Flash Furnace Rebuilt in Record Time at Aurubis Bulgaria

Aurubis Bulgaria (Pirdop) operates one of two Aurubis smelters (the other being in Hamburg, Germany) which produce copper for Aurubis AG, a major client for Outotec. The smelter features an Outotec flash smelting furnace (FSF) which forms the heart of the operation. When Aurubis Bulgaria approached Outotec in December 2014 about an upcoming major furnace shutdown in April 2016, Outotec’s shutdown services team offered Aurubis the most attractive solution, to secure another project at this repeat customer.

The project featured a modernization of the FSF, namely a new reaction shaft and new cooling elements.  The shutdown services project team from Outotec, led by Matthew Jahnke, worked closely with the Outotec equipment supply project team to support the customer in the most integrated manner possible.

Aurubis chose Outotec for this project because, in addition to safety, the shortest possible shutdown time was the most important criteria, and we could deliver exactly that. While Aurubis originally expected a schedule of 55-57 days, Outotec’s early assessment showed that 54 days would be possible.  Indeed, through eight months of planning and sixteen iterations of schedule optimization, our shutdown planning experts, working together with Aurubis Pirdop project colleagues, were able to achieve 54 days, a new record for Pirdop. What’s more, safety targets (zero harm) and other project goals, especially quality and cost, were met during this complex shutdown. 

Smelter production reached full capacity faster than anticipated. “We owe this to the quality performance of the repairs and the hard work of our colleagues,” remarked Aurubis Technical Director Nikolay Nedelchev, speaking about the furnace and all of the other areas affected by the shutdown.

The shutdown project was so successful that it prompted Aurubis CEO, Jürgen Schachler, to say, “I was pleased to hear that we carried out our shutdown in Pirdop … as scheduled, and that our employees completed this very ambitious task so successfully”.

Text: Peter Sarvos et al