During the Meiji period, H.A. Pelegrin, a foreign engineer, succeeded in discovering quality fire clay. Drawing on this discovery, our founder Katsuzo Nishimura commenced the full swing of the production of fire bricks in 1875. He had dreamed of producing bricks for the gas generators as “gas lamps” were a symbol of civilization and enlightenment in Japan at that time.
After overcoming many difficulties, Katsuzo succeeded in producing “fire bricks” that were comparable to or even superior to bricks imported form other countries. Subsequently, he started to supply shaped bricks for furnaces for a number of different applications; such as the trial production furnace of sulfuric acid for the Printing Bureau of the Ministry of Finance as well as fire bricks for glass tank furnaces. He broadened the range of applications and promoted the domestic production of fire bricks. In 1894, he was granted a patent for a “silica fire brick”, this was the trigger which allowed him to launch into the refractory business for iron and steel manufacturing.
After the 1905 Japanese-Russo War, the railway was nationalized and placed under control of the government. At this time the gas business was expanded and the construction boom started. In line with the growth of these economic activities, Shinagawa Refractories placed an emphasis on the production of decorative bricks for buildings in addition to our main product, fire bricks. We delivered all of the red facing tiles used for building the Central Railroad Depot of the Ministry of Railways which is currently Tokyo Station.
We have been placing an emphasis on technological innovation as a leading company in the Japanese refractory industry in order to meet needs of customers. We have always devoted ourselves to providing high quality refractories. Starting from our launch into China in 1997, Shinagawa Refractories has continued to expand overseas, establishing production bases in Australia and the United States. Using our long experience of technical innovation, we are well deserved in being the top manufacturer of refractory products in general ceramics, fire ceramics and ceramic fibers and we take up the challenge of expanding our business throughout the world.
In 1938, JFE Refractories' predecessor, Kojima Yogyo Co., Ltd. started operations for manufacturing roseki bricks. Since incoming a subsidiary of Kawasaki Heavy Industries, Ltd. in 1944, as Kawasaki Refractories Co., Ltd., it has been engaged in supplying refractories mainly to the steel industry. With the foundation of JFE Holdings, Inc. in 2002, Kawasaki Refractories changed its name to JFE Refractories Corporation and was expected to make the next leap forward as a member of the JFE Steel group.
In 2003, JFE Refractories participated in a joint project with a Chinese capital, and established a manufacturing plant (Jinan Ludong Refractory Co., Ltd.), and has been supplying inexpensive and high-quality refractories. JFE Refractories contributes to the stable operations of its customers through the following two technologies: 1 Development of high-quality refractory-manufacturing technology for steel making industries, and 2 High-level furnace relining technology such as ultra-short-lead-time blast furnaces and hot stove repairs, and maintenance activities for various kinds of furnaces in steel making works.
In October 2009, Shinagawa Refractories Co., Ltd. and JFE Refractories Corporation merged, and started as a new company. As a supplier producing a full range of products, JFE Refractories, like Shinagawa Refractories, had consistently contributed to the technical progress of the steel making industry and the society in which it operated from its foundation in 1938.
The new company combines a firm business foundation, superior competitive strength of the top-class quality and technologies of both companies. In order to contribute to the technical progress of both domestic and international customers, especially steel making industries, and to society, the new company is aiming for the following five goals: