Could you provide details about your company?
We have been dealing in refractories and castables since 1982 and have supplied high alumina refractories, basic refractories, castables and insulation bricks to most of the cement and steel plants in India, the Middle East, Nigeria and various other countries of Africa. We have also been consultants to cement companies on selection of suitable quality of refractories for their plants.
What are the kinds of refractories used in the Indian cement industry?
High alumina refractories, basic refractories and insulation bricks are generally used in cement plants along with different types of castables.
Do cement refractories use alternate fuels and what is the way forward considering refractories for such applications?
Cement companies are now using alternative fuels and also fuels like pet coke, furnace oil, coal, etc. Indian refractory manufacturers are producing high alumina refractories for alternate fuel and supplying to various cement companies. Similarly, Siam Refractory, Thailand manufactures basic bricks for alternate fuel and has been supplying to various cement companies across globe, including India.
Are cement refractories addressing the environment challenge?
Indian refractory manufacturers have to gear up for environment challenges. Recently, there was a report that a refractory manufacturer in Gujarat was asked to shut down operations on account of causing pollution. However, I believe that the unit has started again.
Will the projected growth in the Indian infrastructure industry impact refractory makers?
All the high alumina refractory manufacturers in India, including National Refractories, having their plant at Asansol, West Bengal have sufficient capacities to meet the projected growth of cement companies in India. For basic refractory, we are not geared up and are still dependent on imports, as for instance, from Siam Refractory, Thailand or from other places in the world.
Is a substantial portion of the raw materials used for refractories still being imported? Is there a way out to address this issue?
Because of the non-availability of good quality of basic raw material locally, we need to explore the option of good quality of Basic raw materials in various Indian states; else, we will have to depend on imported basic refractories.
What are the technologies that will help fix existing problems with cement refractories?
Senior technical persons of cement companies should have a close interaction and dialogue with highly experienced, qualified refractory engineers of refractory manufacturers like National Refractories in India or Siam Refractory of Thailand to select suitable high alumina and basic refractories and insulation bricks for cement plants. Dr. A K Chattopadhyay, who has a doctorate in refractories and is the former Managing Director of Tata Refractories and presently the Managing Director of National Refractories with his 44 years of experience in cement and steel is the best person to advice on the suitable quality of high alumina refractories, basic refractories and castables for various cement plant applicatios.
What are the challenges that refractory makers have to face?
Nowadays most of the cement companies are buying refractories with focus on pricing instead of quality. This mind set about selection of cheaper refractories needs to be changed because cheaper refractories lead to serious problems in many cement plants. Cheaper refractories also damage various equipments, including the kiln. It also leaves long-term side-effects on the plant.
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