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Magazine13 Min

Aluminum: A look back on technology and references

News from aluminum furnaces, rolling mills and extrusion presses

After a 4-year break, the aluminum world will finally meet again live in Düsseldorf from 27 to 29 September at the Aluminium trade fair. We take the opportunity for a short look back on new plant technology and recent references.

As the “Leading partner in the world of metals”, SMS adjusts to the specific demands of its many different customers and local markets in the aluminum sector. With manufacturing facilities, service workshops, and expert contacts in all key regions of the world, SMS group is there where our customers need us, listening to their needs and advising them on efficiency-enhancing concepts for new plant projects and plant upgrades from SMS. SMS group offers integrated solutions for all stages of the process – from the liquid phase right through to the finished product. Everything is supplied from a single source, including lifecycle partnership and secure future. “SMS’ claim of being the leading partner applies in equal measures to the steel industry and to the aluminum sector. Customers benefit from our leading position on both markets,” is how Michael Schäfer, Executive Vice President Flat Products of SMS group, sums up SMS group’s motto.

Melting furnaces

Energy efficient furnaces for aluminum recycling

Hertwich Engineering, which is part of SMS group and specializes in plant and machinery for the liquid phase of the aluminum production process, developed Ecomelt furnaces for recycling and melting aluminum scrap, whereby the scrap that is contaminated by paints or oils, for example, is burnt off, and the energy released is recycled and utilized. This reduces the demand for natural gas to a minimum and offers a double advantage for the plant owner. The extent to which aluminum is fed back into the production cycle is set to grow significantly in the years to come. Hertwich Engineering has just the right response to this trend with its highly advanced, energy-efficient recycling furnaces.

Nordural zero emissions project

In Iceland, Hertwich is taking part in a zero emissions project for the aluminum sector. Hertwich will supply two electrically heated holding furnaces, a vertical caster, and a continuous caster for an annual production of 120,000 tons of aluminum billets to Nordural. As a systems supplier, Hertwich will also implement the foundry’s automation system. The homogenizing plant to be supplied comprises a 100% ultrasonic tester, including a billet saw and strapping machine. By using electric power generated from renewable sources, the entire plant can be operated in a climate-neutral manner.

“We are proud to support Nordural in its goal of producing ‘low-carbon aluminum’. As a systems supplier and partner, we are jointly setting new standards for low CO2 emissions per ton of aluminum billets produced and, in doing so, we are making a significant contribution to hitting global climate targets”, explains Hertwich CEO Gerold Keune.

Nordural is part of Century Aluminium in the USA. With its strategic position between North America and Europe coupled with CO2-neutral power generation in Iceland, Nordural is able to offer its low-carbon Natur-Al brand of aluminum with shorter delivery times.

Hot and cold rolling mills

Manufacturers of flat products have also prepared themselves for the requirements of the future. For example, ElvalHalcor in Greece received a new finishing line from SMS group in 2020 as well as a high-bay warehouse and coil logistics systems from Amova. But SMS group also supports newcomers in the flat products sector. One example is LatemAluminum.

LatemAluminium: 6-high cold rolling mill

LatemAluminium in Spain is new to the aluminum market and is relying on SMS group as a strong partner at its side. SMS will be supplying a single-stand CVC®plus 6-high cold rolling mill for LatemAluminium. Macario Fernández, president and CEO of LatemAluminium, explained that the Villabrázaro facility will be a plant equipped to “produce, cast, roll, anneal, and cut 100,000 tons of high-quality aluminum per year”, depending on the individual customers’ needs. In this plant, continues Macario Fernández, “we intend to manufacture sheets and coils for the automotive, food, and construction industries, among others. We are able to roll up to 2,300 millimeters, meaning we can offer a solution that meets the needs of the aluminum market.” The new plant is scheduled to go on stream in the first half of 2024.

6-high cold rolling stand for aluminum


Big things on the move with AMOVA

The solutions provided by SMS subsidiary AMOVA have become an indispensable part of most production facilities. AMOVA has over 60 years of experience in the field of intralogistics and specializes in large parts and loads of up to 50 tons. When it comes to process automation and highly advanced systems for transporting, storing, and packaging a vast array of products, AMOVA offers a unique portfolio of services. Solutions range from automatic coil transporters to warehouse management systems. In all of these areas, AMOVA has a global reputation as an experienced and reliable partner for innovative plant solutions. AMOVA has also successfully transferred decades of knowledge of fully automated high-bay storage and transport systems for the steel and aluminium industry to the air cargo handling and port logistics sectors.

High-bay storage for aluminum coils

Extrusion presses

Well over 1,700 extrusion presses installed worldwide are impressive proof of SMS group’s many years of experience and expertise. For aluminum, SMS group supplies extrusion presses with a forging force of between 10 and 160 MN, either as direct or indirect front-loading presses, or as a tube extrusion press or a combination of all these extrusion processes. The profiles and pipes that are made of aluminum alloys and produced on SMS group extrusion presses are normally used in the automotive, aerospace, and construction industries.

New members of the familiy

With the acquisition of Italian companies OMAV S.p.A. and Hydromec S.R.L. in 2020, SMS group further expanded its product portfolio in the extrusion and forging press markets. OMAV, founded in 1952, has extensive expertise and a solid reputation in the extrusion press industry. Hydromec, established in 1980, specializes in the engineering and construction of forging presses and ring rolling plants for hot-forming brass, aluminum, and steel. With its expanded product portfolio, SMS group is able to supply complete extrusion press lines and forging plants with all upstream and downstream equipment units and process technology from a single source – including a high degree of automation and integrated digitalization solutions. The two new SMS group subsidiaries, based in Brescia, continue to operate under their own name.

Cooling table for 8-inch extrusion press line from OMAV
Latest order: Short-stroke press for Exlabesa

Exlabesa, multinational company specialized in the production of extruded aluminum profiles, has awarded a contract to SMS group for the supply of a 71 MN short-stroke extrusion press of front loader design. With this new acquisition, Exlabesa will operate 27 extrusion lines including five state-of-the-art SMS extrusion presses at its nine production facilities. The new press will be installed at the company’s Padron site in Spain and will be the largest press in the Iberian Peninsula. The plant is scheduled to go on stream at the beginning of 2024.

Lighter and, at the same time, safe structural designs, low fuel consumption, and reduced emissions for sustainable mobility are today’s drivers for using high-strength aluminum profiles. With our new, large extrusion press, we intend to double our production output for large profiles and secure the availability of the plant. Furthermore, we will be able to offer new profile cross-sections and widths that were not possible before and strengthen our position as market leader in the European aluminum industry.

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