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Induction heaters for heating the stubs on anode rods

A cleaner, safer, more comfortable working environment is a more productive, more profitable working environment. Everyone knows this. But not everyone realizes the contribution made by induction technology to better working conditions. Thorleif Steinmoen of EFD Induction Norway reports on how induction heating helped improve operations at Europe’s largest aluminum plant.

Induction heating of anode stubs

The past couple of decades have witnessed a revolution in manufacturing industry. Lawmakers, often backed by wide public support, have tightened up worker safety and environmental impact legislation. Corporate leaders too have learned that ‘green’ manufacturing makes commercial, and not just environmental, sense. Cleaner workplaces boost worker morale, which, in turn, contributes to a healthy bottom line. A perfect example is the use of induction heaters for heating the stubs on anode rods. Heating of this crucial component is necessary for straightening, heat treatment, and for drying graphite coatings.

Traditionally, gas heaters have been the heat source, which for many rodding shops has meant noisy, dusty and smoky conditions. Gas heating also requires lots of floor space. EFD Induction recently helped the Norsk Hydro aluminum plant at Sundal, Norway----- -Europe’s largest------convert to induction heating in the rodding shop. The benefits have been dramatic. Dust, previously a major nuisance due to air turbulence caused by gas, has been eradicated. The risk of damage to the workpiece has been lowered, thanks in part to the low voltage of the induction coil, partly to the precise heat delivery possible with induction. Also, the high overall efficiency of induction saves energy. The EFD Induction solution, which consists of a high-frequency converter and advanced solid-state technology, delivers 600 kW. It takes less than two minutes to heat a 170 mm stub----- -all accomplished safely, cleanly and quietly.