Title:
SYSTEM FOR CONTINUOUS MANUFACTURE OF COPPER ANODES FOR ELECTRO-REFINING
United States Patent 3776017


Abstract:
System for continuous manufacture of copper anodes for electro-refining which is constructed with a mechanism for receiving and storing continuous strip of copper plate in a loop form, a device for intermittently feeding the copper strip from the looper, while correcting fins, warps, etc. of the strip, a press to cut out a plurality of anodes in a predetermined pattern, a device to diverge such severed anodes in each designated direction, a sorting conveyor to inspect and sort out defective anodes, and a receiving and stacking device to receive and temporarily stack the sorted anodes for further handling.



Inventors:
Ikeda, Hiroshi (Iwaki, JA)
Yoneda, Motoaki (Iwaki, JA)
Ishii, Minoru (Iwaki, JA)
Application Number:
05/300418
Publication Date:
12/04/1973
Filing Date:
10/17/1972
Assignee:
ONAHAMA SEIREN KK,JA
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
29/417, 29/527.6, 164/76.1
International Classes:
B22D5/00; B21D43/28; B21D53/00; B22D25/04; B23D31/02; B23P13/02; C25C1/00; C25C1/12; (IPC1-7): B21D28/00
Field of Search:
72/161,338,226,227,228,229,231 164
View Patent Images:



Primary Examiner:
Herbst, Richard J.
Assistant Examiner:
Duzan, James R.
Claims:
What we claim is

1. A system for the continuous manufacture of copper anodes to be electrolytically refined, said system comprising: means to receive and store continuous strip of copper plate; means to intermittently taking up said copper strip from said receiving and storing means, and to simultaneously rectify any irregularity on the surface of the strip, while forwarding predetermined length of the same to a subsequent operational stage; a press to sever the predetermined length of the copper strip into a plurality of pieces of the anode plates in a predetermined shape, each of said anodes including an identical pair of lug portions and correspondingly recessed portions on the opposite sides thereof; means to push forward said anode plates as severed in a direction perpendicular to the travelling direction of said copper strip; means to diverge said plurality of the anode plates thus severed and pushed forward by said pushing means; means to cool said anodes, while the same are travelling along said diverging means, said cooling means covering said diverging means; means to sort out defective anodes from those sent out of said diverging and cooling means; means to receive and stack the sorted anodes stack; and means to receive and transfer said sorted anodes conveyed from said receiving and stacking means for further transportation.

2. The system according to claim 1, in which said means to receive and store continuous strip of copper plate comprises: a pair of pinch rollers, a pair of loop tables having a plurality of rollers and arranged in series, the opposed ends of which are movable up and down on the pivot of the other ends thereof; a balancing means to cause said loop tables to move up and down in accordance with resident quantity of said strip in said means, and a detecting means to detect inclination of the loop table provided at one side of said loop table opposite the pinch roller.

3. The system according to claim 1, in which said means to sort out defective anodes comprises a conveyor to forward the anode plate sent from said diverging means in its original travelling direction, said conveyor having in the center part thereof a cavity; a plurality of rollers disposed at a position corresponding to the said cavity formed in said conveyor in a manner movable up and down, said rollers being arranged orthogonally with respect to the moving direction of said conveyor, and movable up and down between the surface of said conveyor and the lower part thereof; a stopper to cause the anode plate sent from the previous stage to stop on the conveyor for inspection of any defect; and an intermittent driving roller to send out the anode as inspected to the subsequent stage in synchronism with release of said stopper.

4. The system according to claim 1, in which said means to receive and stack the anodes as sorted out comprises an upper frame provided with a plurality of rollers which are foldable to the left and right sides with respect to the forwarding direction of the anode; a receiving stand which receives and stacks the dropping anode due to folding of the rollers; and a pushing means to push forward the stack of anodes to the subsequent stage, said receiving stand being made movable up and down depending on the weight of the stacked anodes as well as a supporting balance provided underneath thereof.

Description:
This invention relates generally to the art of producing copper anode for electrolytic refining of copper, and, more specifically, to an improved system for the continuous manufacture of copper anode to be electrolytically refined.

