This was the Future Aluminium Forum

9. December 2021

The Future Aluminium Forum opened its two-day online event on Wednesday 1st December with over 200 attendees.

The first presentation of the conference was given by the keynote speaker André Barten, President and CEO of Achenbach Buschhütten. Introducing the ‘Green, Lean, Digital’ concept, he stated that by ‘saving emissions [you in turn] save resources and save money.’ This concept was followed by data analysis proving, as an example, that a faster rolling speed is more productive as it uses less energy, less time, whilst producing more material with lower Carbon footprint.

The role of AI

Following Mr Barten were two Hatch speakers, Thessy Moodley, Regional Director – Digital AEM and Daniel Richard, Subject Matter Expert – Aluminium processing. Discussing the role of Artificial intelligence in the new Hatch Blast Furnace Digital Twin and its potential in other areas.

The impact of digital tools

Johann Reps, Global Technology Manger for Digital Innovation, Connected Worker and Automation, spoke on behalf of Alcoa. Mr Reps introduced listeners to the importance of digitalisation when connecting the global company. Mr Reps presented his audience with an example of how Industry 4.0 is also essential to optimising humans in the production line, and how it is designed to improve human performance rather than replace it.



The Future Aluminium Forum opened its two-day online event on Wednesday 1st December with over 200 attendees.

© Aluminium International Today

Next was Sébastian Gauguier, CEO of Fives Aluminium sector. Mr Gauguier discussed the digital tools designed by Fives. Fives’ digital tools aim to provide a tailored design for each customer, where their products are ‘personalised in response to our deep understanding of our costumers’ needs’, Mr Gauguier explained.

Hans Erik Vatne, Chief Technology Officer and Interim head of Battery Technology at Norsk Hydro, presented next on the ‘Digital experiences in Hydro.’ Discussing three key categories of Industry 4.0: Automation, Digital Twins and Creating Value from Data. Automisation covered the successes and targets for the automisation of practices and robotisation.

Digital Transformation

To conclude day one of the Future Aluminium Forum, Jonathan Silvestre, Systems Engineer at AVEVA spoke on ‘How a Data Platform Powers Digital Transformation in the Aluminium Industry’. Mr Silvestre stated that, from research on aluminium producers, ‘looking forward, 74% of respondents believe that a Data Platform, AI and Machine Learning will have the biggest impact in the next 12 months… but this will come with challenges.’

Sustainability, energy systems, closed loops

Opening the second day of the event was Juliana Bruwer, Solution Management and Sustainability Expert, Mills Products and Mining Industry Business Unit at SAP. SAP aims to assist companies with end-to-end sustainability using digitalisation and technology to utilise the best of the industry.

Moving on, Craig Phasey, solutions from EnergyFlex, presented on ‘Dynamic Control for Carbon Neutral Industries.’ In his presentation he discussed the benefits of Variable energy Systems.

Speaking next was David D’Aoust from PyroGenesis. Mr D’Aoust discussed the benefits of the company’s product, the plasma torch. Next he discussed PyroGenesis aim to assist the industries move to a closed loop production, including Dross into the production line.

AGVs and another digital tool

Polina Gurnane, data analyst and Hilbrand Kuiken, CEO for Quantillion gave their presentation on ‘implementing Automated Guided Vehicles (AGVs) with Quantillion’s Traffic Management System (TMS): Automated Anode Transport.’ Quantillion aims to ‘connect all assets of a plant into a unified dynamic data system and implement intelligent algorithms over the systems using AI.’ A key issue that they deal with, for example, is safety of workers. Replacing people with technology reduces health and safety risks dramatically.

Following the two Quantillion speakers was Thore Hauptmann, Key Account Director, Visavi. Presenting the audience with Visavi’s solution to improving a company’s operational efficiency, Mr Hauptmann introduced the digital tool designed to improve human performance.

The complexities of prediction

Gunther Schober, Sales Manager at PSI Metals Non-Ferrous, started his presentation on ‘predicting the future is a matter of trust’ quoting Niels Bohr, Nobel Laureate in Physics. Looking at the complexities of prediction when looking at the stages of aluminium production, Mr Schober states that machine learning is the key to resolving the complexity of prediction.

Bridging the gap

The penultimate presentation of the event was presented by speaker Steffen Zendler, Asset Performance Management for Metals at Rockwell Automation. Mr Zendler presented a tool designed to bridge the gap between the automated technology and human intelligence, regarding a more efficient outlook on the maintenance of machinery.

Closing the event was surprise speaker Mark Bumford, Sales Director at RiA Cast House. Discussing the benefits of an in-furnace camera, first implemented by RiA Cast house in 2014, which was designed to ‘remove operators from risky stages of the melting process.’ From this safety concept, the camera has become an integral piece enabling the transition to an Industry 4.0 production.

This is the abridged version of the Aluminium International Today event report. The full text can be found here.