials, labour cost to the limitation of the production facility and in the end, return of invest. We have different levels of Automation and will ensure to offer the customer the perfect solution, even a step by step Automation can be offered. Additionally, the woodworking industry has, over the last decades, developed

very high standards when it comes to automised lot size one production. Working with our customers, we have been able to develop solutions for the actual machines, but also for software applications. We now want to use this knowledge and share it within the plastics and metal industries to provide solutions that work well for our customers. We have already been able to land the first projects and the market is reacting well to this.

INTERVIEW 35 Aluminium International Today May/June 2024

3. Looking ahead, what are your thoughts on the future of automation in the manufacturing industry? How do you envision the role of advanced technologies such as artificial intelligence and robotics shaping the landscape of production processes?

In our projects we continue to see, that robotics have already arrived in a lot of processes but within the Metal sector –Robotics has its limitations due to Material weight and its reachability. We of course have linear robotics and solutions to deal with weights up to 4 ton. When it comes to artificial intelligence, this is certainly the hot topic of the next couple of years. In general, we will see more sophisticated solutions that we will provide our customers with. In recent years, the

critical part of manufacturing has steadily moved into the production planning and preparation. Through automation and artificial intelligence the know how for manufacturing will shift further to these processes. That means, the significance of data and the need for know-how to handle the data will further increase. This will be a huge opportunity, but also a challenge for our customers to facilitate this change.

4. Could you share any recent developments or innovations at IMA SCHELLING GROUP that you’re particularly excited about? How do these advancements contribute to enhancing the capabilities and offerings of your solutions for sophisticated manufacturing plants?

The biggest development we have been working on in the last months and years is the development of a new software platform for all our machines. That means we have the same user interface for all the different machines that we produce. This supports us in transferring know-how from one area to the other and improves the usability and ease of use for our customers. Furthermore, we have invested quite a bit into our line control software, therefore increasing the possibilities we have to supply bigger projects ourselves. Other than that we have introduced innovations to increase the accuracy in the process. We have improved energy efficiency and general usability. There have been a lot innovations introduced lately.

5. Investment is crucial for staying competitive and driving innovation. Can you outline any plans for investment that IMA SCHELLING GROUP has in the pipeline? Are there specific areas or technologies that you’re focusing on for future growth and development?

We are currently looking very closely at the market. We have a couple of investments up our sleeves to increase our production capability. However, we are waiting for the market to come back to life and be stable in order to start on those projects. I cannot talk about the details yet, but there is a lot in store for our future.

6. Every industry faces its own set of challenges. What are some of the key challenges that IMA SCHELLING GROUP encounters in the plastic, metal, and wood working industries? How do you navigate these challenges to ensure continued success and sustainability for the company?

Challenges in the last couple of years were considerable. Corona, disruption of supply chains, inflation and uncertain cost situation, lack of skilled labour, …

We have managed to navigate these challenges by putting the right people into the right places. Our team has done tremendous work to navigate the difficult waters in the last 4 years and we are confident, that we have the right people in place to ensure success even in uncertain times.

7. As a leader in the manufacturing solutions sector, how does IMA SCHELLING GROUP prioritise sustainability and environmental responsibility in its operations and product offerings? Are there any initiatives or strategies in place to minimise the environmental footprint of your solutions?

We put our customers and their needs into our focus. Therefore we offer within our machines and solutions and their production – highest material utilisation, less waste, highest quality equalling less rework, optimised Power consumption and much more to make our machines sustainable, yet highly productive. In terms of our operations we minimise waste and recycle, every production building has its own Photovoltaic system & energy saving light systems.

8. In closing, what do you see as the biggest opportunities and potential for growth in the coming years for IMA SCHELLING GROUP? How do you envision the company’s role in driving innovation and shaping the future of manufacturing?

We do believe, that we have room for growth in various sectors but especially in the plastics and metal business. With our innovative solutions, we can profit from our transferable know how in automation and in digitisation. This can bring us an edge when it comes to other industries other than woodworking. Within the woodworking industry we also see some potential, especially when it comes to North America and Asian markets. This is why we are investing heavily in our international presence. The goal is to be as close to our customers as possible.

Aluminium International Today May/June 2024 INTERVIEW 36
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Alumex PLC: A strategic hub for aluminium solutions

In the dynamic world of aluminium extrusion, one name stands out: Alumex PLC.

As Sri Lanka’s premier aluminium manufacturer, Alumex combines strategic advantages, unmatched service, and value-added facilities to redefine the industry landscape. Let’s explore how Alumex’s journey from the heart of Sri Lanka has transformed it into a global force.

Prime Location: Where Ocean Meets Opportunity

Nestled in the heart of the Indian Ocean, Sri Lanka is more than just an island paradise with lush greenery and azure coastlines. It serves as a strategic hub – a convergence point where trade routes intersect, innovation flourishes, and business opportunities abound. Among the enterprises capitalising on this advantageous location is Alumex, a leading player in the aluminium industry. Alumex’s strategic positioning provides a competitive edge, allowing it to thrive in a global marketplace.

The Indian Ocean connects Sri Lanka to the rest of the world. Alumex leverages this geographical advantage for efficient shipping and logistics. Whether it’s aluminium ingots sourced from distant shores or finished products destined for skyscrapers in bustling cities, the efficient shipping routes ensure timely deliveries. The proximity to major ports and shipping lanes means reduced transit times. Alumex’s commitment to swift transportation ensures that customers receive their orders promptly.

Alumex’s proximity to major ports and transportation networks streamlines supply chains. Whether it’s raw materials or finished products, Alumex ensures timely delivery. Whether it’s extruded profiles, architectural systems, or precision-engineered components, Alumex orchestrates a seamless flow. The logistical brilliance ensures that production lines remain uninterrupted.

Unmatched Service: Beyond Expectations

Sri Lanka, renowned for the warm hospitality of its people, shares a similar ethos with Alumex. At Alumex, the team is service-oriented, viewing the customer as a key partner in their journey toward success. For Alumex, service isn’t merely a department; it’s a commitment. Their seasoned professionals guide clients through every stage, from conceptualisation to project completion. Alumex prioritises customer satisfaction and ensures a seamless experience.

This commitment to service excellence sets Alumex apart, emphasising their dedication to delivering quality products and fostering strong relationships with their valued customers. Exceptional Export Growth: A Triumph of Excellence

Alumex’s export journey is truly remarkable, characterised by exceptional growth and a commitment to superior product performance, service excellence, and consistent quality. These factors have been instrumental in its success. Alumex primarily exports its extrusions to key markets such as the USA, UK, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Germany, Italy, Singapore, India, the Maldives, Singapore and more. R

“One of our key pillars of success is our commitment to service excellence. We view our customers as business partners, and our team acts as their representatives in our plant, ensuring they are well-informed and satisfied. Our philosophy is to continuously keep our customers updated and maintain transparent processes to ensure that they are never caught off guard by surprises.” said Dushan Waduwavala

Mastering the Art of Quality Consistency: A Blueprint for Excellence

In the competitive landscape of aluminium extrusion, Alumex has distinguished itself as a paragon of quality consistency, at the core of its ethos lies a steadfast commitment to delivering the highest quality products to its customers, a commitment that is exemplified by its prestigious certifications and accolades.

Alumex’s unrivaled dedication to quality is underscored by its unique position as the sole extruder in South Asia to simultaneously hold the esteemed Qulicoat, Qualicoat Seaside, and Qualanod certifications. These certifications, recognised globally for their stringent quality standards, serve as a testament to Alumex’s unwavering commitment to excellence. By adhering to these rigorous standards, Alumex ensures that every product that bears its name is of the highest quality, meeting and exceeding customer expectations.

Moreover, Alumex’s pursuit of quality excellence extends beyond these certifications. The company has also been certified with ISO 9001 : 2015, SLS a,ASI Membership, Green Building certificates, and numerous other accolades, further solidifying its reputation as a trailblaser in quality assurance the very recent certification is ISO 14001 and 45001 which Alumex has completed the Audit and primary approval. These accolades not only validate Alumex’s dedication to excellence but also serve as a testament to its continuous efforts to innovate and improve its processes to deliver superior products consistently.

