The possibility of seeing cars on the streets of Brazil and other countries with light alloy wheels containing aluminum produced in Barcarena is increasing. It is in this city in the northeast of Pará that Albras, the largest producer of primary aluminum in Brazil, is located. With innovation and investments in structure, the company is standing out in the PFA alloy market (silicon alloy ingot), used on a large scale by the automotive industry.
Since the launch of this alloy in its portfolio, in 2019, Albras has increased production by 100% and is already the second largest PFA manufacturer in the country. The expectation is to end 2021 with the production of 10,000 tons of the alloy, double the amount produced last year.
Among the functionalities of the PFA, it can be used in the manufacture of aluminum alloy wheels and piston for automobile engines, which is a solid metal cylinder, called the “heart” of the internal combustion engine.
To guarantee its position in the national ranking and achieve the quality demanded by the market, the solution implemented by Albras was to invest in technology and qualification. One of the initiatives was to bring the Laboratory ever closer to the areas of the production stages: Carbon, Reduction and Casting. The laboratory performs chemical and physical analyzes to assess the quality of the aluminum produced at the company and, if necessary, point out opportunities for improvement in manufacturing.
“It is with innovation in analysis, from the receipt of raw material to the final product, that we are able to guarantee the quality of the company's products. In the raw material received, for example, we verify and equalize the parameters of physical and chemical properties so that there is no impact on the purity of the aluminum supplied to customers”, explains Katya Oliveira, supervisor of the Laboratory.
One of the 2021 innovations at the Albras Laboratory is the metallographic analysis carried out on the PFA alloy to check the distribution of its components, such as silicon. The team formed by 13 people, most of them Chemistry Technicians, was trained to apply this technique, which allows the identification of structural details of the product samples. With this improvement, the company is able to certify compliance with the aluminum purity criteria.
“Metallographic analysis contributes to improving the alloy manufacturing process. The more I know the structure of the material, the more I can act in homogenization, in setting the temperature, in the amount of material added”, comments Katya. “Our main challenge is always to give greater precision to the analyzes that give reliability to the results. For that, the training of the teams and the acquisition of equipment are important”, completes the supervisor.
Another line of investment is in the physical structure of the laboratory. In addition to equipment renovations and asset maintenance, reinforced as of 2018, Albras acquired in 2021 new equipment, such as a modern mill to prepare aluminum raw material samples and an optical emission spectrometer, which performs the chemical analysis of the alloy composition during manufacturing.
Albras' portfolio - Albras' products can have different applications, such as in the development of motors and electric cables, manufacture of wheels and motorcycles, pistons for automobile and aircraft engines, civil construction and packaging. About 70% of Albras' production is supplied to the domestic market. In addition to the PFA alloy, primary ingots P1020, P1015 and P0610 are also manufactured. Other primary aluminum and alloy productions can be developed and produced on demand from customers. The vertical integration and integration of the aluminum chain in Pará contribute to local socioeconomic development, attracting new investments, for example, in the automotive area.
“We have demonstrated our commitment to the development of Pará, with innovation in the manufacture of quality products for various sectors. Thus, we will also remain the leader in the primary aluminum market. We have already started production for testing a new alloy that will serve the electricity sector, with the potential to develop a client for Albras. Our focus is the satisfaction of our customers, always”, says João Batista Menezes, President of Albras.