The project

Project objectives:

MAGNHEAT project aims to demonstrate the first full-scale industrial application of a novel concept of DC induction heating furnace, which has never been applied so far, based on rotating permanent magnets for Aluminium extrusion. Such technology will be developed through a combination of ecodesign and engineering, exploiting and valorizing previous R&D activities carried out by the coordinating beneficiary (Inova Lab).

This proposed solution offers several advantages compared to traditional Al heating furnaces. Namely MAGNHEAT intends to prove:

1.Higher energy conversion efficiency

1.Higher energy conversion efficiency

2.Superior technical performance and competitive costs with respect to induction heating systems

2.Superior technical performance and competitive costs with respect to induction heating systems

3.Peculiar high degree of control in the temperature distribution and flexibility

3.Peculiar high degree of control in the temperature distribution and flexibility

4.Environmental benefits in terms of primary energy consumption and emissions

4.Environmental benefits in terms of primary energy consumption and emissions

A breakthrough innovation

A breakthrough innovation

MAGNHEAT represents a breakthrough innovation in the sector of Al extrusion and may lead to ecological paradigm change for this industrial segment. Technical performance, environmental advantages and economical benefit of the MAGNHEAT induction heating prototype will be proven in a concrete large-scale industrial production scenario (PANDOLFO). Established methodology for environmental impact and thermo-economic assessment will be used to gather quantitative results (CIRCE). The national association of Aluminium industries (ASSOMET) is involved to gather the attention of all relevant stakeholders and ensure proper dissemination and promotion of the actions through the EU (in cooperation with EAA). MAGNHEAT can contribute to identify, test and communicate innovative techniques which could be potentially considered as Best Available Techniques (BAT) for the updating of the BREF documents for the non-ferrous metal sector.

A breakthrough innovation

MAGNHEAT results shall have profound impact on manufacturing enterprises, energy utilities and policy makers supporting the promotion of industrial energy efficiency within the Union in order to ensure the achievement of the 20% target on primary energy saving as planned by the Energy Efficiency Plan COM(2011)109 and the Energy Efficiency Directive 2012/27/EU.
At national level (Italy) MAGNHEAT shall contribute to consolidating the knowledge base for development and assessment of environmental policy and legislation, and to actuate relevant energy efficiency action plans such as the plan for “Strategia Energetica Nazionale” (SEN, 03/2013).

Actions and means involved

The project includes the development of several actions, whose main objectives are:

1.PANDOLFO and SAET will define actual requirements and specification (action A1) for the MAGNHEAT prototype for continuous Aluminium extrusion. This information is necessary input for the following design and development actions, thus being intended as preparatory activity.


2.Design of the MAGNHEAT prototype system for Al billet heating (B1) based on the established requirements and specifications. Several steps are foreseen to design:
• the magnetic circuit for every module and the verification of the required temperature profile along the billet axis
• the electro-mechanical system and the mechanical parts
• the control and supervisor system (hardware and software)
• the automatic device for the loading-unloading of billets and the billet sawing system.


3.Construction of the MAGNHEAT prototype and testing of its functionality (B2) will start as soon as the design steps are complete. Starting from M16 the MAGNHEAT prototype will be installed at Pandolfo Alluminio factory (Lentiai) and tested. This phase consists of controlling the machine performance in batch production conditions. This serves to verify the functioning of all the various parts of the prototype, which have been individually verified, and that they are jointly working properly and there are not defects or incompatibility between them.


4.After functional tests the prototype will be installed on the Aluminium extrusion production line to validate the machine and verify its performance for continuous processing (B4). The important Key Performance Indicators are defined and measured to demonstrate the MAGNHEAT superiority with regard to traditional technologies.


5.Life Cycle Assessment and Thermo Economic analysis (B3) will be implemented by CIRCE in order to quantitatively evaluate the environmental impacts and benefits. Standard (ISO14040) and recognized methodologies (International Reference Life Cycle Data System (ILCD) Handbook) will be used.

Other obligatory actions are included for:

Monitoring of impacts of the project actions (C1) implemented by a dedicated Monitoring Team.

Communication and dissemination of project objectives and results to stakeholders and wide public audience (D1).

Project management and monitoring of the project progress (E1), this including also external audit (E2) and after-LIFE communication plans (E3).

Expected results (outputs and qunatified achievements):

MAGNHEAT proposes an innovative DC induction heating furnace for Al extrusion process. The first result of the project will be the design and construction of an industrial scale prototype. An industrial demonstration phase at PANDOLFO processing plant is expected to be performed to validate the machine and verify its performance on the extrusion line. A number of tests with variable billet size (min/max length in the specified range), productive volumes, extrusion conditions (heating conditions) and moulds will be carried out. The results of these tests will permit the measurement and quantification of several KPIs (B3 deliverables), i.e.:
• technical performance indicators of process and product (extruded parts) quality;
• energy consumption and efficiency;
• process performance indicators (hourly productivity rate);
• Cost/performance ratio;
• Environmental performance indicators and emissions of CO2.


MAGNHEAT induction oven is expected to bring about:

1. Superior technical performance with regard to AC induction or gas oven, allowing to perform at one time billet heating with uniform T distribution and T profiles (taper); this means higher flexibility but also lower investment costs for producer.
2. Primary energy saving of 50% compared to new generation gas ovens (separately equipped with AC induction furnaces for taping). Superior energy efficiency means a strong reduction of CO2 emission and air pollutants, compared to gas conventional burners, with subsequent benefits for clime and air quality.
3. Reduction of up to the 30% in the time needed for metal extrusion (no start-up time, no soak time between heating and extrusion) thus permitting to increase productivity, cut costs and gain competitiveness.

Considering the total extrusion capacity of PANDOLFO, about 32000 ton/year, and assuming to replace traditional gas ovens with MAGNHEAT heaters the following estimates come out:

Energy saving

MWh/year

5000

energy feed of about 1500 apartments per year

CO2 Emissions saving

t/year

3000

equivalent to 2000 air flights/person from Rome to New York

Air pollutants saving:
358400
NOx
g
16800
CO
g
22400
PM
g

Current production volumes of extruded Aluminium in Europe accounts for about 3 Mt/year (data from EAA-European Aluminium Association), which corresponds to an overall energy consumption of 1150 GWh/year and approximately 0.6 Mt/year of CO2. About one third of such production capacity is established in Italy, which is – after Germany – the second largest European market of extruded Al products.