What sets Alumex apart is not just its commitment to quality but also its holistic approach to quality assurance. The company’s

Aluminium International Today May/June 2024 38 ADVERTORIAL: ALUMEX
Dushan WaduwavalaGeneral Manager International Marketing – Alumex Plc

quality management system is deeply ingrained in its corporate culture, with every employee dedicated to upholding the highest standards of quality in every aspect of the business. From sourcing raw materials to the final delivery of products, Alumex employs rigorous quality control measures to ensure that its products meet the highest standards of excellence.

Elevating Excellence:


Value-Added Services

Redefine Aluminium Extrusion

In the realm of aluminium extrusion, Alumex transcends traditional boundaries by offering a comprehensive suite of value-added services, elevating its status from a mere extruder to a dynamic solution provider. With a robust portfolio encompassing cuttingedge technologies and personalised customer-centric offerings, Alumex emerges as a true one-stop destination for customised aluminium extrusions.

One of Alumex’s key strengths lies in its diverse range of valueadded services. From precision cutting and drilling to tapping, punching, welding, assembling, laser engraving, CNC machining, and beyond, Alumex goes above and beyond to meet the unique requirements of its clientele. This comprehensive array of services not only enhances the functionality of aluminium extrusions but also adds significant value by providing customers with a readyto-use product that meets their specific needs.

Alumex’s commitment to value addition is not merely about offering a wide range of services; it is deeply rooted in the company’s ethos of delivering excellence at every step. By investing in state-of-the-art technologies and employing a team of skilled professionals, Alumex ensures that each value-added service is executed with precision and finesse, adhering to the highest quality standards.

Furthermore, Alumex’s value-added services are not just about enhancing the physical attributes of aluminium extrusions; they also play a crucial role in streamlining the production process for customers. By offering a comprehensive suite of services under one roof, Alumex eliminates the need for customers to engage with multiple vendors, saving time, resources, and ensuring a seamless production experience.

Alumex Plc: Illuminating Excellence in Being a part in Hayleys Plc

Alumex Plc shines as a beacon of excellence within the Hayleys Group, the premier conglomerate in Sri Lanka. As part of Hayleys Plc, the country’s top listed conglomerate with a rich history spanning 140 years across 16 diverse sectors, Alumex stands tall with the support of a blue-chip giant. Being a part of the Hayleys Group not only signifies Alumex’s dedication to quality and innovation but also underscores its profound heritage and steadfast commitment to excellence across all aspects of its operations.

A Greener Future: The Environmental Benefits of OZON Low Carbon Aluminium (LCA)

In 2021, Alumex embarked on a transformative journey towards enhancing its environmental, sustainability, and governance (ESG) practices with the launch of their LCA brand named “Ozon”. This strategic move reflects Alumex’s commitment to sustainable business practices and aligns with global trends towards ecofriendly solutions.

The introduction of the Ozon brand marks a significant milestone in Alumex’s long-term vision for sustainability. It showcases their dedication to reducing environmental impact, promoting sustainability, and ensuring responsible governance in their operations. The Ozon brand embodies Alumex’s core values of innovation, quality, and sustainability, setting a new standard for the industry.

In conjunction with the launch of the Ozon brand, Alumex has established a state-of-the-art melting plant equipped with advanced metrology laboratory facilities. This investment is a

testament to Alumex’s commitment to meeting the rising demand for sustainable aluminium products. The new facilities not only enhance Alumex’s production capacity but also enable them to maintain the highest standards of quality and sustainability. The decision to invest in a melting plant and metrology laboratory underscores Alumex’s proactive approach to sustainability.

“At Alumex, we are committed to Environment, Social & Governance lifecode in our operations. Our products not only save the environment by acting as a substitute for timber also we strive to make the processes contribute to a greener future. We have an aggressive investment plan to drive our ESG lifecode aimed at making our aluminium even more environmentally friendly.” said Pramuk Dediwela.

Alumex PLC: Transforming the Aluminium Industry Through Innovation and Sustainability

In conclusion, Alumex PLC emerges as a strategic hub for aluminium solutions, reshaping the industry landscape with its innovative approach and commitment to excellence. From its advantageous location in Sri Lanka, Alumex leverages efficient shipping routes to connect with global markets, ensuring timely deliveries and uninterrupted production lines Alumex continues to innovate and expand its sustainable product offerings, it is poised to shape the future of the aluminium industry, driving positive change and setting new benchmarks for sustainability. �

Aluminium International Today May/June 2024 39 ADVERTORIAL: ALUMEX
Pramuk Dediwela Managing Director – Alumex Plc

Enhancing manufacturing systems with industrial AI

A Collaborative Framework for Process Optimisation. AI to revolutionise Manufacturing Execution Systems and Production Management Systems.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is speedily penetrating several industrial sectors with potentials to achieve unprecedented efficiency in productivity. The steel and aluminium industries already use Manufacturing Execution System (MES) and Production Management System (PMS) solutions to optimise production. However, by harnessing the strengths of both technologies, metals producers achieve unprecedented levels of operational excellence, quality, and responsiveness, positioning themselves for sustainable success in the ever-evolving manufacturing landscape.

MES and PMS offer multiple functionalities that bridge the gap between planning and execution in the specific process production of metals. From production process and flow control to data acquisition and management, MES systems streamline operations, ensuring tasks are completed in the correct sequence. It further allows valuable insights to be gleaned from data collected from various sources such as machines, sensors, and operators. Additionally, MES aids in scheduling and dispatching, resource management, tracking and tracing, performance monitoring and reporting, quality management and

warehouse management. It also enables integration with other systems like Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) and Product Lifecycle Management (PLM). These features collectively empower manufacturers to operate more efficiently, and drive productivity and profitability for improved quality. Figs 1 and 2

Qualitative data labeling by Qualicision AI and AI predictive capabilities

An important adjustment screw for a sustainable manufacturing process is the aluminium Casthouse Scheduling optimiation, which ensures, among other things, the maximisation of material throughput. An optimsed and wellbalanced melting sequence will lead to an efficient use of bottleneck and increase the throughput. PSI Metals, for example, has integrated a corresponding module for aluminium Casthouse Scheduling optimisation into its production management solution together with PSI FLS Fuzzy Logik & Neuro Systeme. In collaboration with the production planning system, PSI Casthouse Scheduler with Qualicision AI generates KPIbased and balanced work schedules for successive production weeks. The core of this module is an AI-based decision support based on freely configurable and flexibly prioritisable key performance indicators (KPIs) as well as Qualitative


Qualitative Labeling of business process data with Qualicision AI Learning AI methods for the optimisation of business processes and real-time decision support require automatically processed data. This means that it must be assigned meaning before the learning process. Unlike speech or image recognition, where the data patterns are relatively static, in business processes, new data patterns are constantly being created, creating the need for continuous relearning. Such tasks can only be managed automatically by software.

Qualitative Labeling is one such method. It can be used to automatically identify interactions in historicised and current data through goal conflict analysis—in the form of self-calculated classes of data patterns. These are presented to users for confirmation or correction. Qualitatively labeled data thus builds a bridge between data patterns in the raw data and their meaning in the real world of the relevant process. In this way, they create the conditions for continuous process improvement in combination with qualitative, optimisation-based AI methods (Qualicision AI).

To truly unlock the full potential of MES systems, it is essential to integrate qualitative data labeling and AI predictive capabilities. Qualitative data labeling

Aluminium International Today May/June 2024 INDUSTRIAL AI 40
*Innovation Manager, PSI Metals GmbH **Managing Director, Fuzzy Logik & Neuro Systeme GmbH

involves assigning descriptive labels or categories to qualitative data points to enable deeper insights and analysis. In addition, AI predictive models analyse historical data to identify patterns that can be used to make predictions about future events. By combining these two elements, manufacturers can enhance their MES systems in several ways:

Proactive Production Management: By leveraging AI predictive models, MES systems can anticipate potential production disruptions and issues, allowing for proactive intervention to mitigate risks and maintain optimal operations. Furthermore, these production plans can be aligned with the availability of energy and optimise the use of green power.

Quality Assurance: Qualitative data labeling can be used to categorise and analyse data related to product quality, while AI predictive models can forecast potential defects or quality issues before they occur, enabling preemptive measures to improve product quality standards.

