Sep 28, 2012
R4.5m baghouse for aluminium producer completedBack
Wattville|Energy|Explosives|Gas|Industrial|PROJECT|Projects|PSY Systems|Systems|Tager Engineering|Water|Welding|Zimalco|South Africa|Chemical Processes|Electricity|Energy|Energy Costs|Explosives|Gas Costs|Manufacturing|Secondary Aluminium Producer|Systems|Underground Mining|Bob Stone|Neels Van Niekerk|Willie Willemse|Pollution Control|Process Control
© Reuse this
Air pollution control company About Air Pollution built the baghouse, which will enable the producer to maintain a continuous improvement of its air quality to fully comply with the new Air Quality Act, which came into effect in 2010.
The baghouse project was started in November 2011 and completed in July. The baghouse filters and cleans the emissions from the melting process, ensuring the final emissions comply within the limits set in the new Act.
Meanwhile, Zimalco engineering manager Neels van Niekerk tells Engineering News that the producer has also installed a new reverberatory melting furnace, which was commissioned in April.
This furnace has enabled Zimalco to save substantially on electricity and gas costs incurred during melting, and combat the escalating energy costs experienced over the last few years that are also expected in the coming years.
Engineering company Tager Engineering undertook the structural work for the furnace installation, while industrial process control specialist PSY Systems installed and commissioned the controls and burners.
“We did the bricklaying and used the opportunity to give inexperienced furnace bricklayers on-the-job experience. “The industry is under pressure in terms of furnace construction, as there are not many skilled furnace bricklayers in South Africa.
“We used our own in-house bricklayers, which helped us to save costs while providing invaluable training and cost saving in the process. “We also saved R500 000 on manufacturing and labour costs by doing the majority of the work ourselves,” Van Niekerk says.
The company will not divulge exactly how much it spent on the furnace but realised significant savings when comparing it with a turnkey furnace, which would have cost up to R7.5-million. Being able to plan and manage the project in-house resulted in these substantial cost savings, he notes.
“Aluminium powder in South Africa is mainly used in the explosives industry. It is used in packaged explosives, instead of bulk explosives, mainly for underground mining and rock-blasting purposes. It is also used in the manufacture of flocculants, in chemical processes to purify South Africa’s drinking water, in drain cleaners and in exothermic welding of railway lines,” Stone notes.
“Aluminium thermic welding is used to join rail lines together to create one continuous rail. Aluminium powder is mixed with iron oxide and other elements, with the aluminium acting as the energy source when ignited, to melt the iron oxide and the rail, forming a seamless joint,” he explains.
Stone adds that the exothermic property of aluminium is also used in the production of ferro-alloys as an alternative to using large amounts of electricity.
He adds that in addition to the use of aluminium powder in the production of ferroalloys, such as ferrotitanium and ferrovanadium, it is also used to generate heat when ignited. This replaces the heat that would be required from other sources, such as electric arc furnaces, to melt the iron- and titanium-ore material to form the ferroalloy.
“We are therefore exporting not only a strategic raw material and, by implication, many jobs, but also a massive store of potential energy,” Stone states.
Zimalco MD Willie Willemse says, although the use of aluminium powder to substitute other forms of energy in such applications is not new to the market, it is most viable now, because electricity costs are so high and increasing yearly.
“Owing to aluminium’s property of burning thermites at 2 700 °C, it is an ideal substitute for other forms of energy in the production of ferroalloys and reduction of oxides.”
Willemse adds that, owing to the high cost of electricity, people are currently experimenting with this concept and other uses of aluminium, more than before.
“Where electrical energy was not available, there was a trend in South Africa to export primary ore and metals without beneficiation. “As a replacement for that energy, companies are using aluminium powder in various fraction sizes to beneficiate the ore by reduction into metal for local use and, also, before it is exported,” he says.
As part of Zimalco’s social responsibility initiatives, the company takes students from various universities and learning centres who would otherwise not have had the opportunity of being introduced to the industry, and gives them exposure to practical training to compile their portfolios of P1 and P2 towards their final qualification.
“We have taken in engaged apprentices, as well as mechanical, electrical and chemical engineering students for in-service training. The feedback has been positive and the trainees have achieved a great pass rate on their P1 and P2 certification,” says Willemse.
He adds that, as part of the company’s social and rural development responsibilities, Zimalco works closely with Kgothalang Primary School, in Wattville, Benoni, where it has implemented many projects to improve the school’s facilities.
