Aluminium Rheinfelden creates transparency and reduces electricity costs with Xamax

The Aluminium Rheinfelden Group in Germany is automating its energy data collection and wants to increase its independence from the public power supply in the medium term. The Alpiq subsidiary Xamax is helping to achieve this objective. Xamax is equipping the company premises with the three subsidiaries Rheinfelden Alloys GmbH, Semis and Carbon with a comprehensive energy management system.

In 1898, the Rheinfelden run-of-river power plant enabled the aluminium smelter to be founded. Today, the Aluminium Rheinfelden Group specialises in cast aluminium, pure aluminium and electrode mass. Their products are used, for example, in cars, for the production of aerosol cans or for electrodes for steel mills. In Rheinfelden, directly on the border with Switzerland, the company operates a 230,000 m2 production plant. The manufacturing of aluminium products is highly energy intensive. In order to optimise its energy consumption, the company engaged the specialists from Xamax.

During the initial phase in October 2017, Xamax installed some 40 energy meters for the medium voltage level (5 kV), a comprehensive energy monitoring system and a fully-automatic control system for the melting furnaces of Rheinfelden Alloys GmbH, the subsidiary that specialises in casting alloys. The Xamax system enables them to reduce the costly peak loads by approximately 700 kW and facilitate cost centre based energy accounting. Hence, all of the meters and the associated transformers were installed as calibrated versions. In addition, the existing ABB circuit-breakers were cost-effectively integrated into the Xamax system. Once again, the many years of experience of the Xamax specialists paid off. “The comprehensive consulting and project management, the consistent concept and the professional implementation without interrupting operations completely convinced us,” says Tobias Kreidler, Head of Technical Services at Aluminium Rheinfelden GmbH.

In the next step, until mid-2018, the three subsidiaries will be equipped with additional meters for the low voltage level. The modular design and the IT connectivity were crucial factors for the awarding of the contract. In the medium term, Aluminium Rheinfelden wants to invest in its own micro gas turbines or in a unit heating power station. The energy data that is collected by Xamax will enable the size of the planned decentralised generation units to be determined.