Continuus-Properzi S.p.A. is a globally renowned engineering company that has developed and accumulated worldwide experience and relevant know-how regarding complete ETP or FRHC Lines, from furnaces to coilers, for the copper rod and wire industry. Continuus-Properzi invented the methodology and process of casting and rolling non-ferrous rods in the 1940s. It has always been committed to offering its customers technical and technological solutions of excellence in quality and innovation.
In a conversation with Wire & Cable India, Mr. Giulio Properzi, CEO, Continuus-Properzi S.p.A. shares interesting insights about their technology and future plans.
“A company can stay ahead of its competitors by bringing novel techniques, innovative technologies, and new products. We hope that we will be able to set up an excellent production line in India, and Indonesia, very soon.”
Wire & Cable India: To start with, what are the new developments at Continuus-Properzi?
Giulio Properzi: We have been in business for 75 years, and we are presenting new technology every year. Recently, we started focusing on copper recycling as the circular economy has become extremely important in today’s world. My father, Ilario Properzi started developing copper casting in the 1950s. Very few people know that at that time, cathodes were not available because the copper industry was structured in a different way. The mines produced cathodes, which were used to produce wire bars and supplied to the rolling mill. So, my father started with the reverberatory furnace using scrap.
For many years, scrap was abandoned, but for the last 20 years, it has been the main focus of our activity. I think we have the right furnaces, the right refining, and the right casting. We already have several manufacturing plants in Europe as well as in the US, and we expect to set up one in India in the near future.
WCI: Kindly throw some light on the vision and the philosophy of Continuus-Properzi.
GP: We are a family-owned company; hence, the first strategy is to survive. The market is not only fluctuating but also conservative when it comes to the adoption of new technology. Hence, presenting new technology to the world is the most difficult task. Recycling copper is the trend of today because of the huge savings in energy. However, you must use the best technology. In certain parts of the world, refining technology is not up to the mark as the companies are not ready to invest money in technology.
A company can stay ahead of its competitors by bringing novel techniques, innovative technologies, and new products. We hope that we will be able to set up an excellent production line in India, and Indonesia, very soon.
WCI: Would you like to highlight some aspects of how Continuus-Properzi technology is better and different from the traditional recycling of copper? Also, throw some light on the properties of the material produced from Continuus-Properzi’s technology.
GP: Traditionally, the recycling steps were to melt copper scrap, to produce anodes, refine the anodes in the electrolysis, get the cathodes and then melt the cathodes, cast and roll the rod. Today, we melt the scrap, refine the scrap directly and then cast and roll. So, you eliminate many steps in the process and save a lot of energy. Our capacity ranges from 10,000 – 50,000 tonnes per year up to 70,000 – 80,000 tonnes per year or even more.
Although you do not get the same product as virgin-grade, recycled copper can cater to 95 percent of the market needs. However, recycling must be done properly with the best available technology and original machinery and furnaces. Unfortunately, several companies tried to minimize their investment by buying very low quantity furnaces and low-level casting and rolling lines. In addition, they thought that a basic – old refining technology was enough. The result was and is that they cannot produce a decent rod and make money; the reputation of fire refined rod in India is at a lower point. Instead, the copper rod produced in our plant has the characteristic of ASTM-B49 with conductivity above 100.5 and can be drawn down to 0.3 – 0.25 mm.
If you use the right technology, you can refine the copper scrap and produce a high-quality copper rod that is accepted by the international market. When the companies in India will understand this aspect, we will emerge as the winner. I think this will happen soon as several companies are approaching us. The first company that agrees to invest in our technology will have the real advantage as they will be able to produce high-quality copper rods even from the low-quality copper scrap and not the other way around.
WCI: Could you please tell us about the ROI?
GP: With our technology, you can buy low-quality copper scrap at high discount rates compared to LME price and sell high-quality copper rods at a premium price. Hence, you have the Return on Investment (ROI) in a very short time, i.e., in less than two years.