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New MeA New Method to Control Load Temperature in a Batch Homogenization Process

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A New Method to Control Load Temperature in a Batch
Homogenization Process

Matthew Gavin, Rio Tinto Alcan, Sebree Works, Robards, Kentucky, USA
André Larouche and Claude Carrier, Rio Tinto Alcan, Arvida Research and Development
Center, Saguenay, Québec, Canada

Track: BILLET PROCESS & EQUIPMENT - Homogenization

ABSTRACT—Batch homogenization and cooling chambers are key equipment to produce niche
market alloys as well as most heat exchanger alloys. The quality of billets is highly dependant on
achieving the required microstructure through heat treatment in homogenization and cooling
chambers. Typically, the process control is carried out with thermocouples placed throughout the
charge at strategic locations. The fact that the batch homogenization process is controlled with
manually inserted load thermocouples limits the full potential for automation of the casthouse and
increases cycle time and consumable costs. A new method has been developed and trialed in the
casthouse in order to eliminate the need for manually installed thermocouples for each batch. This
new method uses permanent air thermocouples which are strategically located in the vicinity of
the charge and uses heat transfer laws to accurately calculate the billet temperature. This paper
aims at describing this new method, the implementation methodology, and the experience of the
casthouse during the assessment of this process change.

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