The copper anode to be used for copper electro-refining has heretofore been produced by the so-called Walker process, in which molten blister copper is sucessively poured into several molds arranged on a casting wheel. Copper anodes thus formed are removed out of the molds upon cooling. This operation is repeated until a required number of anodes are obtained. Produced in this manner, however, the anodes are subject to great fluctuations in weight or dimensions, and are very likely to have fins, warp, irregular surface due to discharge of gas at the time of casting, and other casting defects including the formation of oxides on the anode surfaces. The anode surfaces may further be soiled with the bone ash or fly ash of the chemical agent used for removal of the cast anodes out of the molds.

When such anodes are used for the electrorefining, the oxides on their surfaces are liable to be dissolved in the electrolyte, which unnecessarily increases the concentration of copper ions. The abovementioned various deficiencies with the anodes which are produced by the conventional process may also result in contamination of the electrolyte with the remaining ash and in irregularity in the spacing between the adjacent electrodes, giving rise to maleffects such as short-circuiting, decrease in current efficiency and abnormal electrodeposition. Further, the residual amount of the anode after the electrorefining process tends to be large and non-uniform. To recover copper from the residual amount of the copper anode, it is necessary to melt the copper anode repeatedly, and, moreover, manpower to carry out adjustment of the operating conditionns at every process step is necessary with the result that automation and instrumentation of the copper refinery becomes difficult.

In order to overcome such defects in the manufacture of anode and in the ensuing processing thereof, there has been proposed to produce copper strip by a continuous casting of molten copper, which is then cut into a desired anode size. The anode thus formed are then combined with a separately prepared hanger for ease of handling. This prior art technique has its own disadvantages, however, as will be described later in greater detail with reference to a drawing. It may also be mentioned that the flying shear heretofore employed to cut the copper strip in motion is not satisfactory in view of the considerable skill being required for the cutting operation and the irregularity of the anode dimensions.

It is an object of the present invention to provide an improved system for the continuous manufacture of copper anode to be electrolytically refined, such that the anodes manufactured are altogether free from the aforementioned imperfections of their predecessors.

Another object of the present invention is to provide a system for the continuous manufacture of copper anode, which can be fully automated to cut down labor costs.

A further object of the present invention is to provide a system wherein lugged anodes can be produced from a continuous strip of copper plate without loss of the material whatsoever, and are collected in stack at the end of the manufacturing steps for easiness of handling in the succeeding operations.

According to the present invention, briefly summarized, there is provided a system for the continuous manufacture of copper anode to be electrolytically refined, said system comprising: means to receive and store continuous strip of copper plate for some length of time; means to intermittently taking up said copper strip from said receiving and storing means, and to simultaneously rectify any irregularity on the surface of the strip, while forwarding predetermined length of the same to a subsequent operational stage; a press to sever the predetermined length of the copper strip into a plurality of pieces of the anode plates in a predetermined shape, each of said anodes including an identical pair of lug portions and correspondingly recessed portions on the opposite sides thereof; means to push forward said anode plates as severed in a direction perpendicular to the travelling direction of said copper strip; means to diverge said plurality of the anode plates thus severed and pushed forward by said pushing means; means to cool said anodes, while the same are travelling along said diverging means, said cooling means covering said diverging means; means to sort out defective anodes from those sent out of said diverging and cooling means; means to receive and stack the sorted anodes in stack; and means to receive and transfer said sorted anodes conveyed from said receiving and stacking means for further handling.

The novel features which are considered to be the characteristics of this invention are set forth with particularity in the appended claims. The invention itself, however, together with additional objects and advantages thereof, will be best understood from the following detailed description taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings.

In the drawings:

FIG. 1 is a plan view showing a copper anode of a known design in combination with a hanger therefor, which is presented for the purpose of explanation of the advantages of this invention;

FIG. 2 is a plan view showing a series of copper anodes to be cut out from a continuous strip of copper plate according to the present invention;

FIG. 3 is a top plan view of the first sector of the system for the continuous manufacture of copper anodes according to the present invention;

FIG. 4 is a side elevational view of the sector shown in FIG. 3;

FIG. 5 is a top plan view of the second sector of the system continued from FIG. 3;

FIG. 6 is a side elevational view of the sector shown in FIG. 5;

FIG. 7 is a top plan view of the third and last sector of the system continued from FIG. 5; and

FIG. 8 is a side elevational view of the sector shown in FIG. 7.

