China's aluminum foil industry embarks on a new journey

Author: Wang Zhutang
After 90 years of development, China’s aluminum foil industry has achieved world-renowned achievements and has become the world’s largest producer and marketer and exporter. In 2020, there will be about 157 aluminum foil companies in China, with an output of 4,050kt, accounting for about 65% of the world’s total; domestic apparent consumption of 2840kt, accounting for 70%; export of 1,210kt, accounting for 30%; production capacity of nearly 6000kt/a, capacity utilization rate of 67.5 % (Lower, preferably 85%); There are 71 foil rolling mills with roll surface width ≥ 2000mm in the country, of which 45 are imported. Starting from 2020, China’s aluminum foil industry will set off on a new journey. Between July 2019 and March 2021, there will be 11 aluminum foil projects under construction and production, with a total production capacity of 1013 kt/a. This is unprecedented in the history of the development of the world’s aluminum foil industry. Over.
In 2020, the world’s aluminum foil production is 6230kt, but the per capita consumption of aluminum foil varies greatly among countries. The data of the “Global Aluminum Foil Producers Initiative (GLAFRI)” shows: In 2017, the global per capita consumption was 0.7kg; South Korea 1.9kg, North America 1.79kg, China 1.61kg, EU 1.56kg, Japan 1.51kg, Russia and Eastern Europe 0.58kg, Brazil 0.42kg, South Africa 0.16kg, India 0.12kg. It is estimated that by 2028, China’s aluminum foil consumption can reach 3500kt, that is, the per capita consumption is nearly 2.5kg. This may be the peak or close to the peak, and of course it will increase slowly, but the increase in output after that is mainly determined by the export volume. , China’s aluminum foil is quite competitive in the international market.
The author divides the development of China’s aluminum foil industry into four stages: the initial acquaintance period from 1932 to 1960, the start-up period from 1961 to 1980, the rapid development period from 1981 to 1999, and a new journey starting in 2000. period.
The initial knowledge period of China’s aluminum foil industry
At the beginning of the 20th century, the Chinese tobacco industry flourished, and the demand for aluminum foil used for cigarette packaging was relatively large. At that time, all the aluminum foil used was imported. Under this situation, the three aluminum companies in Canada, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom used Swiss aluminum companies to eliminate them. The old equipment built China’s first aluminum foil factory in Yangpu District, Shanghai, called Shanghai Fine Steel Factory. At that time, the Chinese industrial and commercial circles referred to aluminum as steel fine. The factory began to build in 1930, broke ground in 1931, and went into operation in December 1932. .
At that time, the factory used imported foils and strips to roll aluminum foil. At the beginning of its establishment, there were only 127 employees. In 1933, it was changed to three-shift continuous production, with an average output of 113t/month. In 1935, equipment for smelting and casting, plate and strip rolling was put into operation one after another, and equipment for coloring, embossing, and mounting of wafers and foils was added, with a monthly output of up to 400t. So far, Hualu Steel Refining Factory has become a complete aluminum plate, strip, and foil manufacturer. The aluminum ingots used are imported from Canada, the United Kingdom, Norway, Switzerland and other countries, and the products are sold in the domestic market. The average monthly output of the factory in 1948 was 290t, including 150t foil, 70t aluminum plate (including wafer), and belt 70t each.
In addition to tobacco foil, Hualv Steel Precision Factory also produces paper-mounted aluminum foil (thickness 0.009mm) for candy, tea aluminum foil (thickness 0.014mm) and non-paper-mounted capacitor aluminum foil (thickness 0.006mm~0.0075mm). . After the liberation of Shanghai, the employers lost interest in the operation of the enterprise, and the output dropped drastically. The monthly output dropped from 300t to 400t to 70t to 80t. Under such circumstances, the party and the state promptly adopted a policy of “utilization, restriction, and transformation” for private industry and commerce, which promoted production recovery and market prosperity. Before July 1960, the output of Hualu Steel Refining Factory was maintained at about 1000t/a, of which the output of aluminum foil was only 100t/a. State-owned, changed its name to “Local State-owned Shanghai Aluminum Products Factory”, and later renamed “Shanghai Aluminum Products Factory”, under the jurisdiction of Shanghai Light Industry Bureau.
The production of the state-owned Shanghai Aluminum Factory has developed extremely fast, and the production outlook has undergone radical changes in half a year. The output of aluminum rolled products has doubled. Compared with the state-operated pre-state, the average monthly output has increased by 414.4%, and the average monthly output value has increased by 385.4%. The labor rate increased by 248.2%. In 1961, the factory tried to produce pure aluminum sheets for toothpaste tubes. The aluminum foil produced was also exported in the same year, but the aluminum foil production volume did not expand, still at 1800t/a.
