Phelps Dodge (now Freeport McMoran) is a major producer of copper rod throughout the globe. To keep up with this demand, Goodwin Engineering was hired to design the MEP infrastructure for a new five-story copper melting furnace at its El Paso plant.


The scope of this project required unique mechanical, electrical, and piping engineering to accommodate a complex infrastructure of processes required for a furnace manufactured by Asarco. Numerous intermediate processes were designed throughout the five-story structure. Features of the design included a 900 HP multi-stage fan to supply high-pressure combustion air, stack design, stack heat recovery for use in preheating the combustion air, and preheating natural gas to the burners. The combustion air pressures and temperatures were so high, that SMACNA duct sizing charts could not be used. Goodwin developed a high pressure/high-temperature duct sizing model to calculate all duct materials, duct thicknesses, and duct supports at the high pressures and high temperatures demanded by the project.

Other features included a pneumatic control system supplied by the high-pressure combustion air ductwork and natural gas piping conveying natural gas at several hundred degrees.