The Imerys bentonite operations in China announced a significant increase in production capacity due to a massive surge in sales. Certainly, the bentonite market conditions were favorable with the rising clay demand. However, essential for this development were also the outstanding achievements of the local Imerys team. It has managed to transfer the technical expertise and high quality standards from the Imerys bentonite headquarters in Europe to China and to adapt them to the local market. The joint venture in the Liaoning province in the northeast of China has more than tripled its sales in the last 3 years.
Established in 2013 through a tie-up with a real estate conglomerate, the company aims to supply a wide range of industries, such as the foundry, paper and civil engineering markets in mainland China, Taiwan and Japan. Since then, the joint venture has also tackled numerous markets in Korea and other South East Asian countries.
Bentonite, the mineral of 1.000 uses, is usually formed from volcanic ash and plays a crucial role in many industries. It is used as a green molding sand binder in foundry. In oil and gas it is used in the drilling mud that seals off porous rock and cools the drilling bit, whereas in papermaking it absorbs wood resins and improves quality. The Imerys operations extract the clay from their own mines and then activate, dry and mill the bentonite.
Despite the success of the company, there are still several challenges ahead. Maximo Coll, Asia Head of Imerys Metalcasting & Absorbents, admits that a large number of major multinationals are competing in the bentonite market of the region. The goal is to strengthen further our presence in the foundry industry by leveraging customer proximity, access to the research & development infrastructure as well as the technical knowhow of the entire Imerys group combined with the new Business Development department in order to provide innovative high performing solutions tailor-made to our foundry customer needs.
Imerys Metalcasting will be present at Metal China 2018 from 16th – 19th May 2018 in Beijing. Meet us at our booth in hall E1, stand D09!