We are delighted to announce the Moderators and Participants of the Panel Discussion:

“Refractories – Engineered Products or Commodities?”

Thursday September 17, 2015 
5:15 PM–6:45 PM | Festsaal

Provocative Introduction on relation of refractory supplier and metal producer and the relevance of refractories for the metal producing process.  General difference between an engineered/customized product and a commodity.



  • Dr. Andus Buhr, Almatis GmbH, Global Technical Director Refractories
  • Dipl.-Ing. Jens Pischke, Salzgitter AG Stahl und Technologie, Process Technology 


  • Prof. Dr. Helge Jansen – Refratechnik Steel, Managing Director
  • Dr. Patrick Tassot – Refratechnik Steel, Head of Technical Marketing
  • Dipl.-Ing. Christian Artner – RHI VP Sales West Europe


  • Steve Resler – Arcelor Mittal USA, Purchasing Refractories North America 
  • Dipl.-Ing. Leandro Schöttler – Deutsche Edelstahlwerke GmbH Siegen, Process 
  • Dipl.-Ing. Rinus Siebring – TATA Steel NL, Ceramics Research Center, Refractories Steel
  • Wolfgang Eder – voestalpine Stahl Linz, Purchasing
  • Mark Welbourn, Siemens / Primetals Technologies Ltd. UK,  Procurement 

Discussion Points:

  • In which areas are refractories engineered products and where are they just treated as commodities?
  • Organisation structure in companies (purchasing – R&D – production, probably incl. installation companies) both refractories and steel (resp. end users)  - who has the full picture, or does anybody have the full picture?
  • What role plays the size of a company in this regard? Can larger scale companies overcome the disadvantage of missing general overview by organisational measures?
  • Optimisation of sub-processes or units (Cost center approach) vs. optimisation of value chains
  • Magnitude of potential savings in purchasing vs. magnitude of cost savings or increases depending on refractory performance / reliability
  • Long product life cycle of refractory products, long periods for introducing new products – supporting the impression of refractories being commodities? Frequency of fine tuning refractories based on specific customer requirements.
  • Co-development with suppliers – how long is business secured afterwards? Is intense co-operation rewarded in the business?
  • How important is the supplier – customer relationship in the refractory business?
    Is service of the supplier adding substantial value for the customer? If yes, which kind of service?
    How is the service taken into account during negotiations – only possible through pro-rata contracts?