Mecfor has announced the deployment of a technological showcase, for which the Government of Quebec has granted $350K to test the AGV TEAM prototype (acronym for "Transporteur Électrique d’Autoguidé Mecfor") in real operational conditions in a Quebec aluminium smelter.
This R&D project for the Quebec equipment manufacturer, leader in North America for specialised mobile equipment for aluminium smelters, represents a capital investment of $ 1.5M, to which is added the financial support of $ 1,1M from both levels of government.
The Government of Quebec has injected a total of $ 810K, of which $ 350K is dedicated to setting up the technological showcase promoting the potential of a Quebec company in a field as sharp and promising as autoguided vehicles with electric motorisation in heavy industrial sectors. The showcase will demonstrate Mecfor's AGV TEAM technology to potential customers from around the world over the next six months.
At the moment, the AGV TEAM prototype transports molten metal crucibles. The final goal of this technological showcase is that the AGV TEAM be completely autonomous and operating in real conditions of operation 24/7, executing metal flow orders coming from the aluminium smelter.
Not only does the AGV TEAM fit into the spirit of Industry 4.0, but it also aims to reduce the environmental footprint of aluminium producers. Moreover, in a context of great shortage of skilled labor, these vehicles will meet a crying need. Current vehicle operators will be assigned to other crucial plant tasks. AGV TEAM is therefore a solution to several challenges in the industry.
"We are proud to see our AGV TEAM, designed and manufactured here in Quebec, operating in a local aluminium smelter. It is the culmination of many years of research and effort. We see how this project is a mobilizing commitment to the sustainability and vitality of one of the jewels of our economy, the primary production of aluminum. Not to mention that AGV TEAM uses our renewable energy resource: electricity," said Éloise Harvey, B. Eng. & Mgmt, President, Mecfor Inc.