At Novelis, our aim is to understand and engineer the desired mechanical and surface properties of aluminum from the very beginning, starting with metal production. Before aluminum can be processed into finished rolled product, the source metal must be remelted, purified and alloyed to create aluminum ingots that can be fed into the rolling process. Source metal inputs include primary aluminum and recycled aluminum scrap.
Novelis has capabilities in each of the critical steps. Learn more about the steps in the process of metal production:
Novelis is the world’s leading aluminum can recycler and offers an attractive price for used aluminum beverage cans. Although used beverage cans (UBCs) are the primary type of scrap Novelis currently collects, we are seeking to expand our recycling business into other scrap markets. In order to stay on track to achieve our target of 80% recycled content by 2020, we aim to greatly increase the amount of scrap we purchase. Novelis buys both new (from alloy and aluminum production) and old (post-consumer) aluminum scrap from a variety of sources and markets. Currently, the types of scrap we purchase consist of 1XXX, 3XXX, 5XXX, 6XXX and 8XXX series alloy scraps including:
- Can Scrap (UBCs and Class scrap)
- Building and Construction
- Lithographic Sheet
- Car Radiators
- Machine/Equipment (Turnings)
Based on data from the International Aluminum Institute, the current global aluminum old scrap market primarily consists of scrap from transport (automotive) and packaging (see figure on right). To meet our recycling targets as we move forward, we will need to seek new ways to source scrap from all available markets.
Global Old Scrap Recycled by Market
reference: IAI, published in 2012 using 2011 estimates
If you are a commercial seller of aluminum scrap and are seeking a buyer, view commercial information and contacts by region and/or country.
If you are an individual or organization looking for information regarding recycling, view consumer information and contacts by region and/or country.
The Novelis commitment to manufacturing excellence is reflected throughout our highly optimized direct chill semi-continuous casting (DC) process.
At Novelis, the starting stock for most of our rolled aluminum manufacturing comes from DC casting. This process involves pouring molten aluminum into a mold; once the metal cools and hardens, it forms a large solid block called a sheet ingot. The size of the sheet ingot depends on the size of the DC unit available and is related to the hot rolling mill capacity and, to some extent, the alloys being cast.
In DC casting, the metal is melted in a holding furnace and then treated in a two-stage process to remove any remaining microscopic non-metallic particles and gases. The holding furnace is tilted and molten metal is poured into a water-cooled casting unit.
As the metal flows into the molds, it is chilled by jets of cool water pumped around and through the base of the mold. The ingot solidifies gradually during the casting process, which takes approximately three hours. We continuously monitor temperature, speed and water flow so that each sheet ingot is of the highest quality. Individual ingots can weigh up to 20 tons and can be 500 – 600 mm thick, two meters wide and eight meters long. A finished 18-ton ingot contains a volume of source aluminum equivalent to approximately one million beverage cans.
In this process, critical variables such as temperature, speed and water flow are carefully managed, and the metal’s chemical composition and cleanliness tested on each cast.
Once DC casting is complete, ingots are transferred to a hot rolling mill.
Continuous casting (CC) is a process Novelis uses to produce coils of aluminum strip directly from the input of molten metal; it can be a faster, more efficient production process for some specific alloys. Novelis operates several facilities using different configurations of Twin Roll Casters (TRC) for this need.
All plants have different types of casters, which are distinguished by size and production capacity. The general process principle is the same for all TRC machines:
- A casting tip applies a thin layer of molten aluminum to water-cooled metal rollers at the desired width in a continuous process.
- The assembly moves through twin casters in an all-in-one process that combines two different operations: solidification and hot rolling.
- The length is endless in theory: Casts can last up to 20 days, and within one campaign, several coils are produced.
- Once produced, the edges of the continuous strip are cut away.
- The completed strip, typically 3 to 12 mm in thickness, is rolled into a coil.