– Mr. Shigin , tell us about your company .
– SARL COPPER-LINES.K based in Strasbourg, France, was founded as an engineering company in the field of copper scrap refining. Relying on the strong scientific and manufacturing experience of my first company Katel-Elektromechanika PJSC, I decided to create Copper-Lines.K as its exclusive european retail seller of copper scrap reprocessing equipment.
SARL COPPER-LINES.K occurred for a reason. It was created as a concept to provide the most complete range of services to manufacturing companies, in need of modification or rapidly developing on the copper market. Since 1991, I began to work in the copper business. While studying at the institute, I made a traineeship in a traditionnal leading copper foundry. This experience taught me a lot, even at this time, as a young man, I understood the main shortcomings of large industrial complexes. The huge size of old plants is impressive, but nowadays, as market conditions are constantly changing, it is difficult for them to react quickly and offer new opportunities. Modernization of large enterprises is also very difficult, as it requires huge investments. And what about the enormous social charges ? So I believe in compact easily manageable enterprises with a flexible control system. After I graduated and already having a working experience, I decided to build my own production company. But as my experience was still limited, I bought horizontal casting furnace for the production of copper rod from cathodes. The copper market developed rapidly at this period, the legislation was changing, copper prices fluctuated. In the end, I came to the conclusion that it is necessary to work on the development of copper refining technology to be able to produce rod for electrical purposes from 100 % of copper scrap. So my company turned into a pilot plant. Many did not believe in the possibility of obtaining high refining results, but the engineers who have been with me all this long way now proudly look back. Through trial and error, studying international experience in the processing of copper scrap, we have developed a range of modern high tech equipment, we would like to bring to your attention.
– But competition in the manufacturers market pretty tough, do you find your niche ?
– Absolutely! We have a lot of advantages over other companies producing similar equipment. Let’s start with the fact that they are not so many around the world. You can count them on one hand, and companies that have achieve CONRETE results in copper refining are only 3. We know them well and have respect for their work and achievements. Nowadays, we found our niche market.
Our advantages are as follows – first, we do not have the stereotypes of conservative companies, we are very flexible and adapt our offers to the needs of each client. We do our best so that the production needs match the financial capabilities of the client. As a young company, we offer very interesting for our customers payment terms and propose financial assistance with the support of our bank, with which we have been working a long time and which trusts our experience. This is a very important point, as it often happens that companies start to think about switching to the production of wires from copper scrap when they are already facing difficulties. As a matter of fact, they can not afford equipment of woldknow brands, and alternative manufacturers in the emerging countries do not undertake the responsability for the quality of its products, that’s when they are looking for new opportunities. And we are always ready to provide them.
That is how we understand our advantageous position in the market, as we are cheaper, more accessible, more active than others companies. In addition, our experience is based on continuously running production, where we are constantly looking after the improvement of our technology. Every trimester we have new ideas that help solving different problems, how to facilitate the operation of the equipment and reduce production costs.
– Can we say that you create your own design or are you using the classic design in refining industry, but you do it cheaper?
– The question is very interesting. I often tell our clients during presentations that metallurgy is one of the most conservative industries. In comparison with the furnaces used by our ancestors, you would be surprised to see how close their mode of operation is to the most modern steel furnaces, whether it is nonferrous or steel metallurgy. Genius is simplicity : it is the leading thought while designing new technologies. Another motto -everything new is actually well-forgotten old. All my discoveries and developments in the field of refining copper are based on these two principles. According to them I came to some very important discoveries that make my furnace, and I am not afraid to say it, the best on the market ! That’s why we are patenting our development work. In the daily fight for manufacturing high quality copper produced from 100 % scrap, we came to simple but essential decisions on its refining. So I am proud to say that the results we achieved are very interesting for modern science and practice. In this regard, representatives of various metallurgical institutions often come and visit us by to obtain new information on the use of some process in metallurgy.
– Who are the potential customers of your newly designed equipment ?
– While creating and improving my know-how, I clearly represent the potential clients. Their range is very wide.
Firstly, it is the large companies collecting scrap. After all, it is convenient for them to set a furnace for recycling copper rod on the site where they have already cut their teeth on conditionning. Large scrap collector gradually come to the fact that it is unprofitable to depend on the price fluctuations on the stock exchange, they can earn much more if manufacturing scrap into finished products on their own, bypassing the transport costs by reducing the time factor and significantly improving profitability. Usually, well-developed companies in this sector came to the decision of enlarging their activities to production. They are many on the market.
