Mr Erik Zobec, CEO of Seven Refractories
Seven Refractories Group Summary
Headquartered in Divača/Slovenia, Seven Refractories offers an extensive portfolio of monolithic refractory materials complemented by the project management skills of dedicated technical personnel and ISO 9001 as well as ISO 14001 certifications.
With an advanced plant in Slovenia, seven international subsidiaries and numerous agencies, Seven serves global steel players and other industry leaders in 30 countries.
RefWin: What are the major features of Seven's monolithic refractories, in particular environmental friendly taphole clay?
Mr Erik Zobec: Besides having one of the largest monolithic range on the market, Seven became known for its blast furnace runner materials, the complete shotcrete range and its steel ladle spinel castables.
But probably the most known on the market is our innovative range of resin bonded taphole clays, outstanding in terms of performance and environmental friendliness.
Each Seven TAP product is individually shrink-wrapped to ensure maximum shelf life. Our Seven Traceability System includes controls for workability, seasonality and shipping temperature.
Our customers also love the advanced packaging with easy opening, stackable cardboard boxes.
RefWin: What are the key points to establish cooperations with customers? Which specifications of taphole clay are mostly concerned by your steel customers, besides environmental friendly?
Mr Erik Zobec: 30% of our team members are continuously traveling to customers in order to get maximum understanding of the customers’ processes and their needs.
A modern laboratory follows their request systematically providing tailor-made formulations.
Regarding taphole clay, blast furnace operators have high expectations on such a crucial product. Taphole length, casting time, easiness to inject and drill, avoid splashing as well as fumes by opening are difficult parameters to be matched for every producer.
The key is to overachieve their expectations and our aim is to make the best taphole clay possible.
RefWin: How can you realize the rapid development with only 5 years history?
Mr Erik Zobec: The best description of the rapid development is actually that the anniversary surprised us. We are well busy this year and then we found out we should also make time for a celebration.
The main component for success is probably to have the right people. We are extremely lucky that we not only have colleagues with astonishing international experience and technical capabilities, but also with the right mindset aiming for constant improvement.
RefWin: What development strategy has been worked out for the next 5 years?
Mr Erik Zobec: There are two main levers of growth: geographical expansion and widening of the product portfolio.
In terms of geography, we are present on four continents but still there are many areas to promote for becoming a true global player. In hindsight, our choice to locate the main production site in Divača/Slovenia has proven to be appropriate. We are located in Central Europe, in close proximity to the major harbors of Koper and Triesteas well as new motorways. On top of that, Slovenia and the Adriatic region in general is a wonderful place that customers love to visit.
We have laid the basis for further geographic expansion with the establishment of our daughter company in Kazakhstan and the building of our second modern factory.
Regarding products, Seven Refractories has seen rapid and sustainable growth. We developed a full product portfolio for the iron, steel, and thermal industries. At present, we stand at a product portfolio of 20 product families and 450 products, with numerous tailor-made variations. Given the pipeline and the customers’ expectations, our estimate is that we will continue such trend in the next 5 years as well.
Seven Refractories plant in Divača, Slovenia