Ladish Co. Inc., Cudahy, Wis., reports that its Cudahy forging operation has experienced a ramp-up of orders for kiln tires. According to Joseph Wilfert, Ladish’s sales engineer in charge of kiln tire sales, a few years ago there was little demand at Ladish for forged, seamless steel rings coming from general industrial markets. However, the company recently received orders for eight.

“Kiln tires are the large, seamless rings critical to quarry operations that manufacture cement, concrete and lime products,” Wilfert said. “Last year we made one of the largest seamless rolled rings in the world, a 21.5-foot-diameter kiln tire for a European operation. We have just finished making a ring that is 19 feet in diameter for a quarry in the western United States.”

Wilfert reports that forgers and casters worldwide are busy responding to strong global demand for a variety of products for aerospace, infrastructural construction and general industrial applications. “There is so much demand for large rings that every possible production route is being tapped to satisfy demand,” he said, adding that Ladish’s manufacturing time for a kiln tire is typically 12-18 weeks after receipt of raw material.

Wilfert says the market for kiln tires is robust because new kilns are being built at a time when many older kilns need replacement tires. “Demand for kiln tires grew significantly during 2007 and has continued strong during 2008,” he said. “For this reason, many metalworking manufacturers are experiencing heavy demand at a time when capacity at the raw-material suppliers is filling up.”