An exciting and varied field of activity

ZKG Technical Excursion 2009, Lägerdorf/Germany (06.– 07.10.2009)

ZKG (Cement-Lime-Gypsum) INTERNATIONAL joined with Holcim to issue invitations for students at the HAW ­(College of Applied Sciences) in Hamburg to visit the Läger­dorf cement works (Fig. 1) in October 2009. The event was intended to bridge the gap between theory and practice for the students from the engineering sector and open up a specialized technical area for them in process technology and mechanical engineering. Almost 50 students from the faculties of process technology and mechanical engineering showed an interest in the cement industry. Prof. Dr.-Ing. Theodor Hesse, Prof. Dr.-Ing. Martin Geweke and Prof. Dr.-Ing. Bernd U. Sankol from the HAW also supported the excursion.


The event started with a welcome for the guests from Hamburg by the Plant Manager, Morten Holpert (Fig. 2). In an interesting lecture he described the Holcim Group and the Lägerdorf works. Holcim (Deutschland) AG with Lägerdorf and the Höver works at Hanover as well as with other facilities in Bremen (granulated blastfurnace slag, slag meal, cement), Salzgitter (blastfurnace slag granulation) and Rostock (cement) is well placed for the North German catchment area. In contrast to many other cement plants the raw material at the Lägerdorf works is not limestone but chalk. About 1.3 million t/a cement clinker are produced with kiln 11 that is currently in operation. Holpert pointed out that he can rely on an active and well-trained team at Lägerdorf. Many developments are carried out jointly with the works personnel. Automatic operation of the kiln system was, for example, made possible by a control scheme for the cooler, kiln and calciner based on the ABB Expert Optimizer System (EOS) that was developed jointly with the process engineering department of Holcim Limited.


Fields of activity and job profiles from the point of view of plant engineering where then presented to the participants (Fig. 3). First to speak were ­Torsten Seemann, ­Thomas Hannemann and Kai ­Lässig of Siemens AG. They showed that process engineering expertise is an important element even in an electrical engineering company in order, for example, to be able to configure the programming of the operations correctly. Heinz Werner Bunse of Haver & Boecker then described the job profiles in cement plant construction, focusing on packaging technology. Over the years packaging machines have become high technology products in which automation, efficiency and energy saving play important parts. Thanks to continuous onward development the latest generation of equipment can, for example, achieve higher throughputs with smaller overall sizes. Bunse also pointed out that educational and in-service training studies, e.  g. with the HaverAcademy, are specifically supported at Haver & Boecker.


On the afternoon of the first day there was a visit to the works (Figs. 4 and 5) in three groups led by Morten Holpert, Torsten Krohn and Hendrick Leopold. The impressions of the day were then discussed and enlarged upon in a communal evening event with students, instructors and representatives of the industry.


On the second day of the excursion Thomas-Christian ­Neuhaus of IKN GmbH indicated the complex demands that are made on the engineers during the planning and design of clinker coolers. Thermal, chemical and mechanical aspects have to be considered when designing clinker coolers. He pointed out that flexibility is an important basic requirement for a sales engineer.


Jürgen Bostelmann of IBAU Hamburg then drew up the job profile for engineers with respect to the IBAU product portfolio. Using the example of continuous and non-continuous mixing systems he gave a graphic demonstration of the complex process engineering procedures that are active behind the scenes. The process engineer needs expertise and experience to cope with them. This is the only way to ensure rapid product change, homogeneous mixing and long service lives. A variety of constraints also have to be borne in mind in silo construction as there is a constant increase in capacities, especially with new kiln lines.


The second day ended with a trip to the export terminal of Holcim Deutschland AG in Brunsbüttel. 600 000 t/a cement and 100 000 t/a fly ash can be handled by the Brunsbüttel export terminal (Fig. 6), which was built in 2006. The millionth tonne of cement had just passed through the terminal. The plant was built in a record time of about 3 months after careful preliminary planning jointly with the works team from Läger­dorf and IBAU. Matthias Gleimius and Jürgen Bostelmann guided the group through the plant. With their help a contract had been secured for the development and supply of special cements for a gas pipeline (Nord Stream project) from Vyborg, Russia, to Greifswald. 2/3 of the pipeline is being completed from Saßnitz. The cement is delivered to Saßnitz by rail from Lägerdorf. The cement for the last third is also being supplied by Holcim, but by ship from the export terminal in Brunsbüttel to Hamina in Finland.


The students were delighted by the excursion and the interesting lectures and works’ visits (Fig. 7). A lively discussion after each lecture showed that there was a great deal of interest in obtaining as much background information as possible. The first contacts have already been made. Morten Holpert reported that “about 20 students have already got in touch with Holcim online and indicated their interest in the company. As a first step we have added the interested parties to the distribution list for the company magazine. This will enable them to find out about the development of the company and keep in contact with it”.


After the event Janko Ramm, a student at the HAW, said that “On the excursion we were able to get real impressions of the sequences and processes taking place in the cement industry.” According to Prof. Hesse “The excursion was an outstanding practical complement to the reading material on plant technology and mechanical process engineering!” Prof. Geweke gave a positive summary: “This excursion has made it clear to the students that the cement industry combines mass production and precision”.


Work as a process engineer or mechanical engineer in the cement industry can be interesting and varied. It is what one makes of it that matters.


Further information and pictures can be obtained at

or from Christian Reinke,

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