Sustainability

We will operate all work and business activities in a manner which ensures appropriate care and protection of the environment.

Vesuvius environment policy

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Background

Vesuvius has a relatively large number of small and medium sized facilities located in 30 countries throughout the world's major economic regions. Thanks to this network, we are located close to our customers. We can operate in just-in-time supply chains with short lead times from order to delivery and reduced transport times to our customers located in more than 100 countries.

Our manufacturing processes are not energy intensive (total energy costs are less than 3% of revenue) and do not produce large quantities of hazardous or other wastes and emissions.

Our businesses deliver, under the Vesuvius and the Foseco brands, a large range of solutions that help our customers improve not only the productivity but also the quality of their products, the environmental footprint of the processes and employee safety.

Vesuvius' products are used in molten metal handling and at extreme temperatures. Our first commitment to our customers is the reliability of our solutions that help to protect their employees' safety through the prevention of failures that could have catastrophic consequences for employees or equipment.

Reducing the impact of our activities on the environment is a constant priority at Vesuvius. Vesuvius targets the highest standards of quality, safety and sustainability in its own operations and endeavours to meet the global expectations of its customers and stakeholders.

Thermal optimisation, slag and reject reduction are key factors in the processes for which we supply solutions. Vesuvius contributes to the reduction of its customers' energy usage and subsequent CO2 emissions reduction through insulating materials, laminar flow management, extended sequences and reduced downtime.

Energy Conservation Plan

Energy consumption and CO2 emissions are regularly monitored and taken into account in all our investment programmes. All our factory emissions are proactively managed in accordance with local regulations. Regular analysis of our operations enables us to take appropriate actions to reduce our emissions.

The Vesuvius Energy Conservation Plan was launched in 2011 with the objective of reducing our normalised energy consumption by 10% over the following three years. Managing our energy intensity is part of enhancing our cost competitiveness. It also contributes to improving the total environmental impact of our customers. It is part of our commitment to the communities in which we operate.

Energy efficiency and co2impact initiative

Vesuvius' specialised expertise in molten metal handling and casting provides assistance to customers both by reducing the energy intensity of their existing and new breakthrough processes, and through the manufacture of new products that improve the energy efficiency of metal-using products in society.

The Energy Efficiency and CO2 Impact project is a corporate initiative launched to foster the deployment of energy efficiency and sustainable solutions engineered by our technology departments. A CO2 Impact stamp, launched in 2011, highlights the most energy efficient solutions in our portfolio of products and services.

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As shown by the above chart, energy use has been stable in the last three years. Our fuel consumption is not directly related with quantities produced, as some energy-consuming tools operate continuously. In 2012, electricity use decreased by 3% compared with 2011 and gas usage increased marginally.

Case study — oven optimisation for sleeve firing at izurza, spain

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Image: Back row, left to right: Igor Cenigaonaindia, Angel Quintanilla, Jesus Ortiz, Juan Carlos Cruz, Javier Salcines.

Front row, left to right: Ruben Marcos, David Gomez, Demetrio Maruri.


Lean aims to eliminate non value-adding activities and waste from business processes.

Izurza has two main lines for manufacturing sleeves, each line is equipped with machines which feed an oven. The bottlenecks in both lines were the machines, as the ovens have more capacity than the machines, even when they are operating at 100%.

There are also times when the machines are not manufacturing, so it appeared there was room for improvement. Juan Carlos Cruz tells us about this project:

"The objective is to combine both lines into one, running into one oven. In Lean, the aim is that the product should continuously move towards the customer, so that the customer should never be kept waiting. Therefore we studied different options that do not stop the flow of products. The selected option called for the installation of rollers from Line 1 to Line 2. Oven temperature and process speed were adjusted. When the machines are working at 100%, it is necessary to have a buffer to 'store' some trays; time when one machine is stopped for a tool change is enough to empty the buffer, so no issues arise regarding drying times for different recipes and no HSE issues have been detected."

Results

  • One oven runs at 100% capacity, the second oven is turned off
  • Annual saving of €33,000
  • Energy intensity of the firing process reduced by 20%

Innovative Vesuvius refractory solution allows more energy efficient slab reheating

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"For a customer in Romania, increasing the overall thermal efficiency with a safe and cost-effective solution was the objective for the relining of their pusher reheat furnace. For the side walls, Vesuvius opted for a combination of products selected on the basis of a thermal simulation and of field proven mechanical resistance to scale and slag. The main product is TRIAD® 70. This is a 70% Alumina, Mullite based "no cement" product. It was applied using an innovative shotcreting technology.

For the hearth design, the choice was driven by health and safety issues generated by the manipulation of heavy refractory blocks and by the overall short life performance of these blocks. The product of choice is the HYDRA PLUS® SPINEL C-2. This is an ultra-low, coarse-grained high alumina product fortified with spinel to resist the harsh reheat hearth environment. The pumpable installation is safer and faster than the former cast block technology.

After more than two years of service, the hearth is unmarked. The customer reported energy savings of €743,000 per annum. This corresponds to 15% energy saving per tonne of finished product."

George PLATT, Marketing and Technology Director Advanced Refractories Europe

KALPUR feeding solutions for ferrous foundries

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"Ferrous foundries supplying the automotive industry use feeding systems to provide liquid metal to the casting cavity during solidification. This ensures that the castings produced are free from shrinkage defects in all critical areas.

Customers' key objectives are to reduce the weight of the feeder, to maximise the amount of castings per mould and to minimise the contact area between the feed reservoir and the casting. A customer in Italy asked for a technical solution to produce two 94kg ductile iron axle supports in one mould.

The only way to locate the two castings within one mould was to use the direct pouring or KALPUR approach. This system is a unique combination of metal filtration and feeding system products. Foseco demonstrated the viability of this solution by the use of MAGMASOFT casting process simulation software to model the filling and solidification processes. Since implementation of this solution, the customer has produced this casting successfully for almost two years.

In this example the customer was able to double their production capacity without capital investment, reduce energy consumption and maximise the efficiency of their manufacturing process."

Christof VOLKS, International Product Manager Feeding Systems