Sebastien Gauguier and Abdulnasser Bin Kalban at EGA Jebel Ali

Sebastien Gauguier and Abdulnasser Bin Kalban at EGA Jebel Ali

EGA makes major move towards full crane automation

The company plans to move closer to full automation at its Jebel Ali plant with the addition of over a dozen new automated overhead cranes

01 August 2022

Emirates Global Aluminium (EGA), the largest industrial company in the UAE outside oil and gas, announced that it plans to install highly-automated, multi-functional overhead cranes in Jebel Ali in a step towards full automation of cranes used for reduction cell tending, and securing operations for decades ahead.

As part of the plan, EGA is replacing 16 cranes with just 14 new models that incorporate auto-positioning and advanced sensing capabilities. The cranes being replaced have been in service at the site for 25 years.

EGA has contracted Fives, a French industrial engineering group, to supply the new cranes. The first new crane is expected to be delivered before the end of 2023 with all 14 new cranes in operation by the beginning of 2025.

According to EGA, the increased automation capabilities of the new cranes will improve safety, efficiency and reliability. The technology brings closer its future ambition of operating cranes remotely from a central control room and ultimately fully-autonomous crane operation, it added.

CEO Abdulnasser Bin Kalban and Sébastien Gauguier, Aluminium Division President of Fives Group, visited EGA’s potlines in Jebel Ali together to mark the start of the crane replacement project.

“Pot tending cranes are the workhorses of any aluminium smelter, and driving automation offers significant potential to reduce risks for people and improve efficiency and cost,” remarked Bin Kalban.

“Our new cranes will boost automation in our potlines from the day they are installed, and we expect to make great progress in further automation during these cranes’ working lives,” he stated.

“These cranes are an investment in the long-term robustness of our operations, and will help enable us to create value for many decades to come. Using technology to enhance operations is at the heart of EGA’s Industry 4.0 strategy,” he added.

Gauguier said: “Fives has worked with EGA since aluminium production began in the UAE in 1979 and we are pleased to continue to earn the trust of the largest ‘premium aluminium’ producer in the world.”

“Through our partnership with EGA we will together lead the industry in crane automation in aluminium smelters,” he noted.

The Emirati aluminium major boasts more than 80 reduction cell tending cranes across its Jebel Ali and Al Taweelah sites in total.

These reduction cell tending cranes perform complex tasks including anode replacement and metal tapping in a harsh environment with high heat and magnetism. Each crane weighs over 100 tonnes, it added.

Based in Abu Dhabi, UAE, Emirates Global Aluminium is an aluminium conglomerate created by the merger between Dubai Aluminium (Dubal) and Emirates Aluminium (Emal) in 2013. EGA had an estimated enterprise value of $15 billion at the time the merger took place. The firm is owned equally by Mubadala Development Company of Abu Dhabi and Investment Corporation of Dubai. Emirates Global Aluminium holds interests in bauxite/alumina and primary aluminium smelting. 

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