Photo of Song-hai foundry, Porto-Novo, Benin

Technical manual on the recovery of aluminum in artisanal developing countries Gh.Bulteau Kerchove A. J. Divry Tchoufang G. Van den Bossche

Ingénieurs Assistance Internationale - Ingénieurs sans Frontières Avenue du Marly 48, 1120 Brussels - Belgium

Collaborators[edit | edit source]

Were associated with the development of this guide and its correction:

  • Gh. Bulteau (Fr), Engineer, Baudelet s.a., Technical Director of a aluminum refinery
  • Kerchove de DENTERGHEM, (B), I.C.Mét., Foundry of Lion s.a.
  • A. Divry, Professor, Manager, of the foundry Divry Bertrand, aluminum foundry
  • V.Gilard, (B), I.C.Ch., Ingénieurs sans Frontières
  • L. Lepot, (B), President of the Group Foundry Wallonia-Brussels
  • J. Tchoufang (Cam.), I.C.M.E., University of Liege
  • G. Van den Bossche, ICMét., Ingénieurs sans Frontières, chief of Al. Project

Were involved in tests carried out in Belgium, France and Cameroon:

  • V. Acha, (Cam) Engineer, Ingénieurs sans Frontières
  • L. Bertrand, (B) Head of Workshop, Foundry Divry Bertrand
  • Gh.Bulteau, (Fr) anc.professeur, Lycée Technique Armentières
  • JMEtobe (Cam) University Engineer, Ingénieurs sans Frontières
  • D. Ngantsengué (Cam), President of the Assaretra
  • S. Pierre, Technician-founder, Assaretra

Introduction[edit | edit source]

Aluminum is a metal with a low melting point (~ 650 °C) which can be already made in relative simple installations and foundries where the bodies of machines, household objects and other decorative objects can be cast at a low production cost. In particular in many countries of sub-Saharan Africa, small artisanal foundries make objects by casting aluminum into molds in natural sand, also called <<à vert >>; sand is also very wet, in a very humid climate.

Sale of aluminum kitchen utensils (Cameroon)

The manufacture of aluminum kitchen utensils by these <<à vert>> sand molding techniques is widespread in sub-Saharan Africa for several reasons:

  • Production process is accessible without extensive personnel training or startup capital, nor significant operation funding for a company whose cash reserves are often inadequate and occasionally negative.
  • Melting temperature is relatively low, hereby not requiring any complicated or expensive installation.
  • Availability of raw materials, common and easy to acquire; often from scrap of which the collection is done by a labor force made up of jobless people.
  • Secondary materials - simple refractory -basically clay- required for the manufacturing of the furnace and equipment, usually present in abundance, provided that onr satisfies himself with medium quality when compared to the same utensils made in stainless steel.
  • Local manufacturing, close to the distribution channels which are the local outdoor markets.
  • Low vending price and thus possible for a sale with often rural customers.
  • Possibility of recovery of domestic waste production.

A number of artisanal foundries work from a cheap raw material collected from aluminum landfill and melt the scrap in a melting pot furnace.

Discussion[View | Edit]

Sand casting technique[edit source]

It seems that the sand casting technique noted here might not be ideal for small batches. Rather, green sand seems mostly useful for automated and very large plants, due to its regenerative ability. However, given that many machines are required for the regeneration of the sand, it seems not very practical/economic for small smelteries.

Rather than using these, perhaps alternatives such as "Lost foam" may be more suitable (Replicast CS or Polycast). The polystyrene can afterwards be burned (ie in the furnace).

For medium-sized smelteries, a belt and carousel system smeltery (see also:,27492,27556,27586,28104&xhr=t&q=carousel+ingot+mould+casting+machine&cp=36&pf=p&sclient=psy&source=hp&aq=f&aqi=&aql=&oq=carousel+ingot+mould+casting+machine&gs_rfai=&pbx=1&fp=da944ea1e12678dd , ) , using metal moulds may be more suitable. The metal moulds can be reused a great amount of times:

  • 5000 times --> using cast iron
  • 25000 times --> using cupper
  • 50000 to 150000 times --> using aluminium
  • 100000 to 200000 times --> using magnesium
  • 250000 times --> using zinc 11:01, 13 December 2010 (UTC)

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