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Recycling

The recycling of aluminium has increased sharply worldwide in recent years, due not only to the greater quantity of secondary materials available but also to the ecological and economic advantages compared with primary production. The recycling of aluminium enables up to 95 % energy savings compared to primary aluminium production – thereby making a significant contribution to reducing emissions. Furthermore, aluminium recycling enables the closing of material cycles in industrial production processes which are jointly developed, efficiently designed and standardised between customers and AMAG. The aim is to recycle aluminium products in a value-retaining manner. For this reason alone, it is in the aluminium industry’s own interest to utilise existing scrap. At the end of the life of aluminium products – whether from the building industry, transport or packaging – it is consequently important to keep these products in the recycling loop by means of appropriate collection systems (end-of-life vehicle recycling, deposit systems or recycling bins).

 

 

Value
Management

The recycling of aluminium has formed the economic base underpinning AMAG’s activities for more than three decades. Considerable investments have been made in this area in terms of plant engineering, furnace technology, residue management, scrap processing, etc. over the last ten years. With an average scrap utilisation rate of 75 to 80 %, AMAG is proud to be at the forefront of aluminium remelting and refining, and to continue improving its competence in this area through innovations.

 

For this purpose, AMAG has a large number of different remelting furnaces for various applications. The existing technological process chain and expertise ranging from sampling and scrap preparation through to the melting of contaminated scrap enable AMAG to ensure high recycled content in its products. Particularly in the case of different scrap qualities, AMAG not only possesses the appropriate recycling technologies due to various furnace aggregates, but also demonstrates years of know-how in the targeted processing of these materials. Moreover, special emphasis is placed on research and development, with ongoing optimisation of the entire process chain, from the characterisation of scrap though to melting technology and the finished semi-finished product. The company’s internal research and development in this area is complemented by dissertations, some of which have been initiated and conducted in recent years in the context of the scientific and technological advisory board.

 

Aluminium recycling consists of three segments: collection, processing and transformation of the scrap into a reusable alloy. Scrap sampling is one of the most important support processes in this context. All incoming scrap shipments undergo radioactivity testing before being forwarded for sampling and testing. The Ranshofen site operates a rolling slab casthouse to supply its own rolling mill and a casthouse for foundry alloys. Both casthouses cooperate closely in relation to recycling. AMAG has a wide range of melting furnaces (shaft furnaces, hearth type furnaces, induction furnaces and tilting drum melting furnaces) in order to optimally process different scrap qualities.

 

Various types of aluminium scrap are generated as part of processing the semi-finished product at the customer’s site. For this purpose, AMAG offers the service of taking over production scrap directly from the customer and reprocessing it using state-of-the-art recycling technology to produce high-quality wrought and cast alloys, which are then ideally used as primary material for the production of the same components. This is referred to as a “closed loop”.

 

AMAG has already been successfully practising closed loop recycling for several years with industrial customers from various aluminium processing sectors. Contracts were concluded or existing contracts extended with customers in the packaging, aircraft and automotive sectors to expand resource-saving closed loop relationships. As one of the largest aluminium recyclers at one site, AMAG has been pursuing the “alloy-to-alloy” recycling goal for many years. Through targeted separation and adequate processing measures, scrap is re-utilised for analytically identical finished product alloys, thereby improving value creation to a crucial extent. This approach is a decisive factor in improving the value chain, raising the proportion of recycling in products and thereby reducing the carbon footprint. This is easier in the case of production scrap that accumulates directly during the manufacturing process (such as for components) than with mixed scrap from the collection of used materials. The latter not only consist of various alloys, but are seldom present in a clean form, but rather, for example, painted, dusty, or mixed with other materials such as with plastic or steel as a material composite. As a consequence, either an alloy with lower requirements (so-called “downgrading”) can be produced, or the appropriate purity must be ensured by adding primary aluminium or a carefully composed scrap mix in connection with a precise adjustment of the microstructure.

 

For more informations, please see annual report 2021

Targets

Target 2021: 

  • Production growth while maintaining a scrap utilisation rate of around 75 – 80 % 

Central measures:

  • Optimisation of energy consumption as part of the “SMA²RT” project (simulation, measurement and automation of aluminium recycling technologies)
  • Expanding recycling capacities and expertise in the scrap sorting area
  • Developing alloys compatible with recycling
  • AMAG components: Closed loop recycling for best possible resource utilisation
  • Expanding closed loop relationships with customers

2022 target / medium term:

  • Production growth while maintaining a scrap utilisation rate of around 75 – 80 %

 

Results

Results:

 

In the 2021 financial year, the scrap utilisation (purchased external scrap and recycling scrap from our own production) amounted to around 341,200 tonnes (2020: 289,300 tonnes). This corresponds to a scrap utilisation rate of 78 %.