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The challenge

All furnaces and kilns used in steel and cement production have small areas that suffer extreme conditions due to high temperatures, chemicals, and liquid infiltration. These conditions force manufacturers to stop production and renew the refractory lining even when the majority of the lining is in working condition. 

The pause in production not only requires time and materials but also requires massive amounts of energy to restart the kiln after being shut down. This is extremely costly at a time when energy reduction methods are being used to offset the costs of rising energy prices around the world.

The goal

Our customer turned to our experts to help them develop a disruptive solution for rotary kilns. The goals were to:
  • Avoid interruptions in production;
  • Lengthen the life of the refractory lining in the kiln; and
  • Formulate a new brick that could withstand 3 times the current life cycle.
Accomplishing these three goals would be just the start of the benefits the customer would reap -- the biggest being the savings in energy and production costs.

The approach

After promising lab trials, we developed a unique mix of different alumina grades that would work together to create a more durable solution with higher corrosion resistance, so that it could withstand the temperatures, chemicals, and water vapours generated in the kiln.

To ensure a smooth launch of the new solution, we offered a consignment stock to support our customers’ peak production during the early days of the project. This helped to offset challenges regarding supply chain disruptions, material shortages, and price volatility.

 The outcome

The new solution has not only been reached but it has surpassed the initial durability goals for the lining. So far, our customer has seen results that extend the life of the refractory lining by 6 times, nearly double the initial hope of the project. As a result, there are fewer maintenance stops and cost savings in both energy and production.

Starting from laboratory scale trials, IMCD is currently supplying several thousand tons per year with a promising ramp-up plan for the next five.

The takeaway

Today, steel production accounts for nearly 8 percent of global CO₂ emissions and cement production accounts for nearly 7 percent. Additionally, 90 percent of the energy used in steel and cement manufacturing lies solely in kilns. Innovations like these have the potential to drive massive change in the industry and have huge sustainable benefits to our world. Innovations like these have the potential to drive massive change in the industry and have huge sustainable benefits to our world.   

At IMCD Industrial Solutions, our experts build value through their focused expertise. Are you interested to learn more about this solution or how our Industrial Solutions experts can support you with similar solutions? Contact our experts today

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