In order to make clear the advantages of this invention, the aforementioned copper anode of known design will now be described in some detail with reference to FIG. 1. As illustrated, the flat anode 3 is suspended from a hanger having a pair of projections 1 at the notches 2 formed on both lateral edges thereof. Supported in this manner, the anode is highly insecure and is likely to fall off the hanger even by a slight shock caused thereto. This mode of arrangement is further liable to bring about short-circuiting due to irregular space interval between the adjacent anodes, or to an undue voltage rise in the electrolytic cell due to contact resistance.

In contrast to this known anode, each of the anodes 4 continuously manufactured by the system of this invention is provided with a pair of lugs 5 formed integrally therewith so as to be supported more securely, as illustrated in FIG. 2.

The system for the continuous manufacture of the anode 4, illustrated in FIGS. 3 to 8 by way of a preferred embodiment of the invention, will now be described in successive reference to these drawings. A continuous strip of copper plate 7 is supplied from a continuous casting machine (not shown in the drawings) between a pair of pinch rollers 6 which are being rotated at a speed in synchronism with the casting speed of the machine. The cast copper strip 7 is then fed by the pinch rollers 6 onto a looper which comprises a pair of loop tables 8 which arranged in series, and the opposed ends of which are movable up-and-down in accordance with the weight of the strip 7 per se as well as by operation of a balancer 9. The looper serves as a stock yard for the strip 7 continuously fed thereinto. A detector 10 for inclination of the loop table is positioned at one end of the loop table opposite the pinch rollers 6 to detect amount of the loop formed by the strip 7. This looper serves the purpose of keeping the supplied strip 7 to stand by to allow for the intermittent operation of a blanking press 12 hereinafter described in greater detail.

A feed leveler 11 is disposed at one end of the roll conveyors 8 opposite the pinch rollers 6, and feeds a predetermined length of the strip 7 into the blanking press 12 from the looper, while correcting its curvature or folds, if any, that may be formed during its standing-by in the looper. The feed motion of this feed leveler 11 may be controlled by proper signals supplied from the loop table inclination detector 10 and the blanking press 12. The blanking press includes an upper and a lower die 13 and 14, which simultaneously cuts the strip 7 into two oppositely shaped anode 4 together with their integral lugs 3 as shown in FIG. 2, and also to correct their deformations, if any, caused by the pressure applied at the time of blanking.

A pusher 15 is provided adjacent to the blanking press 12 to push forward the cut anodes 4 into a pair of pinch rollers 17 and then onto two sets of roll conveyors 16, 16a extending in a direction perpendicular to the first-mentioned roll conveyors 8. These roll conveyors 16, 16a are enclosed in a cooling chamber 18 having cooling pipes 23, from which cooling water is sprayed onto the anodes traveling on the eonveyors.

Subsequent to the roll conveyors 16, 16a, sorting conveyors 19, each correspondingly connected to each of the roll conveyors 16, 16a, are provided as shown in FIGS. 7 and 8. These sorting conveyors form a roll surface having a cavity portion, and are provided with a stopper 20 at the extreme end in the forwarding direction of the conveyor, the stopper being for causing the anode to stop once during its conveyance, and an intermittent driving roller 23 to send out the anode on the roll conveyor in synchronism with release of the stopper. At the lower part of a position corresponding to the cavity formed in the roll surface, there is provided a plurality of rollers which are movable up and down and disposed orthogonally with respect to the roll surface. The rollers 21 are to transfer the anode transversely.

Following the flow of the anodes, there is further provided an anode stacking device which is constructed with an upper frame having a plurality of rolls 24 which are foldable to the left and right sides with respect to the forwarding direction of the anode, and a receiving stand 25 which receives and stacks the dropping anode due to folding of the rollers 24. The receiving stand is supported in such a manner that it can be moved up and down depending on the weight of the stacked anode as well as a supporting blance or lifting device provided underneath the same.

