Investment in the future: major planned maintenance shutdown at Aurubis' plant in Hamburg
Hamburg | Wednesday, May 4, 2022
- Investment of € 59 million in the current fiscal year / total investment of about € 72 million
- Around 500 Aurubis employees and 1,500 employees from partner companies working around the clock
- Statutory maintenance shutdown in the primary smelter once more used for extensive modernization work
- Implementation of more than 480 maintenance and environmental protection measures
A planned and regular maintenance shutdown has started at the Aurubis plant in Hamburg. The reason is the inspection of the waste heat boiler in the primary smelter, which is required by law every three years. For this purpose, the entire primary smelter, in which more than 1.1 million tons of copper concentrates are processed into copper cathodes each year, as well as the connected contact plant for the production of sulfuric acid, were shut down in a controlled manner. In the coming weeks, Aurubis will carry out a total of 480 technical renewal and maintenance measures at key facilities in these areas. "In the current fiscal year, we are investing € 59 million in the increased effectiveness of all connected production facilities and the further improvement of environmental protection at the site," explains Aurubis Chief Operations Officer (COO) Heiko Arnold. The total investment in the shutdown amounts to about € 72 million.
Major logistical and technical project
"The frequency for our regular maintenance shutdowns is specified by law," says Axel Brand, Head of Production at Aurubis in Hamburg. "We also use this time intensively to further improve our processes and facilities. In doing so, we implement extensive measures that we can't carry out during ongoing production. Thus, Aurubis is once again investing massively in sustainable copper and metal production – and in the future of our site here in Hamburg." In addition to inspecting and overhauling the waste heat boiler – the unit discharges the waste heat from the smelter and produces steam from it – the tallest forge (135 m) on the plant site is also being renovated, for example.
Aurubis is also replacing six heat exchangers in the contact plant. This step already serves to prepare for the second expansion stage of industrial heat extraction, a project to supply up to 20,000 Hamburg households with CO2-free industrial heat. Another milestone of the maintenance shutdown is the installation of two new, more powerful metallurgical cranes with a load capacity of 125 tons each.
The maintenance shutdown is a major logistical and technical project, the planning for which began directly after the last major shutdown in 2019. At its peak, up to 2,000 employees will be working on site for the project, including 1,500 staff members from partner companies, suppliers and service providers. Aurubis has developed its own access management system for them and set up special logistics and infrastructure, including temporary shower and social rooms, parking spaces and a canteen.
Occupational safety has priority
Occupational safety and health protection have top priority in this major project as well: All persons working on the plant site undergo a three-stage safety briefing before starting work. In the run-up to the project, a 'Supplier Day Occupational Safety' was also held for the first time with representatives from all partner companies. "During a shutdown of this magnitude and complexity, it is indispensable for our external partners to know the local conditions and special features in detail," emphasizes Andreas Heuer, project manager of the 2022 maintenance shutdown at the Aurubis plant in Hamburg. "The consistent implementation of our applicable occupational safety rules is therefore part of our project planning, as is targeted health protection against possible corona infections."
Planned maintenance shutdowns are carried out at many large industrial facilities, including Aurubis' other international production sites. This year's maintenance shutdown is expected to last until mid-June. Aurubis customers will be supplied continuously during this time, since sufficient anodes are available to fill the tankhouses and produce high-purity copper cathodes. This ensures that the production facilities for continuous Rod and Shapes also have sufficient input material to serve all customers.
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