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Cementing a place in the refractories market requires high-quality products that improve productivity and performance, according to Peter Rooney, managing director of ANH Refractories Europe. Efficiency and effectiveness in the manufacturing process are greatly increased through the use of high-performance refractory products. Playing a crucial role for any business that uses heat as an integral part of the production process, it is vital to be able to handle refractories in a hot environment with total control, confidence and safety.
ANH Refractories Europe has been a specialist in refractory engineering for more than half a century. It has seen significant growth in the last 12 months across international markets with exports accounting for 85% of overall sales. The company delivers refractory products, services and solutions to a range of industries, including glass/ceramic, aluminum, oil/petrochemical, power/incineration, and cement/mineral.
One of the firm’s core areas of work involves delivering refractory solutions for cement kiln linings. According to Rooney, the company is looking to position itself as a “refractory centre of excellence” for the global market. “We saw major sales in 2011 right across the board within the eurozone in countries including Czech Republic, Germany, Greece, Slovakia and the Netherlands,” he says. “Markets in Poland and Italy have also garnered impressive sales. In Scandinavia, manufacturing export sales have remained strongest in Norway backed by further strong sales in Sweden and Finland.”
Rooney says that the company plans to build on recent success with a particular focus on the cement manufacturing market. “ANH offers a vitally important service to cement manufacturers with our complete range of versatile and reliable refractories,” he says. “Our products can be used for a variety of applications to help improve productivity and performance. We believe the cement sector will play a pivotal role in driving our export sales and it remains a key focus for 2012-13.”
Case in Point
A recent project with Lafarge, a leading cement producer, has seen ANH Refractories Europe supplying products for the kiln at the cement manufacturing plant in Trbovlje, Slovenia. ANH Refractories supplied a significant amount of its Thor AZSP Adtech refractory castable. Cast in situ, the product provided the lining solution for an entire kiln inlet chamber. (The product’s versatility allows material to be vibration-cast or pumped.) The effectiveness of the kiln was further bolstered by the installation of specialist metallic anchors to repair ANH’s own design of the kiln inlet area.
“Thor AZSP Adtech is a premium low-moisture, fused zirconia-mullite refractory for use in cement production,” says Rooney. “Our work to transform the pre-heater slope and inlet chambers has given the site an improved lifespan. Key features include excellent strength and abrasion resistance, low thermal conductivity, low permeability, inertia to alkalies, buildup resistance and clogging, all of which mean that the product is highly effective and dependable. Designed for application in cement pre-heaters, feed inlets, calciners, feed shelves in wet process kilns and nose ring risers—it was the ideal refractory for the job.”
Common Kiln Lining Problems
Traditionally, many common problems occur as a side effect of cement plant and refractory operations. These include high abrasion that reduces the thickness of the lining, and heavy buildup of alkali that can attack the kiln shell leading to erosion. Additional problems can occur when thermal and mechanical loads increase, bringing stresses, while high thermal shock leads to the lining slabbing and spalling.
“ANH has products operating successfully in all of these conditions,” says Rooney. “Reliable refractory components are crucial to the operational efficiency of any cement plant. Due to the aggressive surrounding environment, the lifespan of refractory components within cement kilns is too often unpredictable. The longer these components can last, the easier it becomes to align them with the lifespan of other products within the kiln. This reduces the loss of production time and drives greater operational efficiency.”
ANH offers a range of products developed specifically for the cement industry. These include its Thor, Versaflow castables and Versagun branded products. Additional offerings to the sector include plastic ramming mixes, rapid cure, bespoke composites, insulating, dense and rapid heat-up castables.
“In addition to the kiln itself, the upper and lower cyclones, pre-heater zones and cooling chambers all benefit from ANH’s bespoke lining solutions,” says Rooney. “We offer a wide-ranging portfolio of brick products for each kiln zone, as well as a range of monolithic product solutions and engineered refractories for retaining rings, discharge nose-rings, firing hoods and chain sections. Elsewhere, ANH offers key products for the burner pipe to bolster the main body, burner tip and tertiary air duct and, in terms of coolers, a range of products for the discharge chute, bull nose and side walls.
“Our core aim is to provide refractory solutions that enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of manufacturing procedures. Our vision is to help businesses increase productivity, performance and profit potential.”
For more information, visit www.anhlimited.co.uk.