Solid Progress on the New Remelt Furnace at Laterrière Works

Pictured: Steve Girard, Business Improvement Technician; Antoni Allard, Supervisor; Samuel Bérubé, Supervisor; William Bouchard, Operator; Pierre-Luc Néron, Operator; Luc Racine, Drafter; and Jacques Ouellette, Project Cost Estimator.

The construction of a new remelt furnace at the Laterrière Works casthouse, which began in 2021 and represents a $11 million-investment, is coming along well, thanks to the team’s outstanding work. This project will allow the casthouse to reuse aluminium cuts from Rio Tinto and its manufacturing industry partners to produce rolling ingots for the automotive and packaging industries.

As the work is being done alongside the facility’s casting operations, the main challenge is to ensure that these activities remain unaffected throughout every stage of the project. Thanks to the integrated team, which is assisting the employees at every step, the construction is currently on schedule and meeting all health and safety requirements. “The casthouse has assigned an operational integration team to the project,” said Robin Gilbert, Manager, Casting. “This team is responsible for supporting the workers and helping them carry out the work.”

Every day, the team works proactively to avoid unexpected issues and ensure the smooth flow of operations. William Bouchard, Operator at Laterrière Works, is acting as a coordinator between the casthouse’s operations and the work on the remelt furnace.

We need to coordinate with the Operations team because we’re encroaching on their work area,” said Raphaël Gagnon, Foreman at Moreau Construction. “Thanks to William, we’ve been able to set off a work area for ourselves. That way, we avoid coactivity and don’t interfere with the casthouse’s operations. Everyone is happy, all due to good communication.”

The project also required a complete revamp of the casthouse. All departments were impacted by the project, and between 20 and 30 employees were involved in 20 different shops.

“It’s a great team effort, with everyone communicating with each other and enjoying themselves,” said Mario Bouchard, Superintendent. “Everyone’s willingness to collaborate has been a big part of the project’s success. There were no shutdowns at the casthouse and no incidents, which is very encouraging.”

Building this new furnace will allow the casthouse to directly meet customers’ needs by offering a product that is as closely in line with their standards as possible. The updates are also aligned with Rio Tinto’s strategy to produce responsible aluminium. The remelt furnace, equipped with regenerative burners, will improve energy efficiency by 30%.