Rodabell – Excellence in Aluminium

Rodabell, the Spanish supplier of tailor-made solutions for the aluminium industry, is ready to capitalise on upcoming opportunities emerging from the fast-evolving market.

Rodabell is an international organisation specialised in the manufacture and supply of systems, consumables and tools for the aluminium industry. Its added value is based on its design capacity, flexibility and comprehensive service offering.

“Rodabell is a family-owned business with 40 years of history in the aluminium sector in Spain. Starting as a small business, we are today a well-established specialist in the manufacture and maintenance of equipment for the aluminium industry, both in Spain and in export markets,” says Commercial Director Alex Rellán.

The company is located in north-west Spain and currently employs some 130 people working in four business lines. At the core stands the parent company Rodabell, renowned for delivery of comprehensive engineering projects. The second business unit houses machining capabilities and the production of tooling and consumables for the aluminium casting production, such as molds, and bottom blocks.

The third unit is responsible for assembly and maintenance of Rodabell’s installations; and – last but not least – the newest business line, added recently, is Rodabell Raw Materials, specialising in the supply of a broad range of magnesium-based materials.

Complete package

As the company is located in a remote area of Spain, Rodabell is an important employer in the region, with local families having worked for the business for generations. Mr Rellán affirms that the company’s achievements are credited, first and foremost, to its employees.

“As a family business, people are at the centre of our attention, and our business success is the result of the hard work and dedication of our employees, each and every one of them. An environment of dedicated, customer-oriented teams, always striving to best accommodate our customers’ needs, is one of our key strengths.”

Rodabell is a true specialist in its sector, able to customise its designs to a very high degree – a key differentiator in a market where most competitors sell standard packages. “We design and manufacture according to our customers’ specific needs, in other words, we are able to deliver special, tailor-made equipment. This may be delivered as a complete package including after-sales service and continuous technical support and maintenance, as well as tools and consumables to run the machines.”

Out of a long list of projects, the most recent solutions demonstrating Rodabell’s capability include a billet-casting line automation project, in which the company provided the automation of furnace tilting using laser technology sensors. The second automation phase included the installation of an automatic dam, cooling water flow control and casting cylinder descent speed by volumetric flowmeter.

For another major client, Rodabell was contracted to design, manufacture, install, and commission a DC casting line including launder system, degassing, filtering, and a casting machine for 5 slabs (65 tonnes). Completely automated, the system allows a ‘hands-free’ casting operation, with the metal level being accurately controlled by sensors and actuators over the complete line.

Going with the trend

Mr Rellán explains that the company’s position in the value chain is that of a supplier of engineering and support solutions in the primary aluminium production process, which account for about 60% of the business. The remaining 40% covers the next stage of aluminium transformation, i.e. supplying consumables, especially for slab and billet manufacturers.

In order to provide its customers with the latest innovations, Rodabell has partnered up with some of the world leaders in the aluminium industry, such as US-based Permatech, the manufacturer of precast ceramic components and systems engineering for molten aluminium applications. Rodabell is its exclusive distributor in the European market & in Turkey.

The company is also partner to globally recognised manufacturers of fibreglass components used for liquid aluminium filtration. Together, the companies strive to strengthen relationships with customers in the European market.

Most of Rodabell’s customer base is located in Europe but the company is also active in Turkey and has a commercial office in the Middle East to support aluminium production moved from Europe in the past primarily for cost and environmental reasons.

However, now the market is experiencing a reverse trend, says Mr Rellán, noting that the company has been watching recent developments closely: “The pandemic and its consequences have further boosted the desire to move the aluminium production business back to Europe, which is of course very good news for companies operating in the sector. New plants are expected to be built in Europe and those investments will certainly bring considerable benefits.”

New opportunities

He further reveals that Rodabell is eyeing new opportunities emerging in the post-Covid market. “We want to position ourselves in certain territories where we are as yet not established, especially South America, China and Russia.”

“Secondly, we see a great business potential in aluminium recycling. In the wake of the pandemic, the European Union has introduced temporary recovery instruments to help repair the immediate economic and social damage and some of those funds are meant to further promote sustainability and environmental issues – aluminium recycling is one of them.”

While the pandemic has not had a drastic effect on Rodabell, some uncertainty remains, with prolonged delivery dates and severely restricted container availability on the one hand, and dramatically increased demand on the other, says Mr Rellán.

“We have been very busy recently, having achieved the best sales year in the company’s history. However, we cannot say whether this demand will be sustained or not. This depends on a number of factors including political decisions regarding energy and transportation for example.”

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