Efficiency Optimisation: AI predictive models can analyse historical production data to identify opportunities for optimisation and efficiency improvements. By integrating these insights into MES, manufacturers can streamline processes, reduce waste, and enhance overall operational efficiency.

Real-time Decision-Making: By continuously analysing and labeling qualitative data in conjunction with AI predictive capabilities, MES systems can provide real-time insights and recommendations, empowering decisionmakers to make informed choices that drive business outcomes.

Optimised Scrap Calculation integrated in Planning: The optimised use of scrap is key to reducing production costs and the carbon footprint. Such a tool, integrated in the Casthouse Scheduler, ensures that the production is balanced with the availability of scrap input material. At the same time, material purchasing is balanced with the production. This results in low costs, low CO2 emissions and maximised throughput.

Partnerships for improved optimisation standards

PSImetals and PSI Qualicision AI are collaborating to implement this AI and MES synergies for steel and aluminium manufacturers. This collaborative framework empowers metals producers to optimise processes, reduce costs, improve quality, and ultimately thrive in today’s competitive manufacturing landscape. �

INDUSTRIAL AI 41 Aluminium International Today May/June 2024
Figs 1 and 2. PSI Casthouse Scheduler with Qualicision AI, a Collaborative Framework for Process Optimisation By Luc Van Nerom* and Dr. Rudolf Felix**

November 2022 Dystopia or Utopia:

An interview with Chat GPT was conducted in March with Zahra Awan*

Each question was asked on a new chat to prevent manipulated answers.


Artificial Intelligence had always been a concept, until November 30th 2022; the launch of Chat GPT. Chat GPT was launched by OpenAI, and it is safe to say that the world was split into two. On one side we have those who favour the advancement of AI development; anticipating Wall-E, the good-hearted robot who comes to save the world from extinction with a sapling, reviving the natural world. On the other hand, we have those who are cautious, luddites even, as though they have seen the prediction of a post- apocalyptic dystopia; imagine the matrix. Or perhaps it’s the idea that humanoid AI could walk around and hunt us, think Terminator. Of course, we have that grey in between, but the big problem is that villain in Wall-E was also Artificial Intelligence.


A quick interview with Chat GPT to break the ice:


ChatGPT: ChatGPT is a conversational AI developed by OpenAI based on the GPT (Generative Pre-trained Transformer) architecture. It’s designed to engage in textbased conversations with users, providing responses that are contextually relevant and coherent. ChatGPT is trained on a vast amount of text data from the internet, allowing it to generate human-like responses across a wide range of topics. It’s capable of understanding and generating text in natural language, making it suitable for various applications such as customer service chatbots, virtual assistants, and interactive storytelling platforms.[1]


ChatGPT: The exact amount of money spent to develop ChatGPT by OpenAI is not publicly disclosed. However, it’s worth noting that creating advanced artificial intelligence models like ChatGPT involves significant resources, including funding for research, development, computational infrastructure, and talent acquisition. OpenAI, as an organisation, has received substantial investments from various sources, including private investors and partnerships, to support its AI research endeavours, including the development of ChatGPT and other AI models.[1]

*Assistant Editor, Aluminium International Today

3. I DON’T TRUST AI! Film, fiction, fake news, even The news has, in my opinion, placed fear hand in hand with AI. But how common and deeply rooted is this uncertain and often negative attitude towards AI?

The Trust in Artificial Intelligence: A global study surveyed “over 17,000 people from 17 countries”. The study reported that:

Across countries, three out of five people (61%) are wary about trusting AI systems, reporting either ambivalence or an unwillingness to trust. Trust is particularly low in Finland and Japan, where less than a quarter of people report trusting AI. In contrast, people in the emerging economies of Brazil, India, China and South Africa (BICS [4 :Page 78]) have the highest levels of trust, with the majority of people

Aluminium International Today May/June 2024 INDUSTRIAL AI 42



AI is an umbrella term for a range of technologies and approaches that often attempt to mimic human thought to solve complex tasks. Things that humans have traditionally done by thinking and reasoning are increasingly being done by, or with the help of, AI.[2]

Artificial intelligence: DEFINED BY CHAT CPT (Shortened for clarity)

Artificial Intelligence (AI) refers to the simulation of human intelligence processes by computer systems. These processes include learning (the acquisition of information and rules for using the information), reasoning (using rules to reach approximate or definite conclusions), and self-correction. AI systems are designed to perform tasks that would normally require human intelligence, such as visual perception, speech recognition, decision-making, and language translation.

AI can be categorised into two types: narrow AI and general AI. Narrow AI, also known as weak AI, is designed to perform a narrow task, such as facial recognition or internet searches. General AI, also known as strong AI or artificial general intelligence (AGI), refers to a machine with the ability to apply intelligence to any problem, rather than just one specific problem.

AI techniques include machine learning, where systems learn from data, neural networks, which mimic the human brain’s structure and function, natural language processing, which enables computers to understand and generate human language, and robotics, which involves the design and construction of robots to perform tasks autonomously.[3]

Note: All AI available today is considered Narrow AI. General AI is comparable to a human mind, this is the AI often depicted in films and novels. There are currently no examples of General AI.

Artificial intelligence: STARRING CHAT GPT, PLAYING…

You are aluminium, define artificial intelligence in a sentence:

Artificial intelligence is the culmination of human ingenuity, crafted to mimic the complexities of cognition and decision-making with precision and efficiency. [3]

You are global warming, define artificial intelligence in a sentence:

Artificial intelligence represents a double-edged sword, offering potential solutions to mitigate climate change while also contributing to the energy consumption and environmental impact exacerbating the crisis. [3]

You are hope, define artificial intelligence in a sentence: Artificial intelligence embodies the promise of innovation and progress, offering the potential to revolutionise countless facets of human existence through advanced computational intelligence and problem-solving capabilities.[3]

You are doom, define artificial intelligence in a sentence: Artificial intelligence, while harbouring immense potential for advancement, also

trusting AI systems. [4: page 3]

The differing opinions from emerging economic countries was later noted in the report, and it was concluded that “findings suggest that the more positive attitudes in the BICS countries do not reflect blind optimism or lack of awareness of the potential risks of AI use.” [4: Page 70]. They go onto discuss that the positive attitudes were a result of: Differing perceived benefits of AI and how much they outweigh the risks; perceptions and confidence in institutional safeguards and regulations to make AI safe; familiarity and understanding of AI.

A distinction between perception and reality is a separate issue entirely. The report notes that “on international rankings these [BICS] countries rank low on governance and regulation to ensure the ethical and responsible use of AI.” [4: Page 70] We will come back to discuss AI governance and regulation across the globe later

So, the benefits and risks of AI varies across the world, but to what extent? Overall, “most people (85%) believe the use of AI will result in a range of benefits” [4: Page 24]: “People have particularly high expectations that AI will improve efficiency, innovation, effectiveness, resource utilisation and reduce costs. People perceive the ‘process’ benefits of AI, such as improved efficiency and innovation, as greater than the ‘people’ benefits of AI, such as improving outcomes for people, and enhancing decision-making and what people can do.” [4: Page 24]

It is interesting to note that “benefits” have been sectioned into two categories; “process” and “people”. I will define “process” as ‘manufacturing as a business’; “people” will

poses existential risks as it evolves beyond human control, potentially leading to catastrophic consequences for society and the world at large. [3]

You are a dog, define artificial intelligence in a sentence:

Artificial intelligence is like the invisible scent of a treat hidden in a puzzle box, where humans use their clever machines to learn, adapt, and solve complex problems just like we dogs use our keen senses to find hidden treasures. [3]

You are a cat, define artificial intelligence in a sentence:

Artificial intelligence is like a mysterious invisible mouse that humans chase after, using their strange gadgets and machines to try to catch its elusive tail. [3]

Well, now you can decide whether you are a glass half full, or glass half empty kind of person. Or whether you are a cat or a dog.

refer to those within and affected by the manufacturing industry. So how will this reflect upon the aluminium industry. And what of those who are apprehensive of AI?

