Canadian Aluminum Producer Receives Funding, Maintains Jobs
Aluminerie Alouette, a Quebec-based aluminum producer, received a $15 million investment by the Government of Canada for development projects at its aluminum smelter. The investment will help Alouette, which has an annual production capacity of 600,000 metric tons of primary aluminum, maintain at least 830 jobs and modernize its facilities. Upgrades will include a pot change-out program, converting anode baking furnaces to natural gas, use of automated production vehicles and integration of Industry 4.0 concepts.
- Pot change-out program: Technological migration of these pots got under way in 2018 and is continuing in 2019. It includes changes to the steel potshells and the installation of new internal components in order to ensure the pots’ structural and thermal stability.
- Conversion to natural gas for anode baking: Depending on the availability of natural gas at a commercially viable price in the Côte-Nord region, Alouette hopes to convert its anode baking furnaces, which currently use heavy oil, to natural gas to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and costs.
- Use of automated production vehicles: If the upcoming tests are conclusive and commercially viable, Alouette hopes to integrate autonomous electric vehicles into its fleet of production vehicles, replacing diesel equipment.
- Integration of various Industry 4.0 concepts: Alouette wants to continue to install robots, control and decision-making assistance systems and infrastructure needed for full integration of operations at the plant.