World Refractories Association Develops Future Plans during General Assembly and Innovation Conference
In addition to the representatives of the member companies, experts met and discussed the future of the refractories industry for two days.
The World Refractories Association (WRA) recently met at its Extraordinary General Assembly and Conference on Innovation in Beijing, China. In addition to the representatives of the member companies, experts met and discussed the future of the refractories industry for two days.
“It is our task to push the World Refractory Association forward,” said Stefan Borgas, president of the WRA and CEO of RHI Magnesita. “The WRA plays a fundamental role in promoting the refractories industry beyond the perceptional threshold, to make our industry visible to the external world. Refractories are truly fundamental for modern societies. I want to improve the understanding of our industry as an industry with a purpose. As the mother of all high-temperature processes, we are an indispensable requirement for the most important industrial sectors. And we need to align forces with other relevant players to tackle the challenges our societies face, being part of the solution and contributing to sustainable wealth globally. That’s why it takes innovation. And innovation takes courage and vision.”
The second day was dedicated to the Innovation Conference, organized by the Association Of China Refractories Industry (ACRI). Under the theme “Future trends in refractories,” the WRA invited high-level industry speakers to discuss approaches to innovation. Luis Rodolfo Mariani Bittencourt (RHI Magnesita), Zhou Ningsheng (Henan University of Science and Technology), R. Joe Yi (Vesuvius Marketing and Technology director, China and North Asia), Liu Baikuan (Puyang Refractories Group Co., Ltd.), Zhao Jizeng (Beijing LIRR High-Temperature Materials Co., Ltd.) and Huang Ao (Wuhan University of Science and Technology) shared their experiences with the audience.
As a representative of the Chinese government, Yue Quanhua took part in the opening of the conference, saying “China is the largest producer and consumer of refractory over the world. After nearly seven decades of development, especially the promotion of reform and opening up for 40 years, China refractory industry has given full play to its unique advantages in resources and costs, and the manufacturing technique, technology and equipment level have been continuously improved, the varieties have continuously been optimized, and the product quality has also obviously been improved. Learning from strengths of each other and promoting each other, to promote China refractory industry reach a new level and to promote the advancement of high-temperature industry as well as the economic and social development.”
“Now, at a time when free trade is under pressure from several sides, we must be aware that free trade is essential for us and we discussed ways to improve it,” said Borgas, who also focused on the topic of digitalization. “Digitization is such a strong stream which brings and forces innovation in all areas of our societies—also in areas beyond 1,200 degrees. It offers potential along the whole value chain starting with more efficient mining, to better production quality in our kilns and new recycling opportunities. However, digitization is certainly not a no-brainer. It takes courage and vision.”
For more information, visit www.worldrefractories.org.