Copper and its Alloys
SCRAP PROCESSING, SMELTING AND PROFILING
Engitec Technologies S.p.A. supplies industrial plants throughout the world, offering its services from the definition of the technology up to the turn-key construction, start-up, commissioning and taking over by the client.
Engitec is very active in the technologies innovation, specially in the field of hydrometallurgy and electrolysis for the production of metals. Its Ezinex, Flubor and Ecuprex processes are the most revolutionary approaches to the extraction and production of Zinc, Lead and Copper of the last twenty years.
These innovative technologies have been developed by Engitec technical researchers from the invention phase up to the industrial pilot plant.
THE SECONDARY PRODUCTION OF COPPER
Secondary Copper production is based on the processing of different qualities of scrap that can be summarized into these categories:
- Clean heavy copper;
- Wires and cables, motors parts;
- Sheets, gutters, spouts, boilers;
- Alloyed (Ni, Ag, others);
- Pipes, Radiators, Condensers;
- Borings and turnings;
- Brass alloy in different composition and shapes;
- Bronze alloys in different composition and shapes.
The quality of scrap is mainly determined by its origin and copper content. The recycling process starts with accurate sorting followed by crushing, drying, separation etc, in order to render the scrap suitable for the smelting and alloying operations.
The smelting-holding-casting equipment are provided through the Engitec controlled Company GMS – GLOBAL METALLURGICAL SOLUTIONS.
The main GMS production includes Induction Furnaces and Continuous or semi-continuous casting plants such as:
- Coreless Medium Frequency Furnaces
- Main Frequency Channel type furnaces
- Innovative Induction Heaters for extrusion technology
- Pouring Furnaces
- Horizontal Continuous Casting Plant for tubes, billets and plates
- Vertical Semi-continuous casting plant for billets and plates
THE ECUPREX PROCESS
The ECUPREX process is a hydrometallurgical - electrochemical system designed to recover pure copper from primary copper sulphide minerals, secondary copper sulphide minerals and secondary copper materials and scrap copper metal.
The process, using a fluoborate electrolyte, is based on two main steps:
- The oxidative leaching of copper compounds (metal and secondary sulphides)
- The Electrowinning of the leachate in a diaphragm divided cell
The Electrowinning cell is the core of the process. In the unique cell, copper is plated at the cathode and the oxidizing component is regenerated at the anode to be recycled back to leaching. This unique cell design allows the system to operate in a closed loop with no effluent discharge. The process has been successfully tested in a small scale pilot plant on:
- Copper scrap
- Secondary copper sulphide concentrates
- Copper matte/white metal
The process is also suitable to accept some copper bearing liquid streams through the precipitation of copper and its recovery in cathode form. This approach was successfully tested, for example, on the regeneration of pickling solutions coming from printed circuit board production. The treatment of primary copper concentrates has to undergo a pre-treatment to convert the primary copper sulphide into a suitable copper compound.