In 1959, Liaoning Electronic Aluminum Foil Factory (Dandong Aluminum Foil Factory) was put into operation, with a production capacity of 900t/a. This means that China’s aluminum foil production capacity in 1960 was 2700t/a.
The start-up period of China’s aluminum foil industry
In 1976, the Ministry of Metallurgical Industry approved the Northeast Light Alloy Company to increase the construction of aluminum foil section. In 1980, a four-roll 1200mm universal foil rolling mill was introduced from Achenbach in West Germany and put into production. It was the first advanced foil rolling mill in China with a production capacity of 900t/a. Previously, during the “First Five-Year Plan” period, Northeast Light Alloy Aluminum Industry Co., Ltd. built an aluminum foil workshop following the model of Hualu Steel Refinery Factory, with a production capacity of 5000t/a. Due to lack of experience, none of the 93 trial-produced equipment can be normal. It had to be completely reformed for use. It took 3 years and was put into production in 1962, forming a production capacity of 1500t/a, which met the needs of aluminum foil for China’s national economic construction from the 1960s to the mid-1970s. In the 20 years from 1961 to 1980, nine aluminum foil factories were built in various parts of China based on this workshop, with a total production capacity of about 13.5kt/a.
The Northwest Aluminum Processing Plant is the largest aluminum processing plant built in the 1960s. It is a relocation company. It was constructed in accordance with the “Three-line Construction” plan. The leading equipment and some key personnel were transferred from the Northeast Light Alloy Co., Ltd. The production capacity of, type, thread and powder is 7200t/a. Among them, the foil production capacity is 900t/a. The complete set of foil equipment was produced by East Germany at that time. The type of equipment is similar to that of Hualv Steel Refinery Plant, but it is well-manufactured and successfully debugged at one time to produce qualified products.
In October 1977, the Ministry of Metallurgical Industry decided to build a North China aluminum processing plant in Zhuo County, Hebei Province. The ground was broken in September 1978. As of December 1980, the first phase of the project was put into operation, forming a strip production capacity of 5000t/a. The continuous cast-rolled strip is the blank, and 550t plate and strip are rolled, and some products and a small amount of foil are deep drawn. This is a milestone in the development of China’s aluminum processing industry.
From 1981 to 1999,
A period of rapid development of China’s aluminum foil industry
With the rapid development of reform and opening up, China’s aluminum foil industry has also entered a period of rapid development, introducing a large number of advanced technologies and equipment. In 2004, China exported 75kt of aluminum foil, imported 64.4kt, and net export of 10.6kt. China has since 1918. It has always been a net importer of aluminum foil. In 2006, China’s aluminum foil output was 788kt, surpassing the US’s 780kt, ranking first in the world.
In January 1981, the North China Aluminum Processing Plant began to construct the second phase of the project, and decided to introduce a Φ420/1100×1600mm four-high irreversible cold rolling mill from Japan’s Kobe Iron and Steel Company, which was the first cold rolling mill in China that reached the world’s advanced level. It also introduced 1 Φ260/700×1600mm aluminum foil rough and intermediate rolling mill and 1 Φ260/700×1600mm aluminum foil middle and finishing rolling mill, as well as other complete equipment, and all the leading equipment was introduced. It was completed and put into production on December 25, 1982. So far, the production capacity of flat-rolled aluminum products in the North China Aluminum Processing Plant has reached: 5kt/a for plate and strip, 5kt/a for foil, and 2kt/a for extruded material. At the beginning of 1984, the third phase of the project was started and put into production in 1986. On July 16, 1984, China Aluminum Industry’s first Sino-foreign joint venture “China-Japan Zhuoshen Non-ferrous Metal Processing Special Equipment Co., Ltd.” was established.
In February 1981, the North China Aluminum Processing Plant sent the cast-rolled strip produced by the self-reliant continuous casting-rolling line to the Koyama Aluminum Rolling Plant in Japan for trial rolling of aluminum foil. The average yield of 0.007mm×260mm foil rolled was 75.8%. The quality of each item is almost equal to that of Japanese foil, indicating that China’s casting-rolling production line can produce qualified aluminum foil strip blanks, laying the foundation for China to become a large and powerful country in aluminum foil in the future.
Since the 1980s, especially after the Third Plenary Session of the Eleventh Central Committee of the Communist Party of China, with the opening up to the outside world and the implementation of domestic economic policies, the state has assigned batches of engineering and technical personnel and leading cadres at all levels to go abroad. During the inspection, foreign experts were invited to exchange technology, to understand and see the development of aluminum processing in the world today, and to find the gap with foreign advanced technology. Since then, China’s aluminum foil industry has entered a stage of high-speed continuous construction and production, and all completed projects have reached the international level or the international leading level. By December 2010, all two-roll foil rolling mills have been completely eliminated in accordance with the national structural adjustment policy. In 2007, China became one of the world’s primary powers in aluminum foil.