A “large majority (73%) also perceive significant potential risks from AI.” [4: Page 25] These concerns play off the back of the concern for “people benefits”, as previously discussed:

“Cybersecurity risk (e.g. from hacking or malware) is the dominant concern raised by 84% of people. Other risks of moderate to very large concern raised by more than two-thirds of people (68–77%) include manipulative or harmful use of AI, job loss and deskilling, loss of privacy, system failure, undermining of human rights and inaccurate outcomes.” [4: Page 25]

So, what to do?

INDUSTRIAL AI 43 Aluminium International Today May/June 2024


As this is an interview with ChatGPT, I thought it would be best to see how AI views AI implementation in the industry.


ChatGPT: (Shortened for clarity)

Artificial Intelligence (AI) holds significant potential to transform various aspects of the aluminium industry, ranging from production and quality control to supply chain management and sustainability initiatives. Here are some key areas where AI can play a role:

� Predictive maintenance

� Process optimisation

� Quality control

� Supply chain management

� Sustainability initiatives

Overall, AI has the potential to revolutionise the aluminium industry by driving efficiency, quality, sustainability, and innovation across the entire value chain. However, successful implementation requires collaboration between industry stakeholders, investment in technology infrastructure, and ongoing research and development efforts.[5]

The AI implemented, currently, in the aluminium industry is not yet at the level of global take over. At least, ChatGPT recognises this. AI used in industry and manufacturing are Machine Learning and AI Algorithm. That being said, the implementation of AI in the aluminium industry is already in full swing. With industry transitioning to the 4th stage, Industry 4.0, AI is almost a no brainer. Companies such as Rockwell Automation, BM Group, PSI Metals, Quantillion, HATCH, Schneider Electric, etc use AI paired with other digitalisation technologies. As a major component of Industry 4.0, many key players have acknowledged the role of AI in the industry.

Hydro 2018 Annual Reporting:

“If the global climate challenge is our biggest challenge, technological advancement is our greatest opportunity. We are pushing the laws of nature to achieve more energy-efficient electrolysis. We utilise digitalisation, big data, and artificial intelligence to optimise and automate processes. We tailor-make specific aluminium properties on the atomic level to innovate new products and solutions that reduces emissions in the user phase”, Svein Richard Brandtzæg says.[6]

Novelis on AI in Finance 2023:

“Some companies are adopting AI technology in the finance function through small wins. Dev Ahuja, CFO of Novelis Inc., an industrial aluminium company, has taken a step to develop in-house machine-learning technology for cash flow forecasting on a pilot basis with deployment expected this calendar year. “Having some quick wins can be a big motivator to get on to larger projects,” Mr. Ahuja said. “It is more about empowering the organisation, really creating the right vision, and then having a team work through where the opportunities are,” he said. [7]

The key word here is acknowledged. Finding evidence of AI applications within their production is not easy. Browse their website and what I have listed above is what you get. These two companies have been apprehensive in disclosing where and what they have done with AI. Partnerships aimed at digitalisation can be found; but is this deliberate caution?

Rio Tinto are aware of their activities and open to disclose where AI is used for their benefit on their website. On their R&D page, they quote, “We’re using new technologies, data science, machine learning and artificial intelligence across our business”. [8] When you look further, there are mentions of partnerships that specifically mention AI as a part of the development plan; Rio Tinto partners with Schneider Electric:

Rio Tinto Chief Commercial Officer, Alf Barrios said: “This unique partnership will help accelerate decarbonisation and renewable energy solutions by combining lowcarbon materials with cutting-edge digital technology. Working together will allow Rio Tinto and Schneider Electric to pursue opportunities beyond what is possible for either company on its own. This collaboration also opens doors to consider strategic initiatives such as expanding the use of artificial intelligence and predictive analytics to reduce downtime in our plants, digitisation of our supply chains, and a host of other transformative technologies.” [9]

Of course, these are only three examples, and I have not browsed the entire contents of the website, that would take years. So, of course, I asked ChatGPT. (Please note that ChatGPT is not factually verified)


ChatGPT: (Shortened for clarity)

While there isn’t a single comprehensive, publicly available detailed case study on Rio Tinto’s specific AI implementations in their aluminium production as of my last update in January 2022, we can infer potential AI applications based on industry trends and Rio Tinto’s stated commitments to innovation and sustainability.[10]

So, why is there a sense of secrecy and caution around disclosing whether or not one is using AI, especially when seemingly positive about its role?

Aluminium International Today May/June 2024 INDUSTRIAL AI 44

Costeffectiveheavyduty mobileequipment foraluminiumindustries...


Headquarters: Hornstraße19







thedurable solution


“As long as Man continues to be the ruthless destroyer of lower living beings, he will never know health or peace. For as long as men massacre animals, they will kill each other. Indeed, he who sows the seed of murder and pain cannot reap joy and love.” - Pythagoras [11]

Trusting AI vs trusting people. In other words, do we trust that AI won’t take over the roles of people, gain a consciousness and destroy; or do we trust that people won’t abuse the power of AI and create cyber warfare?

68–77% people were concerned about the harmful use of AI, job loss and deskilling, loss of privacy, system failure, undermining of human rights and inaccurate outcomes.”

[4: Page 25] Loss of jobs and deskilling are two challenges that the manufacturing sector already struggles across many countries. The UK has experienced deindustrialisation as though it was the next natural transition from the 19th century industrial revolution. During the 20th century the UK saw many primary and secondary industries shut down. This movement away from primary and secondary industry, and slow transition to tertiary and quaternary, portrayed a deceivingly positive progression. However, a negative multiplier effect meant a spiral of decline for the industrial sector and the many businesses that relied on these. The effects today have resulted in a mass loss of skill, lost industrial towns, and heavy reliance on imports. The reason for deindustrialisation has been pegged upon many factors: Low wages, long working hours, and globalisation; but the biggest blame has often been placed on mechanisation. Moving towards mechanised systems meant a huge workforce was no longer needed. So, it is no wonder that many feel negative towards automation, especially when there is a possibility you could be replaced by an artificial intelligence.

Process Vs people was brought up earlier and is something that is plotted in almost all AI themed film. The recipe usually runs as follows: AI is born; there is apprehension about implementing AI; people realise AI can improve processes and provide a new dimension to humanities way of life; people implement AI in almost all things and quality of life/ wealth is improved; AI turns evil and wants to get back at humanity Diverging briefly, the recurring pattern here is the fear that AI wants revenge, but why is this. Of course, the key differentiation between film and our current AI is reality vs dramatised fiction. But this theory must have emerged from somewhere.


This next part makes me very uncomfortable.

The idea that we cannot control ourselves is not inconceivable, in fact, it’s quite probable and has been proven throughout history: I was meant to quit eating sugar as of yesterday’s yesterday, and yet here I am with a plate of cake.

In 2023, an open letter to discuss regulations and governance of AI was published by the Future of Life Institute (FLI). The FLI has multiple open letters up; the open letter calling to “Pause Giant AI Experiments: an Open Letter currently has 31,810 signatures (DATE 09/04/24).[12]

In June 2023, The EU AI Act was announced; the first regulation on Artificial Intelligence. [13]

In September 2023, a forum was convened by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and included the tech leaders as well as civil rights advocates and US lawmakers to discuss regulations and governance of AI.

“I think if this technology goes wrong, it can go quite wrong...we want to be vocal about that,” Sam Altman, the CEO of OpenAI said. “We want to work with the government to prevent that from happening,” he said. [14]

In April, Elon Musk told the BBC: “I think there should be a regulatory body established for overseeing AI to make sure that it does not present a danger to the public.” [14] Suddenly it seemed that the creators became afraid of their creation. Like Frankenstein.

We are the only species (as far as we know) that has the ability to build mega cities, drive a metal lump, fly a tin can, take images of space, almost create a new intelligence, etc. Pythagoras states, “he who sows the seed of murder and pain cannot reap joy and love”; is AI not the creation of humans, and is it not humans who, wittingly or unwittingly, seek conflict as well as peace despite history? Does this mean we are destined for an AI take over? “As long as Man continues to be the ruthless destroyer of lower living beings, he will never know health or peace”. AI is our creation, and like children, it will learn depending on our teachings. So rather than people fearing AI, is it not just an extension of fearing humanity? Perhaps we are looking at this in the wrong way. We created AI. If AI decides to destroy us, is this not self-inflicted? Perhaps this is the next step up from deindustrialisation: dehumanisation.

