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World leader in submerged arc furnace supply
2010-07-09
Jul. 7, 2010 - Since becoming part of the Tenova Group, Tenova Pyromet has expanded its focus and more growth is forecast.
Tenova Pyromet has a proud heritage. The furnace design and supply company has been in business for 25 years (but the inherited Tagliaferri experience dates back to 1953) and famously supplies the mining industry with furnaces for ferroalloy smelting, base-metals refining, slag cleaning and waste product treatment.
"I became CEO here when Tenova bought a 51 percent stake in Pyromet. At the time Tenova had some operations in this field in Italy through Tagliaferri and today Tenova Pyromet embraces the joint technology of Tagliaferri and Pyromet," says Paolo Argenta, who has worked for Tenova since 1995 and explains that Pyromet's strong South African roots were a big factor in the acquisition. "Our business is really about technology, experience, people and know-how, so we bought Pyromet because it ticked those boxes. Tagliaferri's position at that moment was not as strong as Pyromet's, so we said everything goes to South Africa and we created a centre of excellence for submerged arc furnaces.
"We have a very in-depth knowledge and understanding of the ferroalloy and base-metals smelting process and technology and have a track record of successful projects," he adds. "With Tenova Pyromet becoming part of the Tenova Group, we were able to expand our focus to also include the international market."
His last point is significant. Indeed, the global presence provided by the network of Tenova Group offices, located across five continents, provides Tenova Pyromet with a worldwide procurement network, knowledge of local business practices and world class fabrication workshops in low-cost markets like China and India.
"We've got a strong proposition, supported by a lot of project management experience," Argenta says. "A key strength is that we are able to supply, supervise and commission anywhere in the world; for example, current and previous projects in Russia, China, India, U.S., Europe, Australia and Africa."
The shift in focus has helped Tenova Pyromet maintain a healthy order book during the global financial downturn, much to the envy of its competitors.
"We are among the two leading submerged arc furnace supplier in the world in terms of market share," Argenta boasts.
ASA METALS EXPANSION PROJECT
Some of the local and international projects that the company recently completed include metal producer ASA Metals’ expansion project, in South Africa's Mpumalanga province, which involved the supply of two ferrochrome furnaces with Outotec preheaters. This project was undertaken on a turnkey basis and included materials handling, automation, electrical, furnace offgas scrubbers and infrastructure and services.
That's not all though. The company is busy rebuilding two of nickel producer Norilsk Nickel's slag cleaning furnaces. The major challenge of this project is the location – the plant is within the polar circle in northern Russia, where 59temperatures regularly fall below freezing. "The project to supply silicon producer Simcoa with a silicon metal furnace and a bag filter for the furnace was awarded to the company," Tenova Pyromet says.
Tenova Pyromet is also supplying lower electrode equipment to an Indian ferrochrome producer, VisaBao, for their expansion project.
You see, it is an international business. "We are actively engaging with several other local and international customers to ensure we are well placed for new expansion projects," says Argenta. "We are eager to grow and the business was growing extremely strongly," he adds. "Since we bought Pyromet in 2006 until the close of 2009, we grew the business fourfold. Then, obviously, we got a big hit by the crisis as orders dropped significantly. So, the current financial year, which has just closed, is a year in which revenues dropped considerably compared to the previous one. But, it is a matter of fact that we have kept the company very profitable and we have in this moment very good prospects for the future.
"We have seen this market picking up again. We have retrenched the company in the last year to cope with a huge reduction of work, but we are not in the process of hiring again and we have got some good orders already and many prospective orders. So, we have a very positive feeling of the future."
Ongoing research and development of process and equipment technology ensures that Tenova Pyromet remains at the forefront of smelting technology.
"That is very important to us," Argenta says. "I can't stress that enough. That is because we believe that Pyromet will grow. And we'll grow, especially outside South Africa, because when we bought Pyromet, Pyromet was already established inside South Africa. The work we have done in the past four years now was to make Pyromet a little bit more international and reach out to new markets."
Tenova Pyromet is certified to ISO 9001:2008 and has 150 engineers. Staff are sourced from South Africa, Zimbabwe and overseas.
GLPS DEAL
In a further recent development, Tenova Pyromet and GLPS Project Management & Engineering Services have joined forces to offer DC Furnace Technology worldwide to the ferroalloy and base metals markets.
It is these types of agreements that Argenta sees as key to the company's future also.
He says: "We are very pleased to have GLPS as our partner as their DC Furnace Technology is well recognised in the industry, plus they have a proven track record. This co-operation agreement between Tenova Pyromet and GLPS provides our customers with the unique opportunity to benefit from the combination of leading DC Furnace Technology with our extensive process, furnace and project implementation experience. We have several potential DC Furnace projects in the pipeline so we are hitting the ground running in this exciting new venture."
Tenova Pyromet and GLPS foresee that the unique benefits provided by DC Furnace Technology for the production of ferroalloys and base metals will ensure the growth in demand for this technology.
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