Secondly, it is, of course, cable plants. Now the competition in the market of cable products is really tough, so only companies ready to put on the market dumping offers will survive. The conclusion is obvious. What is more profitable for cable manufacturer : to buy copper rod at high prices (it often happens that rods purchased by cable plants is made from cathodes, of course) and under very harsh payment and delivery terms, or to produce cheap rod in his own plant ? Until now, the furnaces for copper recycling were too big and the production practices were sharply different from the production cable practices. It stopped many companies. If in a cable department people wear lab coats, then we can imagine metallurgists wearing overalls smeared with soot. That’s why cable companies are reluctant to create metallurgical sections in their plants. That is why we are always very attentive to improve production standards as far as possible in the metallurgical industry. We succeeded in creating the most compact, safe and aesthetical production. Our units can be easily operated with a managing unit. Metallurgists working on our furnaces aknoledge their safety and the high level of mechanization of all processes. We’ve been working on conditions maximum facilitating the work of technical staff dealing with the operations around the furnaces and we achieved the desired conditions. Copper scrap can be remerledt by a staff wearing light gray overalls, though in this case savety hats and fireproof gloves are still needed. Knowing that, the cable manufacturers very frequently come to us in order to buy equipment corresponding to their needs.
And thirdly, our clients are the companies working with furnace processing cathodes into wire and rod. We have prepared for them a special and very interesting proposal which will allow them to operate with maximum profitability, because the cathode rod , unfortunately, has become uncompetitive in the market due to high prices. It is important to say that our proposals are always personalized. Before signing the contract we conduct a technical assessment of capabilities of the company and propose the most appropriate solution.
So, as you can see, our market is very wide.
– You participate to international faire trades. Does this mean that your equipment can be installed also in countries far from Europe ?
– Boundaries for us are practically nonexistent. Assembly plant is located in the heart of Europe, in Strasbourg, the crossroads of all major highways. In addition, we work in close cooperation with the manufacturers of the various components of the equipment, so the final equipment depends on the capabilities and desires of our customers. To make the project more affordable, we can proceed to the assembly and purchase additional equipment directly on the territory of the customer’s country. I mean countries such as Australia, Canada, South Africa and other distant countries from Europe. We have extensive experience with Eastern Europe countries, particularly Russia and Ukraine, where our equipment is sufficiently represented .
We work with large and reliable shipping companies, guaranteeing the safety of freight, so that any problems with the delivery of equipment does not arise. For a person doing his job well , there are no boundaries .
– And one more question, do you like your job ?
– First, when not all turned out as hoped, I continue enthusiastically. I felt that I was close to solve many of the technical issues. I observed, tested, wrong, made mistakes, but did not depart from the task. Of course, the endless process of experiments is very expensive, but for those who creates there are no shortcut. My parents taught me this, so I’m unwavering. 15 years of work resulted in the creation of a great “awesome” technology we will present at the exhibition Wire 2014. I named this technology Copper UpLine ZH (Zeus and Hercules),symbol of the symbiosis of scientific achievements, intellectual and physical labor and beauty of the production process. This new production line encompasses experience of past generations and bold innovative ideas. The technology ZH represents the process chain for processing 100 % of copper scrap electrical into electrical wire rod with the less energy-consuming process. We have developed a clean and convenient process of refining copper. We thought out the system so that the necessary repairs can be carried out without shutting down the main production process and not freezing the heat. Now, when I see the result of many years of work, I understand that I love my work, because it gave me the satisfaction of the work done and the results achieved. During these years, my business has become a matter of our family. My wife negociates with the clients and ensures the delivery of the necessary equipment. My son wants to be an engineer, so to sy to continue my work. It is certainly important to me. The experience of our friends in Italy, France and Germany shows that family business gives the best results. In family business the person is responsible for his result not anonymely, but personally, risking his reputation while negociating with partners. That’s why my kids from childhood are taking part in exhibitions and help us at the booth to learn how our business is developping and how to deal with potential and actual clients. I have a great respect for the owner of PS, Stefano Parma (manufacturer of equipment for cable packaging), who is for me an example of exemplary business head and a big beautiful family. His equipment, which he now produces with his sons, is known worldwide. If you work tirelessly to improve technology and to educate children in the spirit of love for work, it will succeed.
So, of course , I love my work !