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For several decades, Conductix-Wampfler has supplied electrification for aluminum smelters, not only in Canada but around the world. The majority of smelters in Canada use Conductix-Wampfler 812 and 813 series conductor bar, which is a good choice due to its specialized ramping components. In 2011, Conductix-Wampfler Canada completed two projects: The Raz Az Zawr (Ma’aden) Smelter in Saudi Arabia (for Bechtel) and Rio Tinto Alcan’s AP60 project in Quebec (for SNC Lavalin). Together, these projects required a very large quantity of conductor bar to power the pot line cranes and other material handling equipment.
This year, Bechtel has awarded Conductix-Wampfler Canada with another order, this time to supply conductor bar for the Rio Tinto Kitimat, BC modernization project. Conductix-Wampfler conductor bar will be used in all 13 buildings at the site, including the four buildings that house the pot line cranes.
The moderned facility will house up to 384 large pots which will increase production from 280,000 tonnes to 420,000 tonnesper year.
The pots will operate at an optimal amperage of 405,000 amps of electric power, which will be supplied by Rio Tinto’s Kemano hydroelectric plant.
The goal of the Kitimat project is to upgrade the smelters to the new “AP” technology, a process developed by Aluminum Pechiney, a company acquired by Alcan in 2004 and later by Rio Tinto. The AP process is extremely energy efficient and uses leading-edge computer control systems. The AP system features high performance cleaning systems and a high level of raw material yield. The end result will be a 50% reduction in overall emissions and one of the lowest cost smelters in the world.
According to Richard Danis, sales manager for Conductix-Wampfler Canada, "2012 will be one of our best years in the aluminum smelter industry. It is clear that the aluminum industry is positioning itself to grow rapidly in the future.”