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Refractories urged to focus on hot repair products

Our Bureau

Visakhapatnam , April 5

DOMESTIC refractories should upgrade their technologies and focus on the manufacture of special monolithic products and hot repair products, likely to be in demand in future, as they consume less energy and are easier to maintain, Mr B.K. Panda, Chairman and Managing Director of the Visakhapatnam Steel Plant, has said.

He was speaking at the inaugural session of a three-day seminar on refractory technologies here on Monday. The seminar is being organised by the Indian Institute of Refractories Engineers (IIRE) in association with Institute of Refractory Engineers of the UK, and Visakhapatnam Steel Plant.

He said steel plants accounted for almost 70 per cent of the total consumption of refractory products, but with better technologies the consumption of refractory products was going down all the time. At present, the average consumption of refractory products per a tonne of steel produced was in the range of 8-9 kg in Indian steel plants but it should be brought down to 5 kg per tonne or so as in Japan, he said. He urged steel plants and other user industries to adopt better operational practices.

Mr Y. Siva Sagara Rao, Director-Commercial, VSP, said the plant was expending roughly Rs 80 crore per annum on refractories and all efforts were being made to reduce it further. He said that at present the global consumption of refractories was of the order 25 million tonnes and by 2010 it may slump to 20 million tonnes or so.

He said the Indian refractories were operating at 45 per cent capacity and producing 0.7 million tonnes per annum, of which the monolithic products accounted for only 6 per cent. This, he said, would have to be changed.

Mr Mike Clark, Co-chairman of the Institute of Refractory Engineers of the UK, said innovative techniques would have to be adopted by refractories all over the world to remain in the market and it was laudable that the steel plant had taken the initiative to organise the conference.

Dr T.V. Prasad, the convener, said 54 technical papers on refractory technologies would be presented in the seminar.

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