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JSC «Uralelektromed» has started the second stage of the Tankhouse

JSC «Uralelektromed» has started the second stage of the Tankhouse

JSC «Uralelektromed» (an enterprise of UMMC metallurgical division) has launched the second stage of the new Tankhouse with the capacity of 160 ktpy. With this start, the permanent cathodes output doubled – up to 320 ktpy. In terms of financing, it became one of the largest projects in the industrial sector of the Ural region with investments of about 4.3 billion rubles.

The official start-up ceremony was attended by Yevgeny Kuyvashev, the Governor of Sverdlovsk region, Andrey Kozitsyn, UMMC General Director, and other distinguished guests. To memorize the launch of the second stage, the guests left autographs on the just manufactured copper cathode.

“Only when implementing such projects it’s worth saying about modernization and competitiveness of the domestic industry. It’s encouraging that the enterprise does not stop and will proceed with building the third stage of the new tankhouse, what means complete modernization of copper refining facilities,” - said Yevgeny Kuyvashev, the Governor of the Sverdlovsk Region.

Engineering and instrumentation of the new tankhouse have been realized based upon the latest achievements and new technologies in copper electrorefining.

“Today we have started a really modern production, which in many respects will determine the development of the core enterprise of Ural Mining and Metallurgical Company. Many thanks to the builders, contractors and designers who have coped with this difficult task. This makes it possible for Uralelektromed to reach the next level of organization, production culture and labor safety,” - said Andrey Kozitsyn, UMMC General Director.

In terms of technology and equipment, the second stage basically copies the first one launched in 2012. Permanent copper cathodes production process widely used internationally has been introduced here (stainless steel matrix is used instead of copper starting sheets). The electrolytic process runs in 448 polymer concrete cells supplied by CTI, Belgium.

For treatment of the electrodes, two process cranes KUNZ (Austria) with lifting capacity of 28 tons have been installed, operating both in automatic and semi-automatic mode (in total, there are four cranes at the tankhouse). In one hour, a crane can transport more than 800 electrodes, which is three times more efficient than bridge cranes at the old tankhouse.

Notwithstanding the similarity of process and hardware, there are differences. Thus, the second stage uses more functional filtering equipment. To avoid electrochemical corrosion, all pipelines are made of polymeric materials. Cranes, besides servicing the cells, perform cell scanning in order to identify short circuits and form tasks for their elimination.

A new concept has been adopted for stripping built copper deposit. A new generation cathode stripping machine was installed, equipped with six Kuka robots (Germany). It performs the following operations: cathode washing, stripping, sampling for chemical assay, packaging and strapping with steel tape. The use of robotic technology will allow increasing the efficiency of cathode stripping operations by 40% (630 cathodes/h against 450).

The new tankhouse is also notable for the high level of automation, which made it possible to control both tankhouse stages from a single operator’s panel.

About 68 workplaces have been organized for the second stage of the tankhouse.

It should be noted that the conceptual engineering of the new tankhouse was made by OUTOTEC (Finland) and the detailed engineering - by OJSC Uralmekhanobr (Russia, the enterprise of UMMC scientific division). Construction of the second stage was started in July, 2014. And in July of this year it is planned to start preparing the construction site for the third stage.

Interesting facts about the second stage

Electrolytic cells of Belgian production are made of anti-corrosion high-strength polymeric concrete and can serve for 20-25 years (conventional ones - less than 10 years) without repair.

62 cathodes and 63 anodes can be placed in one cell.

In order to transport KÜNZ process cranes to the tankhouse under construction, two cranes with lifting capacity of 50 tons and a “moonwalker” - a full-revolving cart with a diesel engine - were used.

KÜNZ cranes with a lifting capacity of 28 tons are installed at the height of 11 meters, which is the height of a 4-storey building.

The area of the second stage of the tankhouse equals to almost 2 football fields.

The pipeline was assembled using the “cold welding” process:

- putting blanks in the machine for gluing;

- checking alignment;

- beveling;

- cleaning and degreasing surfaces;

- gluing with special glue when turning parts 90 degrees relative to each other.

The length of the pipelines is about 10 km.

20 thousand tons of concrete was used for the foundation of the tankhouse.

The tanks and silos for solutions is made of composite materials (fiberglass/polypropylene) which increases their reliability and the tanks for slurry are made of stainless steel and equipped with mixing devices. The pumps, similar to those at the 1st stage, are manufactured by Friatec (Germany).

The tankhouse has a supply/exhaust ventilation system with heating of fresh air in the winter period. The waste gas heat trapped in the heat exchangers is used in heat recovery system. The supply/exhaust ventilation system provides six-fold air exchange in the tankhouse.

To reduce exposure to aerosols within the working area and emissions to the atmosphere the following technical solutions are utilized:

- covering of series of electrolytic cells with polypropylene fabric;

- a system for collection and cleaning of gases released from process equipment in the scrubber.

Copper cathodes of JSC Uralelektromed have the Good Delivery status of the London Metal Exchange.