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Düsseldorf, November 04, 2019

New generation of Peirce-Smith converter

The Peirce-Smith converter is still the most widely applied process for producing blister and black copper. Our new solution implements significant improvements to the conventional converter type.

The Peirce-Smith (PS) converter was introduced to the industry back in 1908. This reactor type is still the most widely applied process for producing blister and black copper. It is also common in nickel and PGM (Platinum group metals) production process lines. Ever since, it has been the predominant unit used in the production of blister copper. The conversion takes place during the slag blowing stage as well as in separate final converting phases. Our new solution implements significant improvements to the conventional converter type.

Technological improvements

We tested ILTEC cooled tuyeres in a copper converter. ILTEC uses an ionic liquid salt without any vapor pressure as a cooling media. This also allows us to cool critical areas in the under-bath metal level. During the tests, the cooling element showed a reduced level of wear, confirming the system’s significant potential in terms of lining protection in the tuyere zone.

Our latest design enables the quick replacement of the prematurely worn tuyere zone. The tuyeres are placed in a cassette, which can be replaced with a new cassette in less than one shift and while still in a hot condition. This will reduce repair downtimes significantly.

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Cassette system for PS Converter

We also transfer our knowledge and experience of high pressure tuyeres used in steelmaking to the Peirce-Smith converter. Whereas more than 40 tuyeres were usually required, the new high-speed tuyeres reduce the necessary purging spots to less than 20. Punching machines will no longer be required. Increasing the oxygen level in the high-pressure tuyeres to reduce the off-gas generated, thus resulting in smaller gas treatment plants, is also under consideration.