Genesis of Magnezit Group

History of “Magnezit Group” is an integral part of genesis of the “Magnezit” plant. Magnesite as a refractory material was for a long time unknown for metallurgists of Ural, and magnesite deposit in Satka was discovered at the end of XIX century.Russian businessmen Markuson M. I., Schuppe A. F., Nemirovski M. D. united their capitals, established so-called “Partnership on trust” and decided to organize a special plant to manufacture magnesite refractory materials and caustic powder.

In 1900 on two lots of the deposit these businessmen started mining of magnesite and at the same time they began to build a plant: 14-chambers’ furnace with wood generator for firing of raw magnesite and bricks was built; a ball mill with steam-engine of 10 HP and two-caged press were installed. In September of 1901 this plant produced its first articles of the new refractory material — magnesite; within a year 3161 tons of raw magnesite were extracted; 610 tons of magnesite powder and 240 tons of bricks were manufactured.

Mining of magnesite in open cast mines was carried out by hand; ore delivery towards the burning furnaces was provided by carting; but even in such conditions the level of magnesite extraction in Satka by 1913 reached 10% of the world level.

Within the first decades the technological process was the following: after burning the sorted magnesite in buckets was delivered towards the mill, form the mill the ground magnesite in sacks was brought to the mixers, and after mixing the gained mass was left for mature in special pits for seven days.

After maturing this mass was delivered to the press: at that time press wasn’ t mechanical, and the bed of press was rotated by hand.

Production capability of such press was 1500 bricks per day. Pressed green bricks were taken on boards to the driers, which were supplied with the heat from special furnaces, heated with wood; dried bricks on boards were taken to the place of loading into the chamber furnace. The furnace worked on natural draft; temperature within the furnace wasn’ t measured; in general, there was no control over the firing process.

But even in such conditions the refractory manufacturers in Satka managed to produce high-class refractory materials, and in 1905 at the World Exhibition in Liege (Belgium) products of “Magnezit Partnership” were awarded the gold medal.

In1913 “Magnezit Partnership” was reorganized into joint-stock company. The authorized capital of JSC “Magnezit” was 2 million roubles and was divided for 20 thousand shares with nominal value of 100 roubles each.

Using in Russia of magnesite powder for fettling of furnace bottoms, and application of magnesite bricks for bricklaying of walls and bottoms of open — hearth furnaces in place of less temperature-resistant fireproofs, provided significant demand for magnesite products, which, in its turn, resulted in rather quick growth of the plant.

Before the October revolution of 1917 the maximum production capacity of this plant was achieved in 1916: more than 71 thousand tons of raw magnesite were extracted; 31 thousand tons of metallurgical powder, more than 10 thousand tons of bricks and about 500 tons of caustic were manufactured. The plant was provided with 10 shaft furnaces and one 35-meters rotary kiln for burning of metallurgical powder, four 12-chambers and 14-chambers furnaces fore burning of bricks and caustic. For pressing of bricks five hydraulic presses were used.

In 1918 the plant was nationalized; during the Civil war the most customers-plants were destroyed or put out of operation, demand for fireproof materials declined greatly. As a result production level, compared with 1916 year’ s, for powders reduced 15 times, for articles — 7 times.

Since1923 gradual and permanent growth of production had begun: two chamber furnaces were built and set into operation; three hydraulic presses were installed.By 1927 according to all ratios the plant surpassed the pre-revolutionary production level.

The first stage of production mechanization and modernization took place at the end of 20-ies — the beginning of 30-ies. For mining steam, and than electric excavators appeared, rock drills were introduced; mechanical narrow-gauge railway transport was put into practice. A new shop with four rotary kilns of 75 meters length and 3 meters diameter for burning of raw magnesite was built. A roll mill and a ball mill. Were installed in the grinding shop.

For pressing of bricks for the first time were used two 525-ton and six 725-ton hydraulic presses. For burning of bricks 5 gas-chamber kilns were constructed; and generating station was provided with 6 perfect (for that time) gas-producer plants. Boiler-mechanical shop was built; many auxiliary and preparatory lines were mechanized.

The plant gradually increased its production capacity due to installation of the new, more up-to date equipment and building of new shops. But even in 1934 hand labour prevailed over mechanized labour, and horse remained the main drawing force at the plant. That year the plant possessed only 4 lorries and 4 tractors.

The second stage of modernization was started in the middle of 30-ies. The second shop, provided with three rotary kilns of 50 meters length and 2,5 meters diameter, for burning of magnesite for caustic powder, was built. Gas-fired ring furnace for burning of bricks was set into operation; reconstruction of chamber furnaces was continued; shelf driers were substituted by the tunnel ones, supplied with utilization of removing heat from chamber furnaces. For the first time at this plant multicyclone dust collector for purifying of waste gases from the rotary furnaces of caustic shop, were constructed and set into operation.