In subsequence of the receiving stand 25, there is further provided an anode receiving and transferring pallet 26 which receives the anode sent from the receiving stand 25 by means of a pusher 27 disposed at the opposite side of the receiving stand 25, and transfers the same to a required place such as warehouse, etc. The pallet is provided with grooves 28 to facilitate intromission of pawls of fork-lift truck, etc..

The water-cooled anode is transported from the left side of the drawing to reach the sorting conveyor and is stopped once at the set position where it is examined for any defect. If the anode is deficient such as having deformations, etc., the transversely moving rolls 21 come up to the roll surface to remove the defective anode outside the system. Upon completion of the sorting, the stopper 20 is released, and the intermittent driving roller actuates to forward the anode to the stacking device. The anode just sent to the foldable rollers 24 stop at a predetermined position thereon, when the foldable rollers at both left and right side of the upper frame drop downwardly, and the anode drops down onto the receiving stand, whereby the stand sinks downward for the thickness of the stacked anode. As soon as the upper surface of the receiving stand reaches the same level as that of the receiving and transferring stand, the pusher 27 begins actuation to push forward the stacked anodes from the receiving stand 25 to transfer them to the pallet 26.

The series of the devices from the sorting conveyor 19 upto the receiving and transferring stand are disposed in two parallel sets to efficiently treat the two sheets of anodes to be cut out by a single blanking press.

In the above-described construction of the system according to the present invention, the copper strip 7 continuously supplied through the pinch rollers 6 may be kept standing-by in the looper, in which it is formed into a loop guided by the roll conveyors 8 which are movable up-and-down, until such time that the blanking press 12 becomes ready to receive the predetermined length of the strip. When the pusher has pushed out the anodes cut by the blanking press 12 and staying therewithin upto the roll conveyors 16, 16a by means of the pinch roll 17, and returned to the original position, the feed leveler 11 is actuated to feed the predetermined length of the strip into the blanking press 12 at a speed faster than the speed of the pich rollers 6, and stops. At this time, correction of the curvature or folds of the strip 7 which may have been formed during its standing-by in the looper is previously mentioned. When the strip is introduced into the blanking press 12, it is actuated to sever two anodes from the strip in the pattern illustrated in FIG. 2, and also to press the anode to eliminate their fins, warps, or other defects possibly produced by the blanking operation. The two anodes thus formed are pushed onto the roll conveyors 16, 16a through the pinch rollers 17 and, on their way to the sorting conveyor 19, are cooled by the water shower from the pipe 23 in the cooling chamber 18. The anode further travel on the sorting conveyor 19, in the course of which any defective anode is removed. The acceptable anodes are then sent to the receiving stand, and further pushed out to the receiving and transferring pallet in the aforedescribed manner.

The manufacturing system of the copper anode for electro-refining according to the present invention, unlike the heretofore known system, has the following characteristics.

1. The system and accessories thereto can be minaturized for its large productive capability, hence maintenance is easy.

2. Density of the anode thus manufactured is high, and its crystal structure is fine and uniform, which guarantees uniform elution at the time of the electro-refining without causing breakage of the anode plate due to non-uniform dissolution.

3. The anode plate has few blow-holes due to degassing and provides extremely favorable smoothness in the anode surface, which secures uniform anode thickness. Such uniform thickness can considerably reduce the anode distance and contribute to improvement in productivety.

4. Since a thin anode can be obtained by the present invention, the life of the anode can be shortened, and the residual quantity of copper in the electrolytic works can be greatly reduced. Further, as it is possible to produce anodes having smooth surface without warp, possibility of short-circuiting during the electrolysis can be minimized, which serves to eliminate manual operation such as adjustment of the anode distance, etc..

5. Weight of the anode is reduced due to this thickness, and fluctuation in weight from anode to anode becomes small with the consequence that handling of the anode is facilitated and the mechanical structure of the system can be simplified.

6. In comparison with the known system, casting speed can be augmented.

While it will be apparent that the preferred embodiment of the invention herein disclosed is well calculated to fulfill the objects previously set forth, the general arrangement or individual parts of the invention as above explained may be changed according to various requirements imposed thereupon in practical applications, while still remaining within the proper scope or fair meaning of the appended claims.