TRIMET Aluminium SE is replacing the 30-year-old batch homogenising furnaces at its Essen production facility with a modern continuous homogenisation unit from Hertwich Engineering, a company of the SMS group. The new unit – the second of its type at this location – is due to go into operation in September 2017.
There is no disputing that Essen-based Trimet Aluminium now holds a key position as a material partner of the aluminium industry. Continual expansion and modernisation of its capabilities allows Trimet to satisfy market demand and respond to special customer needs. The concept developed by Hertwich, involving heat treatment in continuous homogenising furnaces, rapidly attained acceptance in the industry after it was first introduced in 1980. To date, over 120 Hertwich continuous homogenising units are in operation worldwide. Exact and uniform temperature control during heating up, soaking and cooling down ensures optimal metallurgical properties. The entire process through to the ready-to-ship product is fully automated.
The new furnace is the second of its type in Essen. About 15 years ago, Hertwich supplied a complete line including ancillary equipment for stacking, strapping, marking, etc. The new plant will be installed in such a way that the existing ultrasonic testing unit and ancillary equipment can be integrated into the automated material flow of the new furnace.
The new heat treatment plant comprises storage conveyor, continuous homogenising furnace and cooler, and is designed for an annual capacity of 30,000 tonnes. Billet diameters range from 145-450 mm, whereby the upper end of the range is needed for forging stock. The billet length is 7700 mm. The planned range of alloys and the large diameters involved mean that homogenisation times will sometimes be very long – something that had to be considered in the design.
The saw, which is also part of the scope of supply, will be located downstream of the cooler. It will be used to crop the ends of the billets and then cut them to shipment lengths. It is designed for use with diameters up to 520 mm.