ReSoURCE and RHI Magnesita’s Idea Factory

Refractory recycling research project ReSoURCE - Idea Factory 2023

Project ReSoURCE is a shining example of experienced scientists and professionals coming together to innovatively and collaboratively tackle a challenge. While our smaller organizational partners often shine with their highly specialized knowledge and ability to take rapid decisions, being able to rely on the organizational backbone and strength in numbers we have at RHI Magnesita also comes with its perks. One of them is of course the ability to tap the collective knowledge of hundreds of very capable and specialized employees to generate new ideas and solve problems.

To render this knowledge even more readily available and enable collaboration, our team in Innovation Management has been intensively working on establishing the Idea Factory, RHI Magnesita’s global Idea Generation and Management platform for the past years and months. The tool aims at enabling everyone within our organization to ask the crowd for help and receive suggestions from all around the globe.

Alexander Leitner, Stefan Heid and Sandra Königshofer, who all participate in ReSoURCE, recently contributed one of our currently-running Idea Challenges to the platform. In the scope of ReSoURCE, they are looking to find new or alternative technologies for crushing spent refractories that help to mitigate or avoid the creation of fine fragments. As to see in the image, after crushing you will end up with material which is well sortable like the seven big chunks in the picture, but you also create all these fine pieces in between. Given that these smaller particles cannot be sorted and often have to be landfilled, finding technologies that prevent the significant fines generation will help to increase reusable material, thereby generating less waste. Long story short, the ReSoURCE Team looks for something that is splitting a full brick having some tens of kg to pieces of below 5 kg without creating too much of the fines.

Having identified and further scoped the challenge with the ReSoURCE Team here at RHI Magnesita, we were happy to announce it internally at the beginning of December and open the Idea Submission phase to everyone willing to participate in our company. With some first ideas already in before the holidays, we are looking forward to receiving further submissions in the upcoming days as everyone has now returned to the office.

Following the initial Idea Submission phase, we will open an anonymous internal voting for the top ideas, determining which of them will be further refined by the submitters. This allows the submitters with the most promising ideas to look over their submissions and spend some more time thinking about details, potential problems, and how we might move on with their idea. After the Refinement phase, the ideas are sent to the Expert Evaluation, where some of our most knowledgeable colleagues in the field will look them over and assess their feasibility and potential. Finally, the ideas will move to the Decision Tank in the middle of February, where leaders in RHI Magnesita’s Research and Recycling areas will convene and decide on further steps for each of the remaining ideas, as well as provide feedback to our dedicated idea submitters.

While usually Idea Challenges in the Idea Factory focus on discovering ideas within our RHI Magnesita community, we believe it only makes sense to extend this particular challenge to the entire ReSoURCE family. Accordingly, if you, dearest reader, have an idea that might help us tackle this challenge, feel free to share your thoughts with us at The deadline is February 12, 2023.

Refractory recycling research ReSoURCE - Johanna Sturm

Author’s Portrait

Johanna Sturm

Johanna Sturm is an Innovation Specialist at RHI Magnesita (Austria). In her role, she has been focused on establishing the Idea Factory within the organisation for the past two years, while also strengthening RHI Magnesita’s Open Innovation capabilities. Prior to joining the company, Johanna was enrolled in a bachelor’s degree in Business and Economics at WU Vienna (Austria), specializing on Innovation, Knowledge Creation and Intrapreneurship, and is now pursuing a degree in Industrial Engineering at UAS Technikum (Austria).

Refractory recycling research project ReSoURCE

Johanna Sturm


Johanna is a researcher at RHI Magnesita.