Refwin: Dear Mr. Zhou, thank you for accepting Refwin’s interview. First of all, could you please introduce the main products and their application areas of NCR?
Mr. Zhou: NCR is a specialty refractories producer offering a range of high-performance refractory products from shaped products like basic and aluminosilicate bricks to high performance specialty monolithics and precast shapes that service in different industries including steel, foundry, nonferrous, glass, and many other industrial applications. Additionally, we work closely with international partners such as Emisshield, Inc., which offering a high emissivity energy saving coating based on NASA technology to our clients in the ASPAC region.
Mr Bin Zhou, Managing Director of New Century Refractories (NCR)
Refwin: As a foreign-invested enterprise with 20 years of history, what are the unique advantages of NCR? What are the main achievements?
Mr. Zhou: Quality, Consistency, and Service are the three key differentiators that making NCR unique in a highly competitive industry. By utilizing the high-performance refractory products, coupled with customize engineering designs, and application knowledge, NCR team are enabled to offer unique solutions to fulfill the customer needs!
In the past 20 years, aside from a global network of agents and distributors, we have built a success technical sales team to service.
Refwin: With customers all over the world, what is the main focus of NCR in the export of refractory products and cooperation with international partners?
Mr. Zhou: NCR can offer a range of products especially in high temperature industrial applications that are above 1200c; steel mills, glass, foundry, and industrial waste incineration, etc. We do offer aluminous silicate monolithics, precast shapes, and shaped products in various materials grading from alumina to zirconia. NCR products are a part of the overall solution we offer to our clients; the starting point is to have a full understanding of what the clients needs are; and our highly qualified technical group will recommend a solution package.
Refwin: What is the production scale of NCR's two production bases in Xinyi, Jiangsu and Yingkou, Liaoning? What are the criteria for raw material procurement and supplier selection?
Mr. Zhou: From the two manufacturing locations, our combined production capacity is around 50,000 tons, including 25,000 tons of monolithics, 10,000 tons of precast shape, and another 15,000 tons of capacity for range of pressed/extruded shape products.
NCR is an ISO 9000 and ISO 14000 certified company, therefore it is critical to work closely with our suppliers in the form of long term partnership! We have a team of experience technical, commercial, and quality control staff looking after the procurement process. Our raw materials partners are evaluated and qualified each year to ensure their quality standards are meeting NCR’s quality assurance procedures.
Refwin: In the face of the severe situation such as the strict control measures of the Covid-19 in China, the rising trend of international de-globalization and regional conflicts, what methods has NCR adopted in logistics transportation and cargo distribution to ensure stable supply?
Mr. Zhou: Obviously the past two years have been challenging for all the refractory companies, NCR is no different! Our commercial team work closely with clients and logistic companies; and communicate clearly on the trends in the logistic world, so our clients are updated and anticipated on the changes. NCR recovered quickly from the initial slump in first quarter 2020, and business has been vibrant since then; and it is largely contributed by our entrusted global client base that continuously demand for high quality products from us!
Refwin: How do you view the impact of the international situation on the demand for the refractories industry? How do you forecast future changes in the refractories market?
Mr. Zhou: The demand of refractories will be there, however COVID, shipping disruption, Russia/Ukraine war, inflation, energy cost increase, and talk of recession in the US and European are factors that will negatively affect our industry. The industry will weather through the challenges, but we must be patient, and most importantly manage our cash flow effectively!
Refwin: Does NCR have any new plans in terms of industrial layout and operation management this year or in the next few years?
Mr. Zhou: NCR has been continuously investing and improving our facilities. There are a number of plans under evaluation, however all new projects are subject to business environment and demand.
Refwin: What are your expectations for the future development trend of the global refractories industry?
Mr. Zhou: In the near future, our industry will be more sophisticated on developing engineering solutions to produce products, whilst reduce manual labor and improve working environment for the teammates! On the product development front, our engineers will be developing products that are eco-friendly, and sustainable for the environment! Energy saving, emission reduction, recycling, and automation are the key words for the refractories industry!
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