The “Aluminum Platform” for United Refractories Company is based upon satisfying the aluminum customer value proposition which has 3 main pillars: (1) Reduce total process costs/MT of metal produced; (2) Improve/impact metal quality; (3) Improve/optimize furnace availability. All of URC’s R&D, sales, service & marketing activities are driven by the pillars of this value proposition.
Our overall approach in serving the aluminum market is to provide solutions that create value based on relevant quantitative data. This initiative has 4 main elements: (1) Customer challenges which would include identifying the critical wear mechanisms acting upon and deteriorating the refractory in aluminum casthouse operations. (2) Product qualification which involves a comprehensive testing program that best simulates these wear mechanisms to better understand and position URC products relative to these wear mechanisms. (3) Process analysis which involves a thorough audit of the specific aluminum furnace process, to better understand the most critical wear mechanisms impacting the refractories in that particular furnace. A very detailed “process audit” has been developed by URC to initiate this investigation. (4) Product selection which involves utilizing the process audit results along with the product qualification test data, to provide a more “prescriptive” value solution, or a Solutions AWEARness offering that is specific to each customer furnace. As we know, not every furnace is the same and creating value for the customer is the goal.