Interview with Carmelo Maria Brocato, Head of the Aluminium Division of GMS/Engitec Group
Among Italy’s most experienced operators in the metals industry is Carmelo Maria Brocato, a top global expert on industrial plants producing wire rod. Over the last 20 years he has collaborated with the major aluminium producers in Europe, North America, China and India, resulting in the installation of seven large WRMs, including those of Aditya Mahan, and Korba Jharsuguda of Hindaclo, Balco and Vedanta.
What is your picture of this market?
There are no more plans for the construction of new aluminium smelters in Europe and North America. The new smelters that are planned to be built will be in India, China and South Eastern Asia. Certainly, these circumstances reflect the general and inexorable shifting of the centre of the aluminium world.
With specific reference to India, the growing rate of urbanization has pushed global investment trends in India, indicating an expected expansion towards infrastructure and in the construction and real estate sectors. Major projects are also expected in the tertiary sector including curtain walls. India is a top market for aluminium production and consumption thanks to several driving forces such as the large population, the availability of top-quality bauxite, and reasonable labour costs.
The main focus for modern aluminium is in the transport sector, particularly in the automotive, naval, railway, and aeronautics industries. It goes without saying that the sustainable growth of such strategic sectors is possible only if the availability of electric energy is ensured, transportation and distribution is carried out efficiently and with minimal impact on the environment. Therefore, in each of these sectors the need to establish stable energy transmission is considered one of the central issues.
What will be the role of Aluminium Wire Rod in India’s economic growth?
Aluminium Wire Rod will be at the core of industrial parks management as well as of the transportation sector. I have witnessed the growth of the Cables and Aluminium Wire Rod Industry, pushing and driving the necessity for large and centralized production of Al Rod. From this perspective, in India about 40% of the overall aluminium output is devoted to the production of rod alongside large aluminium production. I have had the privilege of following the creation and the installation of several machines dedicated to the Cable Industry production, and, again, I can say that manufacturing cables for energy transmission is indeed the main destination of India’s downstream aluminium production.
Do You find some energy group capable to invest in the new technology for the indian industrial parks?
One of the paths between Aluminum and Energy is followed by the large Italian group Enel Green Power, which is ready to invest in some states, to obtain renewable energy, according to an ergonomic and environmental sustainability criterion. They already made investment in Gujarat eand in Karnakata.
What new initiatives are there?
The most important piece of the puzzle is not only machinery but also its productive functioning. It has a lot to do with how it is operated. This is the reason why I have joined a start-up project with the GMS Engitec Group for production as well as for staff training. As for the latter, we consider it essential to offer experience and expertise to the industry’s operators, who will have to start up big projects.
Since it is difficult for some companies to recruit top professionals to build a team of industry experts, I have launched the first MTP – Master Training Program with GMS. We started up our new Aluminium Business Unit dedicated to the development of new solutions addressed to Users of Aluminium Wire Rod. This includes Mills (WRMs) and Aluminium Ingot Casting Lines (IC).
Particular attention has been given to the implementation of the RAC Program (Revamping of existing WRMs and IC, Academy and Consultancy), which has been designed to support the users of existing WRMs and IC as well as to comply with Industry 4.0 Concepts, in consolidating their process know-how and/or in resolving specific contingent problems. At GMS we are very proud to announce that, within the Academy Services, one module of customised Master Training has already been provided to the Technical Team of a leading European producer of alloyed rods for mechanical applications.
What is the program of the next Master Class?
The next Master Training Program will include a session lasting two full working days for Managers and Employees to review the various steps of the rod making process. It is a great opportunity for participants to focus on the concept design of the machineries involved and identification of possible areas of improvement, by pursuing the objective of making the machinery and process set-up safer and less dependent upon non-objective setting parameters.
Can you mention the main topics of the course?
It is not easy to summarize the main topics of such a broad and detailed program in few words. In short, we could say that this program has been designed not only to guide the team towards and to focus them on the technological details of “rod making” but, far more importantly, to guide the team towards a global program of “awareness”.
What do you mean by “awareness”?
Each Factory has its own culture: how they serve their clients, how they organize their storage, how they produce and, well, the MTP is meant to optimize the tangible and technical aspects within such culture that are and remain the driving force of the factory. However, each person involved in the MTP has the opportunity to broaden their perspective and realize that, in a complex chain, each link is part of achieving quality and consistency.
For this reason, the MTP thoroughly explores technical and tangible subjects such as a historical introduction to rod making plants; melting and alloying; degassing and filtering; continuous casting processes; bar handling; rolling and cooling; coiling processes; cast bar defects aetiology; rod defects aetiology; expected technological developments, and possible plant improvements. So I conclude this interview with a motto that I like very much: anything done well can always be done better.