Published 21st September, 2022 by Zahra Awan
Aludium starts operating its Alicante plant again with the L2, its main rolling mill, only one year after the start of the repair work following the huge fire which started at the Alicante plant during the early morning of 3 April 2021. The company claims to have emerged stronger at every level from this incident and its new laminator is much safer, more efficient, automated, and reliable.
The presentation of the new L2 rolling mill took place today at the Aludium plant in Alicante. The press conference was attended by José Ignacio Juan, director of the Aludium plant in Alicante and Manuel Campayo, Business Director, Siemens LDA Spain Solutions. "The new L2 is a smarter, more intuitive, efficient and sustainable machine thanks to the implementation of the latest technology developed by Siemens, a worldwide technology leader. The decision to choose Siemens as our technology Partner was simple since we had already carried out other work with them. Furthermore, the vision of putting sustainability, quality and innovation at the core of its developments is in line with Aludium's strategy and values," says José Ignacio Juan.
The new L2 rolling mill has increased its capacity by 6,000 tons per year, has significantly increased product quality and has meant a 12% reduction in waste for the Alicante plant. “Now the final product has a much more homogeneous quality since advanced diagnostic systems have been implemented that make the laminator much easier to maintain, such is the case of the predictive maintenance provided by the Digital Twin,” explains Manuel Campayo. “Just because we implemented the project in record time does not mean we set aside important aspects such as energy efficiency and carbon footprint, inherent to the DNA of both Aludium and Siemens,” adds Campayo.
“With the implementation of the latest Siemens technology, the new laminator processes 50,000 field signals (data) per second, which exponentially increases the machine’s degree of precision and reliability,” says Juan.
“Thanks to data processing and its implementation in the Digital Twin, it has been possible to simulate the virtual start-up of the plant in record time before the official assembly, allowing start-up time to be reduced and eliminating production incidents,” Campayo added.
Repairing and commissioning the L2 rolling mill
The repair and commissioning of the new L2 rolling mill has lasted only one year and has involved a total investment of € 12.5 million, of which € 11 million has been allocated to the L2 main equipment, € 1 million to infrastructure and half a million to other equipment necessary for its correct operation. The first valid product, the first aluminium coil, was manufactured on 1 April 2022.
More than 250 people from 50 different companies took part in the project to repair and commission the rolling mill. The repair was carried out in 4 phases: cleaning and dismantling the damaged components, designing the new solution to be implemented, installation and assembly and, finally, commissioning and optimisation.
In line with the above, another aspect that the head of Aludium has highlighted is that “throughout the project people’s safety has been, as it always is, our highest priority. Consequently, this vision is responsible for our greatest success: zero accidents.” “Neither during the fire nor during the repair work nor during the commissioning were there any personal injuries,” He adds.
The person in charge revealed that “if the contingency plans have not been put in place more than 70,000 tons of production could have been lost, which could have meant a business loss of approximately 60 million euros. Contingency plans reduced these losses by approximately 90%.”
As a precautionary measure to prevent similar accidents in the future, the decision was taken to install the new filtering system in an exclusive hanger away from the production machines to protect the installation and minimise risk. Thus, the point where the fire originated located in the core of the machine, between the electrical room and the rolling mill, was removed.
The company wanted to share with its customers, employees, and suppliers this important moment and thank them for the support shown during this period. Tribute was paid to the 14 employees of the L2 rolling mill who for months were working at the Amorebieta plant and in Alumasa, Badajoz, so that production was not affected, together with the Amorebieta plant itself for the support received during the last year.
The event was presented by José Ignacio Juan and the closing ceremony was carried out by Lionel Chapis, CEO of Aludium. The mayor of Alicante, Luis Barcala, was there and responsible for handing out the awards to representatives of the Amorebieta plant and the rest of the awardees.
The event was presented by José Ignacio Juan and the ceremony was closed by Lionel Chapis, CEO of Aludium. The mayor of Alicante, Luis Barcala, was there and responsible for handing out awards to representatives of the Amorebieta plant and the rest of the awardees. The mayor of Alicante, Luis Barcala, stressed this Thursday that the start-up of the new L2 rolling mill “reaffirms Aludium’s commitment to Alicante and its great capacity to respond to and overcome adversity, its efficiency when confronting the present and when designing the future, its use of cutting-edge technology and maximum energy saving”.
After visiting the company's plant in Alicante and witnessing the commissioning of the new L2 rolling mill, the mayor stressed that Aludium “has managed to reconcile a considerable increase in its production with respect for the environment and reducing their carbon footprint”. At the same time, Barcala had words of recognition and gratitude for the 14 employees who left their homes for months to work in the Amorebieta and Badajoz plants with the aim of not affecting the company's production.
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