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Metal Asia December 2011 Issue

A Complete Metal Magazine

SPECIAL COVERAGE

The Aluminium Market Outlook
The write-up will address the long-term outlook for the aluminium market. Stating with an overview of the expected growth in global supply and demand, as well as focusing on key regions. This will highlight the key emerging regions for aluminium production in the world, as well as possible constraints on new and proposed projects.

COMMENT

Non-ferrous metal sector looking forward to 2012
We know that the year 2011 began with a shaky start - the Middle East uprisings in Egypt, Tunisia and Libya turned the status quo upside down, the European sovereign debt crisis continues to stoke concerns and the Japanese earthquake and Tsunami in early march caused immense damage and wreacked havoc among supply chains throughout the world.

NATIONAL TRENDS

  • Aditya Birla Group in talks with Australian coal mine firms for raw material
    Kumar Mangalam Birla-led Aditya Birla Group is in talks with 6 thermal coal mine firms in Australia, in its search for raw material assets to feed its $5-billion growth programme in aluminium.
  • Vedanta-Cairn Energy deal completed
    India-focused Vedanta has acquired a majority stake in Cairn India, which operates India’s largest onshore oil field, from UK-listed Cairn Energy. The sale, one of the largest in India's energy sector, was delayed for months due to a disagreement over royalty payments. A majority stake in Cairn India will provide miner Vedanta with a foothold in India’s expanding oil and gas sector.
  • CIL chalks out plans to achieve revised target
    World’s largest miner Coal India Limited (CIL) has chalked out fresh action plans to meet the revised production target of 440 million tonnes (MT) for this fiscal. In the review meeting, the company had discussed about the steps to be taken to achieve it.
  • Hindalco's Q2 net profit up at Rs.503 cr
    The Aditya Birla Group’s Hindalco Industries has reported a 16 per cent increase in its net profit for the second quarter of 2011-12 ended September 30, 2011, at Rs.503 crore against Rs.434 crore in the same period last year.
  • Coal Ministry to bar captive miners from producing beyond approved level
    The Indian coal ministry has decided to bar captive coal miners from raising production beyond the approved level, rejecting industry demands and the proposal from the Planning Commission to allow excess output to ease fuel scarcity.
  • Hindalco Industries to spend Rs. 25,700 cr more
    Hindalco Industries will be making an additional investment, equal to the $5-billion (Rs. 25,700 crore) capex under way, to more than double its aluminium production capacity by 2016.

INTERNATIONAL TRENDS

  • Outotec introduces new filter for the alumina industry
    Outotec Larox VPF, Vertical Pressure Filter, was originally developed by Australian Process Technology Pty Ltd., a filters supplier for the alumina refining industry. VPF technology is used for pregnant liquor polishing in the alumina process.
  • Rio Tinto invests US$2.7bn to complete Kitimat smelter modernization
    Rio Tinto has given the green light to an additional US$2.7 billion capital investment to modernize its aluminium smelter in Kitimat, British Columbia. This new investment will allow for completion of the US$3.3 billion project in 2014.
  • Aleris to build German casting facility
    Aleris announced that it will build a specialized casting facility for aluminium-lithium plate and sheet products. The facility will be built at its Koblenz, Germany plant and will expand the company’s ability to meet the needs of the aerospace market.
  • Alcom on expansion mode
    Aluminium Company of Malaysia Berhad (Alcom), a subsidiary of Novelis Inc., the world’s largest producer of rolled aluminium, has commissioned a $5 million expansion at its Bukit Raja, Malaysia, facility.
  • China's Shenhua Group to produce alumina from coal ash
    China’s Shenhua Group, the country’s largest coal producer, has begun construction on a project capable of producing alumina from coal ash, a waste byproduct of thermal power generation.

