CANCUN, Mexico Pyrotek Inc., an equipment supplier to aluminum and zinc producers, is anticipating a pickup in demand from Chinese zinc smelters this year, and is focusing its sales efforts on the region.
Pyrotek makes numerous high-temperature products, including graphite pumps used in aluminum and zinc remelting operations.
The aluminum industry accounts for about 80 percent of the companys sales while zinc is closer to 10 percent, and Pyrotek is aiming to increase zincs 10-percent sales share this year as the Chinese market remains largely untapped, Mark Bright, technology manager of zinc and galvanizing, told AMM at the International Zinc Association conference in Cancun.
The technology used by Chinese zinc smelters is 10 to 20 years behind their Western counterparts, and there is pent-up demand to modernize smelters, Bright said on the sidelines of the conference. "Theres large growth potential in China for zinc smelters. They can make quality zinc, but its more manual. As opposed to highly automated ingot casters (in North America, Europe and Australia), theyre still manually taking zinc out of the molds by hand at some locations. Its very labor intensive."
He said the Chinese zinc market is at a point "where it would benefit by expanding into new technology that could make them more productive."
Pyroteks offices in Dongguan, Nanning, Shenzhen and Xian will focus on the Chinese sales push this year, but production of the molten metal pump products will take place at its Solon, Ohio facility, Bright said.
To capture the zinc growth, Pyrotek is focusing on its patented Metaullics Zinkoff Recovery System (MZR) technology, which recovers metallic zinc from the skimmings of a zinc bath to enhance yield and minimize waste, he said.
"Historically, weve used this technology for galvanizing, but now were looking at whether or not it can be used to increase production and recovery at zinc smelters," Bright said, adding that early trials indicate the MZR technology has "much to offer the zinc smelting industry."