- Elkem around the world
- Elkem around the world: Vitoria, Brazil
Elkem around the world: Vitoria, Brazil
Meet Izaias Entringer, part of the Elkem family since 1988 and long-term windsurfing enthusiast.
Izaias Entringer's career at Elkem has been extensive and successful. “Elkem has provided me with a lot of opportunities”, Entringer recognizes referring to support for pursuing three post-graduation degrees and one MBA while holding various managerial and executive positions at Elkem, beginning with his role as a maintenance manager in 1995. These opportunities have fuelled his motivation to grow and continuously progress in his career.
Leading by example
Entringer has always enjoyed staying busy and being involved in the daily operations of the business, but he has also learned that everything comes at a cost. “It came a time when I couldn’t maintain a proper balance in my private life anymore, and I had to face the consequences of that”, Entringer admits. However, he has since made changes to his lifestyle that have helped him manage stress in a healthier manner. "I started exercising regularly, setting aside time during the weekends to do the sport I enjoy the most – windsurfing!" Entringer says. “Besides, great ideas often come unexpectedly, such as when you’re controlling the wind while balancing on the water” he adds with a smile.
At the plants, Entringer tries to lead by example to create an environment that acknowledges people's differences and helps them manage stress in a healthy way. “We are all working towards the same goals, but managers must understand and respect that people have different needs depending on their different set of circumstances” Entringer states. He adds that the main challenge is to ensure that everyone is on the same page and is moving in the same direction, while maintaining a pace that all team members can, and are willing to follow.
One plant manager and two plants
Elkem’s carbon business has two plants in Latin America, both located in Vitória, a vibrant coastal city in southeastern Brazil. Izaias is the plant manager of the two plants: Carboderivados and Carboindustrial. The plants’ production processes are entirely different processes, and yet they are strongly interconnected through the supply chain. By having one plant manager oversee both facilities, the two plants are better able to realize synergies enabled through this link.
Carboderivados is a coal tar distillery plant mainly supplying raw materials to Carboindustrial’s Søderberg electrode paste production and domestic aluminium producers. The process uses high temperatures, pressure and sometimes vacuum to separate the raw materials into fractions, which are developed into the final products. Coal tar goes through this process to produce pitch, which ends up as the final product, binder, used in the Søderberg electrode paste production.
Carboindustrial is the other unit on the site producing the historical Søderberg electrode paste for the largest ferro-alloys producers in Brazil. “We produce 3 different types of Søderberg electrode paste, in addition to prebaked electrodes”, Entringer explains. Prebaked electrodes are electrodes that are baked and machined at the plant instead of going through the process on the user’s end. Additionally, it produces more special pastes, such as ramming paste for aluminium pot cells and lining paste for alloy furnaces.
Entringer's top priority is the safety of his team in the plant's daily operations. "We invest heavily in training to constantly improve our safety practices," Entringer emphasizes. In addition to mandatory trainings, Entringer and his team also highly encourage the employees to focus on their own development offering support for external trainings.
“In addition to trainings, we have regular meetings to discuss safety and generate ideas for minimizing risks and hazards in the workplace where everyone gets involved”, Entringer adds. Moreover, the plants elect one topic related to HSE each week and stresses that topic every single day during the week. “Accidents can happen from time to time so you can never be satisfied when it comes to safety”, Entringer recognizes. The plant manager also acknowledges that the business requires change from time to time which may introduce new risks requiring thorough understanding of potential causes and consequences to make conscious and informed decisions.
Elkem's commitment to the local communities around its plants in Brazil is exemplified by the Colorir project, which began about 25 years ago. The project is aimed at school-aged children in the local communities around the plants with the goal to support the public school system. Since its inception, several hundreds of children have completed the program. Elkem supports the development of the teaching materials and encourages its own employees in Brazil to participate as volunteers. Each year the plant takes on about 10 students who receive need-based funding to support themselves and their families. “We complement their education at the plant and keep them in the program until they are ready to stand on their own, as long as they remain committed to their studies. In some cases, we even end up hiring them within our organization”, Entringer says.
Elkem’s plants are dedicated to minimizing any negative environmental impact. As such, Entringer underlines that Elkem invests heavily in equipment to prevent air emissions and leakages, promotes safe operations, and ensures responsible use of all available resources. This includes recent investments in natural water treatment and gas scrubbing equipment. As a leading supplier of advanced materials and solutions, Elkem is committed to balancing the needs of its customers with its responsibility to the environment, now and in the future.