At a time when economic pressures call for stronger networks, the refractory industry is embracing increased global cooperation. To this end, the major refractory industry associations and multinational companies have joined together to create the World Refractories Association (WRA). Refractory products are vital elements in all high-temperature processes, notably in the production of steel, cement, petrochemical processes, glass and ceramics.
The WRA constitutes a forum to debate regulatory issues affecting global trade, circulate aggregated industry statistics, promote the interests of the worldwide refractory industry, and act as a counterpart to other world industry organisations such as the World Steel Association. The newly formed WRA is composed of continental associations including Europe (PRE), Latin America (ALAFAR) and North America (TRI) as well as national associations from China (ACRI), India (IRMA) and Japan (JRA). Multinational companies Calderys, Magnesita Refratários S.A., Refratechnik, RHI A.G. and Vesuvius plc are also direct members.
François Wanecq, Chief Executive of Vesuvius plc and President of PRE, was elected inaugural President of the World Refractories Association. “In common with our customers and suppliers, our businesses are becoming more and more global. As regulations are harmonised to allow free trade that supports economic development, we feel a need to share information regarding the evolution of regulations and to reinforce global co-operation in our industry. By uniting the worldwide refractory industry’s various associations and international groups under one banner, we are better able to communicate with one voice. I am proud to see the shared enthusiasm from all members as we embark on this ambitious project,” says François Wanecq. Previous to joining Vesuvius in 2005, he was Chief Executive of ArjoWiggins from 1996 to 2004 and Head of the Technical Ceramics division at Saint-Gobain from 1985 to 1995. He graduated at École Polytechnique and École des Mines in Paris.
Following a successful meeting in London on 6 November, the World Refractories Association will continue the positive momentum with a General Assembly in September 2015.
For more information visit the WRA website.