Bespoke 37kW Hydrovane compressors have helped Alcoa to increase productivity and lower maintenance costs at its San Ciprián refinery. Bauxite is transformed into alumina and subsequently into liquid aluminium by an electrolytic process.
Compressed air is required to actuate pneumatic cylinders within multiple machine tools for fluidisation in the transport and loading of alumina and for the removal of liquid metal (casting) from tanks by the venturi vacuum effect.
“Our compressors are running almost 24/7 but it is during the casting operation when there is a greater requirement for air,” explains head of plant maintenace Miguel Ángel Román Calderero. “To achieve a vacuum the pressure must not drop below 6 kg/cm2.
“One of the key factors for the Hydrovane installation is that the motor runs at just 1450 rpm. A screw compressor solution would have resulted in increased wear and maintenance costs, especially in an arduous environment such as alumina suspension where high temperatures and aggressive gases exist.”