Short-Circuit Monitoring in Copper Refineries


Copper refineries, in carrying out electrolytic processes to extract copper from solution, routinely encounter the issue of uneven copper growth causing short circuits across electrodes. This negatively impacts upon the effectiveness of the copper extraction mechanism, consuming both power and time for limited product yield. The efficiency of the operation is greatly reduced at a significant cost.


System Overview

IMC has developed a system (IMC CuIR) for monitoring these copper cells and alerting operators of short-circuits as they develop. This enables the short-circuits to be quickly removed, maintaining process efficiency to markedly increase returns for the business.

The system utilises FLIR thermal imaging cameras, along with an advanced machine vision imaging processing system, to monitor the copper cells. IMC's short-circuit detection algorithm can reliably detect short-circuits in real time as they form, allowing sites to implement proactive, rather than reactive management processes. This highly flexible system can be readily scaled, with deployments ranging from small scale industrial processors with intelligence at the edge to large scale virtualised processing environments.

cuir image

Additional client benefits offered by IMC CuIR include:

  • Detection of contact between cathode and anode plates further improves efficiency of copper extraction through allowing operators to quickly address the issue and return the electrode in question to a state of productivity
  • Automated, quantitative short-circuit reporting reduces error in Quality Management reporting

User Interface

The system provides multiple user interfaces:

  • Web User Interface, which allows clients to view:
    • Live images of the copper cells within the refinery
    • Reported temperature data from specified areas of interest within the image
    • Reported temperature data from detected shorts within each area of interest
    • Trending shorts data, enabling processes to be further improved
  • Custom SCADA Systems: IMC can integrate the system's short-circuit monitoring with the client’s existing PLC, SCADA systems.