KMEZ experiments with the shape and weight of copper anodes

JSC Kyshtym Copper Electrolytic plant is carrying out technical modernization of the Tankhouse, which will increase the output of cathodes from 140 to 230 thousand tons per year.

After commissioning of two stages of the new Tankhouse, the cathodes will be produced from anodes of a different weight and, accordingly, size. The existing anode, cast in the plant’s copper-smelting division weighs 283 kg. The weight of its “heir” will be 435 kg, which is almost 150 kg more; hence leading to changes in overall dimensions of the anode plate: width, height, thickness.

Heavy anodes for the copper electrolysis process will be supplied to KMEZ from Karabash, where the copper smelting processing is planned to be transferred next year. However, the Kyshtym Copper Electrolytic Plant will need a certain number of the new version of anodes in the very near future.

“As part of the technical modernization the installation of the Japanese Anode Preparation machine began. As of today specialists are putting the main units of the foreign equipment in the sequence provided for by the drawings, on the site prepared for this piece of latest technology” — says Vasily Naumov, Chief Technologist of the Tankhouse under construction. “We are waiting for the Supervisors from Japan to arrive, we will have the equipment commissioned in their presence. But it cannot be carried out without these new anodes for which the MESCO machine is designed.”

Supervisors set a task to prepare a stock of 120 big anodes. They were to be cast by the specialist of the copper-smelting division, but first they had to make a coquille – a special chill mould, which will be used to manufacture a mould for new resized anodes casting. Design and engineering department of the plant prepared drawings of the coquille, which was manufactured in Magnitogorsk and then was supplied to KMEZ.

“We disassembled the coquille, examined it, slightly modified, reassembled and manufactured the anode casting mould, then installed it of the casting carousel along with the usual moulds we use,” says Andrey Mukhachev, Chief Technologist of the copper casting division. “We faced the following issue: how to unload a non-standard heavy anode plate from the mould, how to cool it, because our equipment and our cooling baths are not designed for such dimensions and loads. As a result, we decided to put the hoisting slings on the anode manually, remove it from the mould using a crane and lower it briefly in a certain position into the water, then forward it to a special storage rack. There it was meticulously examined by representatives of the Tankhouse, designers, specialists of the Production Technology Department. We had to achieve compliance with the drawings in all dimensions, this did not work out right away, but still it worked out in the end.

Up to 40 experimental anodes were made with one pouring in the copper-smelting shop. Some, of course, were rejected – the path of pioneers is difficult. Nevertheless, within several shifts, it was possible to form a stock of 120 necessary «heavyweights».

The new larger casting mould was removed from the carousel. It is still in the shop in case additional anodes are required during commissioning. Moreover, the experience of the Kyshtym specialists will undoubtedly be useful to colleagues from Karabash when they begin to adjust the technology of anode processing.

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