I was asked to be a speaker at the 5th International Aluminium Profile Technology Seminar & Exposition in Guangzhou, China, which took place last Fall. The event is the fifth in a series held once every three years to promote technological exchanges and cooperation across the industry and academia. It is a premier industrial event in China for extruders, universities, research institutes and suppliers of equipment, extrusion tooling and tooling materials for the aluminium (also known as aluminum) extrusion industry.
The event provides an excellent opportunity for the participants to meet extrusion experts from all over China and abroad, and get updated about the current situation and future trends of China’s aluminium extrusion industry.
During my presentation, I outlined the reasons behind the push for increased scrap usage, the associated challenges, and the role of handheld XRF in supporting the aluminum industry, with real-life examples on the value it brings both to scrap yard operators as well as to aluminum manufacturers.
We are currently witnessing a growing demand for aluminum, propelled by the industrialization in emerging markets and the growth in the transportation and aerospace industries, among others. In recent years, there has been a strong push to increase the amount of scrap (including post-consumer scrap) incorporated into the production of aluminum.
In fact, according to the U.S. Geological Survey, since 2001 the production of secondary aluminum has exceeded that of primary aluminum.
Manufacturing aluminum from scrap has several advantages over producing it from alumina, including significant energy savings and reductions in green-house gas emissions. However, the addition of post-consumer scrap into the aluminum production line represents a challenge as its exact composition is often unknown. Therefore, additional characterization steps are needed in order to avoid the entry of undesired elements into the melt and ensure end-product quality, process integrity, safety, and regulatory compliance.
Handheld XRF is in the position to resolve many of the industry’s concerns. Thanks to the technological advancements in recent years, handheld XRF brings a significant value to both scrap yard operators and secondary aluminum manufacturers.
Feel free to download my scrap/aluminum presentation slides, including charts and illustrations, and I welcome your comments.