Case Studies

These case studies illustrate how Alcoa is acting upon its commitment to sustainable development throughout the world. We are pleased with this progress, but look forward to achieving even more.

Select a year and/or category from the menu below to filter the case studies.

2008 — Economic

The secret to the successful start-up of Fjarðaál and Møsjoen: Deschambault

How do you supply world-class green anodes and baked anodes to Norway and Iceland when regular production barely meets internal demand?  You have to plan, ensure flawless execution, and have an outstanding team not only in the paste plant and the baking furnace, but all throughout the smelter.  These key success factors enabled the Deschambault Smelter to maintain its acclaimed performance while supplying 20,000 green anodes for the start-up of the Møsjoen Smelter and 13,500 top quality baked anodes for the Fjarðaál Smelter.
“There is no arguing that most of the action took place at the paste plant and the baking furnace.  But without the logistical support and collaboration of the entire team, we would never have been able to meet this challenge,” said Yves Laframboise, Baking Furnace Supervisor at the Deschambault Smelter.  “And the most exciting thing of all was to find open doors and winning attitudes everywhere we went.”
When he says “everywhere”, he literally means everywhere:  from the Port of Trois-Rivières where the raw material (coke) was transhipped, to the Deschambault Smelter and surrounding area, where the extra anodes were stored, to Montreal, where the anodes were carefully loaded into a container, to the Port of Rotterdam, hub of maritime shipping in Europe, to Møsjoen in Norway for the green anodes, and Reydarfjordur, Iceland for the baked anodes that enabled the start-up of the Fjarðaál Smelter.
Long-term planning was also key!  In April 2006, production at the baking furnace had to be increased to deliver approximately 10% more baked anodes.  In fact, 154,000 anodes are baked every year to meet the internal needs of the Deschambault Smelter, which already keeps the furnace busy 24/7.  So, 10% more was no small feat!  And since these additional anodes would not be delivered to Iceland before January 2008, they had to be stored somewhere in the meantime.  Accordingly, many of the open spaces around the smelter were designated storage areas and some external storage was also found.  (To learn more about the topic, consult Fusion, volume 5 number 3, page 4 – French only)
Moreover, only did the paste plant have to produce 13,500 additional anodes for baking, it also had to make 20,000 green anodes for Møsjoen!  To deliver these extra 33,500 anodes, production at the paste plant also had to be increased to 24/7.   The team from Maintenance put in as much effort to make this possible as the group from Operations.  (To learn more about the topic, consult Fusion, volume 5 number 4, page 8 – French only)
“When you think of all the challenges that had to be overcome, from obtaining the supply of coke, which is in high demand worldwide, to starting up new potlines in Fjarðaál – a critical step that was facilitated thanks to the quality of our anodes – we have a lot to be proud of,” noted Yves Laframboise.
Armed with the experience that enabled them to supply the international market with top quality product, the teams from the paste plant and the baking furnace have maintained the new production pace.  The operators even plan to increase production further, when possible, to support Alcoa’s Lake Charles smelter, which is usually supplied with green anodes from the Baie-Comeau Smelter.  And, with the latter’s Söderberg technology being replaced and production being increased, any available green anodes will be welcomed.  Especially when the anodes are of the quality produced by the Deschambault Smelter!