EGA expands its expertise with value-adding innovation

Use of standard jacks to facilitate anode beam movement will simplify maintenance and reduce manufacturing costs.

United Arab Emirates: As the largest primary aluminium producer in the region and among the top five producers in the world, Emirates Global Aluminium (“EGA”) has a rich tradition of developing home-grown technologies that can compete with similar technologies on the world market in terms of productivity, capacity and efficiency, while maintaining the highest standards of environmental conservation. These advanced in-house technologies are developed by the Technology Development & Transfer department at EGA in an effort to improve productivity and enhance operational procedures at the EGA’s Jebel Ali Operations (also known as “DUBAL”) in Dubai.

As part of the EGA mandate to continuously drive innovation in the aluminium industry and to forge new frontiers in R&D, the project team at Jebel Ali Operations has successfully filed an application to patent the use of standard jacks to facilitate Anode Beam movement within the electrolysis cell. Working closely with Takamul – an innovation protection support programme developed and operated by the Abu Dhabi Technology Development Committee (“TDC”) – the new innovation will allow for easy maintenance, reduced manufacturing costs, as well as improved precision of vertical movement of the anode beam.

According to Mahmood Abdulmalik (Senior Manager, Technology Engineering) who worked alongside Mark Jordan (Lead Engineer - R&D, Technology Development & Transfer, EGA Jebel Ali Operations), the invention relates to the way that anode beams can be reached and moved with the use of standard (non-specific) jacks.

“The idea for the use of standard jacks to support anode beam movement came from our understanding of the drawbacks of using specific jacks, which includes the jacks being subject to heavy wear and tear, the potential hazards such as hydraulic spills, and the lack of control of the force transmitted through the moving means,” explains Abdulmalik.

When using standard jacks, the motor is located between longitudinal end jacks which improves the quality of transmission in particular in comparison with motor means located on the side of the cell. Its moving means operate well at high temperatures that may occasionally reach 100°C (during pot start up or anode effects), in a heavily dust-laden environment containing dust particles that are abrasive (alumina) and corrosive (alumina containing HF; AlF3), and in the presence of magnetic fields (that can reach about 50 to 100 mT at the superstructure level).

The use of standard jacks also allows the transmission of a controlled vertical force to each jack at the same time and therefore, the strokes of all the jacks are substantially identical, so that the beam remains horizontal, during its movement. Lifting speed can be controlled and varied easily, especially if the whole system is driven by one single electrical motor.

“Using standard jacks allows EGA to call for tenders from different suppliers of standard jacks and competition keeps cost down as standard jacks are less expensive than jacks designed specifically for the application of mechanizing the movement of the anode beam,” adds Abdulmalik.

Anode beam movement using standard jacks translates into measurable operating cost reductions and inreased productivity across the EGA Jebel Ali plant. The proprietary reduction technologies developed in-house by EGA for more than 20 years have made the company a respected competitor in the aluminium sector with 100 per cent UAE-based development.