Essay on Lifecycle Of Aluminium Can

Submitted By showerwalker
Words: 1033
Pages: 5

Lifecycle of Aluminium can:
An aluminium can is a container for packaging made primarily of aluminium (BrE aluminium)
Material Acquisition:
Bauxite compared with penny. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:BauxiteUSGOV.jpg
Bauxite’s main constituents are aluminium oxides, iron and silicon. Which makes it the main source of Alumina and Aluminium. (Around 80%)
Alumina: Aluminium Oxide.
The largest and most lucrative bauxite deposits are located around the Equator. Major producers include Australia, Brazil, Jamaica and Surinam.
Bauxite is normally found on the surface, which makes it easy to mine.
Most Bauxite is acquired via strip-mining.
Strip-Mining: to remove the surface soil and rock (or also called the overburden) to acquired the ores/materials. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Surface_mining, http://www.aluminiumdesign.net/why-aluminium/aluminium-life-cycle/, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bauxite
Processing Materials:
Bauxite is first refined into alumina (Al2O3) near the mine-site, (The production of 2Kg of alumina requires about 4Kg of bauxite.)
First, with good supply of electricity, the aluminium is produced by electrolysis of the molten Al2O3. The production of 1Kg of aluminium requires around 2Kg of alumina.
Electrolysis: A chemistry process which runs electricity in liquid/molten substances, using electric charge to separate the molecule, in this case Al2O3 -> Al (solid) + O2 (gas)
A relatively large amount of energy is required to reduce 2kg of Al2O3 to Aluminium; approximately 13kWh goes into the electrolysis of the metal. http://www.aluminiumdesign.net/why-aluminium/aluminium-life-cycle/, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bauxite, http://www.alcoa.com/rigid_packaging/en/info_page/making_cans.asp

Manufacture & Packaging:
The metal is sent for casting and producing, after that, it’s then transported for packaging, for further uses, in this case, making aluminium cans.
The aluminium beverage can is made with two pieces — the can body and the can end (or lid).
Due to Aluminum’s high malleability, the manufacturing process starts with coils of aluminum. Can plants use mass quantities of aluminum coil every day to make can bodies or ends.
Aluminium coil (roll of sheets) ->After arriving, the aluminum coils are first loaded one at a time onto an "uncoiler" — a machine which unrolls the strip of aluminum at the beginning of the can making line and feeds it to the line, where it is first lubricated. Lubrication helps the aluminum flow smoothly during the can shaping processes.
Cupping press -> the cupping press punches a flat blank from very stiff cold-rolled sheet. This sheet is typically alloy 3104-H19 or 3004-H19, which is aluminium with about 1% manganese and 1% magnesium to give it strength and formability. The flat blank is first formed into a cup about three inches in diameter. The cups drop from the press onto the cup conveyor. Any scrap (or skeleton) aluminium left over is removed and recycled. The cup is then pushed through a different forming process called "ironing" (generally rollers) which forms the can. Extra bits trimmed off to make all cans even.
The cans are then sent through the washer for cleaning, so it can be then decorated.
During decoration, the can is sent to a printer where several colours are painted on at the same time including the labels. The can is then coated for shininess and protection.
The can is then baked in an oven to prevent chipping of the coating and the paints.
The inside of the can is then sprayed with coating to prevent the can from reacting with the metal, and baked again.
The can’s tip is then made narrower and the base of the can is reformed to make a small dome to improve the container’s strength.
The can is then tested for leaks.
Plain lids (known as shells) are stamped from a coil of aluminium, typically alloy 5182-H48, and transferred to another press that converts them to easy-open ends. This press is known as a conversion press, which forms an integral rivet button in…