Alcan Aluminum Switches from Optics to Lasers and Saves $250,000

By Guy Laverty, HLI Alignment Technician

Canada-based Alcan Aluminum (acquired by Rio Tinto in 2007), one of the world’s largest aluminum manufacturers, successfully used Hamar Laser’s L-723 Triple Scan® laser* to align an aluminum ingot producing machine. Before changing to lasers, Alcan had been using 2 optical systems with 4 technicians for this complex and difficult alignment, but with limited success.

Hamar Laser’s L-723 was brought in to tackle the alignment and was able to do the alignment job with only 1 system and 1 technician. The laser was able to measure 20 points for every 1 point measured by the optical system. In addition, the laser aligned the ingot forming machine to .006 in. (0.14 mm), the most accurate alignment of the machine the maintenance techs had seen to date.

In the end, using the L-723 resulted in a total time savings of 2.5 days, with a machine production value of $250,000. In addition, operators reported that the finished ingots were much straighter after the laser alignment, resulting in almost eliminating a second “shaving” operation. Needless to say, the system paid for itself in 1 day!

* The L-723 Triple Scan® Laser Alignment System that was the subject of this case study has been superseded by the L-743 Ultra-Precision Triple Scan® Laser Alignment System.