21/01/2021 – Complete electrical and automation system for copper industry

ABB awarded contract

Northern Copper Industry Co., Ltd (NCI) – part of the largest producer of raw material copper stock in North China – has selected ABB to supply and install a complete electrical and automation system for its new cold rolling mill, which is scheduled for start-up in 2021.


Advanced system will control all aspects of the company’s new four-column 20-high cold rolling mill, for high-precision copper strip and foil production. © ABB


Based on ABB “Ability System 800xA” distributed control system (DCS) with high-performance “AC 800PEC” master controller, the package integrates ABB Metals Roll@xA Optimize cold rolling control solution and ABB's Collaborative Production Management for Metals (CPM4Metals) system for the copper production process.

On completion, the mill will become a first-class high-performance rolled copper strip and foil production line with an annual output of 50,000t. As new-type material produced with state-of-the-art technology the products will be widely used in aerospace, 5G communications, new energy industries, smart manufacturing and other high-tech application fields.

ABB’s Roll@xA Optimize solution incorporates alloy measurement and advanced thickness control functions, ensuring rolled products, including a hard alloy-bronze that contains tin elements, fulfill stringent requirements. It also ensures strict synchronization between the roller surface and the copper strip foil to eliminate surface scratches caused by non-synchronized rotating of deflection rollers, and enables the customer to meet specific surface quality requirements. This is achieved through a range of proprietary drive control functions including static friction compensation, online controller parameter adaptation, dynamic compensation for acceleration and deceleration for deflection rollers.

“The 20-high finishing mill project is part of an important strategic vision of Northern Copper Industry to build a century-long copper enterprise,” said Zhenhua Zhang, ABB Metals Lead, North Asia and China. “We will provide ABB Metals well-proven expertise to ensure the new mill meets expectations for producing high-precision and high-quality copper strip and foil.”

“We have built strong bonds with our NCI counterparts, demonstrating technical competence and stable product quality. This electrical and automation system will provide a foundation for growth and development in several high-tech material application fields.”

ABB’s latest drive system model ACS880, AXR engineering high-pressure cast-iron motor, AMI high voltage modular motor, ABB’s dedicated instrumentation Millmate Tensiometer System, and measuring instrumentation and sensors will also be installed.

The quality of cold rolled flat products is a decisive factor for the metals industry. The ABB process and power system, designed for cold rolling mills, offers advanced solutions for quality supervision and analysis to meet the needs of cold rolling steel in terms of thickness tolerances, flatness and surface characteristics.


Northern Copper Industry Co., Ltd. with headquarters in Yuncheng, China, was established in 2002 and operates in the mining, mineral processing, smelting sector for copper. The main products are raw material copper stock produced through cathode electrolysis, sulfuric acid, etc. It has an annual production capacity of 9 million tons of mine mining, 200,000 tons of cathode copper, and 570,000 tons of sulfuric acid. With parent company ZhongTiaoShan Non-ferrous Metals Group Co. it is the largest raw material copper stock producer in North China.

ABB is a trusted partner and leading supplier to the metals industry, offering a complete range of products, services and end-to-end solutions that improve productivity, quality, safety and cost-efficiency in iron, steel, aluminum and other metals production processes. With over a century of experience, ABB’s offerings are expertly tailored and highly process-specific, serving the entire industry from material yard and primary manufacturing to casting, rolling and processing lines. Across the whole metals value chain ABB demonstrates a commitment to optimizing operations with high performance products and digital solutions.