The extraction of bauxite and production of primary aluminium are energy-intensive processes. The use of energy affects both costs and the environment. Gränges therefore strives to maximize the use of recycled aluminium as this is more cost efficient and sustainably beneficial.
Increased use of recycled aluminium
Aluminium can be recycled without any significant impact on quality. Gränges works continually to improve internal recycling rates and increase the share of recycled aluminium used as input in the production process. A certain volume of process scrap cannot be avoided in production, and for cost effectiveness, internal scrap is reinserted into the process through re-melting.
In addition to using internal scrap, Gränges also buys external scrap from dealers or from Gränges’ customers. The advantage of buying scrap from Gränges’ own customers is that the com- position is known, and it is therefore easier to incorporate the scrap into new products.
If external scrap of sufficient quality is unavailable on the market, primary aluminium is used. This is generally more expensive than recycled aluminium and so the use of recycled aluminium is always prioritized. Gränges’ production facility in Shanghai does currently not use externally sourced scrap as it is difficult to obtain scrap with sufficient quality and as there is little price difference between primary aluminium and scrap in China.
Scrap codes enable efficient use
Group-wide scrap codes, for classification of different scrap types, are used to ensure that scrap is used in appropriate processes, and that the volume of unused scrap is minimized. Scrap codes are continually developed in line with Gränges’ development strategy for new alloys. Gränges’ production facilities in the US use simplified scrap codes while the production facilities in Finspång and Shanghai use code systems that allows different clad scrap combinations to be grouped together. The coding system enables efficient scrap handling and optimized re-melting, thereby minimizing the sale of scrap that cannot be re-used in production.
Balance between application requirements and recyclability
Recycling possibilities are increasingly important when developing new products and alloys. Research and innovation activities are focused on identifying integrated solutions that not only achieve the required technical specification, but also enable improved recycling rates. To ensure suitable material properties, Gränges clads different alloys onto the aluminium alloy cores. The claddings change the composition, which affects the recycling potential. Gränges runs a research programme to obtain alloys designed for optimal combinations of application requirements and recyclability.
Percentage of materials used that are recycled input materials