In 1993, a strategic alliance between the two Spanish companies Refractarios Campo S.L. and Forgestal S.L. was agreed. This was founded on a personal and business relationship started in 1979 between the owners of the two companies. The main activity of this joint venture is the design, production and supply of refractory linings for ceramic kiln cars, roofs and walls.
Refractarios Campo S.L., Villalonga-Sanxenxo, is responsible for finances, raw materials supply (with its own mines for refractory clays), preparation and mixing, manufacturing, quality control, laboratory, and delivery.
Forgestal S.L, Esparreguera near Barcelona, is responsible for technical planning, commercial operations, product design and engineering, supply of insulating materials, commissioning and customer service. Additionally, Forgestal designs, builds and supplies kiln car vacuum cleaning machines, providing significant synergy to the Campo/Forgestal product range. The two companies operate both internally and externally as a complete business unit, including the possibility of a turnkey assembly service.
Campo group is now a third-generation family business with interests in mining, renewable energies and recycling. Since the early 1940s it has also owned brickworks. In the past it supplied refractory clays from its own mines and dry-pressed refractory bricks to the Spanish market.
The production of extruded aluminous refractory parts for kiln car and wall linings started in the early 1980s, firstly for the Group’s own consumption and the local market, later on expanding to the whole Spanish market mainly through a cooperation agreement with a Spanish complete plant builder.
Development of a full range of innovative kiln car linings, kiln walls and kiln roofs based on cordierite materials, together with export operations and development of a strict quality control system, started and has evolved progressively since 1993 when Forgestal joined Campo. This development was favoured by several facts:
Spain is a country with a strong ceramics tradition and a wide diversity of raw materials and ceramic products such as common bricks, facing bricks, clinkers, hollow blocks for walls, ceiling blocks, insulating special blocks, roofing tiles and floor tiles, with a range of firing temperatures from 850 to 1310° C
The rapid growth between 1997 and 2007 was an excellent opportunity for testing the new developments in practice
The experience of Forgestal and Campo in plant engineering provides a strong basis for the development of the optimum lining, adapted to every specific application, always in close cooperation with the client
Today, the Campo/Forgestal team supplies a state-of-the-art integrated range of high-quality refractory linings to the most important active ceramic markets worldwide, either directly to the end-users or through the major engineering companies in the field of kilns and complete plants. The whole development process has been and is based on a clear motivation: offering Campo/Forgestal clients the best refractory linings at competitive prices that can help them to increase their profits and competitiveness.
Manufacturing process and technological advantages
All refractory parts are manufactured in a plastic shaping process, either by means of plain extrusion or extrusion plus re-pressing, with mixes composed of refractory chamotte, refractory clays and additives. Different refractory chamottes combined with the suitable proportions of own refractory clays and additives produce a wide range of mixes with varying degrees of thermal shock resistance and refractoriness up to 1400° C operating temperature.
Some of the main technological advantages of this process compared to dry pressing are:
Wide flexibility of shapes, including three-dimensional and hollow ones, as an excellent basis for innovative designs. Hollow shapes enable:
– Lighter linings resulting in lower energy consumption
– Faster heating up and cooling down of the refractory parts in contact with the ceramic ware, resulting in reduced energy consumption, better quality of the fired ware and, quite often, shortening of the firing cycle and therefore higher output
Compactness and strength are not affected by differences in thickness, the forming process being highly isostatic because of the flowing capacity of the plastic body
Fewer and smaller pores are an efficient strategy against chemical attack, which is especially relevant when alkali-containing clays and/or aggressive fuels are used
Improved thermal shock resistance, based on a high percentage of cordierite together with a very low percentage of free quartz, is enhanced by the “sponge-like” network of the high-cordierite matrix surrounding the chamotte grains
Dimensional accuracy is achieved by means of strict control of the mixing and manufacturing parameters, completed by diamond cutting at exact length of all parts. Additionally, grinding facilities are used when extreme precision and/or flatness is required, as is the case for the large-size setting supports or the supporting parts for U- or H-setters.
Kiln car linings
The advantages are a long servicelife, low maintenance, energy efficiency and easy-to-assemble complete range of linings for any possible combination of product, firing system, firing temperature or firing cycle, with more than 500 references worldwide.
Design can always be adapted for co-existence with old linings in case of partial or progressive renewal of existing kiln cars. Design and supply of chassis can also be offered as a part of a complete turnkey service.
The Campo/Forgestal design and its features:
Integrated protection of refractory hangers against contact with the kiln atmosphere so avoiding them being damaged by chemical attack, which is always present in kilns to a higher or lower degree
Optional “double leaf” design allowing for easy replacement of damaged facing leaf in cases of an extremely severe chemical attack, as in cases with very high-alkali clays
Simple and easy to assemble metal hangers system that, combined with precision refractory hangers, allows easy and precise assembly without the need for individual adjustments
Airtight design option
The modular design can be adapted to the specific requirements of kiln builders and is also easy to use for partial repairs of damaged roofs.
With a hollow, insulated design, the refractory wall systems help to reduce the total thickness of the kiln wall either with metallic or ceramic outer casing. Two versions are available for free-standing or load-bearing walls, and both can be fitted with the “double leaf” and/or airtight design option. In the case of the free-standing walls, the interlocked design of wall component parts allows an extremely simple stabilizing system without the need for refractory anchors.
Kiln car vacuum cleaning machines
The more than 150 custom-made operating references of Forgestal cleaning machines are fitted with high efficiency suction and filters guided by laser sensors and mechanical setting supports lifting device. They keep the valuable kiln car linings in good shape for a long time, while avoiding any damage to the fired ware caused by brick fragments and chippings.
New production equipment for refractory production
As a big step in the continuous improvement and expansion programme, a new tunnel kiln rated for firing up to 1400° C was commissioned in early 2014. This kiln is equipped with the company’s own kiln car lining, roof and wall systems. In addition a special Forgestal automatic vacuum cleaning machine for the kiln cars, and a re-arrangement of the dehacking and diamond length cutting sections as a basis for further robotic automation of the handling and quality control.