IN FOCUS

  • Aluminium Based Foams: Achievements, Opportunities and Challenges
    Melt based and powder based production methods have been established for making aluminium foams. A melt based method, established at DMRL, is capable of making arbitrary shaped foams with uniform cell structure. Density range from 0.35 to 1.0 g/cc has been achieved. Properties such as compressive strength, energy absorption under monotonic loading, impact force reduction, blast mitigation, sound absorption have been evaluated and are very attractive for defence and automotive applications. The technology development has been backed by studies on the effect of SiC content & particle size, foaming temperature and foaming agent particle size on foam expansion, stability against collapse, cell structure and properties. Commercial success of this technologically important material crucially depends on availability of reliable statistical design data, lowering material costs, and availability of pilot scale products to sensitise the market.
    Early realisation of certain defence applications may help in achieving the breakthrough.

COMPANY REPORT

Hydro’s Q-3’11 results: Better production output with soaring raw material costs

Hydro, the aluminium manufacturer from Norway had underlying earnings before financial items and tax (EBIT) of NOK 1,646 million in its Q-3’11 results, down from NOK 1,906 million in Q-2’11. The quarter was marked by higher production performance in bauxite & alumina, while seasonal declines and higher raw material costs had a negative impact on underlying results.

RAW MATERIALS

Process Improvements with Nanoceramic Coatings for Open Moulds and Refractories in Aluminium Production

ItN permanent Nanoceramic Coatings for Metal Production. The use of permanent coatings in ingot casting has been made possible by the resistance of nanoceramic coatings to the harsh temperature fluctuations of the mould. The very low layer thickness and long service life results in extremely low material consumption. The greatly-increased maintenance intervals for this product have a positive impact on productivity, wage costs and output. Process quality experiences long-lasting improvement, and the functions expected of the coating are fulfilled. The impact on the cost structure varies widely depending on production design, but there are always some savings. When the application of coatings is reduced from a highly frequent to a sporadic working step, and optimized process parameters are held constant for weeks, with minimal material consumption, the user can personally assess the economic, ecological and qualitative changes to the entire process. These nano-ceramic coatings can be used wherever metal containers or moulds need to be effectively protected from molten materials. Along with products for pig casting, there are other products for mineral surfaces as runners and launders as well as insulating coatings for aluminium and brass gravity die casting.

METAL EXTRACTION

Solvent Extraction and Separation of Copper and Zinc from a Pickling Solution

Solvent extraction studies of copper and zinc have been carried out using Versatic 10 acid and Cyanex 272 separately from a model brass pickle liquor. Various parameters for the extraction and separation of copper and zinc such as effect of pH, extractant concentration, phase ratio etc. have been optimized. It was observed that copper was almost completely extracted into the organic phase comprising of 30% Versatic 10 acid at the equilibrium pH of 5.0 using the phase ratio of 1:1 whereas, zinc extraction was noticed at above pH 5.0. On the other hand, the pH 0.5 values were 3.5 and 4.6 for zinc and copper respectively with 20% Cyanex 272. The difference in pH 0.5 value of 1.10 indicated the possible separation of Zn and Cu. By McCabe Thiele diagram number of stages required for the counter current extraction of copper and zinc has been determined for both the solvents. The stripping study showed that 1 mol/L H2SO4 was sufficient to strip metal ions in a single contact from each of the extractant.

ALUMINIUM INDUSTRY

Primary Aluminium Industry – Past, Present and Future in China

In the last 20 years, a big-step progress and great achievements had been made in primary aluminium industry of China. This paper presents the complete modern technology for high-amperage prebaked pots respectively in 200kA, 240kA, 300kA, 320kA, 350kA, 420kA, 500kA developed by CHALIECO/GAMI jointly with the partner in the recent years, and now which have formed an integrated industrial system from engineering, purchasing, construction to the process operation (EPCO) based on the high speed developing requirements of China aluminium industry. Meanwhile a topic “'What does the smelter of tomorrow look like in China” also has been outlined at the end of this paper.

