ISRI’s Commodity Roundtables Forum will take place Sept. 22-24 at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Chicago. The annual event attracts processors, brokers, traders, and other recycling professionals from around the world. Register here.

The Copper Roundtable, which is Thursday, Sept. 23, at the 2021 ISRI Commodity Roundtables Forum in Chicago, is sponsored by SDI La Farga COPPERWORKS™. In 2011, Steel Dynamics, Inc. of Fort Wayne, Ind., and Barcelona, Spain-based La Farga Group entered into a joint venture to create New Haven, Ind.-based COPPERWORKS™. The companies share similar visions in innovation in their respective fields (steel and copper), and as stewards of the environment in creating processes that use recycled metal to produce high-quality finished goods.

Kurt Breischaft, president of COPPERWORKS™, tells Scrap News more about his company’s participation in this year’s Commodity Roundtables.

What is COPPERWORKS™ going to present at the Commodity Roundtables?

We don’t have a booth per se. We’re sponsoring the Copper Roundtable; there’s a video about SDI La Farga that will be shared at the beginning of the roundtable. We’re supporting ISRI and look at this as a great way to connect to our suppliers.

What do you hope to get out of the event?

Typically—and hopefully this year is not too atypical—we look forward to seeing the folks who we talk to, and work with on a daily and weekly basis, but don’t really get to meet face-to-face. That’s what we get out of Roundtables. That’s what we look for: to be sure that people understand who we are, what we’re about, and to get our name out there. We want to meet folks who are directly in the scrap space in copper or adjacent to the space.

COPPERWORKS™ recently celebrated its future growth and branding plans with a virtual launch to its 80-plus employees. Will any of that be seen at Commodity Roundtables?

We’ve been around for just about 10 years, and throughout that time the base business has remained taking copper scrap, refining that, and making that material into new copper wire and rod. We call that Infinity™ copper rod because it’s infinitely recyclable—and it’s recycled.

A couple of years ago, as we looked forward to future growth, we were going to use copper cathodes as well in a different kind of furnace. So, we would end up with two different products. We didn’t want the second product to eclipse the first product. We went and got some smart marketing guys, and that’s where we came up with the Infinity™ brand for the fire-refined rod that we had been making, and the Elemental™ brand for the [electrolytic tough pitch] rod that’s made from copper cathodes.

The entity of SDI La Farga is a joint venture between Steel Dynamics and La Farga Group. La Farga is a great wire rod company in Europe, but when we get to the folks that we’re selling to, La Farga is not a well-known name. As well-known as Steel Dynamics is in the ferrous scrap world, the steel world, it’s not a well-known name in the copper wire and cable space. Adding the COPPERWORKS™ branding gives people a better idea of who we are and helps us differentiate COPPERWORKS™ from other folks selling copper rod and wire.

We’re one year into the expansion. Our capacity has more than doubled; our output has more than doubled. It’s been an exciting time for us, and we only see future growth. Demand is so high right now.

We added a furnace, and even now things are tight. We’ve gone from not having this furnace to trying to figure out how we can run it 105% of the time so that there’s always product. There’s always demand for it.

Is there anything else people should know about COPPERWORKS™?

We’ve got a great team that’s got great equipment. This is the beauty of the joint venture: We’ve got this technology from the folks in Spain who are great innovators, and we have the support of Steel Dynamics. The Steel Dynamics culture drives that idea of taking the best ideas and the best processes, assembling the best team possible, and incentivizing them to get out there and do it. It’s the best team that works together and gets the job done.

Photos Courtesy of SDI La Farga COPPERWORKS™. Featured photo caption: Workers inspect a cast copper bar before it enters the rolling mill. Body photo caption: Workers prepare a finished copper coil to be packaged.

 

 

Dan Hockensmith

Dan Hockensmith

I'm a native Ohioan who since 2014 has called Maryland home. My background includes print, broadcast, and digital journalism; government contracting; marketing communications; and nonprofit advocacy.