I’ve been in Victoria, BC, Canada this week attending Unitecr 2013—the 13th meeting of The Unified International Technical Conference on Refractories. The conference, which occurs biennially, is an international collaboration between refractory organizations in the US, Germany, Japan, and South America. This is its fourth time in North America.
Nearly 650 attendees from every region of the world engaged in manufacturing are here. Reflecting the reality that more than half of all refractories produced are consumed by the global steel industry, about half the technical program relates to steelmaking. There are also sessions on refractories for glass, cementmaking, nonferrous metals, chemical processing, and energy generation, as well as refractory-specific sessions on topics like basic refractories and monolithics.
The mood is upbeat. While some wish business were better, most seem to feel that the 2008-2009 slump is behind the industry. The enormous influence of the Chinese economic engine continues to be an issue for refractory producers and consumers alike. Here’s a selection of photos from the event.