ABB to support sustainable manufacturing growth at US aluminium alloys mill

ABB has won an order from aluminium furnace builder GNA alutech, an Ebner® Group member. Four electromagnetic stirrers (AL-EMS) will contribute to a major expansion for a U.S. aluminium manufacturer. The producer runs the only aluminium mill in the country that focuses exclusively on common alloys, materials vital for the aerospace, automotive and electronics industries, and is now constructing a new melting and casting complex.

The aluminium producer has ambitions to increase its capacity from a current 325,000 tons per year and supply U.S.-manufactured high-quality common alloy aluminium coil across North America, with a focus on reshoring, recycling and sustainability at every stage. As part of GNA’s build, ABB’s water-cooled AL-EMS will contribute to safer, more consistent and repeatable aluminium furnace operations following commissioning at the site in late 2024.

The technology has proven to increase productivity by up to 25 percent, lower energy consumption by 10 percent and reduce dross generation by 15 percent in more than 400 aluminium furnace installations worldwide. The end-customer can expect to increase aluminium yield, record rapid chemical and temperature homogenization and achieve return on investment within six to twelve months. The water-cooling will allow the stirrer coils to operate at a lower temperature, protecting the windings from wear and tear, resulting in longer-lasting equipment and lower maintenance requirements. This method makes up most of ABB’s extensive installed base of electromagnetic stirring and braking devices in steel and aluminium production processes and has been deployed safely by customers for more than 80 years.

“Aluminium alloys will continue to be essential for a wide range of engineering and manufacturing applications, with many modern consumer products, transportation and buildings reliant on these strong, lightweight materials,” said Ted Phenix, founder of GNA alutech. “Our customers therefore rely on certainty in the design, construction and operation of furnaces and equipment for the aluminium industry, and by working together with ABB, we are stronger. The combination of technologies will serve this aluminium manufacturer for years to come.”

“This is an exciting project in the US with customers that are serious and ambitious about reaching their own sustainability objectives and meeting the expectations of the wider world,” said Joel Hatfield, Area Sales Manager, North America at ABB Metallurgy. “ABB’s electromagnetic stirrers will enable the desired levels of repeatability and efficiency in the aluminium furnace process while increasing yield too. All partners recognise the challenge of optimising and reducing energy in aluminium melting, and that we can achieve results using technologies that exist today.”

ABB also offers an exclusive performance guarantee; a team of in-house metallurgists that uses fluid flow calculations of electromagnetic stirring force for every furnace to predict performance improvements which are commercially ensured for each installation.

GNA alutech is a recognised world leader in the design and construction of furnaces and equipment for the aluminium industry, especially melting and holding furnaces; homogenizing, annealing and heat treatment furnaces; cathode sealing equipment and associated machinery. It provides equipment and services for primary and secondary aluminium producers around the world. GNA alutech focuses on advanced design, control systems and construction techniques for long service life and class-leading efficiency and reliability, all with operator safety and user-friendly features built in.

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