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Aluminum Industry In 1994 Case Solution

Solution Id Length Case Author Case Publisher
2143 508 Words (2 Pages) Kenneth Corts Harvard Business School : 799129
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In the early days of aluminium production, it was difficult to separate aluminium from the other elements that it combined with which made it harder to produce it in large quantities. This is why the prices remained at $500 a pound. Until 1886, when Hall and Heroult separately arrived at the same low-cost electrolytic process to produce aluminium from aluminium oxide, more commonly known as alumina.

Case Analysis for Aluminum Industry In 1994

Even though this process was relatively low cost, but required the availability of pure alumina. However, only two years, another Chemist Bayer came up with a process of refining alumina from bauxite. The Hall-Heroult process of smelting aluminium was commercialized and is still used. The process of aluminium production consists of five core steps. First, the mining of bauxite, a clay consisting of 40-60% aluminium oxide. Once mined, the next step is to refine bauxite into pure alumina. This is known as the Bayer's process after the German chemist who came up with it. In 1994, this was still an industry standard to obtain pure alumina. The next was the smelting process commercialized by Hall and Heroult. This was the electrolytic reduction of a molten mixture of alumina and cryolite to make a pure metal. It involves passing a low voltage current between anodes and large containers with carbon or graphite lining. The smelting of a ton of aluminium required approximately two tons of pure alumina and 15kWh of electricity. The electrolytic pots are lined with each pot, typically producing 1 to 1.5 tons of aluminium per day. Over the years, technological changes and advancements have brought the electricity requirement to 13.5 kWh.

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