Among the more than 150 aluminum foil enterprises of a certain scale, there are about 11 with a double zero foil production capacity ≥ 100kt/a. They are: Zhongji Composite Materials Co., Ltd., Zhongwang Group (Yingkou Factory and Tianjin Factory), Hongqiao Aluminum Co., Ltd. (Zouping Plant and Weihai Plant), Shenhuo Aluminum Co., Ltd. (Shangqiu Plant and Shanghai Plant), Zhenjiang Dingsheng Aluminum Co., Ltd., Xiashun Aluminum Foil Co., Ltd., Dongyang Sunshine Uaixijie Electronic Aluminum Foil Co., Ltd. Company, Shengtong Aluminum Co., Ltd., North China Aluminum Co., Ltd., China Aluminum Group (Northeast Light, Northwest Aluminum, Henan Aluminum, Southwest Aluminum, Ruimin), Yunnan Aluminum Co., Ltd. (Huxin, Yongxin, Haoxin, etc.) .
The billet coils used in the production of aluminum foil include twin-roll continuous casting and rolling, ingot hot rolling, and Hazelett continuous casting and rolling. Casting and rolling are mainly used in China. In 2020, China has about 900 twin-roll cast-rolling lines, and the production capacity of cast-rolled coils is about 9000kt/a. About 70% of China’s aluminum foil is produced from cast-rolled coils, and 28.7% of hot-rolled strips for foil are produced. . This is unique in the field of aluminum foil production in the world, indicating that China’s aluminum foil production technology and process are at the world’s leading level. The consumption of Hazilet continuous casting and rolling strip billet accounts for 1.3%, but the consumption will increase in the future.
China’s aluminum foil industry sets sail for a new journey
China’s aluminum foil industry has a special significance in the development journey from the first half of 2019 to March 2021: the production capacity under construction and production is 1013kt/a. By 2030, China’s aluminum foil production capacity may rise to the “ceiling” of 7500kt.
Projects under construction and production capacity
●Daqing Yugang Longquan Aluminum Alloy Processing Project 120kt/a Aluminum Foil
Daqing Yugang Longquan Aluminum Alloy Processing Materials Project plans to invest 33 billion yuan, with a planned area of 10 square kilometers and a total construction area of 10 million m2. It will be launched in early March 2019 and will be fully put into production in 2023. The production capacity of flat-rolled aluminum products is 1200kt/a. The production capacity of extruded material is 1000kt/a, the production capacity of foil is 120kt/a, and the production capacity of deep-processed products is 200kt/a. After it is fully completed and put into production, it is estimated that the sales revenue will be 80 billion yuan/a~100 billion yuan/a, and the profit and tax will be 8 billion yuan/a-10 billion yuan/a.
●50kt/a electronic aluminum foil project in Qishi Huyanghe City
On June 13, 2020, Xinjiang Agricultural Seventh Division and Guangxi Hezhou Guidong Electronic Technology Co., Ltd. signed an electronic aluminum foil production line project with a total investment of 500 million yuan. The project is divided into two phases to build 100 chemical-forming foil production lines. The first phase started construction in July 2020 and was put into operation in July this year. Qishi Huyanghe City has successively introduced 6 electronic aluminum foil enterprises, including Huayuan Beile and Donghao Tiancheng, and strive to build more than 300 electronic aluminum foil production lines, forming an electronic aluminum foil industry group with an annual output value of 5 billion yuan.
●Wanji Holdings 120kt/a double zero foil cast-rolled strip project
Wanji Holding Group Co., Ltd.’s 120kt/a double zero foil cast-rolled strip project started construction on September 1, 2020. It is planned to be put into operation in September this year. 10 production lines will be built with an investment of 450 million yuan. After it is completed, the sales revenue will be 1.8 billion. Yuan/a.
●72kt/a electronic foil project of Wanshun New Material Co., Ltd.
Wanshun New Materials Co., Ltd. invested 750 million yuan to build a 72kt/a electronic aluminum foil project, which is scheduled to start construction this year.
●Jiugang Group Tiancheng Color Aluminum Co., Ltd. mass production of 6.0mm aluminum foil strip coils
The thickness of cast-rolled strip coils used for rolling aluminum foil is usually 6.5mm~7.0mm. In March 2021, Dongxing Aluminum Industry Tiancheng Cai Aluminum Industry Co., Ltd. of Jiugang Group successfully produced 6.0mm thickness for rolling double zero foil. It is technically difficult to produce such thin cast-rolled coils with conventional twin-roll cast-rolling mills, but it has certain economic benefits for aluminum foil manufacturers. Tiancheng Color Aluminum Co., Ltd. trial-produced more than 200 tons of aluminum alloy 6.0mm strip coils for air-conditioning foil for the first time, and the pass rate of one-time inspection reached 91.2%. The surface quality and mechanical properties met the standards and were welcomed by users.
