AluChem to Unveil Low-Soda Alumina Plant
The US-based company is hoping to hit the ground running next month, as it launches its new line of low and ultra-low soda aluminas focused towards investment casting, ceramics and refractories applications.
US specialty chemicals producer AluChem will launch a new line of low and ultra-low soda aluminas for the ceramics, refractories and investment casting markets, at its plant in Little Rock, Arkansas, in order to broaden its portfolio and production capacities.
In a statement, AluChem said that this new high-purity alumina product will utilise proprietary purification technology in the production of low and ultra-low soda calcined, reactive and tabular aluminas, which will complement AluChem’s established low-soda AC99 tabular alumina products.
The new low-soda operation will further enhance the company’s soda reduction capability by allowing soda removal on a large production-scale basis to levels below 0.05%. AluChem’s national sales manager, Jake Wieland, told IM that a “normal soda alumina product is typically in the range of 0.25% to 0.5%.”
Wieland said: “There are suppliers of low-soda aluminas globally. AluChem’s proprietary process, which is about to be commissioned in Little Rock, does not introduce any other impurity in the stream. It is true purification on a large-scale production basis of the aluminas.
“It will provide the technical ceramics, investment casting and refractories markets a more pure alumina for their applications. There are no other impurities introduced. So, there is no collateral effect of having another element introduced into the matrix,” he added.
“Currently, the firm produces all its low-soda output in Jackson, Ohio, where its AC99 tabular alumina shaft kilns are located. However, the system employed at the Ohio facility has some limitation, as far as volume, product and level of reduction is concerned,” Wieland said.
He added: “The Soda Reduction system we are commissioning in Little Rock will be high volume, commercial production. It will reduce soda and purify the alumina prior to any calcining so that we can then produce a wide range of calcined, reactive and tabular aluminas. This will help broaden our portfolio and production capabilities, while serving the needs of all the industries that we supply.
“Our company’s focus will be continue to be on North America. However, we believe the unique nature of the product will create demand globally. We do not want to bite off more than we can chew at the beginning, so, we are going to develop slowly,” Wieland explained.
Wieland expects the new facility to be producing “large volumes” of ultra-low soda aluminas. “Our kiln in Little Rock is 80,000 tpa and until the system starts up we will not know the actual output capability of the low-soda
By Liz Gyekye
Published: Monday, 31 August 2015