Rockwell support for new technology

June 2014

ROCKWELL Automation is helping ease concerns at aluminium smelters with regards to energy supply, maintenance costs and the cost of steel shots used in shot blasting machines

With the US firm’s technical assistance, a new stub cleaning technology developed by MetalTech Gulf and manufactured by Lefebvre Engineering in Sharjah, helps aluminium smelters solve one of their operational challenges, optimise power conservation and reduce investment costs.

The high cost in the supply and installation of conventional and large shot-blasting chambers for cleaning the stubs on anode rods prompted MetalTech Gulf to develop this new stub cleaning technology in close cooperation with a local Gulf smelter. The local branch of Rockwell Automation‘s Customer Support and Maintenance (CSM) Group, developed the application code and supported the team during Factory Acceptance Testing and will provide support as needed, during installation, start-up and commissioning at the end user‘s site. The new technology is based on a set of heavy duty rotary chain flails for coarse cleaning of the stubs and roller wire brushes for fine cleaning. The new technology significantly reduces both capital and operational expenditures compared to conventional steel shot blasting machines.

Rockwell Automation’s Europe, Middle East and Africa OEM team worked closely with the both MetalTech Gulf and Lefebvre Engineering in designing, developing and implementing a control system architecture that enables the new machine to perform in a way that it can solve the challenges normally associated with the use of traditional shot blast machines in the stub cleaning process. The team from Rockwell Automation utilised the multi-disciplined, scalable ControlLogix platform for the control system which provides the end user with a fully integrated control system together with Rockwell´s reliable servo motors, PowerFlex AC Drives and Kinetix servo drives.

This new eco-friendly technology offers many benefits including: reduced cost of ownership; increased machine availability for production due to lower maintenance requirements; improved productivity because cleaning cycle times are reduced; increased quality of cleaned stubs on anode rods resulting in increased energy savings in the reduction cells; a safer working environment and a faster return on investment. Several aluminium smelters have already shown interest in this new stub cleaning technology.

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