Plibrico Co. (Chicago)

Plibrico Company is based in Chicago, IL. The company manufactures what are called monolithic refractory products and develops applications for these products. This type of product refers to large, one-piece objects that retain their structure and physical properties in extreme heat. Monolithic refractories have several applications throughout various fabrication and petrochemical industries. Plibrico also manufactures plastics, aluminum products, and mixes cement. Besides manufacturing these products, the company also performs installation, service and engineering consultation. Many of the company’s products are used as insulation for incinerators, furnaces, and boilers. Some of the major industries they serve are the energy industry, the steel and aluminum industries, energy production, and the sugar manufacturing industry. Plibrico operates several regional sales offices outside their Chicago headquarters. Their office locations include Nicaragua, the Philippines, Costa Rica, Honduras, and El Salvador. Plibrico has been in operation since their founding in 1914. The main thrust of their business has remained in monolithic refractories since the company was established. The company was founded by W.A.L. Schaeffer and was originally called the Pliable Brick Company. His early motivation was to create refractory products that could be fired and molded onsite instead of having to mold them in a factory and then transport them, as well as fit them to the equipment later. Schaeffer ideas are credited with shaping the modern plastic refractory industry. Soon after completing this goal, Schaeffer expanding production to include plastics, shotcrete, gunning mixes, and castables. Plibrico has been ranked among the top three U.S. monolithic refractories for several decades. After years of success in the business, Plibico Company was acquired by Imerys Group, a large mining conglomeration based in Europe. Imerys Group has over 14,500 employees and mines 29 different minerals. Thirty-one percent of the company’s business is in monolithics and 28 percent is in mining minerals for refractories. After that, a major merger of Plibico and Lafarge Refractories expanded the company even further. This merger resulted in the formation of another company, Calderys Refractory Solutions, with 18 manufacturing sites and 30 sales offices across the globe. Plibrico Company was forced into Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2002, but was incredibly successful in its reorganization plan, emerging from bankruptcy after only four years. The reorganization led to the establishment of the Plibrico Asbestos Trust. The Plibico Asbestos Trust handles all business related to the companies decades of use of asbestos in their refractory products. Asbestos was used for its ability to withstand high temperatures.