RHI Magnesita has fired up a tunnel kiln for refractory production at its Urmitz, Germany plant.

The 122-metre long lightweight kiln generates temperatures of up to 1550°C and represents the heart of modern refractory production.

It is primarily used to fire bricks for the refractory lining of aggregates, which are essential for the glass, cement, lime, steel, energy and chemical industries.

This is the first time in decades that a tunnel kiln for shaped and fired refractory products has existed at the Urmitz plant.

Once fired, the tunnel kiln will burn continuously for several decades and its performance will increase the plant’s capacity by around 25,000 tons per year.

The company said the tunnel kiln will expands the plant’s product range and serves to further enhance offerings in non-basic refractory products.

The €23 million investment will re-equip and expand the traditional plant as a central European hub for the manufacture of non-basic refractory products.

In addition to the costs for the construction of the tunnel kiln, the investment is accompanied by the modernisation, automation and digitalisation of the plant.

This will grow the plant’s production volume and at the same time increase its energy efficiency by 10%.