Master Alloys / 03.15.2022

Master Alloys in Aluminum Foil Manufacturing

Master Alloys in Aluminum Foil Manufacturing - Image

Aluminum foil was introduced in the 1920s as an alternative to tin foil and quickly gained adoption throughout the world. Today, aluminum foil is one of the most ubiquitous consumer products in existence, used by more than 323 million Americans (nearly 98% of the population), with usage growing every year.

Aluminum foil manufacturers aren’t likely to see demand drop anytime soon. And like all companies in the industrial sector in today’s market, they are having to do more with fewer employees due to the ongoing labor shortage. If you’re an aluminum foil manufacturer, using master alloys in your production can provide several benefits. We’ve developed a signature formulation that is ideally suited for your application. In this article, we’ll dive into the specifications of this product and discuss some of the benefits it can bring to your operation.

Why Use Master Alloys? 

Master alloys are like seasoning in cooking when it comes to producing aluminum foil—just the right amount makes all the difference in the final product. They might account for only 5% of the material used in your finished product, but they offer great benefits to your operation.

Better Melting 

Alloying in your furnace presents challenges with the consistency of your output. Using a single furnace-ready product such as a master alloy saves your team from having to handle multiple materials to produce the right results. Another way master alloys help is that the aluminum and silicon are already in solution, making them melt faster and more consistently.

Better Recovery

Because raw silicon doesn’t melt at the same rate as aluminum, you won’t get consistent recovery by alloying in your furnace. Using master alloys will give you greater yield and more predictable outputs.

Safer and Easier Handling

Handling silicon as a raw alloying agent can be tricky. Not only has it recently proven more difficult to source, but it also usually arrives in solid form that presents issues during your handling process. It requires extra storage and additional steps for operators to load into the furnace, and the material can easily spill during transport or loading. This is just one example of the many ways that using furnace-ready master alloys helps improve safety in plant facilities.

Shapiro MasterAlloys for Aluminum Foil Manufacturing

We offer two specialized formulations that can be used for aluminum foil manufacturing: Si3 (3% silicon) and Si7 (7% silicon), both sourced with 100% North American-produced content and all recycled aluminum. Depending on your priorities, we can help advise you on which product best suits your needs. Factors to consider include the silicon content you require within the melt and how much you value using recycled content in your process. 

Success Story: Master Alloys for Foil Manufacturing

Years ago, we started working with a large consumer products company that manufactures aluminum foil. The consumer had been adding alloying agents to their aluminum, which added a layer of complexity to their material handling process since two separate metals had to be staged at the furnaces. They were also experiencing less recovery when they added the two base materials together in their process. Finally, the alloying agent was an expensive material to source, so they were looking for a more cost-effective alternative.

Today, this consumer uses over a million pounds of master alloys from Shapiro per month and enjoys more consistent results and better recovery. You can read the full case study here.

How to Get Started

Our process involves getting to know our customers’ specific alloying process and desired chemistry along with the configuration of your plant. We don’t just examine your master alloys needs—our managed services division at Shapiro Metals can also work with you to find efficiencies or opportunities to convert your scrap. We know that removing the steel cores used for your coiling process can be a challenge, and this is one area where we can potentially help.

See What Master Alloys Can Do for You

If you’re curious to find out whether master alloys are right for your aluminum foil manufacturing operation, connect with a Shapiro MasterAlloys expert today to get started.