About Aluminium

Aluminium is the youngest of today’s most commonly-used metals despite the fact that bauxite, its unrefined ore, comprises 8% of the earth’s crust making it the 3rd most common element. The first commercial production was developed in 1886, and current annual world production of primary aluminium is now around 26 million tonnes. This makes aluminium the most widely used non-ferrous metal.

Aluminium can be used in a wide variety of applications and forms because of its unique combination of properties, combiningraw bauxite lightness, strength, durability and corrosion resistance with good thermal and electrical conductivity. A wide range of alloys is available to exploit these properties to the full. Its major markets are in transport (road, rail, sea and air), building and construction (from screws to skyscrapers), electrical and mechanical engineering (power transmission, machinery, access equipment) and packaging (food, pharmaceuticals, beverage cans and sealable containers). Aluminium alloys maintain a leading position in these markets by providing the most cost effective solution for many industrial and consumer applications.

The Production Process

In the earth’s crust aluminium does not arise as pure aluminium but as a compound, e.g. as bauxite. Following oxygen (47.3%) and silicon (25.8%), aluminium is, with 8.1%, the third most common element and at the same time the most common metal in the earth’s crust. Extraction is done in two steps. Using the Bayer process, aluminium oxide is separated from the bauxite. This aluminium oxide is then split into aluminium and oxygen by electrolysis in aluminium smelters.

The weight of six elephants

The melted mass is cast into ingot form. Such an ingot can be 9 m long and weigh in excess of 30 t – the weight of six elephants. Precise milling techniques provide an excellent surface. By means of annealing, the ingot is then made ready for hot-rolling: It can be heated to a maximum of 550°C to be cold-rolled later down to as little as 0.2 mm thickness. A coil may be up to 2.7 m wide and weigh up to 20 t. These production steps are crucial for the ultimate quality.

And very fast

By means of rolling speeds up to 480 metres per minutes, a part processed coil is created – although its surface is still untreated, it already has the excellent properties of rolled aluminium. Along with excellent processing possibilities as well as recyclability, its formability, deep-drawing, edging, and renowned light weight characteristics make it unique.

Aluminium Benefits

Total Recyclability

Abundance

Light Weight

Numerous Alloys

Corrosion resistant

Flexible and Malleable

Good strength to weight ratio

High electrical and thermal conductivity