28/06/2023 – Cutting / Sawing

Fully automatic sawing line for aluminum billets

American producer Century Aluminum has placed an order with Hertwich Engineering GmbH, Austria, a subsidiary of SMS group, for a fully automatic sawing line for aluminum billets. It is scheduled to go into service in 2024 and will replace an older line.


Illustration of a comparable fully automatic sawing and strapping line. © SMS Group


The line, which also includes systems for stacking and packing the billets, is intended for Century's site in Sebree, Kentucky, where another Hertwich saw has been in use since the year 2000.

Century Aluminum Company is the largest manufacturer of primary aluminum products in the United States. The aluminum smelter in Sebree has a production capacity of around 220,000 metric tons per year. This is more than a quarter of the company’s total output.

“One saw from Hertwich has been proving its worth at the US facility for over 20 years. Now another latest-generation line from Hertwich is being added. Trust must be earned, and that's something we achieved exceptionally well here,” says Gerold Keune, CEO of Hertwich Engineering.

The investment in the second sawing line from Hertwich aims to further enhance the Kentucky facility's operational efficiency. The new Hertwich saw not only boasts higher productivity, it also requires less manpower. Its energy yield is also outstanding: the efficiency of the saw's state-of-the-art electric motors meets the premium requirements of current US regulations.

The line can process aluminum billets with a diameter of between seven and twelve inches. It has an hourly capacity of up to 225 short billets with a maximum length of 1.60m, or 60 long billets with a maximum length of 6.10m. After sawing, the aluminum billets can be weighed – ready for calibration – and stacked side by side and on top of each other using so-called transfer cars. The billets are then tied with PET straps and placed on supporting timber blocks so that they can be picked up and loaded by forklift truck. The billets, which are sawn to length, are further processed in press shops into profiles for the automotive or aerospace industries.