Kaiser Aluminum

Jackson Herald
November 22, 1957

Plant Production Started

Editors See History Made At New Plant

Primary aluminum in a molten stream has signalled the beginning of production at the new Kaiser Aluminum & Chemical Company plant and the birth of a new basic industry in the Ohio Valley.

The first production of aluminum started at 2:39 Sunday afternoon with officials of the corporation and members of the press witnessing the history making event.

Only one cell was opened, but Works Manager Lloyd Amos explained that once opened they never shut down, day or night. When completed there will be 656 cells, or pots with 164 in each of the four lines through the plant.

Newsmen were seeing the first of millions of tons of primary aluminum to follow in the years ahead, the cascading metal linked together in a new enterprise of vast coal reserves of West Virginia with the reddish ore, bauxite, of Jamaica in the British West Indies.

When completed there will be 102 acres under roof at the plant which is the first aluminum operation in the world designed as an integrated operation to process the sugar like chemical compound alumina to plate, sheet and foil at a single site.

The white powdered alumina for smelting at the plant is provided by a $70 million dollar plant now under construction at Gramercy, La. There is an all water route between the two plants which means cheap transportation which was one of the prime factors in locating the plant in Jackson county.

The electrolytic cells are carbon lined steel pots each 20 feet long, 10 feet wide and with a cavity 14 inches deep. A line consists of 164 units connected in series by 2,000,000 pounds of aluminum bus bar, or electrical conductor.

A complete electrical circuit is formed by the current flowing through carbon blocks immersed in a mixture of aluminum oxide and cryolite in the cavity and out through the pot lining.

As the electric current passes through the molten mixture, the aluminum and oxygen separate with the metal settling to the bottom of the pot. The aluminum is then siphoned off. Each pot produces more than 1,000 pounds of aluminum per day.

From the reduction plant, the molten aluminum is carried in 8,000-pound capacity crucibles by special rubber tired carriers to the casting department.

There the molten metal is placed in one of six production units, each consisting of a melting furnace, a holding furnace and an ingot casting station.

Here ingots weighing up to 10,000 pounds are cast in preparation for rolling in the 32-acre fabricating facility which, except for two foil mills and a light gauge sheet mill already in operation, will be in production next year.

When the integrated facility is completed, probably some time in 1960, there will be some 5,000 permanent employees.

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