- Execution of more than 450 modernization, environmental protection, and maintenance measures
- Total investment of approx. € 50 million
- About 750 internal employees and an additional 1,200 employees from partner companies working around the clock
A scheduled maintenance shutdown started today in Aurubis AG’s Hamburg plant. The reason for the shutdown is the internal overhaul of the waste heat boiler in the primary smelter, which is legally mandated every three years. The entire primary smelter, where copper concentrates and recycling materials are used to manufacture copper anodes, and the associated contact plant used to produce sulfuric acid, were decommissioned for this purpose. In the next few weeks, technical renovations, maintenance, and measures to further improve environmental protection will be carried out on all of the key facilities in this area at the same time. A total of 450 individual projects will be executed, in which Aurubis invested about € 50 million.
“The term ‘maintenance shutdown’ doesn’t quite do the project justice,” said Plant Manager Jens Jacobsen, “because while we’re interrupting production, we’re also starting a number of complex activities to continue improving our processes and facilities.” In addition to the inspection and overhaul of the waste heat boiler, the primary smelter’s converters will also be replaced. In these three treatment vessels, whose steel structure alone weighs 95 tons and which are 13 meters in length, the second of the three copper production process steps takes place. Many other sub-projects in the flash smelter itself, such as restoring the lower furnace roof, and environmental protection measures, such as optimizing the off-gas system, are also on the agenda.
The execution of the shutdown is a large-scale technical and logistical project. The planning started directly after the completion of the last routine large-scale shutdown in 2016. To resume operation of the facilities as quickly as possible, the measures are being carried out around the clock, including on the weekend and on holidays without restrictions. Around 750 of Aurubis’ 2,500 employees are taking part in the shutdown measures. On top of that, 1,200 employees from partner companies, suppliers, and service providers are also involved. For these employees, Aurubis has provided a separate entry management system, special security concepts, and infrastructure such as restrooms and showers, a temporary cafeteria, and parking spots, among other things.
Occupational safety has priority
Everyone participating in the maintenance shutdown undergoes safety training lasting several hours. Without this training, they aren’t permitted to enter the demarcated shutdown area. “We always place special emphasis on occupational safety. Especially during a scheduled large-scale shutdown of this complexity, the tasks at hand are unique and external partners aren’t completely familiar with the on-site circumstances and special conditions. This is why we make no compromises in this area,” explained Jens Jacobsen.
Scheduled maintenance shutdowns are common in many large industrial plants. Shutdowns of this magnitude take place at the Aurubis Hamburg plant every three years. This year’s maintenance shutdown is scheduled to last until mid-November