Challenge/Solution Case Study: Improving Process Efficiency at Primary Aluminum Manufacturer

Nestor Rentas Challenge/Solution Case Studies

Result

EFI Group managed the engineering design and implementation of a multi-year, multi-million dollar process improvement project for a primary aluminum supplier. EFI Group provided project administration and developed process flows, operating plans and cost estimates. In coordination with partner firms, EFI Group also developed bid documents, detailed construction drawings and PLC integration. The process is installed and operating as planned.

Challenge

The Hall-Héroult process of converting alumina into aluminum requires the use of carbon anodes to supply large amounts of electrical current to the molten aluminum. Process efficiencies can be increased by cutting grooves into each anode, forming a more efficient path for exhaust gasses and creating more surface area for the process reactions to take place.

The client felt this process change was worth investing in, and EFI Group began working with the client’s staff in the early stages of project development. EFI Group was responsible for the detailed engineering effort and served in a project management capacity through procurement, construction, installation and commissioning.

Solution

Because of the long lead time, the client had already ordered the primary process equipment prior to EFI Group’s involvement. Working with the client’s engineering and operations team, EFI Group:

  • Developed process flows.
  • Identified supporting equipment requirements.
  • Developed contractor bid, construction and as-built documents.
  • Developed detailed layouts for equipment installation.

Deliverables

  • Operating plans and functional descriptions for various processes.
  • Plan and elevation general arrangement drawings.
  • Equipment and utility layout.
  • Controls integration between grooving equipment, automatic overhead cranes and roller conveyors.
  • Construction drawings.
  • Total project cost estimate spreadsheet.

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