Join the Aluminium International Today Webinars, which unite the sector with a look at new technologies, manufacturing solutions and ways we can optimise and streamline the value chain.
Industry experts will lead attendees on a journey through digital technologies, sustainable production and value chain stabilisation, while engaging discussions and Q&A sessions will offer live interaction and networking opportunities.
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Wednesday 12th May 2021 at 10:00 BST - Register Here
Following on from the success of the Future Aluminium Forum Digital Event, this series of webinars highlights the main areas of development in digital manufacturing. In this webinar, we focus on ‘Intelligent Manufacturing’ and hear from speakers about the benefits of digitalisation and where intelligence is key.
AiRC-1000 Laser Anode Rod Cleaning
Walter Meyler, Managing Director, Automation Innovation
Aluminium smelters face an unavoidable need to reduce energy costs and improve operational and production efficiencies to remain competitive in a difficult economic climate. To meet this challenge, smelters are turning to futuristic technologies.
The smelting of aluminium is the most energy-intensive stage of aluminium production, with each tonne of aluminium requiring on average 15 MWh of electricity. During the electrolysis stage of the smelting process, electrical current flows continuously from the anode rod through the alumina/cryolite mix to the lining of the pot and then onto the next pot.
To ensure optimum conductivity of the anode rods, smelters must regularly clean the rod surface. Currently, brushes attempt to clean the rods’ surface with inconsistent results, allowing contamination to build up and reduce the rod’s conductivity. These outdated cleaning methods result in increased electricity usage and higher operational costs.
Automation Innovation’s AiRC-1000 machine offers aluminium manufacturers a new, cost-effective, and progressive alternative by combining high powered laser cleaning technology and robotic automation that facilitates optimum rod surface conductivity. The reduced resistance from laser cleaned rods lowers the voltage requirements in the smelting process through increased anode rod conductivity. Manufacturers will also benefit from eliminating premature wearing down of parts, no ongoing consumables, and no additional materials or chemicals required for a greener and safer preferred cleaning solution. The superior non-contact cleaning system requires less maintenance and substantially increases the lifespan of the anode rods.
Aluminium smelters can now be at the forefront of the aluminium industry with an autonomous cleaning system that utilises the latest technology in laser cleaning and robotic automation. They can also benefit from the substantial cost savings thanks to power usage reductions in the smelting process and the convenience of the AiRC-1000’s ability to operate autonomously 24/7.
Intelligent Manufacturing by Use of Digital Twins
Hans Erik Vatne, Chief Technology Officer, Norsk Hydro
Digital twins as part of Industry 4.0 play an important role in the ongoing digitalization of the manufacturing industry. This presentation is focused on the use of a digital twin dedicated for production of aluminium extrusions. The most important part of a digital twin is the physics-based models that predict the evolution of the microstructure through the extrusion process chain.
A neural network-based optimization algorithm is used for optimizing production parameters. The digital twin is flexible and is used for several applications including adaptive control and optimization of alloys and processing conditions for the whole process chain from casting to extrusion. In adaptive control, production data are transferred to the digital twin that makes quick assessments to detect if any corrections are needed in the following process steps. If corrections are needed, the digital twin calculates modified process parameters that secure that the final properties of the extrusion end up within pre-defined tolerance limits.
The presentation will also illustrate the use of the digital twin in the planning and pre-production phase where costs and CO2 emissions are additional variables that need to be minimized. The predictions by the digital twin have been validated through comparison with full scale trials at an extrusion press, and this confirms that the predicted improvement can indeed be realized in real production.