On 15 September 2010, Rainer Zimmermann, the executive management shareholder of the AZO GmbH + Co. KG, welcomed the “Who’s who” of construction chemistry in the crowded media rooms on the occasion of the AZO Technology Day (Fig. 1).
After a short presentation of the company, Zimmermann handed over to Prof. Dr. Wirth, the presenter of the event.
The first lecture was given by Helmut Kaiser, Technical Director at AZO®Chem. In his clear presentation he compared conveying systems and container systems and explained very strikingly the benefits and disadvantages of both systems. Based on this knowledge, Karl Horinger, Sales Director at AZO®Chem, demonstrated using the example of a large plant implemented in the construction chemistry sector, how the user requirement specification of the customer is changed into a functional specification and what problems might occur in doing so. Then Horinger and Kaiser dealt with the plant of a manufacturer of construction chemistry products (Fig. 2 and 3) that has been successfully running for one and a half years. With the help of 3D graphs, animations and photos, they explained the tower concept – from raw material supply to filling of the finished products.
Then Michael Mayer from the department R&D explained in his presentation the possibilities and fields of applications of the new powder rheometer Freeman FT 4 for the bulk solids laboratory. Combined with experience values, the rheological data collected with this device may then be used for the design and optimization of plants.
After the joint lunch, the participants had a comprehensive plant tour where they were informed about the manufacture of the components. With a considerable vertical integration of manufacture, AZO lays particular emphasis on the use of stainless steel. The participants also visited the research centre for raw material handling. There the systems and components can be tested under real conditions and investigations can be carried out with customer’ products. Finally the more than 50 invited guests visited the exhibition room in the customers’ centre of AZO where proportioning and conveying systems are presented (Fig. 4).
The afternoon program started with a lecture given by Manfred Horsch from the company Gebr. Lödige. He explained the demands on mixing technology in the dry building materials industry demonstrated by examples implemented in practice. In addition to process engineering and mechanical requirements, he also dealt with the determination of the mixing quality in detail and presented, amongst other things, the new generation of plough share mixers with reduced construction lengths and, consequently, a compacter design.
Hendrik Langner from hsh-systeme, a member of the AZO group, showed that an efficient, fully automatic plant also needs a good deal of innovative process control and visualization. In his lecture he outlined the entire control concept for the plant presented in the morning and explained, for example, the interface problems, batch tracing and labelling. Furthermore, he compared the tower concept with stand-alone operation. Gerhard Nied, the technical manager of the AZO group, rounded off the day. His lecture “Characteristic values of the combustion and explosion of dusts and their importance for planning and operation of automatic bulk solid systems” was received with great interest.
In a summary, the presenter, Prof. Dr. Wirth, underlined that this event offered a comprehensive overview with a lot of detailed information within the value chain in the field of construction chemistry. The questioned participants confirmed that the organizing team led by Walter Sonntag, the head of the department ‘Marketing/documentation’ did a good job and that this successful event, the tenth of its kind should be followed by others.