Reference Colada Continua Chilena S.A.
100,000 tons of Latin American copper rod
Colada Continua Chilena S.A. is an industrial company founded in 1987 in Santiago, Chile. The owners’ original plan was to provide copper rods for the domestic market in Chile, supplying to the largest wire and cable companies. If they ended up exceeding capacity, they intended to also supply copper rod to the export market.
The original capacity of the plant was 36,000 tons per year using a Contirod process. Over the years they increased the capacity of the plant up to 80,000 tons per year, but this was not enough for the growing copper rod export market. Some shareholders increased their share of the wire and cable market in Latin American through acquisitions or mergers, so Colada Continua Chilena S.A., became a major supplier in the Latin American market.
The company has always manufactured copper rod of the highest quality, therefore they must ensure that the new operation line also produces the best quality oxygen-free copper rods. The copper rods are manufactured according to the ASTM B 49 standard, from grade A copper cathodes, which correspond to highest purity cathodes.
They explored different options to increase production capacity by 25–30% from the capacity at that time, and based on the options they studied, they decided to purchase a new and original UPCAST® line.
When considering the purchase of UPCAST® line the main reasons were the advanced technology used in their design and processes, and their aftersales service, ensuring a long term relationship with this new strategic supplier.
In January 2012 we then decided to buy a new UPCAST® line with a production capacity of 20,000 tons per year of oxygen-free copper rod, with a capacity to produce different diameters, ranging from 8 to 20 mm.
They have been running the UPCAST® line for more than two years and they are satisfied with the good results in terms of productivity and the quality of the copper rod.
Colada Continua Chilena S.A. is a company recognised for its innovation and operational efficiency in its processes, achieving a capacity of 100,000 tons per year of high quality rod. Not only are they recognised as the leading supplier of copper rod in Latin America, they also supply copper rod to some countries in the Far East, with 75% of their total production being exported.
Their challenge for the future as a copper rod manufacture is to increase their productivity on a sustainable basis, continuously increasing their competitive position in all markets.
The Chilean market is very special. With a population of 17 million people, Chile is by far the biggest copper ore and refined copper producer worldwide. However, downstream industries in the copper sector are scarce, both in terms of number and size. The potential for growth in the industry is rather big. Nevertheless, there are several constraints holding back its development. First are the real factors involving troubled economies that have historically been important customers, such as Brazil, Argentina, Venezuela and China. Second is the internal uncertainty affecting both business environment and domestic consumption, with the latter representing more than 60% of GDP. Nevertheless, the biggest issues affecting Chileans’ confidence (i.e. driving the internal uncertainty) are not structuralnbut rather circumstantial and are related to political issues (drawing up a new constitution), financing conditions (unrelated to capability) and the real exchange rate (monetary policy).
Juan Carlos “Kalle” Bodington
has worked as Technical Advisor for UPCAST OY, and before that for Outokumpu Castform, since 1996. He holds an Electrical Engineering degree from USB, Venezuela, and a Master’s degree on Industrial Automation from UCA, Spain. His first contact with UPCAST® technology occurred in 1987 while working as the electrical engineer in charge of the installation and commissioning (customer side) of a double furnace line for 12000 TPA. “It was love at first sight,” he comments when referring to the UPCAST® line. At that time working for Phelps Dodge, his career has since then spanned through the wire and cable industries, in companies such as Alcatel and Kabelmetal Indonesia. In UPCAST he has been mainly involved in the definition of technical aspects for new projects in the Americas, as well as comissioning and technical services worldwide.