Rio Tinto and STAS to commercialise aluminium filtration technology

14 February 2020 (Last Updated February 14th, 2020 12:15)

Rio Tinto has signed an agreement with Canadian firm STAS to commercialise an advanced compact filtration (ACF) technology for aluminium cast houses.

Rio Tinto and STAS to commercialise aluminium filtration technology
Rio Tinto has partnered with STAS to commercialise its advanced compact filtration (ACF) technology. Credit: Tim Jarrett.

Rio Tinto has signed an agreement with Canadian firm STAS to commercialise an advanced compact filtration (ACF) technology for aluminium cast houses.

Developed by Rio Tinto, the ACF technology will now be manufactured and sold worldwide under licence by equipment manufacturer STAS.

The filtration technology was developed during the early 2000s at the company’s Arvida Research and Development Centre (ARDC) in Quebec.

Rio Tinto noted that ACF technology is an optimal filtration solution that can potentially discard more than 90% of inclusions in liquid aluminium.

ACF technology is used to manufacture products for critical applications such as high value-added aluminium sheets and plates to create cans.

STAS executive president Louis Bouchard said: “We believe the ACF technology has enormous commercial potential for the global aluminium industry and we are convinced that this partnership will maximise the value it can deliver.”

Rio Tinto introduced the first prototypes of the technology to the Grande-Baie and Laterrière smelters in Canada, where it has been used for more than a decade.

ARDC casting technology director Claude Dupuis said: “Thanks to the unique expertise of our researchers, the Arvida Research and Development Centre has a strong track record of creating innovative technologies that have been widely adopted and become industry standards.

“We look forward to continuing our long-term collaboration with STAS and other equipment manufacturers in the region.”

In October 2019, Rio Tinto started the commissioning of filter press technology at the Vaudreuil alumina refinery in Quebec under its C$250m (approximately $188.5m) budget.