The best of both worlds

/ HICON JOURNAL 2020-01 EN | Herbert Gabriel, Managing Director EBNER Furnaces, USA

The best of both worlds.

Aluminum and steel.

The title of our customer symposium hosted last fall at EBNER Furnaces in Wadsworth, Ohio (USA) said it all.

At the symposium, thermal processing solutions for both metals were reviewed with the goal of inspiring ideas on how each industry can adopt methods that may help improve their own “world”.

To achieve this goal, we invited speakers from all the EBNER GROUP companies: Gautschi, HPI and our newest member, GNA Alutech.

Around 25 customers participated in the two-day symposium, where topics ranged from safety, equipment modernization and digitalization to equipment design. A session on customer services solutions and EBNER’s recent and current R&D projects rounded the program out – along with evening programs, of course.

Our guest speaker from Alumore gave us great overview of a modernization project at a vertical casting pit, while Kaleb Wright from GNA introduced us to the fully automatic casthouse, where the processes and equipment are integrated into a much safer and more economical solution.

Rainer Edtmeier, HPI’s General Manager, introduced the group to the advantages of their horizontal casting plants for extrusion and forging billets, plates and slabs. One of the highlights was the progress report on the construction of their new pilot casthouse plant (Casthouse Revolution Center) in Austria, where customers can see these advantages first hand. They can also develop casting processes and alloys at the plant, as well as obtain hands-on training for their operators with real equipment and liquid metal.

The casthouse was designed in close cooperation with Gautschi, and so naturally includes a vertical casting pit. Tom Jumelet, Gautschi’s Chief Technology Officer, presented the aspects of vertical direct chill casting for rolling slab. This process uses their brand-new mold, which is getting a lot of attention due to lower CAPEX and OPEX.

Further symposium topics included recent and current R&D projects at EBNER, Gautschi and HPI. Thermal process digitalization was covered by our Chief Sales Officer, Walter Vortrefflich.

A presentation on our full range of Customer Service capabilities was the segue from liquid metals to the thermal processing of solid metals.

Advances in the field of aluminum heat treatment lines, from pre-heating, annealing and solution heat treatment to aging, were intensively discussed. A relatively new application, the hot forming of aluminum blanks for the automotive industry, was presented. This included an introduction to the pilot roller hearth furnace in our R&D facility in Austria, where we can assist our customers with product development

EBNER’s most recent development, a fully automated charging and equipment handling system for bell annealer facilities, could not be left out and yet another presentation described it in detail. This new system has just been installed at one of our customer’s works.

Our steel audience took note of EBNER’s product range for the processing of electrical steels (both NGO and GO grades), as well as our solutions for the processing of advanced and third-generation high strength steels in batch and continuous lines.

The symposium was rounded off by a round table discussion on future industry needs, and of course a social

program with visits to the local Wolf Creek Winery and an “Octoberfest” celebration with live music at the EBNER company pavilion where everybody had a good time.

We would like to express our heartfelt thanks to all participants and organizers for making this a stimulating symposium.

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