At its Fort Lupton location in Colorado, the U.S. aluminum producer Golden Aluminum Inc. is operating a continuous strip casting and rolling facility, a so-called minimill, for aluminum hot strip. The production line essentially consists of a strip caster and a direct compact hot rolling mill.
Market demands have changed over more than 30 years of plant operation and the market calls for a wider portfolio of alloys and grades. The maximum product width of about 800 millimeters at Golden Aluminum Inc. turned out to be a limiting factor. SMS group was the right technology partner for Golden Aluminum Inc. to systematically advance the potential of the strip casting facility to be able to even better meet modern market requirements. The nexcast® project strives for an increase in product width to 2,200 millimeters. This raises the minimill’s nominal capacity to about 200,000 tons per year and expands the range of grades that can be cast and rolled. To this end, extensive tests on process temperature management and surface quality have been performed at Golden Aluminum’s production plant in Colorado and also in SMS group’s test center in Hilchenbach, Germany.