Kumas: capitalising on vertical integration in refractories

By IM Staff
Published: Monday, 27 April 2015

Turkish refractories producer Kumas is one of only a few suppliers in the sector able to control its raw material requirements through a vertically integrated business model – a position which helps the company to ensure quality and consistency across its product range sold to customers throughout Europe. James Sean Dickson, Reporter

Operating from mines in Eskisehir, Bilecik and Kutahya in Turkey, Kumas Manyezit Sanayi AS has carved itself a unique slice of the Turkish and Eastern European refractories markets, in an industry where production has been dominated in recent years by China.

Kumas was founded in 1972 as a public joint-stock (incorporated) company, and transitioned to deadburned (sintered) magnesia (DBM) production in 1976. The company then integrated its refractories operation via the construction of refractory bricks and mortar production bases in 1990.

Today, Kumas is owned by Gozde Private Equity and Gurmen Group and operates as the largest refractories supplier in the Middle East from its head offices in Kutahya, Kutahya province, northwest Turkey. 

The company has also expanded to produce significant volumes of caustic calcined magnesia (CCM) and fused magnesia (FM), albeit in smaller quantities compared to sintered material.

Kumas’ magnesia capacity

Product

Capacity

DBM

275,000 tpa

CCM

55,000 tpa

FM

37,500 tpa


company1 

Kumas is the largest producer and supplier of
refractory products for the steel, cement, glass,
lime, nonferrous and other industries in Turkey (Source: Kumas).

Raw materials

Kumas presently has reserves of 127m tonnes cryptocrystalline crude magnesite ore and 112m tonnes crude dolomite ore. A total of 1m tpa raw ore material is processed at the company’s various mine sites to increase purity via crushing, sieving and permanent magnet separators, before being trucked to Kumas’ production facilities.

In 2011, Kumas acquired a plant in Tavsanli, containing one shaft kiln capable of 15,000 tpa CCM production, one rotary kiln with 18,000 tpa CCM production and a separate shaft kiln with 25,000 tpa DBM capacity.

In 2015, Kumas increased its FM production capacity with the addition of two new electric arc furnaces (EAFs). The company today produces 37,500 tpa high quality FM with its four furnaces.

Capacity now stands at 275,000 tpa DBM, 55,000 tpa CCM and 37,500 tpa FM. Kumas can produce 90-97% pure MgO DBM , 80-97% MgO pure CCM and 96-98%MgO FM.

The company makes DBM and DBD by firing raw materials at 1,750-2,100﹉C in rotary calcining kilns, which ultimately results in the high density, low reactivity refractory products required by consumers in, among others, the cement and steel industries.

Some of Kumas’ rotary kilns are 3.6 metres in diameter and 110 metres long. 

The company produces FM by melting CCM in arc furnaces at temperatures generally higher than 2,750﹉C, resulting in a low impurity, crystalline and highly refractory product.

Kumas also sells its DBM, CCM and FM products to other refractory companies. Its magnesia products are additionally used in other industries such as welding, heating elements, animal nutrition and chemical industries.

Both monolithic and brick-type refractories are produced by the company, including magnesia, dolomite and alumina-based products.

Kumas’ unified production model allows it to mine its own refractory mineral feedstock and take this to produce refractory products for customers. The vertically integrated approach to refractories, Kumas said, allows for consistency, repeatability and strict quality and cost controls.

Most refractory producers buy their material from different sources, depending on price and availability, the company said. Because Kumas can source its material internally and prepare for shifts in grades, the company is able to ensure consistency.

In addition, the company can operate refractory supervising missions to see how its products perform in practice. During these examinations, Kumas seeks to find out as much information as possible regarding individual problems and operational conditions.

It then analyses the effect of various parameters on the refractoriness of its products from the producer’s point of view. This means the company can provide operational condition recommendations and carry out changes to product specifications to meet unique requirements of its customers.

company2 

Kumas has been making refractory bricks since 1990 (Source: Kumas).