On 12 July, the annual general meeting of the Research Association of Ceramic Plant Manufacturers Essen e.V. (FoKA) took place. This time, the members were invited to the premises of the innovatherm company in Butzbach, Hesse. The Research Association, which was founded in 1984, is a registered association and a member of the Institute for Brick Research Essen e.V. (IZF). FoKA currently consists of nine member companies, all of which are well-known German suppliers to the ceramics industry. The purpose of the association is to promote and advance research that is of particular relevance to ceramic plant construction. In addition, the FoKA forms an institutional link between the needs of the brick producers, the resulting requirements for research at the IZF and the necessary product and process developments at the supplier industry.
In the regular board elections for the term of office from 2023 to 2025, board members Frank Appel (innovatherm Prof. Dr. Leisenberg GmbH + Co. KG) and Jörn Böke (Refratechnik Ceramics GmbH) were re-elected. In addition, the Managing Director of FoKA, Mr Eckhard Rimpel, was confirmed in office.
The ongoing activities of the Brick Research Institute presented by Mr Rimpel and his son Marius met with great interest among those present. These included an ongoing research project on a hydrogen-fired brick kiln, the freshly started investigation into the use of ammonia as a CO2-neutral fuel for brick firing and the practically completed development of a high-temperature bearing for an optimised kiln car to minimise run-out loss.
The lively discussion among the participants impressively showed the importance of a strong community consisting of research, plant engineering and brick manufacturers with the aim of successfully mastering the immense task of decarbonising the brick industry by 2045.
Finally, the members thanked Mr Appel of innovatherm for his generous hospitality, which made this meeting a special experience.