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Substituting aluminum for copper to speed up testing and transformation of wire and cable materials

Time:2021-12-20 00:00:00

In February 2013, the Shanghai Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Industry Association, the Shanghai Aluminum Industry Association, and the University of Shanghai for Science and Technology jointly initiated the establishment of a cooperation project of 100,000 fan coil units "substituting aluminum for copper". "Copper" implementation progress.

The copper price is expected to gradually stabilize in the range of 55,000 to 56,000 yuan/ton in mid-to-late March, and with the increase in demand for replenishment in the later period, it is expected to regain the 60,000 yuan/ton integer mark from April to May.

On March 15, my country's copper price oscillated within a narrow range, reaching 56,800 yuan/ton, an increase of 215 yuan/ton from March 14. In the international market, according to estimates, in the next six months, the price of copper in London will rise by 15%, reaching US$9,000 per ton, which is more than twice the increase in 2012.

In contrast to the increasing depletion of domestic copper resources and the rising copper prices caused by foreign imports, many wire and cable companies have turned their attention to aluminum. Industry insiders pointed out that "substituting aluminum for copper" has become an inevitable trend in the transformation and development of the cable industry.

Copper resources are increasingly scarce, the cable industry is facing problems

Copper has good electrical conductivity and thermal conductivity, and can reduce the loss of electrical energy when conveying current. It has always been difficult for wire and cable manufacturers to give up. At present, more than 60% of my country's wire and cable industry uses copper to make cables, and the annual copper consumption for the production of cables accounts for more than 60% of the total domestic copper consumption.

my country is the most populous country in the world, and its copper consumption accounts for about 40% of the world's total. In order to meet the needs of power grids, housing, automobiles, and exports, my country's copper wire demand reached 4.2 million kilometers in December 2012, the highest in nine months. Moreover, under the background of increasing spending to stimulate the economy, our country needs enough copper to circle the earth more than 100 times a month. According to the 2012 China Wire and Cable Industry Analysis Report, the market capacity of my country's power cables will continue to grow at an annual rate of 8%-9% in the next five years.

As we all know, cables play a vital "media" role in the entire process of power transmission. With the implementation of West-East Power Transmission, grid transformation and other projects and the gradual advancement of urbanization, the demand for cables has also shown The upswing.

At present, the output value of my country's wire and cable industry has exceeded 1 trillion yuan, accounting for more than 25% of the global wire and cable market, and it has become the world's number one producer over the United States.

However, the world’s top ten mining giants control nearly 75% of the world’s mine output, while my country’s copper reserves are about 26 million tons, and the actual annual copper consumption is nearly 5 million tons. The Goldman Sachs Group of the United States predicts that my country's copper demand will jump by 8% in 2013 to an unprecedented 8.833 million tons, which will increase the total global demand and cause a supply and demand gap of 6,000 tons, while the oversupply in 2012 was 21.6. Million tons.

According to calculations, my country's copper resources can be supported for up to 5 years. Due to the relative scarcity of copper resources, 70% of my country's copper concentrates rely on imports, which puts a lot of pressure on smelting companies and causes a sharp rise in costs. According to relevant companies, for every ton of copper imported from abroad, the company will lose 1,000 to 2,000 yuan. At the same time, with more and more companies pouring into the field of cable production, the cable industry's dependence on copper imports is also increasing, and manufacturing and construction costs are increasing.

In the next few years, my country will build smart grids, nuclear power, railways, buildings, etc. on a large scale, and the demand for wire and cable products will increase. How to save costs and increase benefits has become the number one problem for all wire and cable manufacturers.

Aluminum resources are relatively rich, economic and environmental protection have advantages

Due to the prominent contradiction between supply and demand in the copper market, prices have soared, coupled with the difficulty of construction and installation of copper cables, high installation costs, easy theft, easy aging and other shortcomings, many wire and cable companies strive to develop new technologies, new materials, and high R&D technologies. , Aluminum materials with excellent performance to meet the special needs of wire and cable products.

According to calculations, under the same transmission current, the cross section of aluminum conductor is 61% larger than that of copper conductor. Therefore, in terms of conductor weight, to make the two conductors have the same current carrying capacity, the weight of the copper conductor required is about twice that of the aluminum conductor. In addition, the price ratio of copper to aluminum is about 3.5, and the cost of equivalent copper conductors is 7 times that of aluminum conductors.

In fact, from the perspective of resources, my country's aluminum resources are relatively richer than copper resources. At present, my country has proven 310 bauxite mining areas, distributed in 19 provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities across the country. The reserves of bauxite reached 2.273 billion tons, of which A+B+C grade 705 million tons, accounting for 31% of the total reserves.

Moreover, the use of aluminum core cables instead of copper core cables has many advantages. In terms of investment cost, compared with aluminum core cables with the same current capacity, 35 kV aluminum core cables can save 40% to 60% of costs, and 10 kV aluminum core cables can save 50% to 70% of costs. The larger the cable section, the more obvious the effect. At the same time, in terms of transportation, laying overhead and other constructions, aluminum core cables have a small outer diameter and light weight, which is labor-saving and labor-saving compared with copper core cables. The matching of cable accessories is also easier to solve. In the distribution network construction project, the use of aluminum core cables can not only meet the requirements of the development of power grid construction, but also reduce the construction cost of the project.

The aluminum alloy cable has been developed and used by American scientists in 1968 for more than 40 years, and has a market share of 80% in North America. It has withstood the test of time and history, and the aluminum alloy cable has successfully passed the United States, Canada, Australia and other international Authoritative organization testing and certification and China National Cable and Wire Testing Center and other authoritative organizations testing and certification. Moreover, from raw material production, processing, manufacturing to transportation, installation, operation, and recycling, aluminum alloy cables have incomparable economic and environmental advantages over traditional copper core cables, and they are the best substitute for copper cables.

Replacing copper with aluminum becomes a trend, and cables open a new era

As early as 2006, my country has tried to use aluminum in many ways. According to statistical data, in 2006, my country's electricians used 354 tons of copper, and aluminum conductors used 107 tons of copper. The conductors for wires and cables that involve copper saving include electrical aluminum wires and aluminum alloy wires, copper-clad aluminum wires, copper-clad steel wires, thin aluminum wires, and copper-clad aluminum bars. In this year, my country's copper-clad aluminum wire used a total of about 50,000 tons, of which it was mainly used for communication cables.

At present, many companies in my country have designated the raw materials for wire and cable production as aluminum alloy cables. In the case of severe lack of copper resources, the cable industry "substitutes aluminum for copper"

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