Hindalco Industries

Portasilo overcame all the technical challenges and site restrictions associated with this complex project to provide a conveying system of the highest standard


Local knowledge and bulk-handling expertise deliver efficient pneumatic conveying systems for alumina processing plant


Aluminium smelting and rolling company Hindalco required additional capacity in their existing grinding plant at Belgaum, in order to process granular aluminium oxide (alumina) into a special grade of Alumina. The company needed to source robust, energy efficient conveying systems to transport the coarse grade of Alumina from its existing plant into the new milling process facility and move the fine powder product from the mill into despatch bins. The solution required the conveying of both grades of Alumina (Coarse as well as Fine) which are both extremely abrasive. Therefore, Hindalco engaged Portasilo as conveying and material experts, as they needed to ensure that the solution could safely and efficiently handle both types of material.


Portasilo was entrusted by Hindalco to devise a complete conveying solution for the plant, using its advanced Superflo dense-phase pneumatic conveying technology. The conveying distances for the longest route is 285 meters total for the course alumina grade and other systems ranged from 60 metres to 115 metres, with rises of up to 25 metres across the site.

Initially, Portasilo conducted extensive tests on the coarse and fine forms of alumina at its state of the art laboratory in York, UK to determine the material’s flow characteristics and other properties. This essential data enabled Portasilo to specify the correctly sized, reinforced and pressurised conveying lines to transport the material around the plant at the required rate of 20 tonnes per hour. Portasilo Superflo pneumatic conveyors feature a unique online airflow monitoring system, which constantly evaluates the effectiveness of the conveying process and makes automatic adjustments to maintain optimum performance.

Portasilo supplied six different conveying lines for the plant. The challenge at the old block was to tap into existing product bins without compromising the strength, structure or performance of these existing storage silos. The alumina is conveyed via an air slide into a surge hopper, which feeds two pneumatic conveying lines which feeds the any one of the 12 silos in the new block thro a series of Divertor valves.

Two more dense-phase conveying systems are used to move the material from the new block feed bins into the new Grinding (Jet) mill and new Ball mill . The granules are pneumatically conveyed into pulveriser or microfiner feed bins, ready for grinding / milling . A bin vent bag filter collects any dust and feeds it back into the bins, ensuring no material is lost and no harmful dust is emitted to the atmosphere.

For this first stage of the conveying process, the alumina is a coarse, highly abrasive material, which means Portasilo had to specially reinforce the conveying lines, particularly at bends in the pipeline. The bends were Ni Hard casting to minimise wear and tear and extend the life of the equipment. The two final conveying systems supplied by Portasilo are used to take the now powdered aluminium oxide from the grinding mills (Jet & Ball mills) into bagging tanks, ready for despatch. These pneumatic conveyors again feature diverter valves to direct material into any one of 10 tanks.

The entire system was designed, supplied, installed and commissioned by Portasilo, combining the specialist skills of engineers and designers based in the UK and India.

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The new system is performing extremely well, and plays an important role in optimising the efficiency of plant operations with higher throughput, whilst consuming significantly less power than the existing systems.

Portasilo offered an invaluable combination of local knowledge and global industry experience, which enabled them to deliver a bespoke conveying solution for our specific requirements. The system they have supplied is very energy efficient & they managed and coordinated every aspect of the project, ensuring it was completed on time and on budget.

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