Rio Tinto and STAS formed an agreement to commercialize an advanced compact filtration (ACF) technology for aluminum casthouses. The aluminum filtration technology developed by Rio Tinto will now be manufactured and sold under license by equipment manufacturer STAS worldwide.
“Thanks to the unique expertise of our researchers, the Arvida Research and Development Centre has a strong track record of creating innovative technologies that have been widely adopted and become industry standards,” said Claude Dupuis, casting technology director at Rio Tinto’s Arvida Research and Development Centre (ARDC). “We look forward to continuing our long-term collaboration with STAS and other equipment manufacturers in the region.”
Development and lab-scale experiments for the ACF filtration technology were undertaken in the early 2000s at the ARDC in Quebec, Canada. From 2002 to 2004, pilot and industrial-scale trials were conducted in a casthouse to validate the process. During this time, STAS manufactured the first ACF prototypes for Rio Tinto’s Grande-Baie and Laterrière smelters, where it has been used successfully for more than a decade.
The filtration system is adapted to frequent alloy changes and can provide inclusion removal higher than 90% in liquid aluminum. Installed directly upstream from the casting table, it filters liquid aluminum through porous ceramic filter tiles adapted to the final product filtration needs. The filtering units are equipped with one or two side-by-side filter cartridges depending on the metal flow to be treated. The system can use filter cartridges as high as 60 or 70 ppi due to its priming vacuum system. Able to improve the forming performance, mechanical properties, porosities, and surface quality of cast products, the ACF can be used in the manufacture of products for critical applications, such as high value added aluminum sheets and plates for can production.
Commercializing the ACF technology will now maximize the value gained from it and support its ongoing development and evolution. “We believe the ACF technology has enormous commercial potential for the global aluminum industry,” said Louis Bouchard, executive president of STAS, “and we are convinced that this partnership will maximize the value it can deliver.”