Zhongfu Industrial to Adopt Digital Smelter Solution to Improve Efficiency in Aluminum Smelting

  • The Digital Smelter Solution for Zhongfu is the First of Its Kind to be Implemented in China
  • It Will Enable Zhongfu to Optimize Smelting Efficiency and Reduce Energy and Raw Material Consumption

SHANGHAI—6 February—GE (NYSE: GE) and GEWAC, a joint-venture between GE’s Power Conversion business and Wuhan Iron & Steel Group Ltd. (WISCO), signed an 11-year agreement to implement GE’s digital smelter solution for Henan Zhongfu Industrial Co., Ltd’s (Zhongfu) aluminum plant to increase smelting efficiency and enhance productivity. This technology is the first of its kind to be implemented in China.

“Aluminum smelting is a hard and challenging process, and any unplanned machinery breakdown hurts productivity and profitability. We see digitalization as the next industrial transformation that will help us fight off competitions during the cost-challenged industry downturn and unleash faster growth in the upturn,” said Haitang Qin, VP, Zhongfu. “With GE’s digital solution, we are leading the next generation of smelting operations in China that is setting the new standard of operational efficiency.”  

“The world’s aluminum primary production reached more than 60 million metric tons last year, and China produced more than half of it. Entering the aluminum industry in China speaks volumes of our digital expertise and capability,” said Gagan Sood, Industry & Power segment leader, GE’s Power Conversion business. “GE’s digital solutions will have a strong impact in reviving the industry’s productivity—reducing downtime and lowering energy and raw material costs—ultimately delivering unparalleled productivity and efficiency to support Zhongfu’s business-leading ambitions.”

GE’s scope consists of the deployment of the smelter digital twin to both Zhongfu’s potlines. A digital twin is a virtual replica of the physical assets based on rich profiles, data and analytics. In smelting, it can provide key intelligence on variables such as temperature and chemical reactions within the smelting pot not ordinarily monitored continuously. When compared against the real-time data, the digital twin can spot actual or potential abnormalities and failures before they occur and provide real-time feedback to the operator. The insights empower operators to anticipate the health and condition of the pot and result in faster specific interventions, characterized set points for optimum operation and reduced losses from unplanned downtime or even major failures.

Electric power represents about 30 to 40 percent of the cost of producing aluminum. Energy consumption and raw materials are two of the primary cost drivers in the aluminum industry, and they tend to go upward, especially when a process deviates from its optimum. Enabled by the digital smelter solution, operators can now deliver precise and more-efficient operations, which can translate into a reduced energy bill, more raw material economization as well as a lesser environmental impact.

About GE

GE (NYSE: GE) is the world’s Digital Industrial Company, transforming industry with software-defined machines and solutions that are connected, responsive and predictive. GE is organized around a global exchange of knowledge, the "GE Store," through which each business shares and accesses the same technology, markets, structure and intellect. Each invention further fuels innovation and application across our industrial sectors. With people, services, technology and scale, GE delivers better outcomes for customers by speaking the language of industry. To learn more, please visit www.ge.com.

About GE Power

GE Power is a world energy leader that provides technology, solutions and services across the entire energy value chain from the point of generation to consumption. We are transforming the electricity industry by uniting all the resources and scale of the world’s first Digital Industrial company. Our customers operate in more than 150 countries, and together we power more than a third of the world to illuminate cities, build economies and connect the world.

For more information, visit the company's website at www.gepower.com. Follow GE Power on Twitter @GE_Power and on LinkedIn at GE Power.


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