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KPEX Orders Furnace and Casthouse for Its New Facility In Kentucky

Kobelco Aluminum Products & Extrusions Inc. (KPEX), a subsidiary of Kobe Steel Group, is currently constructing a new integrated greenfield facility in Bowling Green, Kentucky. Addressing the growing use of aluminum in the automotive industries, KPEX will manufacture high strength automotive alloy extrusions for bumper beams and car frames. As new generations of aluminum alloys are developed for aerospace and defense applications, today’s materials continue to find growing demand in automotive and commercial applications. Kobe Stee has a longstanding history of being a leading player in the aluminum industry and the establishment of KPEX marks its second major plant to be constructed in the Bowling Green area.

KPEX awarded Almex with a contract for an automatic-tilt reverberatory melting furnace with close integration to the new Almex DC billet casting line at the Bowling Green plant. The medium-diameter billet casting station will be outfitted with Almex’s patented LARS® degassing and purification system and CASTRIGHTII® control and automation package. The integrated supply assures that the Almex Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition System, or SCADA, will provide the highest levels of quality assurance and automated product traceability. Peripheral systems from Almex include MOLDEX™-based metal transfer launders, FILTREX™ ceramic foam filtration, and a complete plant water management system for assuring casting success. A traveling-type batch homogenization furnace, also with SCADA, is included within the turnkey scope to provide an end-to-end product and process warranty. According to KPEX, Almex’s expertise in 2xxx and 7xxx series aerospace D.C. casting technology was said to be a key determining factor in the selection of the “Furnace to Finish™” supplier’s portfolio.

The company broke ground on the new facility in August 2016, and has targeted first metal production in early 2018 for which detailed engineering and equipment manufacture are ongoing. To guarantee end-product quality and seamless startup, the Almex team will deliver KPEX personnel with comprehensive training and technology support throughout the plant’s startup phase.

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