“We recently roofed a section of the school that is used for assemblies and as a recreation area. “The new roof protects the learners from the harsh sun and rain during lunchtime and gatherings,” says Willemse.
The company plans to further upgrade the school’s facilities, including the ablution blocks, in the near future.
Zimalco has ISO 9001, ISO 14001 and OHSAS 18001 certification as audited by the South African Bureau of Standards. It was recently certified as a Level 8 broad-based black economic- empowerment-compliant company.
Edited by: Chanel de Bruyn© Reuse this Comment Guidelines
Other Aluminium News
The twenty-first International Recycled Aluminium Conference is setting out to better the aluminium industry’s understanding of recycling by highlighting sustainable development, says Rio Tinto, product group Rio Tinto Alcan product stewardship director Jerome Lucaes.
The use of aluminium in the housing and commercial segments of the South African market is growing, reports South African window manufacturer, Duro, national contracts manager Barry Sacks. More consumers are increasingly realising the benefits and long-term savings...
Between R100-million and R200-million a year will flow into the scrap metals and recycling industry as a result of the conversion from tin-plated steel cans to aluminium cans, providing an additional 2 000 to 3 000 people a source of income from collecting and...
Updated 48 minutes ago South Africa's drive to create a competitive and food-secure State was boosted on Tuesday with the launch of the Centre of Excellence (CoE) in Food Security, at the University of the Western Cape, which would bring together a cohort of experts and researchers from 19...
Updated 1 hour ago The City of Cape Town has entered into eight third-party service provider agreements licensing the take up of the spare infrastructure capacity generated through the city’s broadband network. Lease-agreement negotiations were progressing with another 20 third-party...
Updated 1 hour 13 minutes ago A 344.5 t wax reactor has arrived at petrochemicals giant Sasol’s Fisher-Tropsch wax expansion project, in Sasolsburg, in the Free State, after five weeks of road travel from Richards Bay, in KwaZulu-Natal. The reactor was transported through Pongola, in...
Recent Research Reports
Steel 2014: A review of South Africa's steel sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Steel 2014 report provides an overview of the global steel industry and particularly of South Africa’s steel sector over the past year, including details of production and consumption, as well as the country's primary carbon steel and stainless...
Projects in Progress 2014 - First Edition (PDF Report)
This publication contains insight into progress at the delayed Medupi and Kusile coal-fired projects, in Mpumalanga and Limpopo respectively, as well as at the Ingula pumped-storage scheme, which is under construction on the border between the Free State and...
Automotive 2014: A review of South Africa's automotive sector (PDF Report)
The report provides insight into the business environment, the key participants in the sector, local construction demand, geographic diversification, competition within the sector, corporate activity, skills, safety, environmental considerations and the challenges...
Construction 2014: A review of South Africa's construction sector (PDF Report)
Construction data released during 2013 hints at a halt to the decline in the industry during the last few years, with some commentators averring that the industry could be poised for recovery. However, others have urged caution, noting that the prospects for a...
Electricity 2014: A Review of South Africa's Electricity Sector (PDF Report)
This report provides an overview of the state of electricity generation and transmission in South Africa and examines electricity planning, investment in generation capacity, electricity tariffs, the role of independent power producers and demand-focused initiatives,...
Defence 2013: A review of South Africa's defence industry (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s 2013 Defence Report examines South Africa’s defence industry, with particular focus on the key players in the sector, the innovations that have come out of the defence sector, local and export demand, South Africa’s controversial...
This Week's Magazine
Updated 6 hours ago There is enough water in South Africa to supply communities and the economy, even if some activities may be constrained, such as agriculture in the Limpopo, says National Planning Commission commissioner Mike Muller. Muller was also the director-general from 1997...
South African antenna designer and producer Poynting and provider of professional products, system integration and implementation and commissioning services for the broadcast and telecommunications markets in South Africa, African Union Communications (Aucom),...
Industrial automation giant Festo has been displaying some of the its ongoing research projects and latest automation developments and products at the Hannover industrial fair from April 7 to 11, as part of its Integrated Automation – The Next Steps theme. The...
South African retail companies are responding to the way in which e-commerce is changing their engagement model with customers by improving customer engagement channels and order fulfilment intelligence, says industrial and retail software company JDA Europe, Middle...
In support of the South African government’s mandate to create more jobs and promote sustainable development, multilevel marketing company Amway’ business model aims to assist government in easing the startup of business and encourage an entrepreneurial mindset...