RECOVERY – New concepts for the steel industry


From next year, an important product group will be added to the Refractory Linings portfolio: magnesia-carbon bricks.

These materials are used primarily in the steel industry and complete STEULER-KCH‘s existing product range. The move also represents a further step for STEULER-KCH in the direction of recycling. Preserving resources and the sensible, comprehensive use of recyclables by recovering them and feeding them back into the cycle is the idea behind the Recovery product group. The new concept makes us less reliant on raw materials and lessens the ever increasing dependence on the major feedstock suppliers of the world.

In essence, it‘s about being able to feed valuable raw materials back into the cycle and offering the customer a complete package: Refractory linings that have reached the end of their service life are removed from the customers‘ plants and returned. The parts of the bricks that have not been infiltrated are ground up and turned into new refractory feedstock that is used to make new bricks.

In this context, the term “recovery” does not necessarily mean that all products contain regenerated materials, but rather that the material remains a recyclable even after delivery and/or having been in service. As such, a brick manufactured entirely out of virgin material does not conflict with the principle, since it too will in part be returned to the cycle after use. For Recovery, STEULER-KCH is using refractory raw materials that were previously recovered from the domestic steel industry.

The Recovery concept is a joint project involving two prestigious companies with an eye for new markets: STEULER-KCH is responsible for pre- and post-sales support and has exclusive distribution rights, and the bricks are being manufactured and recycled by Horn & Co. (Siegen Weidenau), where construction of a new brick factory is now nearing completion.

The main priority is on ensuring that the mag-carbon bricks are of top quality. Despite the use of secondary raw materials, the quality of Recovery bricks is equivalent to that of premium grade products. Thanks to the elaborate sorting process and professional treatment, the residual materials and mixtures that were initially considered waste are recycled to make valuable feedstock. This is made possible through the meticulous and highly involved separation of the used and/or worn clinker-afflicted or infiltrated parts of the recovered material from the unworn, i.e. intact, portion. So only re-useable material is actually recycled. The result is a quality product „Made in Germany“.

The concept is based on sustainability, and as such is likely to be of interest to the steel industry in particular. The processes and raw material management practices used in the steel industry makes them one of the biggest industrial recyclers there is, making them a role model in this area. Even though the steel industry is currently characterised by intense competitive pressure, in particular due to the changing market situation in China, and a price-driven market environment, its progressive attitude towards sustainable practices is already more pronounced than in many other industry sectors. With Recovery, we offer an alternative that means we, as a supplier to the steel industry, shoulder part of the responsibility and become involved in the recycling concept. STEULER-KCH successfully started to introduce this concept to clients of the hazardous waste incineration industry.

Our partner, Horn & Co., has extensive experience and the requisite knowledge of all the pertinent rules and regulations concerning materials‘ recycling. The company is equipped with the latest technology for mineral-based recyclables, making it ideally suited for carry-ing out complex recycling tasks. The Horn & Co. Group, recycling experts since 1922, works with eight separate companies in the fields of treatment, disposal, analytics and sales & distribution. The Group‘s goal is to achieve a closed materials‘ cycle with the highest possible level of feedstock recycling.

For STEULER-KCH, this exclusive partnership means an external expansion in supply capacity of around 12,500 tons per year.