PRE-ENGINEERED METAL BUILDING

Aluminium Roofing Sheets : The Next Best Thing in Indian Roofing Industry

Purchasers, in the country of India do not bent their minds on per unit rates alone. The consumers will be ready to provide high price if the solution offers value for money, additional services, stability, extra features and easier maintenance.

AUTOMATIVE ALUMINIUM

The Importance of Lightweighting Automobiles and a look at the Past, Present, and Future of Aluminium use in Passenger Vehicles

In North America, Japan, and much of Europe, about ten per cent of the vehicle mass, on average, consists of aluminium alloys. Similar expectations hold for the future automotive use of aluminium in India. In this paper, the value of vehicle light weighting is identified first. Following this, it discusses current and past aluminium applications and highlight open issues and challenges that once overcome should lead to the increased use of aluminium.

AUTOMATION

Large drives system solutions for challenging metals plants applications

Danieli Automation, a world-renowned system integrator with proven experience in automation for metal applications process control, is able to provide a wide range of solutions for any large drive system, for the most challenging applications in terms of dynamics, overriding control system automation integration, existing supply networks compatibility and filtering requirements, operation flexibility and limited budget constraints. Besides the various case studies of drives systems, detailed descriptions and technical features, as well as the solutions adopted for the complete plant automation architecture and the supply network filtering and compensation are presented, providing reference cases and solutions for the readers.

TECHNOLOGY FOCUS

Optimisation by Taguchi Design Method of Manufacturing Condition for Semi-Solid Al-Zn-Mg Alloy

In order to find an optimum condition for semi-solid Al-Zn-Mg system aluminium alloy fabricated by cooling plate method, Taguchi design was used. The cooling plate method that can effectively separate a formed grain from mould wall is able to make a semi-solid material by flowing molten metal over an inclined Cu plate and casting in mould for near-net-shape component. In Taguchi's design method, it is known that high value of SN-ratio (Signal vs. Noise) is better. So manufacturing conditions were arranged as table of orthogonal arrays (L9(34)), and then factors determined were pouring temperature and angle of cooling plate. From microstructures observed, grain size and aspect ratio were measured by image analyser. Results seemed that the pouring temperature is main effect on spherical microstructures since SNratio which is sensibility on surround environment was the highest. The optimum condition for Al-Zn-Mg alloy was 40 degree of cooling plate, 680°C of pouring temperature. Their values of grain size and aspect ratio were 701/4m, 1.3, respectively.

PROCESS REVIEW

New Solutions for CU Stem Rejections and Recycle at Hindalco Industries Limited, Renukoot

The electrolysis process in the Aluminium reduction cells is affected by the anode assembly. It comprises of anode carbon block, steel stub and anode stem. At M/s Hindalco Renukoot smelter, Cu bar is used as anode stem. These Cu bars are of 32.0 Kg in weight having rectangular cross section.

REFRACTORY

Refractories industry in Indiapresent scenario, issues and way forward

The Indian refractory industry has witnessed sustained growth in the past few years buoyed by the growth in the iron & steel, cement and non-ferrous industries. Refractories play an extremely important role in the development of the core sector, a fact which mostly remains unnoticed. Although, turnover-wise it is miniscule compared to the GDP of the country, it is critical to the production process and as well as quality. The industry, which is now at the advanced stage of growth has the capability to address the increased challenges posed by the user industries like stringent operating parameters, demand for clean steel etc.

CONFERENCE & EXHIBITION

INCAL – 2011 (6th International Conference & Exhibition on Aluminium) Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh : A Success Story

In the year 2011, INCAL (International Conference & Exhibition on Aluminium) came forth for the sixth consecutive time in the beautiful city of Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh and left successive footprints stuffed with a gamut of knowledge-proceedings about the metal of aluminium introduced by words of notable personnel from all over the world, learning know-how forwarded in the form of valuecreated Al-related paper presentations and a series of discussions via various Q’s & A’s shared between the related industry honchos.

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