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The spirit of innovation and continuous improvement at Dubai Aluminium (“DUBAL”) – the world’s largest primary aluminium smelter using pre-bake anode technology – has again been recognised by an independent, peer-based jury, this time in the Ideas.Arabia Idea of the Year Competition 2013. Three DUBAL submissions won awards in two categories in the competition, bringing the total number of awards garnered by DUBAL since the inception of the Ideas.Arabia contest to 21. The award ceremony was integral to the 8th Ideas.Arabia International Conference (“Ideas.Arabia 2013”), which was held at Grand Hyatt Dubai, on 22 and 23 April under the patronage of H H Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum (President of the Dubai Department of Civil Aviation and Chairman of Emirates Group).
The three awards presented to DUBAL were:
2013 Ideas.Arabia Productivity Award: This went to the suggestion entitled “Modify bus bar moulds mounting instead of buying new tundishes”, which was submitted by T Imran, E Flores and R Dayrit of Casthouse Services. This idea, which entailed modifying the mould-mountings, has allowed new moulds to be fixed onto existing tundishes for use in casting bigger-sized bus bars, thereby saving on costs and improving working conditions. The idea has also overcome the prior time delay in waiting for new tundishes.
2013 Ideas.Arabia Health & Safety Award: This went to “Improve start-up dam system on DC 1&2 tables”, submitted by M Fayaz, M Asi and M Hussain. By introducing a semi-automated and semi-manual dam-lifting system, mould-filling in the DC casting area can be managed by a single operator (instead of two, as was previously the case). This ensures uniformity in the casting process, thus improving billet quality; and the margin of error is reduced such that performing the task is also safer (both for the operator and in terms of plant operational security).
2013 Ideas.Arabia Health & Safety Award: This went to “Pot shell and collector bar cooling system”, submitted by A Safar and P Thiyagarajan. When the pot temperature increases excessively (such as in high voltage conditions), the pot needs to be cooled to prevent any tap out or bath leakage from the shell. Previously, an employee would have to enter the pot trench for this purpose, thus being in danger of serious and even fatal burn injury should the pot begin to leak. By designing and fabricating a cooling blower system for side shell and collector bar cooling, the pots can now be cooled effectively and safely (under abnormal operations).
Commenting on DUBAL’s repeated award-winning performance at Ideas.Arabia, Abdulla Kalban (President & CEO) said, “The independent recognition of DUBAL’s efforts in innovation highlights both the level of creativity within our organization and the inherent value of inviting employees to engage with our company. It also proves that DUBAL has immense potential for the future and confirms that which we have always believed, namely that our employees are our greatest asset.”
Widely regarded as the UAE’s industrial flagship, DUBAL is considered by many to be a role model in every aspect of its business. For example, DUBAL is a regional pioneer of employee involvement programmes through its award-winning Suggestion Scheme. Established in May 1981, the DUBAL Suggestion Scheme celebrates its 32nd anniversary in 2013. The success of the scheme since its inception has been remarkable: the cumulative savings arising from implemented suggestions has exceeded AED 152 million over this period. The scheme in 2012 achieved 100 per cent participation from eligible employees, for the seventh year in a row. Moreover, a large number of organisations, both locally and internationally, have used the DUBAL Suggestion Scheme as a model for developing similar programmes.
Sultan Al Sabri (Vice President: Human Resources & Organisational Effectiveness) adds that a culture of innovation is encouraged through the DUBAL Suggestion Scheme, which celebrated its 32 years in 2013. DUBAL is a pioneer of the employee involvement movement, having established its award-winning Suggestion Scheme in May 1981. A large number of organisations, both locally and internationally, have used the DUBAL Suggestion Scheme as a model for developing similar programmes. Confirming the value placed by DUBAL on innovation-based continuous improvement, the company was the main sponsor of the 8th Ideas.Arabia International Conference 2013. Previously, DUBAL was the main sponsor of the event (for the first three years and in 2012), and the platinum sponsor for the sixth event.