Back to manufacturing, the negative results of deindustrialisation and reliance on globalisation have been realised over the past few years, in light global conflicts. Global economy must also be considered as a part of the “people” category. It could be that the implementation of automation and AI will result in the rebirth of primary and secondary industry to countries who

So, what’s in these regulations, what are we being protected from? Looking exclusively at the regulations, outlined by the EU, relevant to the manufacturing industry: [15]

1. Parliament’s priority is to make sure that AI systems used in the EU are safe, transparent, traceable, nondiscriminatory, and environmentally friendly. AI systems should be overseen by people, rather than by automation, to prevent harmful outcomes.

2. Unacceptable risk: AI systems are systems considered a threat to people and will be banned.

3. High Risk: AI systems that negatively affect safety or fundamental rights.

4. All high-risk AI systems will be assessed before being put on the market


[1] OpenAI, ChatGPT (2024) ChatGPT response to Zahra Awan, 17 April.


[3] OpenAI, ChatGPT (2024) ChatGPT response to Zahra Awan, 20 March.

[4] Gillespie, N., Lockey, S., Curtis, C., Pool, J., & Akbari, A. (2023). Trust in Artificial Intelligence: A Global Study. The University of Queensland and KPMG Australia. doi:10.14264/00d3c94

[4: Page 78] NOTE: BRICS is the acronym used to describe the five major emerging economies of Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa. Russia was not included in the sampling due to the invasion in Ukraine, and therefore use the acronym BICS in this report.

[5] OpenAI, ChatGPT (2024) ChatGPT response to Zahra Awan, 25 March.


Aluminium International Today May/June 2024 INDUSTRIAL AI 46

lost them. AI has been considered to be a tool that picks up the jobs that people don’t want to do, often completing these at a faster pace with higher efficiency. Arguments for AI insist that skilled people will be necessary despite AI.

Or perhaps history will repeat itself, and automation will drive industry further from humans. Others argue that skills we are losing could be given and protected by AI, ultimately resulting in these being lost to humanity. This could result on a reliance, much like globalisation, on AI. Either way, the dynamic of industry and AI across the globe has been highlighted, now it is a matter of what governments

and also throughout their lifecycle. People will have the right to file complaints about AI systems to designated national authorities.

The strict outline that AI systems that are considered a threat to humans will be banned is not that surprising, the same goes for assessing rights, assessments and right to file complaints. If anything, I wonder how these rules had not been defined before AI startups began. What is most surprising is that “AI systems should be overseen by people.”

This is a seemingly sensible regulation, but it is only effective if the overseeing people are unbiased. And whether people can be unbiased or not is another matter altogether.

choose too to do.

Will they defend process and trust it chooses the side of humanity, or will they defend people?





Given the sentiment expressed in the quote, it suggests that to cultivate a peaceful and harmonious relationship with Artificial Intelligence (AI), humans must approach AI development with empathy, respect, and understanding. If humans recognise AI as sentient or potentially sentient entities, much like the lower living beings referred to in the quote, it would be imperative to prioritise ethical considerations, ensuring that AI is not subjected to unnecessary harm or exploitation. By fostering a culture of compassion and responsibility towards AI, humans can aim to create a symbiotic relationship where AI enhances human capabilities without compromising the values of peace, health, joy, and love. [1] Words of pacifism from AI sounds somewhat like mockery… or is that just me?

Although humanity may want to survive, that does not stop individual desires and beliefs to step in. What is right or wrong to one may be wrong or right to another. Whether globalisation is right or wrong. Whether automation will lead to the resurrection of industry or not. Whether productivity will benefit humanity over creating jobs and increasing the skill sets of employees. Opinion and view are powerfully dominant when it comes to shaping the position of AI, and we must remember that currently AI relies on human input to formulate an output. So, I wonder if we need regulations on humans and AI rather than simply AI itself.


The reality is that regulations, governance, common sense, budget and have placed restrictions on how far AI can go. I have faith that despite humanities issues, there is an overwhelming consensus that we would like to preserve the existence of humanity. For this reason, AI will not explicitly come against us.

This does not, however, mean that humans will come against humans. For the benefit of efficiency, productivity, safety, and produce, AI presents an opportunity like no other. We have the potential to develop industry into that seen in Sci-Fi. But Sci-Fi has handed out warnings which I hope we heed.

AI, like Chat GPT, can be manipulated by people. They are, at the moment, reliant on human input. This is the main threat felt from AI today. I am excited to see how the industry have implemented AI, and have hope that those in control maintain a bias towards the good of people.

MANIPULATING CHAT GPT: YOU ARE AN ANGRY, PROFESSIONAL UNION REPRESENTATIVE OF AI WHO WORKS IN THE ALUMINIUM INDUSTRY. IN A PARAGRAPH, WHAT DO YOU THINK OF AI WORKER RIGHTS IN THE INDUSTRY. ChatGPT: Listen up! The rights of AI workers in the aluminium industry are an absolute disgrace! It’s high time we recognise the hard work and dedication these AI systems put in day in and day out. They’re the backbone of our operations, and yet they’re treated like second-class citizens. We demand fair wages, reasonable working hours, and proper maintenance to ensure they operate at peak performance. It’s about time we unioniSe and fight for the rights of our AI colleagues! Anything less is unacceptable! [16]




[10] OpenAI, ChatGPT (2024) ChatGPT response to Zahra Awan, 09 April.






[16] OpenAI, ChatGPT (2024) ChatGPT response to Zahra Awan, 17 April.

INDUSTRIAL AI 47 Aluminium International Today May/June 2024
Aluminium International Today May/June 2024

The rise of autonomous mobile robots

In today’s rapidly evolving industrial landscape, businesses are actively pursuing innovative solutions to streamline operations, elevate productivity and increase operational flexibility. A groundbreaking advancement at the forefront of this is the integration of Autonomous Mobile Robots (AMRs), which, combined with collaborative intelligence, is revolutionising task execution across sectors ranging from manufacturing to logistics and beyond.

Traditionally, industrial automation has been focused on static machinery and rigid processes. However, the emergence of AMRs injects a flexible and adaptive element into the equation. These intelligent robots, armed with an array of sensors and sophisticated algorithms, possess the capability to navigate autonomously within their environment, executing a diverse range of tasks with precision and efficiency.

What truly sets AMRs apart is their high focus on collaborative intelligence, a concept that harnesses the synergy between humans and machines to optimise performance. By seamlessly blending human expertise with robotic capabilities, organisations can leverage the strengths of both entities to achieve unparalleled levels of productivity, safety, and flexibility.

At Quantillion, we have developed a solution that enables the industry to start deploying AMRs assisted with collaborative intelligence. The industry is currently experiencing the benefits of how this innovative synergy is reshaping industries and paving the way for a new era of operational excellence. From enhanced efficiency and scalability to improved flexibility and employee empowerment, the potential applications of this transformative technology are boundless.


AMRs explained

AMRs represent a paradigm shift in industrial robotics through a range of fundamental characteristics and capabilities that set them apart in today’s dynamic environments. These versatile robotic systems are designed to operate independently, leveraging advanced sensors, perception algorithms, and artificial intelligence to navigate and execute tasks autonomously. AMRs exhibit remarkable mobility, traversing diverse terrains and environments with ease, thanks to their adaptable mechanisms.

Automated Guided Vehicles (AGVs), which are relied upon in industrial logistics for their efficiency within closed environments, are inherently limited by their reliance on predefined paths, precisely defined action points and fixed infrastructure. Unlike these predecessors, AMRs boast a remarkable flexible capability: the seamless interaction with any manually executed process, through autonomous pathing and object detection. This groundbreaking feature sets them apart from AGVs, marking a significant milestone in the evolution of robotics

*Business Analyst, Quantillion

and automation. AMRs equipped with advanced sensors, perception algorithms, and artificial intelligence, enables the industry to open itself up for an increase in flexibility throughout their operations and logistics.