Since 1939 the plant started commercialized output of thermal-resistant magnesite-chromite articles, that resulted in significant increase of service life of roofs of open-hearth furnaces and also promoted the increase of steel making. In 1940 “Magnezit” plant already became the largest enterprise of refractory industry in Russia.

During the hard period of the II World War this plant provided metallurgical enterprises of Russia with magnesite powder and refractory bricks. In 1941 the plant mastered the production and started output of large-size magnesite-chromite bricks for lining roofs of open-hearth furnaces, that provided 2,5 increase of the roofs service life; the necessary technologies were developed and output of large size magnesite steel-teeming nozzles, metallurgical powders according to new, more severe technical conditions was started.

In 1944 the plant developed a technology of manufacturing of thermal-resistant magnesite-chromite bricks with higher content of chromite and increased deformation point under the load; production of unburned refractories was started. “Magnesite” plant not only provided with refractories all demands of the country, but also delivered by lend-lease several dozens tons of metallurgical powder, developed production of new types of products — silicate blocks (liquid glass) and carborundum electric heaters.

Restoration of the national economy, destroyed by the war, required a great volume of metal, and, therefore — refractories. Within the first years after war growth of production capacities was reached due to the increase of productivity per hour and growth of equipment application ratio. But as far as growth on the account of these measures is rather limited, government of Russia made a decision concerning the reconstruction of the plant and building of new production shops.

During 1956 six rotary kilns of 90 meters length and 3,5 meters diameter were one by one set into operation. In 1958 construction of the first part of a new magnesite plant was completed — a new brick shop, equipped with four tunnel kilns, ten hydraulic 1000-ton presses, grinding department and storehouse of ready made products, was established.

Increase of production capacities was accompanied by solving of the problem of improving the quality of magnesia refractories and increasing of their thermal resistance. Thus, production of high-resistant magnesite bricks, spinel-bound products, refractories of various shape was developed for convertors and 900-ton open-hearth furnaces.

From 1965 till 1970 objects of the second stage of the new magnesite plant were one by one set into operation: four largest in the country 170-meters rotary kilns, 6 tunnel kilns, 1000-ton presses П-907 and 1500-ton ПР-7 presses. Since the beginning of the 70-ies intensive activities for mechanization of the process of removing the bricks from presses and placing them onto the kiln cars were carried out in the plant’ s shops.

In 1977 after the order of Ministry of Ferrous metallurgy the “Magnezit” plant was transformed into “Magnezit” integrated plant, with parallel affiliation of Kyshtymsky refractory plant and Cheliabinsk mining administration.

In January of 1978 the shop of fused refractory materials MPS-4 produced its first product — periclase. For the first time the production of fused periclase at “Magnezit” plant was introduced in 1971 with the use of furnaces of “Porogy” ferrous-making plant; later, in the beginning of 70-ies, fused periclase in small volumes was produced on the experimental device in the first burning shop.Construction of MPS-4 was mostly carried out by the integrated plant itself, without any attraction of construction organizations; and already by 1990 the MPS-4 output of melted refractory materials achieved 29 thousand tons, and estimated capacity was exceeded 2,5 times.

During the 80-ies the systematic introduction of new production capacities, modernization of mining and technological equipment took place. For the purposes of transportation of rock mass the miners successfully mastered large 110-ton dump-trucks; for removing the overburden excavators with ladle capacity of 8 and 10 m? were used; preparatory works for extraction of magnesite by underground mining were started. The department of production of plates for slide steel teeming, new grinding department, technological line for manufacturing of magnesite-chromite articles for steel degasifying treatment, department for production of magnesia-carbon articles were constructed and set into operation. Two 170-meter rotary furnaces were built and launched; new presses of “Leys” and “Bucher-Guver” were installed; a new plant for packing the articles with shrinkable film was developed.

Within 90-s the main activity of JSC “Kombinat “Magnezit” was directed not for increasing of production volumes, but for improving of quality and thermal-resistance of products. The system of control over the burning process in the rotary kilns (MAIC) was introduced; technology of fusing of alumina-magnesium spinel was developed; two furnaces for thermal treatment of magnesia-carbon bricks were built and set into operation; production technologies of periclase-spinel and magnesia-carbon refractories were developed. In 1996 the construction of “Magnezitovaya” mine was finished. Volumes of ore, received by underground mining, increase each year and within 10–15 years the gradual, planned turn from open cast mining of magnesite towards the underground mining should be completed. In July of 2000 the department of grinding, pressing and shaping of dust, trapped from the kiln gases, was constructed and set into operation. This new step should allow to use trapped dust in production, which should result in economy of raw materials and protection of the environment.

Within 100 years of evolution a small refractory plant turned into the largest company of the Russian refractory industry. Due to possession of its own raw materials base, JSC “Kombinat “Magnezit” provides the enterprises of Russia and CIS-countries with periclase-containing products and powders, required in construction and repair of heating units in ferrous and non-ferrous metallurgy, chemical, cement, paper-making and other industries.