Russian Federation aluminium titan UC Rusal announced yesterday the completion of a US$7.6 million project to modify its Befesa-2 line at Irkutsk Aluminium Smelter (IrkAZ) in eastern Siberia.
The just-completed modifications were carried out by Rusal’s Engineering and Technology Center in conjunction with Spain’s Befesa Aluminio S.L. and included the addition of a new casting wheel, a metal distribution system, a newly-designed ingot mold, improvements to the water cooling system, and a new ingot extraction and transportation unit. The firm says it plans to make similar improvements to the adjacent Befesa-1 line.
Rusal’s Director of Aluminium Division Evgeny Nikitin described the project and the improvements carried out on the line as insuring that the firm maintains its market share in the aluminium castings market as well as an effort at improving the quality of the company’s offerings to its customers in Europe and Asia.
“RUSAL completed a test operation at the first line for standard alloyed ingots production at IrkAZ which has allowed us to improve the quality of our products. Due to the commissioning of the two lines, the smelter will retain its positions in the casting alloys market in the amount of 55 thousand tonnes per annum, whilst gaining an even larger share in the foreign markets.”
Among the largest smelters in Russia, IrkAZ is Eastern Siberia’s oldest aluminium-producing facility. The plant features five potlines, two casthouses, an anode production unit, and an anode assembly department. It produces primary aluminium, thirty different types of wire rod, over one hundred different aluminium alloys, bars, and strips for customers in the aerospace, automotive, construction, packaging, and electrical industries. Using primarily Soderberg cells, IrkAZ’s fifth potline came online in 2008 and boosted nameplate capacity to 410 thousand metric tons per annum. The plant employs 2,400 people and is certified under ISO 14001:2004, ISO 9000:2008, and ISO/TS 16949.