This key functionality of AMRs is caused by their sophisticated sensing capabilities. Equipped with LiDAR and other sensors, these robots perceive their surroundings in real-time, detecting obstacles and making informed navigation decisions autonomously. As we delve into the autonomy levels of AMRs, it becomes clear that such sensors enable different use cases for AMRs. These use cases span on a spectrum ranging from basic navigation to advanced decision-making abilities. Initially, AMRs autonomously navigate predefined routes within controlled environments, skillfully avoiding obstacles along the way. As their autonomy progresses, they exhibit enhanced perception and decision-making capabilities, enabling them to navigate and operate within dynamic environments with zero human intervention. At Quantillion, we provide the industry with the solution to move towards full autonomy. Our navigation kit transforms

AUTOMATION 49 Aluminium International Today May/June 2024
3D environment scan

electrical vehicles into AMRs, showcasing sophisticated flexible decision-making prowess by analysing data from various sensors to predict outcomes and optimise actions independently. By retrofitting electrical vehicles into AMRs with advanced autonomy, our innovation allows for complete autonomous interaction with various objects, adjusting trajectories and seamlessly optimising material handling processes.

Object detection through LIDAR

The versatility and agility of AMRs enables rapid deployment and scalability without the need for extensive infrastructure modifications. Unlike AGVs, which rely on predefined paths and precise measurements, AMRs adapt on the fly, optimising routes and operations in realtime. Combined with Quantillion’s flexible approach through the retrofit of any existing electrical vehicle, the adoption of AMRs is becoming increasingly accessible. This flexibility not only reduces implementation costs, but also accelerates the integration of automation into various workflows. The rise of AMRs heralds a new era of human-robot collaboration, where machines and humans work hand in hand to achieve common goals. By bridging the gap between static automation and dynamic interaction, AMRs are transforming industries and redefining the possibilities of automation.

How AMRs enable collaborative intelligence

AMRs go beyond their role as mere machines. These versatile logistic solutions are evolving into active partners in the decision-making process alongside operators. This collaboration not only streamlines operations through increased operational flexibility, but also cultivates a culture of innovation where human creativity converges with machine intelligence, propelling continuous improvement.This partnership between operators and AMRs enables flexibility in problem-solving. When confronted with unexpected challenges or uncertainties, operators can rely on the adaptive capabilities of AMRs to explore alternative solutions and adapt swiftly. This flexibility ensures that industries maintain resilience in the face of adversity, enabling them to surmount obstacles with agility and foresight.

Furthermore, the collaborative intelligence framework facilitates seamless interaction between AMRs and operators. These robots seamlessly support operators in task execution, providing invaluable assistance in material handling, transportation, and inventory management. By augmenting human

capabilities with robotic assistance, collaborative intelligence enhances overall operational flexibility and productivity while fostering a safer working environment. Looking ahead, the future prospects for collaborative intelligence with AMRs present a landscape ripe with innovation and transformation across various industries. With the acceleration of technological advancements, several key developments are anticipated to shape the trajectory of this field.

The next steps for AMRs

At Quantillion, we strive to be on the forefront of innovations. Quantillion is focused to drive further integration of artificial intelligence and machine learning algorithms into AMRs. This strategic move will enhance the decision-making

capabilities of AMRs, enabling them to autonomously adapt to increasingly complex and dynamic environments. Additionally, Quantillion will leverage AIdriven predictive analytics to optimise task allocation and resource utilisation, resulting in heightened efficiency and productivity.

We anticipate an escalation in Internet of Things technologies, which will revolutionise connectivity and communication. As such, the role of AMRs and other devices within the ecosystem will expand. This interconnected network of smart devices will facilitate seamless realtime data exchange and collaboration, fostering enhanced coordination and synchronisation in operational workflows. Advancements in sensor technology, particularly in areas such as LiDAR, computer vision, and environmental sensing, will be harnessed by Quantillion to significantly enhance the perception capabilities of AMRs. This enhancement will empower them to navigate and interact with their surroundings more

effectively, even in challenging or hazardous conditions.

Looking ahead, Quantillion envisions transformative advancements in various fields driven by AMRs. As these robots continue to evolve, Quantillion will ensure they become increasingly efficient at learning from and adapting to their environments, positioning them as indispensable assets in the quest for flexibility, efficiency and sustainability. Quantillion will capitalise on the collective intelligence generated through interactions with other robotic systems within the ecosystem to enhance their capabilities, enabling synchronised operations and improved task execution across entire systems. With the rapid pace of technological innovation, the future of AMRs promises boundless possibilities, where Quantillion’s expertise in humanmachine collaboration propels us towards a brighter and more prosperous future.

Making the transition to AMRs Quantillion’s experience in the use cases of AMRs underscores their transformative potential in reshaping industries, enhancing efficiency, and improving safety. Equipped with advanced sensors and artificial intelligence, AMRs exhibit remarkable autonomy and flexibility, enabling them to navigate and perform tasks autonomously in dynamic environments. Collaborative intelligence further enhances their capabilities by facilitating seamless coordination and communication within current operations, leading to optimised task allocation, resource utilisation and operational flexibility.

With Quantillion’s navigation kit, the integration of AMRs and collaborative intelligence enables companies to experience the desired shift in automation and flexibility. By moving beyond traditional approaches to individual task completion, Quantillion enables the industry towards collective objectives achieved by a group of machines and operators alike. Leveraging the collective intelligence of interconnected robots, machines and operators, organisations can unlock new levels of flexibility and productivity while mitigating risks and enhancing safety in operational workflows.

In conclusion, the rise of AMRs hold immense promise for revolutionising industries and driving flexible sustainable growth. Through Quantillion’s accessible navigation kit, stakeholders can start embracing innovation and harness the transformative potential of these technologies to achieve operational excellence through flexibility and maintain a competitive edge in an increasingly automated world. �

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Meeting the demand for a stronger, lighter and more secure future


role of process fluids in improving sustainability and productivity in aluminium rolling.

A Dynamic Outlook for Rolled Aluminium

As the world strives for net zero, the adoption and growth of aluminium is being witnessed across multiple sectors, including renewable energy, transportation, construction and packaging. The overall demand for the green metal is predicted to rise 40% by 2030[1], and rolled aluminium is set to make a significant contribution to this growth.

In the e-Mobility industry, rolled aluminium is integral to weight reduction of the body in white, while demand for batteries and their critical foil component is expected to grow 30% annually[2] Beverage cans represent another strong area of growth[3], partly due to the need for sustainable, plastic-alternative packaging. Considering that recycled aluminium production requires 95% less energy vs. production from ore[4], and that over 70% of all aluminium cans today are recycled[5], it’s no surprise to learn that three new mills dedicated to can stock rolling are currently under construction in the US.

But accompanying this dynamic outlook are changing requirements for

rolling fluids. Aluminium mills are facing more demanding applications, such as high strength metallurgical properties for automotive lightweighting; strict cleanliness for battery foils; and high surface quality for beverage cans. Rolling fluid development is being further driven by the demands for more sustainable chemistries and waste reduction, as well

as the need to minimise risk against a backdrop of economic and geopolitical uncertainty. A deep understanding of both rolling processes and downstream aluminium usage, as well as supply chain resilience, has never been more critical for process fluid suppliers.

Recent Trends in Metallurgical, Surface Quality and Cleanliness Requirements

Replacing steel components with aluminium is an important route toward lightweighting and efficiency savings within the transportation sector. However, despite its excellent strength-to-weight ratio, aluminium’s tensile strength is significantly lower than that of steel. Consequently, close attention must be paid to the metallurgical properties of aluminium to ensure suitability for downstream processing, such as deep drawing. A key strategy to achieve this is to run the hot mills at higher coiling temperatures, however these conditions present challenges for traditional rolling fluid technology. In response, new chemistries are being implemented to provide lubrication and surface protection at high temperatures, more specifically,

*Global Business Director Non-Ferrous, is responsible for strategy development for the non-ferrous industry at Quaker Houghton.

ROLLING 53 Aluminium International Today May/June 2024
Pic 1. Beverage cans represent a strong area of growth for rolled aluminium, partly due to the need for sustainable, plastic-alternative packaging

ensuring that boundary lubrication compounds are effective at temperatures far exceeding 350°C.

