Innovation: The path to bolster sustainability in downstream aluminium industry By Mr. Pragun Khaitan, Vice Chairman and Managing Director
As global concern over climate change deepens, the industry is aggressively pursuing new solutions to decarbonise, meet their emission reduction objectives, and reduce energy costs. The efforts of the aluminium sector to minimise carbon emissions have an immediate and substantial effect on reducing global greenhouse gas emissions. This has far-reaching ramifications for a variety of businesses and is an efficient means of combating the adverse effects of climate change.
The increased interest in aluminium as a critical material for emission-reducing solutions such as electric automobiles and energy-efficient buildings is very encouraging. Aluminium has been utilised for a wide range of applications, including electrical transmission lines, defence, and building, but its potential as a green metal is truly astonishing.
Aluminium is one of the most environmentally friendly materials available today due to its outstanding durability and recyclability. In fact, it is one of the most recyclable industrial materials and can be continuously recycled into the same product. This means that recycling can conserve up to 95% of the energy required to create aluminium from its virgin source. As we work towards a more sustainable future, the adaptability and environmental benefits of aluminium make it a great asset for a variety of businesses.
Our quest for a material that is sustainable, environmentally clean and ready for the future,has been answered by aluminium.As it caters to diverse industrial needs, aluminium emerges as a valuable metal that holds immense strategic significance for economic progress and sustainability. Its application in various industrial needs presents a unique opportunity for developing a circular economy, without having to compromise on progress.
Even cutting-edge devices such as laptops are made from recycled aluminium, thanks to its recyclability, light weight, ductility, electrical conductivity, and resistance to corrosion. A metal that can be continuously recycled and reused can only be put to sustainable use through innovation. A prime example of this is the manufacturing of aircraft, where the innovative use of aluminium for aircraft wings, smooth rivets, and even seats has led to reduced weight, increased range, and reduced fuel consumption. All the while, safety remains the top priority, and sustainability is achieved with the manufacturing of such product.
Key to sustainability
Aluminium has assimilated into our contemporary culture. It is present everywhere; from our smartphones and the aircraft we fly in to our homes and places of employment or worship. You might even be reading this on a computer or other device with an aluminium body, demonstrating how important it is to our daily life.
Tablets, computers, flat-screen televisions, sporting goods, furniture, mirrors, coffee makers—the list of things that may be made out of aluminium is boundless. Cans, foil, kitchenware, window frames, beer kegs, and electric vehicles or aircraft parts are just some of the many high-quality products that make use of this material today.
These examples highlight the growing importance of aluminium, a sustainable and infinitely recyclable metal, in contemporary society. The downstream aluminium sector has expanded to meet rising demand as a result of the metal’s widespread application.As our economies develop and our living standards improve, an increase in the demand for aluminium& the utility in various applications will skyrocket further.
Innovation is the first step towards creating a sustainable future. To give long-term social and environmental gains while simultaneously creating economic returns for the organisation, sustainable innovation has evolved beyond its original definition as the deliberate alteration of a company’s products, services, or processes.
The downstream aluminium industry is committed to implementing smart, innovative practices across a range of areas including safety, productivity, digital manufacturing innovation (product/process), green manufacturing, machining excellence, quality control, human resources, corporate social responsibility, supply chain management, and maintenance. This is in order to optimize operational efficiencies and maintain one of the lowest carbon footprints in the world.
Leveraging data analytics
Data integration and analysis will help the industry boost output and quality.One of the great benefits of data analytics is that it can transform vital information into formats that are engaging, and which can be easily interpreted in making decisions.This is extremely important in the massive aluminium industry because it allows data that was previously disregarded or forgotten to be considered. Digital transformation has set the way for the hyper-connected factory of tomorrow.
Manufacturing Execution Systems (MES) have emerged as critical enablers of digital transformation. When it comes to adopting digital transformation projects, aluminium extrusion producers confront a number of challenges. The reliance on legacy systems, which are not necessarily compatible with modern digital technology, is a serious concern. Upgrades to existing systems can be costly and time-consuming, delaying the introduction of new digital solutions. Furthermore, the use of digital technologies generates vast volumes of data that must be managed and analysed.
Manufacturers must create effective data management systems to guarantee that data is collected, kept, and analysed effectively in order to gain significant insights. Moreover, labour upskilling and supply chain integration are crucial issues to consider in order to achieve a seamless and effective transition to digital transformation. Overcoming these problems, in general, necessitates a comprehensive plan that tackles all components of the digital transformation process, including technological, organisational, and cultural aspects.
With the quick rate of digital transformation, there has never been a better time to create a hyper-connected digital experience capable of bench marking production line outputs by improving process flows, productivity, and efficiencies. Hyper connectivity, which is going to be a revolutionary business trend, will enable manufacturers to respond more quickly to any process delays that may occur along the route.
The aluminium industry has emerged as a leader in environmentally friendly metals, with a strong focus on recycling and reuse in the downstream sector. Furthermore, traditional fuels like coal and diesel are gradually being replaced with renewable energy sources like solar and wind. Through automation and waste minimisation, manufacturing processes have been transformed, resulting in a significant reduction in the carbon footprint of the industry.
With its strong capabilities in research and development, technical skills, and centres of excellence, the downstream aluminium industry has developed extremely marketable products using new approaches. The downstream aluminium sector has advanced innovation by focusing application-based development, such as making tailored wire rods for coastal electrical markets or crash-resistant alloys for electric vehicles. This dedication to innovation and exploration sets the downstream aluminium industry for future success.