“We’re keeping up with our rivals by catching up to the latest tech”
CEO of Mahan Copper:

“We’re keeping up with our rivals by catching up to the latest tech”

“Over the past three years, we have had a tough ride working alongside Bahonar copper as a formidable rival with government support. We do have our regular customers, but some prefer to buy the well-known brand Bahonar,” said Alireza Ragerdi Kashani, CEO of Mahan Copper.

Referring to the intense competition in the market of copper strips and busbars, Kashani said: “The consumption of strips is limited and the products are easily available. Other than Mahan Copper, there are two companies that produce strips. Bahonar is an older, better-recognized brand; it works directly with producers of electrical enclosures and holds a large share of the market. Our relationship with Bahonar is more of a cooperation nature than competition. Mesbar Kaveh is another producer of copper strips. We have a capacity of 100 tonnes per month, and the market demand is 250 tonnes per month. We have a nice share in the market.”

About issues of production and consumption, he said: “Due to the heavy burden of production costs and price fluctuations of raw materials and spare parts (as a result of dollar rate fluctuations), it is a challenge to keep our operations running. Every producer had these problems last year; all producers are connected like links in a chain. Industries have had worse times in the first two months of 1398 compared to the entire year 1397.”

He compared the production of busbars in Iran with other countries: “Iran stands well against other countries in terms of busbar production. The quality of raw materials is more or less the same the world over. Cathode is our major raw material, which we get without much trouble from the IME.”

Kashani emphasized the importance of technology in the quality of copper strips: “Technology is a game changer in our business. Our share in the market is owing to our production technology. This is a serious business, and any one with low-quality products will quickly be rejected from the market.”

Regarding solutions for dealing with problems caused by the sanctions, the CEO said, “We had a lot of problems with after-sales services of our machinery after the sanctions, so we reverse-engineered them with Iranian technology. We are working with several knowledge-based companies and rely on the R&D department to catch up to the latest technology. We use the modern casting process to minimize scrap and enhance conductivity.”

Kashani criticized some companies for substandard products: “Some small producers use the common oxygen extrusion process to produce strips; their products are not of good quality and are visibly distinct. They have a dull color and are produced through conventional casting. Our busbars are calibrated and shiny because they have been deoxygenized. We have departments that such producers don’t. Thanks to smart technology, we have reduced the number of our staff to a quarter. In conventional casting, workers are in direct contact with the furnace, which is dangerous to them. In our technology, human contact with the furnace is minimized; our production is much safer.”

He went on to talk about the applications of Mahan Copper’s products: “Copper rods are usually used as earth rods and other electrical applications. Both rods and strips are used in electrical applications that require high electrical conductivity. In other words, anyone who needs high-strength conductors is a consumer of our products. The production of electrical enclosures accounts for the largest part of consumption. Moreover, busbars are used in the railway and subway systems as well.”

Kashani expressed his optimism about the outlook of the industry: “I’m always optimistic and I believe the industry has a promising outlook. We might also produce sheets in the future, but we haven’t set an agenda for it yet. Compared to sheets, the production of strips is more time-consuming and requires more equipment. We also want to produce brass strips; they have wide applications in Iran, and are most commonly used in faucets and chandeliers. Bahonar is the only company equipped with the necessary machinery; other producers use conventional alloying.”

Regarding raw materials, he said, “When we can’t buy cathode on the IME, we buy scrap. We buy bright bare red scrap and use it to produce strips; not any scrap can be used for strips.”

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