Aluminium is one of the world’s most abundant metals, typically extracted from bauxite ore. Guinea, Australia and Brazil are cited as hosting the largest bauxite reserves, while China, Russia and Canada are leading the way in terms of aluminium smelter production levels. Chalco, Rusal, Alcoa and Rio Tinto are ranked among the largest aluminium producers worldwide.
The major end-users of the base metal include the following sectors: transportation, packaging, construction, electrical engineering and machinery manufacturing.
Aluminium is a silver-colored, low density (2.7 g/cc) metal that finds use in a huge variety of commercial applications. Unalloyed aluminium is ductile, exhibits moderate strength, and is very resistant to corrosion under most circumstances. Aluminium can be dramatically strengthened by the addition of appropriate alloying elements (Cu, Mg, Mn, Si, etc.) and subsequent heat/work treatments. Aluminium is commonly used in both wrought and cast forms.
The low density of aluminium results in its extensive use in the aerospace industry, and in other transportation fields. Its resistance to corrosion leads to its use in food and chemical handling (cookware, pressure vessels, etc.) and to architectural uses.
Aluminium Alloy Ingots of various grades are re-melted and further processed into a large number of alloys for various applications.
Aluminium Alloys have specification set by a number of organizations and governmental bodies that have specified physical and chemical properties for differing end uses. These include Aluminium Association and EN designated specifications examples of which are given in the table.
ZEME Aluminium Project
The Limassol factory will concentrate scrap aluminium in all forms (including everything that traditional smelters cannot handle like Aluminium foils). The collected scrap Aluminium will, where possible, be segregated into individual alloys on receipt by using specialist laser analysis equipment. ZEME will also endeavour to train suppliers to pre-segregate materials in order to add value to their products.
Following preliminary segregation and cleaning, batches of Aluminium will be melted using ZEME’s Novel Equipment to create ingots. The ingots will be subjected to rigorous testing by ZEME scientific team, who will then calculate the specific additions of other metals and compounds required to create new high value alloys. Novel variable frequency electromagnetic induction furnaces will be used to create the alloys.
Competitive Advantages – The Novel items about ZEME’s Venture
- Low Energy Use: The energy required to convert Aluminium Scrap to Specialized Aluminium Alloys using our Energy Efficient System is less than 5% of the energy required to form Ingots by Primary Production from ore, thus conserving significant resources and resulting in lower dramatically production costs. As such, we convert an energy Guzzler to an energy bank resulting in a highly reduced cost of production.
- Size: The system is unique in that it can be used to manufacture low volume (1 to 3 tons per hour) high value sustainable specialist alloys from segregated feedstock. Competitors in the market can only manufacture large batches (typically 50 to 100 tons) in big crucibles and have developed their business models based upon large volume throughput. This large batch size makes it uneconomic for them to produce the wide range of specialist alloys envisaged by ZEME. As such, the ZEME system will be able to produce low volume orders for specialist alloys on an on-demand basis allowing us to react rapidly to the requirements of the marketplace.
- Use of Thin Aluminium Foils: The ZEME system is also unique due to its ability to incorporate Aluminium foils into the alloy. These are of high purity and are ideal for alloy production. The foils cannot be recycled in larger crucible processes as they vaporize prior to melting. ZEME’s unique state of the art System enables recovery of these materials, which would otherwise end up in landfills.
- Ability to Separate and Use Scrap Alloys now rather than in the future: Using specialist X-Ray Diffraction analysis equipment the technology allows now for careful scientific identification and segregation of individual Aluminium waste streams. The system will then utilize a variable frequency melting process that will enable these small (1 to 3 tons) batches of waste streams to be turned into added value alloys.
Current Capacity & Potential
The Current Eco High Tech Factory will have a capacity of about 25,000 tons annually with possibility of expanding to 85,000 tons within the first 3 years of operation. ZEME intends to expand in other European Markets in the future.