Blast Furnace Taphole Clays can be extremely sophisticated Refractory products. It would not be unusual for these materials to have more than 20 different ingredients a large proportion of which will be present in addition levels of less than 5%. The complexity of these formulations mirrors the multitude of often conflicting properties and characteristics that are demanded from the modern day Taphole Clay. However, the Taphole Clay manufacturer not only has to address these ‘Service’ requirements but increasingly there is pressure to meet exacting Health and Safety and Environmental standards. The finished product may not look that impressive when stacked on a pallet but this material represents the culmination of significant knowledge and experience in terms of materials technology design.
Sheffield Refractories has a wide range of different Taphole Clay products starting with simple Silica based formulations through to Resin Free materials suitable for the Largest Furnaces. However, it is our experience that quite often products need to be modified, even custom designed to adapt to a specific furnace or operating practice. Also it is not always the largest furnaces that represent the biggest challenge.
Sheffield Refractories has a number of Technology partners who are producing Blast Furnace Taphole Clays, locally in overseas markets. These partners have access to the full range of formulations within the range of Sheffield Refractories Taphole Clays plus they have received extensive training in terms of Raw Materials selection, manufacturing technology and product testing. Sheffield Refractories continues to support these partners by providing continuing Technical Support to assist with developing sales in these overseas markets. This is vitally important as a significant degree of custom design is required when developing materials for different furnaces. Currently Sheffield Refractories is working with overseas partners in India, Central and Eastern Europe and Turkey.
Sheffield Refractories is not only involved in the Materials Technology associated with Taphole Clay production but the company has also designed and built its own Manufacturing Plant, even designing and building its own Mixing Unit. This experience and expertise in building and renovating Refractory Mixing and Extruding equipment has proven to be an invaluable asset not only for the company itself but also for its Technology Partners. There is a general misconception that you need to invest huge sums to build a Taphole Clay Plant. The reality is that a relatively modest investment is all that is required to produce an efficient unit that to secure absolutely consistent material production.