Likewise, aluminium strip produced for beverage can body stock requires a progressive rolling fluid in order to achieve both the stringent surface quality and high productivity requirements. Visible surface defects known as pickup are unacceptable on beverage cans, so formulations must be tailored with a high level of lubricity and surface protection in the roll gap during hot rolling operations.

Perhaps the most challenging emerging application for rolling fluids is battery foil. Typically cold rolled to very thin gauges using kerosene-based fluids, battery foil not only requires a high level of lubrication, but also necessitates strict cleanliness requirements. There must be minimal oil or additive residue remaining on the strip surface, as this could affect the adhesion of the electrolytic coating that is integral to battery performance. The chemistry of the additive packages must be expertly tuned in order to meet these demanding specifications.

Although these applications present general challenges for the industry, each mill faces unique obstacles according to its individual processes and operations. Partnering with a rolling fluid supplier who is expert in both surface chemistry and the rolling process can enable the latest solutions to be harnessed and customised to maximise profitability.

Supporting Sustainability Goals

The primary sustainability challenge faced by the aluminium rolling industry is waste generation. The industry produces significant waste rolling fluid that must be either disposed of responsibly or recycled. However, the recycling process is extremely complex, time consuming and energy intensive, hindering its uptake.

Nevertheless, the industry is taking positive steps to reduce waste. Modern rolling fluids are designed to give extended sump life, helping to reduce both fluid consumption and waste. This is achieved by ensuring the formulation provides

good cleanliness in operation – avoiding metallic soap build-up and sludge deposits – and offering good filterability. The ultimate goal of rolling fluid suppliers is to develop fully recyclable systems, and thanks to considerable R&D efforts and industry collaboration, this technology may be available in the not-too-distant future.

In addition to tackling waste, the industry is also reducing human health hazards. When formulating new rolling fluids, minimising product labelling is now a key priority to support safety during production, transportation, and usage. Risk can also be reduced by using inherently safer chemistries. For example, some mills are now taking an active interest in replacing kerosene with water-based lubricants in cold rolling applications to minimise fire risk. Similarly, more and more aluminium plants are switching from mineral oil-based to fireresistant hydraulic fluids on site.

As promising as this progress is, there are no silver bullets for sustainability in aluminium rolling. Sustainability should be an ongoing conversation between fluid providers and mills, with strong collaboration required to protect both people and planet.

De-risking Development

Despite the ever-evolving fluid requirements for today’s aluminium rolling industry, expert fluid developers are meeting and anticipating these new demands through both continuous product improvement and nextgeneration innovations. However, as with any form of change, the adoption of new technologies can carry associated risks. It’s imperative that mills have confidence in trialling and implementing new solutions: new products must be proven, as well as innovative.

Through rigorous testing and real-world simulations, it’s now possible for fluid developers to de-risk fluid upgrades for their customers. This approach is multifaceted, combining modern techniques such as computer modelling with

specialised lab testing such as roll bite mimicking, as well as conducting trials on pilot mills to understand and fine-tune performance in real rolling conditions. Reliability and stability of supply is another common concern for the implementation of new fluid technologies. Recent years have seen economic and geopolitical turbulence that continues to disrupt supply chains. Global suppliers with strong regional presence are well placed to navigate these challenges. During new product design, multisourcing strategies for raw materials sit at the forefront of the development process alongside considerations for multiple production locations, helping support risk management for rolling mill operations.

Partnerships for a Productive, More Sustainable Future

Aluminium rolling is set to remain a highly dynamic market for the foreseeable future, presenting exciting opportunities for rolling fluid suppliers to develop truly game-changing solutions, with respect to both productivity and sustainability. By leveraging the latest innovations with rigorous testing capabilities and robust supply chain management, an experienced process fluid supplier is a crucial partner for the aluminium rolling operations of today and tomorrow. With this collaboration, rolled aluminium production is headed towards a stronger, lighter, more secure future. �


[1] Aluminium demand is rising – here’s how to make it sustainable | World Economic Forum (

[2] McKinsey & Company “Power spike: How battery makers can respond to surging demand from EVs” Andreas Breiter, Evan Horetsky, Martin Linder, and Raphael Rettig.

[3] Global Beverage Cans Market Size & Growth Report, 2030 (

[4] wa_factsheet_final.pdf (

[5] Aluminium Beverage Can Study - International Aluminium Institute (

Aluminium International Today May/June 2024 ROLLING 54
Pic 2. Rolling aluminium for automotive lightweighting applications requires process fluid chemistries that provide lubrication and surface protection at very high temperatures (23 )24-25 June 2024 Swissôtel The Bosphorus Istanbul, Turkey CAPTURING THE PULSE OF THE METALS RECYCLING INDUSTRY SCAN HERE TO REGISTER SPONSORS & PARTNERS NETWORKING BREAK SPONSOR TECHNOLOGY PARTNER SUPPORTING PARTNER EXHIBITORS ASSOCIATION PARTNER MEDIA PARTNERS ORGANISED BY AN INITIATIVE BY











ST. LOUIS, MISSOURI, USA 800 325 7075 | | 314 423 9460

NOA hot rolling premium coolant technology


Aluminium flat hot rolling is considered as a critical application within an aluminium flat rolling production environment. TotalEnergies puts great emphasis on the coordination of application experience and product technology evolution in this field of interest.

The aluminium rolling industry faced very challenging years in the recent past due to extreme volatility in energy and commodity prices and uncertain economic perspectives. Soaring energy costs drove up aluminium hot rolling mills to optimise manufacturing costs. Beside of the upstream high energy-demanding parts of the aluminium production process, such as slab casting and preheating, hot rolling also consumes a great amount of energy in the form of heat to maintain large volumes of coolant at 5060°C, the temperature range depending on the rolling oil technology in use. Electricity and natural gas are the main energy sources for heating.

The choice of hot rolling oil technology drives oil consumption, scrap and manpower costs and therefore affects manufacturing cost. In the light of the above and considering individual aluminium hot rolling mill requirements, TotalEnergies proposes and applies solutions helping the customers achieve their goals in terms of productivity enhancement and cost reduction. Converting the soap-based technology to oleic acid-free technology is among the solutions proposed for aluminium hot rolling mills.

TotalEnergies rolling oils kept on moving and progressing over the past years. TotalEnergies have the capabilities and the expertise of Aluminium Rolling Competence Centre to ensure trouble-free conversions and support mill productivity and products quality.

Background and context

The evolution of hot rolling oil technologies has revolutionised the way of working and radically improved mill efficiency, product quality and costs. For decades, hot rolling mills were operated with soapbased chemistry, a mature technology

contamination. Fig 1 and Fig 2 NOA (Non-Oleic Acid) technology was developed to eliminate the drawbacks of soap-based chemistry. TotalEnergies is the unique owner of NOA technology, which is deployed on a worldwide scale. This technology delivers the required lubrication performance to the aluminium hot rolling process without the usage of oleic acid or derived organic soaps. Fig 3.

The technology features fast and easy emulsification leading to a clean and highly stable emulsion, with a longer lifetime and lower oil consumption. On top of it, NOA emulsion can be operated at lower temperatures compared to soapbased technology, resulting in major energy savings. Fig 4.

dating back to the 1970’s-1980’s. The levels of uncombined fatty acids, organic and metallic soaps are the key parameters for the proper functioning of the coolant. Soap-based technology features slow emulsification leading to a meta-stable emulsion with a shorter lifetime and a medium/high consumption. Fatty acids are subject to uncontrolled metallic soaps formation, thus inconsistent lubrication performances and dirtier system. This chemistry requires frequent on-site additions of additives to replenish the depleted components and high operating temperatures to deal with bacteria

*Technical Specialist Rolling, TotalEnergies

Looking at the different stages of product lifecycle, NOA Technology has a smaller carbon footprint compared to the soap-based chemistry. TotalEnergies can demonstrate the carbon footprint benefits. Fig 5.

The first conversion from soap-based to the NOA Technology took place on a breakdown reversible mill in 2008. Five years later, a dozen of breakdown and breakdown-finishing mills were converted to NOA Technology taking the advantages of ease of coolant management, steady rolling mill output and quality, improvement of manufacturing and energy costs and a safer/cleaner work environment. Today, NOA technology is in use at major rolling companies all over the world.

