COPPER smelting operations at major Chilean plant are able to run smoothly thanks to the use of Rammer hammers. The hammers, supplied by Sandvik Mining & Construction , prevent the furnaces becoming clogged with molten copper.
The plant, operated by Exxon subsidiary Disputada de las Condes, has ten furnaces that heat the copper to a molten state prior to further processing.
A crucial part of the operation is pouring the molten copper from each furnace. As the molten copper leaves the furnace, it solidifies on contact with the air, and blocks the furnace opening.
A solution was needed to prevent copper build up which would disrupt the smelting operation.
Maintenance manager Miguel Angel Araya said copper build up made the furnace inoperable, so it was vital the furnace opening be cleared as soon as the contents were poured out.
“We have had previous experience with Rammer equipment in other applications and found it well capable of working in the toughest conditions," he added.
Two Rammer E64 hammers were mounted on excavators to keep the furnace opening free of solidifying copper.
"The hammers have far exceeded our expectations and are working extremely well. It is very hard work but the high impact energy of the Rammer units is more than sufficient to do the job,” Mr Araya said.
Rammer is part of Sandvik Mining and Construction, which operates globally through a sales and service organisation coupled with a network of more than 350 distributors.
The Rammer brand covers a range of hydraulic hammers, pedestal boom systems, cutter-crushers and pulverisers used for rock excavation, demolition and crushing applications.