Modeling to Evaluate Coordination and Flexibility in Aluminum Recycling Operations
Reprocessing of aluminum production byproducts or dross for use in secondary production presents a particular challenge to the aluminum industry. While use of these non-traditional secondary materials is of interest due to their reduced energy and economic burden over virgin counterparts, these materials necessitate the use of particular furnaces, specialized handling and processing conditions. Therefore, to make use of them firms may pursue use of an intermediate recycling facility that can reprocess the secondary materials into a liquid product. After reprocessing downstream aluminum remelters could incorporate the liquid products into their aluminum alloy production schedules. Energy and environmental benefits result from delivering the products as liquid but coordination challenges result because of the energy cost to maintain the liquid. Further coordination challenges result from the need to establish long term recycling production plans in the presence of long term downstream aluminum remelter production uncertainty and inherent variation in the daily order schedule of the downstream aluminum remelters. In this context a fundamental question arises, considering the metallurgical complexities of dross reprocessing, what is the value of operating a coordinated set of by-product reprocessing plants and remelting cast houses?
Key wordsBy product reuse aluminum recycling optimization and pooling
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