In future, Steuler‘s Höhr-Grenzhausen and Breitscheid plants will have kiln capacities totalling 50 000 t/year for the manufacture of special refractory and acid-resistant bricks. The infrastructure is also being upgraded to cope with the larger kiln capacity: the preparation areas, presses, storage areas and packaging lines in Höhr-Grenzhausen have to be completely refurbished and brought up to date.
Because the 96-metre-long kiln and ancillary facilities operate with remarkable energy efficiency, the new firing installation will save around € 340 000 per year on gas costs – with a simultaneous increase in capacity. Thanks to the heat recovery system, waste heat from the kiln will be used for drying, heating the buildings and producing hot water.
Nevertheless, extensive construction works lie ahead before the new tunnel kiln can go into service. The new cascade absorber with chimney stack was part of the initial building phase and has now been in operation for several months. Work in the preparation area has already been completed, too: The old mills have been replaced with modern gyratory crushers that are fed by upstream jaw crushers for coarse grinding. A newly installed dust extraction system ensures the air stays clean.
The automatic metering system will be replaced in the next six months, after which work on the preparation, weighing and mixing process stages will be complete. So that the presses can keep up with the increased kiln capacities, an automatic hydraulic press is currently being built. This is the fourth proprietary Steuler construction of its kind. An additional press for kiln furniture is being installed as well. As soon as both are in operation, work will continue with new hydraulic systems, control systems and guide columns for two existing presses. This means that a total of 14 powerful hydraulic presses will be available for moulding refractory and acid-resistant bricks in future.
Outdoors, groundworks alongside the railway lines are progressing nicely. The construction site is being tidied up, new drains laid, filled and compacted. A rainwater collection basin is also being built. The next stage will involve the construction of a hall on the new foundations, which is scheduled for completion by December 2019. The new kiln will be installed in this building immediately thereafter. After successful commissioning, the old tunnel kiln from 1951 will then be retired in the following year. A new energy-efficient packaging line will be installed in its place, and a new stretch-wrapping system will replace the existing shrink-wrapping unit. The increased kiln output requires more storage space. This is being provided in the shape of a 7 500-m² commissioning warehouse. Following completion of all the building work, it will be time to re-plant the grounds. A tree-lined avenue will be planted on the area where it was necessary to clear in order to maintain the overall appearance of the landscape.