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Trimet Aluminium: at the Cutting Edge with Energy-efficient Processes

Continuous improvements in energy efficiency are an integral part of the corporate philosophy at the medium-sized aluminum producer. Trimet is now making a further contribution to energy efficiency in the manufacturing process with a new homogenization process and an innovative alloy for an oil sump. Trimet operates a homogenization plant on a laboratory scale at its location in Essen for the development of new alloys and better alloy properties in order to also remain at the very cutting edge in terms of material requirements in the future. This innovative heat treatment plant makes it possible, together with customers, to develop new innovative alloys for subsequent processing and to test them in small quantities. The central process for making these innovative advances, aside from the composition of the alloys, is the homogenization of the aluminum alloy. In the essential heat treatment of the metal (homogenization), Trimet has succeeded in extracting further potential through increased resource efficiency. “In the homogenization of the metal, we control a central process in the creation of the desired material. We are able to program the material’s DNA through the heat treatment of aluminum alloys. It determines the properties of the product and also has a significant influence on the required use of energy and resources,” says Dr Hubert Koch, Head of Research and Development at Trimet. The improvement in efficiency during the homogenization process due to lower temperatures and shorter processing times results in energy savings of up to 20 %. It has also been possible to achieve energy savings in the creation of alloys. At its location in Harzgerode, Trimet has developed the new alloy trimal-04 out of recycled aluminum that does not require the standard heat treatment. This alloy is being used to produce an oil slump for automotive production. This results in a saving of around 120000 kWh per month for heating purposes and prevents 24 t of CO2 emissions per year. “Our customers appreciate Trimet as a manufacturer of specialty products and as an “efficiency expert” delivering sustainable production and processing methods. We don’t simply wait around for new leaps in technology, but instead trust in continuous improvements that involve all of our employees,” says Dr Martin Iffert, Chairman of the Executive Board at Trimet. As an innovative medium-sized company, Trimet develops, produces, recycles, casts, and sells modern light-metal products made out of aluminum from 8 locations in Germany with 1900 employees. (8/2012)

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