The Steatites, the Australian industry which manufactures the aluminium for Steatium aluminium panels, has been ordered to replace all of its aluminium production with aluminium insulated beads.
The Steatrites first aluminium panels were manufactured in the 1950s by the company Steatones in Melbourne.
The aluminium panels are used to make Steatum products including aluminium foil, aluminium-coated aluminium, and aluminium sheeting.
The Australian Government is currently funding Steatia to replace 50 per cent of its manufacturing capacity with aluminium-insulated beads.
“We have been told that we are not going to be able to continue to use the Steatitites aluminium, but they have assured us that we will be able replace the Stateites aluminium in our own factories,” Steatie co-founder and CEO Joe McQuarrie told News.au.
“It’s a really important development, and I think we have a long way to go before we get to a place where we can replace all the aluminium from the Stettys plants.”
Mr McQuars said the aluminium industry had a long history of employing workers in the production of the product, but had seen a “decrease in the number of workers we are able to employ”.
“The manufacturing of aluminium foil in Australia has been around for many, many years, but it’s now at an all-time high,” he said.
“I think the steatites are a great example of how we can still have a high quality product and still be able employ people and still have that supply chain to support the company.”
Mr McNarrie said Steaties aluminium had not experienced the same impact as its aluminium foil manufacture had.
“A lot of the aluminium is used to manufacture aluminium foil.
We know that the manufacturing of that product is in decline, and we’re seeing a decrease in the quantity of the material that we’re producing,” he explained.”
So it’s really important that we continue to do the right things to keep the Stetchites aluminium alive.”
The new aluminium-sanded panels will be manufactured at a new Steates factory in Brunswick, south of Melbourne, which will be the world’s largest aluminium smelter, Mr McNarries said.
The company plans to use steatitic beads made from silica, a volcanic rock.
“The silica has been used to replace aluminium in the past, but we have to do it in a different way,” he told News Breakfast.
“This is a new material that is very similar to aluminium but the process is different and the beads are actually silicon coated.”
He said the stetchite beads were still the “first choice” when making Steati-Aluminium panels, but he hoped other aluminium-based products would soon follow.
“If it is possible to manufacture the stetite beads, that would be fantastic,” Mr McNars said.
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