A large aluminium producing plant in Turkey has found that choosing a Ceramite® refractory lining for its crucibles increased the service life of the linings by five times - and resulted in easier and reduced maintenance, along with increased efficiency and more production time.
At Eti Aluminium A.S.’s Seydişehir Plant, where it extracts aluminium from bauxite ore, it was experiencing continual mechanical and wear problems with the linings of its 8-tonne crucibles in the electrolysis department.
Eti needed a much stronger, longer-lasting refractory lining for these crucibles.
When they turned to Pyrotek, the state of Eti’s crucibles was very poor. The linings were crumbling. Pyrotek sales engineers, evaluating the situation, shared details about the possibilities of Ceramite.
They recognized that a very high-quality lining for Eti’s crucibles was needed for efficiency and service life and reduced maintenance.
Pyrotek had already been a long-time supplier to the aluminium plant, providing high-quality consumables for casting lines and the electrolysis department.
"Our relationship with Eti has been more like a partnership than a supplier," says Tunc Yuksel, a Pyrotek Sales Engineer who works with Eti. "We are always welcome in their plant and spend a lot of time with different departments."
This strong relationship helped the Pyrotek team members gather the information they needed from Eti to deliver the best solution for the crucible linings. (Eti was using nine different crucibles in the electrolysis department.)
The low-quality linings from a local supplier were lasting only 3-4 months. Those low-cost, low-quality linings lead to more work stoppages for maintenance, which was very challenging because the linings would crumble during the cleaning processes. Eti couldn’t afford so many costly production interruptions for this maintenance.
"I explained the price-to-performance ratio advantages of Ceramite, and that they will pay less over time and gain more production time by using this very advanced material," Yuksel says.
Pyrotek sales engineers could see the molten aluminium was coming from the electrolysis cells very aggressively. So the strength of Ceramite was clearly the solution.
The crucible liners needed to be cast in place, so Protek started its trial with Eti using bagged Ceramite.
- Bagged Ceramite BCR-SB for in-situ casting
Pyrotek’s trial started in January 2019, with one of the nine crucibles. The first crucible lined with Ceramite is still working today, two years later, with no cracks or wear on the surface. The expected service lifetime is now two years for the crucible lining walls and bottom.
"Eti was very happy with the performance and satisfied with the mechanical properties," Yuksel says. "The metal was not sticking to the surface compared with other linings they have tried, including brick and other refractories."
Eti reported that cleaning the crucible was also very simple with the Ceramite lining.
The result of the trial was that Eti opted to have Pyrotek’s Ceramite used for all nine crucibles.
KEY TAKEAWAY: Aluminium plant operators globally who are struggling with low-cost and poor-performing crucible linings spend a lot of time on maintenance and experience lost production. By using a liner made of Pyrotek’s Ceramite refractory they can be their most efficient, productive and competitive.