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Technology in Australia 1788-1988Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering
Table of Contents

Chapter 12

I The First Half Century - The Initial Struggle

II The Second Fifty Years - The Start Of Expansion

III The Third Fifty Years - Federation And The First World War

IV The Fourth Period - Second World War To The Present
i General Conditions
ii Iron and Steel Production
iii Aluminium Technology
iv Innovative Copper Refining Process
v The EDIM-4WD Load-Haul-Dump Vehicle
vi Copper Rod Production
vii Copper Wire and Cables
viii The Diecasting Industry
ix Automotive Components
x Whitegoods or Consumer Durables
xi Hardware
xii Some Recent New Industries
xiii The National Measurement System
xiv Manufacturing Industry in this Decade
xv Acknowledgements



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Copper Rod Production

A subsidiary of Mount Isa Mines Holdings Limited is Copper Refineries Pty. Ltd. which refines the entire copper output of a further subsidiary, MIM, (155,000 tonnes/annum) and which is marketed world-wide with a proportion processed further to wire in Australia. Until 1977, up to 20,000 tonnes of copper rod were produced annually from a conventional looping mill at Copper Refineries but in that year a new technologically advanced process was introduced. The new 25 tonne per hour Secor (Secim Continuous Rod) plant was commissioned at the end of 1977 and is currently producing at the rate of 42,000 tonnes per annum. This successful innovation followed from years of development, in conjunction with Secim, to adapt and optimise the horizontal pouring techniques used by Secim wheel casters in the aluminium industry. It was found that the equipment could be operated very satisfactorily provided strict control of oxygen content and temperature of the metal was exercised. For this, a Mount Isa developed oxygen probe and rare-metal thermocouple were developed. A simple and easily controlled automatic pouring system was introduced.

The 25 tonne per hour Secor Line at Copper Refineries was the first plant in the world to incorporate the RER grooveless rolling technique in eight of eleven rolling stands. To accomplish the necessary control, an Australian designed DC drive system was developed providing very tight speed regulation. This novel total system is now an established alternative to grooved rolling and can show both capital cost and operating cost savings as well as increased productivity.

Associated with the rolling innovation an improved ethanol-water base coolant was developed that yielded low residual surface oxide on the rod which was a highly desirable feature.

Organisations in Australian Science at Work - Copper Refineries Pty Ltd; Mount Isa Mines (M.I.M.)

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© 1988 Print Edition pages 898 - 899, Online Edition 2000
Published by Australian Science and Technology Heritage Centre, using the Web Academic Resource Publisher