The SGL Group – The Carbon Company has completed the expansion of its graphitized cathode capacity in Nowy Sacz, Poland. With a total cathode capacity approximately of 60,000 tons p.a., the Company is now the largest cathode producer in the world.
In addition, SGL Group is the only independent cathode producer offering a total portfolio of grades namely amorphous to graphitic and graphitized cathodes. With the completion of the carbon and graphite plant in Banting (Malaysia) the cathode capacity will further be expanded by up to 30,000 tons available from 2011. As announced earlier, the capacity expansion is scheduled to meet the growing requirements of SGL Group’s longstanding customers.
Armin Bruch, designated Member of the Board of Management and responsible for the Business Unit Performance Products: “We were early to recognize and respond to the unprecedented surge in investment for new aluminum smelters and the conversion of existing ones that is needed to support a doubling of primary aluminum growth to 5-6% over the next 5-7 years. As a result the Polish capacity expansion of 2008 is al¬ready sold out and will serve as a transition step to cover the rapid rise in demand up to the 2011 start up of our grassroots, fully integrated plant in Banting.”
The demand for aluminum is benefiting particularly from the industrialization and infra-structure build up in Asia (especially China), the Arabian Peninsula, South America and Eastern Europe with the associated changes in lifestyle (e.g. aluminum packaging for consumer goods). Furthermore, the rising costs for raw material and energy have in-creased the requirement for lightweight and high strength materials. This fundamental change leads to a continuing growth of aluminum as material for light and energy-saving components and is the basis for the long term growth of the Company’s entire cathode product portfolio.
The cathode business is already the major growth driver for SGL Group’s Business Unit Performance Products. With its diversified production base at Griesheim/Frankfurt am Main, Germany, Raciborz and Nowy Sacz, Poland, and in the near future Banting, Malaysia, SGL Group will have the lowest cost structure with continuing benchmark quality. The cathode production is predominantly committed under long-term supply contracts.
Graphitized cathodes serve as a lining for aluminum smelters. As investment goods with a scheduled lifespan of 6-7 years, they are essential to convert alumina to aluminum by using very high amperage electric current.