The steel and metal processing industry in Germany is traditionally made up of mainly medium-sized companies: The approximately 5,000 companies – most of them owner-managed – employ nearly 500,000 people and have achieved sales of around 80 billion euros in recent years. Almost half the German companies in this sector are based in North Rhine-Westphalia.
Strong competition has intensified specialization in this branch of industry. Technical ceramics are used in highly developed production processes in a wide variety of forms and applications: as a ‘side dam’ for thin-strip casting of steel and non-ferrous alloys or as a detachment ring for horizontal continuous casting, as pouring nozzles for molten metals or as a suspension or spray for release agents and lubricants in the high-temperature range. The material boron nitride, in particular, is often used in steel and metal processing in the high-temperature range, for example as an application-specific sintered molded part or as a release agent and lubricant in the form of a powder, spray or suspension.