We invite you to register on our platform and characterize your technological solution, so you can participate in the open innovation processes that we carry on for the main mining companies in the country

Register here

Continuous detection of short circuits in electrofining

Faena: Salvador Division

Deadline 12/12/2022

Closing Time 4:00 pm

The Potrerillos electrolytic refinery has a copper production capacity of 140,000 to 155,000 fine metric tons per year [FMT/year], which depends on the current density applied. It has 38 sections of 34 cells each, where each cell has 30 anodes and 31 cathodes; an electro-winning section of 20 cells with 25 anodes and 24 cathodes each, for the production of commercial cathodes; and 2.5 sections of 34 cells with 30 anodes and 29 cathodes for the production of starting sheets. During the copper deposition process, short circuits occur due to the contact between cathodes and anodes, which generate low cathode quality, higher energy consumption due to lower current efficiency, corrosion and temperature increase in the busbars.

Identify solutions or technological developments that allow timely detection and precise location of cathode and anode contact short circuits in electrolytic cells. The scouting process could lead to identify and select suppliers for a competitive process of supply or purchase, whose scope will be defined according to the degree of maturity of the proposals that apply to the open innovation process, which could give rise to a pilot validation test, or to an implementation if they are relevant and meet the evaluation and selection criteria defined by Codelco.

  • It must monitor online and in real time all the cells to allow early detection of short circuits.
  • The solution must allow the user to visualize (control room, tablets and/or cell phones), generate reports and alarms with the precise location of the short circuit inside the refinery.
  • Minimal or no human intervention for its operation inside the refinery.
  • Both its implementation and its operation and maintenance should not require intervention in the plant infrastructure and should not interfere in the area’s own production and maintenance activities.
  • The proposed system and its components must have low maintenance frequency and complexity, high reliability, heavy duty, given the aggressive and corrosive conditions of the environment (acid mist, humidity, temperature and low visibility).
  • It must be able to be integrated to information and communication platforms available by the client.

Consultancies, advisory services and engineering studies.

Short-circuit detection is performed manually with a Gauss meter instrument that allows measuring the magnetic flux density and inferring from this variable whether the condition is normal or in the presence of a short circuit.

  • ¬†Exposure to risks for personnel who must walk along the cells for short-circuit detection.
  • Rejection of cathodes due to poor physical quality.
  • Loss of current efficiency and therefore higher electrical energy consumption.
  • Temperature increase with risk of fire in the refinery..


Manual detection with Gauss meter with personnel throughout the shift measuring the entire refinery.

No new technologies have been tested