MIRS developed this robotic machine to strip starter sheets from electrowinning processes. It has been commissioned in Codelco’s Ventanas Refinery (2 units) and Asarco’s Amarillo Refinery in Amarillo, TX. In both cases the projects were justified in the need to replace persons in a very anti-ergonomic job that led to tendinitis and other health issues, as well as to improve the quality of starter sheets.
In Ventanas, each machine has a cathode washing stage, artificial vision, a feeder robot, 2 stripping robots and a plate remover robot, plus a cathode input conveyor and plate output conveyor. With 300 plates per hour design capacity, both machines are capable to achieve 100% of Ventanas’ starter sheet needs.
The Asarco stripping machine uses artificial vision and weight sensors to classify the input cathodes. The design was a big challenge because the robots had to strip the starter sheets with the cathodes moving at 20 cm/seg hanging on the overhead conveyor. This means cycle time is 13 seg/plate.