Bauxite is the ore which contains aluminium. It is found in surface deposits in mainly tropical regions. Aluminium is the third most common element in the earth’s crust.
Mined bauxite is refined into alumina – a white powder which is essentially aluminium oxide. Refineries are typically located close to the bauxite mines.
Primary smelting is an energy intensive process in which aluminium is extracted from the alumina. The purity of the primary aluminium produced is of the order of 99.5%.
Ingot Alloying and Casting
Primary metal is alloyed and cast into rolling slab or extrusion billet in a casthouse. Casthouses are typically located at the smelter or at the rolling/extrusion mill.
The rolling slab is rolled into specific gauges and widths and heat treated to achieve the engineering properties required. Billet is extruded though a die into a range of shapes or profiles.
Manufactures utilise rolled foil, sheet or plate, and extruded profiles to manufacture their specific product – ladders, tankers, beverage cans, foil packaging etc.
Product in Use
The product containing the aluminum component remains in use – for short periods of less than 60 days such as in a beverage can or for more than 50 years in the case of aluminium in buildings.
End of Product Life
In the fullness of time products reach the end of their life and are scrapped
Scrap Sorting and Processing
Aluminium is recovered from the scrapped end product using a range of mechanical extraction devices – shredders, eddy current separators, air knives etc.
Scrap Processing and Recycling
The aluminium scrap is processed further to remove contaminants and then melted using the appropriate technology. The resulting aluminium will now be almost identical to primary metal but will still contain valuable alloying elements such as manganese, magnesium, copper, silicon and chrome.
With its superior strength, durability, flexibility and recyclability there’s no reason not to use aluminium for your cladding needs. For more information on what Paneltec can do for you, email [email protected] or call one of our friendly sales representatives on 09 439 4357.