The WRA promoted courage and vision at its General Assembly and Conference

The WRA promoted courage and vision at its General Assembly and Conference
20 November 2018

The World Refractories Association's General Assembly and Conference on Innovation in Beijing
was held on  15-16 November 2018, in Beijing, China. The World Refractories Association (WRA) met  representatives of the member companies and invited top-class experts to discuss the future of the refractories industry.

The President of the WRA, RHI Magnesita CEO Stefan Borgas, stated at the beginning of the General Assembly: "It is our task to push the World Refractory Association forward. 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," said Borgas. "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, organised by ACRI, the Association Of China Refractories Industry. Under the motto "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 experience with the audience.

As a representative of the Chinese government, Yue Quanhua took part in the opening of the conference and said: "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 optimised, and the product quality has also obviously been improved."

Quanhua added, "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."

The Vice President of ACRI, Liu Wei, Chairman of Shandong Refractories Group Co Ltd said in his message: "To promote the sustained and healthy development of the global refractory industry, we are willing to strengthen the in-depth cooperation and work together with international counterparts and investors, partners and upstream and downstream customers in various regions of the world under the new situation and at the new historical starting point."

WRA President, Stefan Borgas, expressed his satisfaction with the results of the two days. "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," he pointed out. The WRA President also focussed on the topic on digitalisation. "Digitisation is such a strong stream which brings and forces innovation in all areas of our societies – also in areas beyond 1200 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, digitisation is certainly not a no-brainer. It takes courage and vision," he underlined once more.

Published under Cement News