Non-ferrous metalsPlants, Products and Services
Non-ferrous metals keep the world moving and are essential for the operation of all the items we use in our daily lives, such as smartphones, tablets, PCs, computers, or EV. Over the past years, the changing market for non-ferrous metals has diversified considerably and is now facing a number of challenges and opportunities. In particular, global changes in communication, electrification, digitalization, and the shifting to green energy sources require new, innovative, and sustainable solutions to current and future (use) metals. Additionally, tighter environmental regulations as well as limitations and changes in raw materials require new processes.
SMS and Paul Wurth serve all clients in the non-ferrous metals industry with well skilled specialized experts in these disciplines and have set themselves the goal of developing innovative and, in particular, profitable solutions for the metal producing industry. These include the primary pyrometallurgical process route, whereby metals are processed from ores/concentrates. Metals from secondary sources are mainly produced using the recycling route. Our portfolio covers the entire process routes starting from the raw materials and smelting metallurgy, through shaping right up to finishing.
What does BlueTechnology stand for in the field of non-ferrous metals industry? Simple like that: BlueTechnology takes into account the importance of sustainability for production lines and raises awareness of ethical and ecological metal production:
- Environmentally balanced processes with efficient water and off-gas treatment plants as well as CO2-neutral metal production (optional)
- Minimized waste accumulation as almost all waste is turned into products
- Maximized recovery and recycling rates
- Maximized metal and by-product yield
- Minimized power, media, and water consumption
- Tracing of metals
- High standards in health and safety
SMS group is taking this path not only to become a supplier of overall plant solutions but also to base future solutions in the non-ferrous sector on the Circular Economy (CE).
SMS group and Paul Wurth rely on a powerful network of companies, employing more than 14,000 experts in all kind of disciplines and providing the best solutions for metallurgical plants. More than 60% of the employees work outside of Germany and Luxembourg, close to our international customers. Around 3,300 specialists serve our customers from over 50 workshops. Numerous divisions of SMS group and Paul Wurth, Metix in South Africa, Hertwich in Austria, SMS digital in Germany, and Sunfire in Germany are key players when it comes to full-line solutions for the non-ferrous metals industry.
Andritz MAERZ and SMS group have decided to transfer the global copper business together with the intellectual properties (know-how, references, patents, etc.) and the related service activities to SMS group GmbH. This acquisition strengthens SMS group's strategy as a system supplier for non-ferrous metals. The integration of the copper business of Andritz MAERZ into the SMS is a significant milestone for becoming the leading partner in non-ferrous metals production solutions. With a team of well experienced specialists and engineers, SMS continues the traditional copper business of Andritz MAERZ, which includes 60 years of experiences with more than 70 references covering melting and refining furnaces for the primary and secondary copper production such as tilting refining furnaces and elliptical furnaces, shaft and hearth furnaces, drum type furnaces (incl. Pierce Smith converter and anode furnaces), bath smelters as well as Top Blown Rotating Converters (TBRC).
Clear understanding the process is a fundamental requirement when it comes to designing reliable and efficient metallurgical plants. This ensures the correct and optimized dimensioning of pyrometallurgical vessels for new non-ferrous metal facilities.
It is also possible to integrate the process simulation models into the automation system used for predictive operation of the unit. With regard to the concept of Industrie 4.0 or smart manufacturing, in particular, such data can support digitalization through the use of software for process control, automation and optimization, thereby creating digital twins.
In many units, refractories have a huge impact on plant profitability.
Furnace integrity ensures safe and reliable furnace operation and a long furnace campaign life. A correct understanding and definition of the process is important for an optimized furnace lining and cooling concept. Various vessel-cooling systems that can cope with such stresses are available, such as air cooling, spray cooling, or cooling with internal copper elements.
It takes a series of chemical, physical, and electrochemical processes to produce high-quality carrier metals such as copper, nickel, lead, zinc as well as the valuable additional contained metals in the raw material mix such as Au, Ag, Pt, Pd. Various methods have evolved. They differ according to the nature of the ore or scrap, local environmental regulations, and other factors. A basic distinction is made between primary (ore based) and secondary process routes (scrap based). Metals and other valuable substances can also be recovered from electronic waste, batteries, slags, old deposits, etc. Additionally, we work with our clients to develop tailor-made solutions, from test facilities through upscaling processes to industrial-scale systems. SMS group based its non-ferrous solutions on a long history.
|Smelters||BlueSmelter, bath smelter, electric smelter, electric arc furnaces, |
tilting furnace, rotary furnace, shaft furnace, tailor made solutions,
|Converting and refining||Anode furnace, fire refining furnace, Peirce Smith converter, |
TBRC, Kaldo, BBOC, TSL, tilting furnaces, rotary furnaces, ladle furnaces,
ladle refining furnaces, vaccum furnaces, vaccum converter, tailor made solutions
|Slag cleaning and matte settling||Electric furnaces (circular and recangular), rotary furnaces, |
tilting furnaces, tailor made solutions
|Reverb and holding||Reverbatory furnaces, rotary holding furnaces|
|Casting and granulation||Anode casting wheel, ingot gasting, frame casting, wet slag granulation, |
dry slag granulation (dryslag), dry slag granulation with energy recovery (PowerSlag)
|Leaching||Solvent extration, hydrometallurgical solutions|
|Recycling units||WEEE-recycling plants (BlueMetal), rod production our of scrap (BlueRod), anode production out of scrap (BlueAnode)|
|Compact solutions||Lab furnaces, demonstration scale solutions|
In various talks with clients who already have plants in operation, we discussed several possibilities for boosting production and improving process control and efficiency. Our Performance Modules provide a wide range of optimization options for non-ferrous metals plants. Sometimes small investments can make a significant difference in our customers profits.
When clearing and refurbishing deposits, money can be earned not only from the value of the recovered materials but also with the increased value of the refurbished property. We also offer technologies transferring lower quality slag, which is usually deposit into a valuable sellable product with the so-called BlueSlag process.
More than 40 million tons of electrical and electronic waste (WEEE) are collected every year. SMS provides solutions for the metallurgical treatment of non-ferrous grades gained from WEEE (waste electrical and electronic equipment) materials to facilitate the efficient recycling of precious materials, such as Au, Ag, Pt, Pd, Ni, and Cu. Up to 98% of these metals can be recovered and converted to pure products. The WEEE recycling solutions are grouped under the BlueMetal Technologies. The key component - the so-called BlueSmelter enables the smelting and recycling of low-grade materials with an organic material portion of up to 50%.
SMS group also provides plants to produce rods or anodes out of copper scrap. For its CONTIROD®* lines, SMS group has developed a process for fire refining furnaces, thus opening up the possibility of producing FRHC copper and ETP copper from copper scrap. Depending on the desired product quality, different materials may be used, such as copper cathodes and copper scrap of grades 1 to 3 (e.g. birch/cliff).
Our tilting furnaces are designed for the remelting of metal scrap in form of bales, loose scrap, or fines (which often contain impurities such as oil, paint, or plastic). The total volume of impurities can be >10% of the charge weight. By combining the tilting furnace with a casting wheel, high quality anodes are produced.
*CONTIROD® is a registered trademark of Aurubis Belgium
VideoCast: Non-ferrous Metals
VideoCast: BlueMetal Process
VideoCast: Tilting furnaces
VideoCast: Drum type furnaces
Dr. Rolf Degel
SMS group GmbH
Vice President Non-Ferrous Metals
: +49 211 881 6372
SMS group GmbH
Head of Design Non-Ferrous Metals
: +49 211 881 6680
SMS group GmbH
General Manager Non-Ferrous Metals
: +49 211 881 3822