Short essay on Aluminium Industry

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The aluminum industry is the second impor­tant metallurgical industry of the country. Aluminum products are used as roofing and siding material in building construction, in body building of buses, in cabin paneling of trucks, in the making of railway coaches, in air-craft manufacturing, in consumer durables (electric fans, utensils, pressure cookers, refrigerators, air conditioners and milk cans etc.), in industrial and machinery goods (insulation clad­ding, litho, agricultural sprinkler tubes, callboard and textile machinery), electrical and electronic goods (bus bars, lamp caps, dish antenna, light reflectors, capacitor cans and cable trays); in packaging goods (closure stock, slug stock and foils) and in power generation and distribution.

It can be used as a substitute for steel, copper, zinc and lead etc. About half of the total output of aluminum is used as substitute for copper in the electrical industries. In coinage it has replaced copper and nickel.

Development

The aluminum industry started in India dur­ing the Second World War. The production started in 1938 by the Indian Aluminum Company at Alupuram (Alwaye). It was later on converted into a public sector company in 1944. Another company under the name of the Aluminum Corporation of India was formed in 1937 as a public limited company which could start the production of alumina in 1942 and aluminum in 1944 through its plant at Jaykaynagar (West Bengal).

At the time of Independence there were only two plants with total installed capacity of 4,000 tones of ingots (annual production being 3,215 tones of ingots). During the Second Five Year Plant two new aluminum plants were estab­lished at Hirakud (INDAL) and Renukoot (HINDALCO).

Another plant was built up in the Third Plan at Mettur (MALCO) as a result of which the total installed capacity increased to 1.17 lakh tones and production to 96,546 tons in 1967-68. In 1970 the INDAL at Belgaum started its produc­tion which led to the increase in the installed capac­ity to 1.69 lakh tones in 1970-71. Later on the construction of BALCO plant at Korba and expan­sion in the capacity of existing units increased the installed capacity to 3.2 lakh tones in 1979-80.

Installed Capacity

Table 19.Ill presents the growth in the in­stalled capacity of aluminum plants from 1991 to 2002. According to the table there has been 98.8 per cent increase in the rolling capacity of aluminum during the last 11 years (1991 to 2002).

The Interna­tional Aluminum Products Ltd. (IAPL), a joint venture of Mukand and National Aluminum Company, is setting up a 50,000 tone plant in Orissa. India is also increasing its capacity by 10,000 tones with the commissioning of these facilities. The total rolling capacity will increase to 3.3 lakh tones by next year and if Balco goes ahead with its rolling mill of 40,000 tones the total capacity will rise further to 3.7 lakh tones a year in the near term.


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