Life and business continue

Dear readers,

With the astronomical beginning of spring, it can be said that we in Germany and Central Europe got relatively lightly through the winter without any major problems. We were spared a gas shortage. Various factors contributed to this: in addition to the conservation efforts of private and industrial consumers, above all the very mild winter temperatures. The German Federal Network Agency rates the situation as stable and less tense than in autumn 2022. Wholesale prices have fallen. However, the proverbial fish is still not off the hook. The next winter is sure to come and we cannot yet say what the situation will look like then. The weakening construction industry also gives cause for thought.

In the meantime, however, life and business go on and comparatively everyday challenges have to be mastered. Two interviews in this issue bear eloquent witness to this. At Händle, the Swabian machine and plant manufacturer, people are used to solving difficult tasks and having fun doing it. We spoke with outgoing managing director Gerhard Fischer and his two successors about the challenges posed by young talent, digitalisation and retirement, among other things.

At Büro Medau, a German supplier of special productcs for the ceramic industry, the change of leadership presented a challenge. After the sudden death of his father, Jan Medau, coming from a totally different career path, took the reins. This worked out quite well, as you can read in the interview.

The more careful use of natural resources is also an ongoing challenge in our industry. Geopolymerisation or alkaline activation of mineral secondary raw materials is a promising way to use quarry and construction waste for substitute building materials. I am pleased that in this issue we are able to publish a second article on the influence of brick flour on such geopolymers. After the first article in ZI 1/23 discussed the influence on mechanical properties, this one is about the setting behaviour of geopolymers.

In all these cases it is true that new challenges form the basis for new approaches to solutions.

I wish you an entertaining and informative read



Victor Kapr


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