Automation Innovation based in Victoria, Australia has designed and engineered the new AiRC-1000. The system features robotic automation and a high-intensity laser to clean anode rods used in aluminium smelters.
Aluminium smelters are facing an unavoidable need to reduce energy costs and improve operational and production efficiencies. Currently, brushes attempt to clean the rods’ surface with inconsistent results; allowing contamination to build up and reduce the anode rod’s conductivity. On top of this, contact with the rods destroys the brushes causing a need for frequent replacement. This results in increased electricity usage and higher operational costs. Automation Innovation’s AiRC-1000 machine is offering aluminium manufacturers a new, cost-effective, and progressive alternative by combining high powered laser cleaning technology and robotic automation, whilst facilitating optimum rod surface conductivity.
Laser manipulation is achieved with industrial ABB robots that have been optimised to increase production output demands. The overhead conveyor input type of the AiRC-1000 can allow for a throughput of up to 500 anode rods per day* and the process ensures cleaning consistency and repeatability, complete with Industry 4.0 integration and reporting. It is estimated that the return on investment for this system is between 12 and 18 months.*
Manufacturers will also benefit from the elimination of premature wearing down of parts, no ongoing consumables, and no additional materials or chemicals required for a greener and safer preferred cleaning solution. Cost savings can also be experienced thanks to power usage reductions in the smelting process, and the convenience of the AiRC-1000’s ability to operate autonomously 24/7.
Automation Innovation is also gearing up to export the AiRC-1000 internationally.
*For an average sized plant.