Increased efficiency with smaller environmental footprint
Utilizing recycled copper in the process of casting OF-Cu rod has long been the target for manufacturers. The reason is simple and obvious: cost efficiency. Upcast Oy has developed their continuous casting technology and machinery to meet the requirements for using 100% recycled material – or scrap as many operators call it – in the OF-Cu rod process.
Using recycled material in the Cu rod casting process has been very challenging with regard to both the quality control and the mechanical processing of the material. The casting process itself does not remove the possible metallurgical impurities of the raw material. Therefore, earlier it was recommended to charge only small quantities of recycled material together with the pure copper cathodes. This required extra manual work from operators increasing the need workforce.
With the consistent development work and understanding the importance for the customers Upcast Oy has been able to change the situation. The first UPCAST® OF-Cu rod continuous casting line utilizing 100% recycled material from the other internal processes was delivered a year ago and has been successfully in operation ever since. The automatic charging technology of the new line is designed specifically for recycled material. The final product determines the criteria and limit values for the raw material. Thus, the purity of the recycled material is crucial for the process. Using scrap from other processes of the same manufacturer assures that the material is exactly the kind needed for the casting process.
In the past the charcoal covering the melt in the furnace has caused some problems in the material feeding and melting process of recycled material by preventing smaller pieces from fully sinking into the melt. This can be prevented by pre-handling of the material and the new line is also equipped with a hydraulic press forcing all the pieces into the melt.
The automated processes together with the new advanced control system have also added the production efficiency remarkably. For example, the automatic transfer of the melt results in less manual work, and this way the probability of human error is minimized. The remote access system allows for a very quick fault detection followed by fast repair actions. This is extremely important in order to avoid any longer disturbances or breaks in the process. Furthermore, the system allows the customers to have all the possible process data enabling them to make adjustments for the efficiency optimization.