For 20 years, Alma Works’ smelting area has faced a recurring problem to which no permanent solution had been found—until now. The tide turned when Stéphane Allaire, Smelting Quality Inspector Supervisor, looked into the issue to find a safe, viable, and affordable solution.
The challenge was to find a way to protect the corners of the bunds, which were crumbling over time. The concrete blocks covering the bunds would crack when the anode transporters, having to move through a rather confined space, would come into contact with them. Civilian employees would have to rush to repair the blocks because the reinforcement inside them is made of steel, a current conductor capable of releasing up to 600 volts of electricity.
A first test was carried out two years ago but proved to be inconclusive and rather costly. The rubber piece covering the concrete wore out after a few impacts. And the piece, worth $3,500, was quite expensive.
Last March, Stéphane Allaire began his search for the ultimate piece of technology—and he found it. Manufactured in Beauce, the rubber lining is virtually indestructible, available at a low cost and 100% made in Quebec. It has been tested for over nine months and has proven to be so effective that it is now used to cover all bund surfaces. A total of 24 rubber linings have been installed, at a cost of $1180 per piece.
Allaire said, “This solution makes things not only safer, but also cheaper, because we will be able to replace the pieces one by one if they wear out again. We are proud to have taken the time to study the issue and to have found a cost-effective solution that helps us improve our workplace.”