Meeting in Szczawnica – 25th anniversary of Association

Nov 6, 2023

On October 26-27, a meeting of SPMO members was held in Szczawnica, dedicated to the 25th anniversary of the Association. It is true that 5 years earlier, in 1993, there was a successful attempt to integrate the Polish community of refractory materials producers after the political transformation and the establishment of the Refractory Materials Producers Club, but its transformation into an Association with specific powers and registration of SPMO took place in December 1998.
The period of the 1990s and the beginning of the 21st century was characterized by a decline in production and subsequent process changes among users of refractory materials. Of particular importance was the transformation of the steel industry, the largest recipient of refractory materials, where the liquidation of material-intensive open-hearth processes and the introduction of continuous steel casting were progressing. The consequence of the decline in demand for refractory materials and changes in type needs was the liquidation of some plants producing refractory materials. At the same time, consolidation and takeover processes were progressing. The Radomskie ZMO, Lubuskie ZMO, Gliwice ZMO, Częstochowa ZMO, and DZM Świdnica were liquidated. Żaroszamot (currently Polska Ceramika Ogniotrwała Żarów) after privatization was taken over by Wrocławskie ZMO, and ZM Ropczyce, transformed into a joint-stock company and the only one in the industry listed on the Stock Exchange, has taken over Chrzanowskie ZMO. There were also takeovers by foreign companies, and ZMO in Skawina was taken over by Vesuvius, PMO in Kraków by the Mittal concern, and Górka Cement by the Italian MAPEI. Smaller companies were also established, such as Górbet, Ferrocarbo, PPHU Kwarcyt, ZM Grochów, Incermet. Later, the following companies were established: REWA, Chematex and Voiter. Progressive changes were reflected in changes in the Association’s membership, but did not disrupt the continuity of its functioning. From the beginning of its activity, the Association has pursued its basic mission, i.e.:
1. Integration of producers of refractory materials operating in Poland.
2. Representing the interests of producers of refractory materials before state administration bodies and at the European level.
The last nearly 20 years have seen an increase in international contacts: joining the European Federation of Refractory Materials Producers PRE (since 2005), annual meetings with members of the Czech-Slovak Association of Refractory Materials Producers (since 2005). An important event was obtaining permanent representation in the PRE Executive Committee (since 2018).

The anniversary meeting in Szczawnica made it possible to recall the most important events in the history of the Association. The current situation and prospects were also discussed. The shared dinner, which was an opportunity to conduct informal conversations in a pleasant atmosphere, could go on and on…