COCOP: Copper smelter optimization


Plant-wide optimization tool for copper smelter operating flash smelting furnace, Peirce-Smith converters and anode and slag cleaning furnaces. The main goals are to maximize feed rate (increasing production rate), save resources and reduce emissions per ton produced copper.


  • Interrelated Batch and continuous process included.
  • Each process (and even equipment) have specific restrictions that need to be considered.
  • Feed mixture composition changing.
  • Several manual operations (cranes, tapping, Peirce-Smith converters & anode furnace operation).
  • Developed systems should facilitate operator work without increasing work load.


  • Plant wide optimization to calculate schedule for future operations
  • Unit process advisors to optimize unit processes
  • To enable optimized operation

copper, plant-wide monitoring, data analysis, process model, process control, optimization, optimal scheduling
Coordinating Optimisation of Complex Industrial Processes

Project website:

A complex industrial plant comprises continuous and/or batch unit processes where the complexity stems from its dynamic properties. In order to achieve an economically and environmentally efficient operation of a plant, the objective of the COCOP project was to enable plant-wide monitoring and control by using the model-based, predictive,  coordinating optimisation concept in integration with local control systems.

The project also combined technological and social innovation within a common co-creation process in order to improve effectiveness and impact of the innovations, their implementation process and user’s acceptance.

The implemented solutions were tested in two industrial scale tests: in a steel and in a copper plant. The test cases validated the requirements and the developed solutions. The quantitative results provided good evidence that these approaches can enable to achieve the objectives and provide considerable economic benefits when the solutions have been developed to the TRL 9 level.

The COCOP general concept can be applied to any large industrial production site because it relies on general methods such as modelling of dynamics, data analysis and optimization. Thus, the project also analysed the transferability to other three sectors: Wastewater Treatment, Chemical and Glass Manufacturing sectors.

COCOP was a collaborative 42-months SPIRE project (October 2016-March 2020) and the consortium consisted of 12 partners (5 research organisations and 7 companies), from 6 European countries. This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 723661.

Case study
Plant-wide monitoring - SPIRE02-2016