●Jinyu Aluminum-based new material 190kt/a project
Anhui Jinyu Aluminum-based New Material Industry Project is located in the aluminum-based new material industry development planning area of Xinlou Park, Economic Development Zone, Zongyang County, with a total investment of 2.1 billion yuan and a new production plant and R&D center of 92,100 square meters. After it is fully completed and put into production, it will increase the production capacity of various aluminum foils by 190kt/a, achieving sales income of about 5 billion yuan/a and taxation of about 200 million yuan/a.
Projects and production capacity
●Lanzhou New District Aluminum Industry Co., Ltd. 200kt/a aluminum foil project
The project is a key project of the new green aluminum processing industrial park in the northwest of Lanzhou New District. The construction area is 500 acres and the investment is 2 billion yuan. Limited liability company investment and construction, mainly produces air-conditioning foil, medicinal foil, battery foil, etc., including: household foil 70kt/a, air-conditioning foil 65kt/a, packaging double zero foil 20kt/a, medicinal foil 15kt/a, battery foil 10kt/ a. Other foils 20kt/a. After reaching production capacity, the sales revenue will reach 4.8 billion yuan/a, the profit and tax will be 270 million yuan/a, and 800 new jobs will be created. The first phase of 50kt/a was put into production in September this year.
● 80kt/a expansion project of Dingsheng New Materials Company
Zhenjiang Dingsheng Group New Materials Co., Ltd. has a number of projects that can be put into production in the first half of 2020, such as the power battery electrode foil 40kt/a light foil and 10kt/a battery coated foil production line and brazing foil project with an investment of 600 million yuan . Brazing foil has a high technical content, many procedures, complex process flow, and high added value.
●The 36kt/a project of Yunlu Haoxin Aluminum Foil Division
Yunlu Haoxin Aluminum Foil Division 4# aluminum foil rolling mill was successfully tested on October 5, 2019, and completely opened up the last barrier of the wide rolling production process of the 36kt/a high-precision ultra-thin aluminum foil project, which improved the product structure and improved the company’s product structure. It has taken a big step forward in increasing efficiency and realizing design capacity. The 4# foil rolling mill was originally installed in the Jinma Temple production area, and is a 1850mm rolling mill imported from the United States.
●Dongyang Youyixijie 40kt/a Fine Foil Project
The first rolling mill R32 of Ruyuan Dongyangguang Youaixijie Fine Foil Co., Ltd. “Annual Output of 40kt/a High-precision Aluminum Foil New Material Project” began installation on April 2, 2020. The project has an investment of 600 million yuan. After it is put into production, the production capacity of strip foil can reach 150kt/a, and the new output value will be more than 1 billion yuan/a. It solves the current situation of China’s high-end battery foil imports. One of China’s important production bases for the three high-tech core products of brazing foil and battery foil.
●Shenhuo 105kt/a aluminum foil project
On May 15, 2020, Shenhuo Group 105kt/a high-end double zero foil project 1# roughing mill was installed, 1# medium rolling mill 60% was installed in mid-May, 2# medium rolling mill 10% was installed on May 20, outdoor The pipe network was completely laid in April 2020, the medium and low voltage cables were completed in May, the emery floor inside the workshop was completed in June, and the plant greening was also completed at the same time.
This project is a major project of Shenhuo Group to make up for the shortcomings of the “coal-electricity-aluminum-materials” most downstream industrial chain. Its products are positioned as high-end foils, electronic foils, and medicinal foils. More than 70% of its products are supplied to the international high-end market. Main production equipment: 6 Aschenbach 2000mm foil rolling mills, 8 sub-coiling machines, 2 roll grinders, etc., it is the aluminum foil production enterprise that has imported the most equipment at one time in the domestic aluminum foil industry and has been built at one time. This project is located in Shangqiu City, Henan Province, with a total investment of 3.6 billion yuan. The first-phase production capacity is 55kt/a. The first batch of products is 0.006mm foil. It will be successfully rolled off the production line on January 25, 2021.
Since the second half of 2019, China’s aluminum foil industry has entered a new stage with an unprecedented scale of construction. In the 21 months from July 2019 to March this year, 11 large aluminum foil projects were put into production and started construction, with a total production capacity 1013kt/a, with a total investment of more than 12 billion yuan, with an average monthly investment of 570 million yuan. For a country, this is unprecedented in the history of the development of the world’s aluminum foil industry.

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