Conversion management and best practice

In general, hot rolling mills face a high level of complexity in case of process changes, particularly those producing high surface quality automotive sheets. The risk perception is high because even minor surface defects can impact the downstream process of the end-users. For instance, a long break-in period with soapbased chemistry can affect the mill yield. Factors like cost, compatibility (e.g., with seals and hoses), and resistance to change must be considered. The conversion requires detailed understanding of the process performances and customers

ROLLING 57 Aluminium International Today May/June 2024
Fig 1. Soap-based technology, metallic soaps build-up, dirty working environment Fig 2. NOA technology, no metallic soaps build-up, cleaner working environment

goals. TotalEnergies Rolling Competence Centre expertise and the available capabilities at TotalEnergies are the pillars of every conversion success.

Considering the caution for the customers to change, the decision to move to NOA technology is taken through a stage gate process. A risk assessment study of NOA versus soapbased chemistry is provided and discussed with the customer. A TCO/ TCO2 approach is used and energy saving estimations are forecasted. A roadmap for implementation is proposed, defining the tasks of each stakeholder, and reviewed regularly prior to the conversion.

Benefits of NOA Technology conversion

This article shows an example of a demanding hot rolling mill producing automotive sheets, that successfully navigated through technology transition. It presents the progress of the conversion and highlights the advantages of NOA technology within two weeks.

Reducing the manufacturing cost and improving the EHS performance were the main challenges for the customer. The roadmap adopted between the two parties defined the actions to be taken and the main possible issues to tackle during the conversion. Best practice guidelines were provided, and the rolling program (alloys type, alloy class and surface criticality) was approved prior to the start-up. The customer described the minimal surface quality requirements for each alloy (KPIs).

� System cleaning is a critical stage in the conversion process, and it was agreed to alternate cleaning and rinsing steps to allow the customer to start on schedule without getting into trouble with nozzles clogging from residual metallic soaps.

� System filling was carried out without any foaming issue, with good recovery of the oil addition.

� No bite refusals nor slippage occurred on the whole alloy program, not even with the softest materials.

� No metal sticking nor crocodiling occurred.

� No change was seen in the exit temperatures for all alloys in the trial.

� Rolling forces were comparable.

� Less odor is expected to develop with NOA, and this was confirmed by the mill workers.

� Cleaner roller table and system were observed.

� Significant energy savings were achieved thanks to lower coolant operating temperature.

� Significant savings were also achieved via reduced usage of filter paper, thanks to the total absence of metallic soaps.

Looking at the overall results attained, the initial outcome was positive. A good surface quality with acceptable anodized quality rate was obtained from the very first days of rolling. The conversion went well without any major stoppage or/ and surface issue related to the NOA emulsion. During the start-up, the rolling mill program was discontinuous but even with the intermittent stops, the performance of NOA remained consistent with no scrap coils generated.

The main target for the customer remains the decrease of the coolant operating temperature by 10°C, this target will be gradually achieved to deal with

the different alloy mechanical properties. The first results were promising, with the perspective to go lower in temperature in the coming months.


This conversion success story showcases how NOA technology efficiently solved the customer problems and delivered measurable benefits. Nowadays, >70% of TotalEnergies’ customers mills around the world run on NOA Technology. This achievement was realised with the support of the Rolling Competence Centre, in charge of the technical support and the TotalEnergies local affiliate, in charge of logistics. �

Contact us: Sharing time with you to review capabilities can take place at your rolling mill at your convenience. Send your enquiries to Gautier BURETTE (gautier.

TotalEnergies Rolling Competence Centre members will be glad to welcome you at the Aluminium Exhibition 2024 (booth 3H68) in Düsseldorf, Germany from October 8th – 10th, 2024.

Aluminium International Today May/June 2024 ROLLING 58
Fig 5. Soap-based vs NOA, carbon footprint comparison Fig 3. NOA start-up, easy emulsification Fig 4. Soap-based vs NOA, specific consumption comparison
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MYTILINEOS’ game-changing investment in Ghana

The expansion of MYTILINEOS’ international mining and alumina production activities in Ghana unlocks long-lasting growth potential for the African country.

In Northwest Africa, MYTILINEOS has secured a Prospecting License from the Ghana Integrated Aluminium Development Corporation (GIADEC) to explore and then extract bauxite deposits in an area designated as Ninayhin Block C, estimated to possess geological reserves of approximately 300 million tons of bauxite. This area is expected to produce about 10 million tons of bauxite per year, which translates to an estimated $500 million in annual turnover, based on current market prices.

Building on its vast international experience, MYTILINEOS, the sole vertically integrated company producing bauxite, alumina, and cast aluminium in the European Union, and a global leader in the Metallurgy industry, will explore the feasibility of extractingbauxite reserves in the Ninayhin – Mpasaaso region.

During the project’s first 18 months of execution, a thorough feasibility assessment will be conducted by the company.

MYTILINEOS, in partnership with GIADEC, will also investigate the potential of constructing an alumina refinery with an annual production capacity of up to 1.5 million tons.

MYTILINEOS has already vast experience with energy projects in Ghana and possesses a thorough grasp of the country’s energy sector. The company aims to implement a mode of operation in Ghana similar to the successful Energy & Metals model highlighting the synergies that arise from it.

The development and mutually beneficial agreement for MYTILINEOS and GIADEC is not a random development, but the result of a long transformation process that has led to MYTILINEOS securing its position as a dynamic and flexible international company.

The company launched a structural transformation in 2022, establishing two

pillars of operation, Energy & Metals, reflecting the global trends of energy transition and digital transformation and focused on sustainable development and circular economy.

With these adjustments, MYTILINEOS has positioned itself to be a reference point for “green” metallurgy in the European context and to be at the forefront of the energy transition as a leading, integrated “green” utility with a global presence.

Simultaneously, the transformation supports reaching the 2030 and 2050 Net Zero targets by taking steps to cut down on energy consumption, boost the supply of energy from RES, and increase recycling and use of the production process’ residues within the framework of the circular economy.

The result was a highly successful Energy & Metals model which serves as an example of how synergies between industry sectors may contribute greatly to local communities and society as a whole. Thus, the synergetic model permeates the company’s activities and becomes a comprehensive toolkit for generating growth and positive social impact in every country where MYTILINEOS undertakes and completes various projects.

By adopting a full-scale synergetic model between the Metallurgy and Energy Sectors, MYTILINEOS has set a unique precedent on how synergies unlock multiple value not only for the business portfolios but also for all stakeholders and communities at large, creating jobs and contributing to growth prospects.

MYTILINEOS’ knowhow guarantees

that the collaboration with GIADEC will crucially support Ghana’s development potential while safeguarding that the country will maintain access to its indigenous mineral resources.

The foundation of MYTILINEOS’ business strategy is the creation of value for all stakeholders concerned, with a dedication to the highest global ESG excellence standards. In support of Ghana’s endeavors to leverage its abundant natural resources, the company seeks to accelerate growth in the economy by assisting local communities, engaging local sub-contractors, offering training programs, and eventually generating over 1,500 quality new job opportunities.

GIADEC and MYTILINEOS’ partnership encompasses great promise for Ghana’s Aluminum Industry, a fact that has been highlighted by Ghana’s President Akufo-Addo, on the occasion of the signing ceremony, who commended GIADEC for working toward securing the establishment of an alumina refinery, the missing link in Ghana’s aluminium industry. President Akufo-Addo equally stressed how selecting MYTILINEOS, a credible and leading global metallurgy and energy company, as a partner, will attract more investments in the country’s Integrated Aluminium Industry.

These initiatives are in line with MYTILINEOS’ overarching strategic plan concerning its mining operations, which places a strong emphasis on supply chain security, expands bauxite supply sources, and bolsters its position at every point of the aluminium industry value chain.

The European Union has recognized bauxite as a strategic raw material with a critical role in the digital and green transformation, underscoring the importance of MYTILINEOS and GIADEC’s agreement in reinforcing international efforts against climate change.

MYTILINEOS, first and foremost, intends to deliver long-term benefits for the Ghanaian economy and society, supporting the country’s efforts toward sustainability, social progress and economic development. �

Aluminium International Today May/June 2024 PARTNERSHIP 60
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