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A new robotic handling and welding system has been enlisted for cathode plate manufacturing at Glencore’s Townsville Copper Refinery.

The system – featured in Glencore’s latest inhouse Resourceful newsletter – is capable of manufacturing Glencore’s ISAKIDD plates in bulk quantity along with the traditional ISA Process plate range.

“Further automating this process means we make more reliable, high quality plates while having the ability to synchronise outputs with production demand,” Glencore Technology senior engineer Noel Kimlin said.

Glencore Technology worked with Scott Automation and Robotics for the detailed design and fabrication of the machine at their Melbourne facility.

The installation and commissioning of the robotic handling and welding system started in mid-November 2019 at the Townsville Copper Refinery.

This continued through to mid- December with final commissioning in January this year.

“We went from installation to the completion of the first plate order in a 10.5 week period, and this included the Christmas break,” Mr Kimlin said.

“I’m pleased to say the work was completed safely and within budget as well.”

The first ISAKIDD cathode plate order was successfully completed on January 31 this year, bound for the Tamano Refinery near Okayama in Japan.

Glencore said the robotic handling and welding machine was currently manufacturing several other traditional ISA plate orders, marking the start of the new era in production at the Townsville Copper Refinery.