KLU talks Business … with Dr.-Ing. Sven-Kelana Christiansen, Aurubis AG

Progress needs metal, especially conductive copper. They know that at Aurubis AG, Hamburg’s multimetal company and global leader in the production and recycling of copper and other metals. Their slogan says it: “Metals for Progress.” How does Aurubis organize its supply chains, and why are they currently being overhauled? We talked about this with Dr. Sven-Kelana Christiansen, Vice President, Supply Chain Management.

For more than 100 years at over 1,000°C, Aurubis has been sweating in its core business, metal production. What personally fascinates you about this time-honored business?

Dr.-Ing. Sven-Kelana Christiansen: I’m most amazed that copper has shaped the technological development of humanity for thousands of years – from the Copper Age (5th century BC) and the Bronze Age (2200 to 800 BC) to today’s electrification of mobility, the properties of copper are of fundamental importance. Alongside its good malleability, the electrical and thermal conductivity of copper is nearly unbeatable. And the best thing is: copper is infinitely recyclable without quality loss, meaning copper used in the Copper Age is very likely still in circulation and being reused. This puts copper ahead of the curve in the recycling economy, and it just so happens to look stylish too.

As a long-established, analog company, Aurubis faces the challenge of making the leap into metal production 4.0 in a digital, interconnected working world. What does this mean for supply chains and how are you modernizing them?

Dr.-Ing. Sven-Kelana Christiansen: Now as before, an effective supply chain gets the right material to the right place at the right time. An efficient supply chain achieves this with minimal effort while complying with all legal, social, and environmental conditions. With the latter in particular we’ve set the goal of expanding on our pioneering role in the industry by increasing our already leading recycling rate of more than 45% of copper produced. This places particular demands on the supply chain because the availability of copper scrap depends on various factors, such as demolition work in the construction industry. The goal is to anticipate this availability as well as possible in order to plan the material flow early on and to maximize the use of transportation via train and ship. So our supply chains have to become more proactive. We achieve this by integrating forecasting models and supply chain information when calculating the input mixture for our furnaces. 

How can science support such transformative processes? And why did Aurubis decide to fund a PhD position at KLU?

Dr.-Ing. Sven-Kelana Christiansen: The development of forecasting models and the integration of cross-industry supply chains in metal recycling is a really young discipline; it is not currently one of our core competencies. In an increasingly interconnected economy with growing recycling requirements, these are critical success factors, in our opinion, in being able to process flows of materials efficiently in the future. For us, cooperation with strong partners such as KLU is an ideal way of keeping our processes up-to-date. Here, a scientific approach aids in adjusting the more widely available industry standard to our somewhat more specific needs in “non-ferrous metallurgy.”

For you what does KLU stand for in three words?

Dr.-Ing. Sven-Kelana Christiansen: Economical, performance-oriented, Nordic

Thank you!


Aurubis – Metals for Progress
Aurubis AG is a global leader in non-ferrous metals and one of the largest copper recyclers in the world. The company processes complex metal concentrates, scrap metals, organic and inorganic metalliferous recycling materials and industrial residues into the highest quality metals. Aurubis produces more than one million tons of copper cathodes annually as well as various copper and copper alloy products, including continuous cast wire rod and shapes, profiles, and flat rolled products. Aurubis manufactures many other metals, such as precious metals, selenium, lead, nickel, tin and zinc. Their portfolio also includes sulfuric acid and iron silicate.

Aurubis employs approximately 7,200 staff, has production sites in Europe and the U.S. as well as an extensive service and distribution system in Europe, Asia and North America.

Aurubis stock is listed in the Prime Standard Segment of the German Stock Exchange, MDAX, the Global Challenges Index (GCX) and Stoxx Europe 600. (Source: Press Release)