A consortium led by the UK Intelligent Systems Research Institute has developed a highly controlled aluminium quenching system that aims to reduce faults in aluminium manufacture.
UK-ISRI, a Pera Technology company, and the Instituto Tecnologico De Aragon has developed Ecoquench, which it says could also lead to productivity improvements and energy consumption reductions.
Commissioned on behalf of one of Europe’s largest aluminium extrusion specialists, the Ecoquench technology uses a combination of air duct and fluid cooling to deliver highly accurate advanced cooling rate control and closed-loop thermal and dimensional control.
As a result Ecoquench is expected to reduce product faults at the cooling stage by as much as 25 per cent, with the resultant benefit of a significant reduction in overall energy consumption and CO2 emissions.
Orlando Davy, UK-ISRI project manager for the Ecoquench project, said the project capitalises on aluminium industry demands to improve efficiency in order to better compete against low-cost manufacturing centres.
“The Ecoquench system offers a compelling solution by reducing waste and energy consumption while improving productivity,” he said.
“The next stage of the project will see the partners look at recovering waste heat from the quenching process to be reused in the energy intensive applications such as heat ageing racks, alkali baths, or space heating. This will in turn provide further savings in energy use and CO2 emissions.”
The Ecoquench prototype, now built and fully tested, is currently being considered by aluminium extrusion specialist BOAL for use on its European production lines.