ZKG TECHNICAL EXCURSION, Burglengenfeld/Germany (21.– 23.10.2014)

Big Bang Theory ... and Practice

This time, a total of fifty-seven students and their tutors from the Technical University of Clausthal-Zellerfeld, the Technical Applied University of Bochum and from the Bauhaus-Universität Weimar were sponsored to attend and to hear more about the professional opportunities in the complex field of cement making at the site of HeidelbergCement AG in Burglengenfeld, Bavaria/Germany. On the ZKG technical excursion, a two-and-a-half-day field trip, the students were able to meet practical engineers and HR managers from the operator as well as from the supply industry.

Beumer Maschinenfabrik GmbH & Co.KG, FLSmidth Pfister GmbH, Gebr. Pfeiffer SE, ­HeidelbergCement AG, KHD Humboldt Wedag GmbH, Refratechnik Cement GmbH, Siemens AG and ThyssenKrupp Industrial Solutions GmbH all came along to showcase their  company’s profile to students and  to give a deeper insight  into their daily work and the options for starting a  career at their company.

The audience was first welcomed by ­Marion Kinscher, HR Manager of the host company ­HeidelbergCement AG. After the personal introduction, all the attendees listened to Dr. Hubert Baier (ZKG International), who kicked off the programme with a general overview by drawing the process line from the quarry to the finished product. Chief Engineer Bernhard Reindl from HeidelbergCement AG gave a deeper insight and explained the cement making process and its ­local pecularities at the Burglengenfeld site in the ­Upper Palatinate region.

The next morning the participants had the chance to see at the first hand how experienced experts prepared their blasting, which could then be admired from a safe distance. Split into three groups, the production line could be followed from the quarry to the shipment again: After blasting twice a week, the limestone is to be excavated, crushed, chemically corrected and blended by chevron stacking in two beds.

Due to a stoppage of one kiln line, the workers could be observed doing their repair work and maintenance in the machinery. The groups had the opportunity to get a look into the grinding chamber of the open vertical roller mills and one of the opened kilns as well. On the other running kiln the flame of the burner could be observed and in the other kiln the refractory lining had to be replaced, which gave Dr. Ulrich Zielinski from Refratechnik Cement GmbH the ideal opportunity for his presentation in the afternoon on the necessity of expert knowledge on how to operate a kiln and to find the right assembly for the refractory lining. And, in case no appropriate brick lining is available, how to start with R&D to develop a sufficiently tailor-made refractory for all these clients’ requirements. Finally, he spotlighted some current open vacancies and their demands and recruiting conditions.

However, first, Oral Türesay, Directory Sales Europe and Alexander Knoch, Product Manager, presented the KHD Humboldt Wedag GmbH, of ­Cologne, summarising the company’s history and its recent engineering activities with its vast range of engineering all around the world. They examined in detail the specific types of pyro-processes, and their modification for the utilisation of AFR. Additionally, they both presented their company’s profile and gave on overview of the professional opportunities and vacancies currently open.

After the lunch break, the engineers and ­human resources experts from the supporting industrial partners took the podium again to focus the ­students’ interest on their companies as potential employers. Next, Thomas Walter, Minerals - Sales Regional Support & Marketing, outlined the new structure of the Siemens AG, their fields of business and their main activities within the mineral and cement industry, on the one hand, and the prospects for future employees in electrification, process automation and drives, on the other hand. As an example, he mentioned the development of the world’s largest 500-t-drive for a haulage truck for open pit mines in Belarus. Finally, he presented YOLANTE, a mentoring program for young scientists and technicians, the company-wide development program TOPAZ for the best trainees as well as the Siemens Graduate Program (SGP) or the ­Siemens Advanced Program (SiAP) for MA in Management.

After an enjoyable evening program, the starting address of the last day of the field trip was given by Dr. Caroline Woywadt, Director Process Technology, explaining the use of the various types of mills from Gebr. Pfeiffer SE, Kaiserslautern used for the grinding processes in cement production. Christoph Greupel, Director Finance and Personal, provided insights into working in a traditionally innovative company, whilst Kay Radefelder, a former student at the University of Weimar, now gave the students a good feeling of understanding by painting a vivid picture of the everyday work as a young professional, responsible for assembling and commissioning on the construction site.

In an attractive double presentation, Laura Seeger, HR Manager and Henning Brinkschulte, Engineer in the R&D department gave an overview of the ThyssenKrupp Industrial Solutions AG and its fields of action. Mr. Brinkschulte also showed personally, how to engage in environmental topics by developing technical solutions for the use of waste derived solid fuels as a feedstock for the cement kiln process. He also showed what preliminary work had to be done to develop the precalciner chamber. Laura Seeger finalized the lecture by giving the students a range of opportunities regarding how to join TKIS as a trainee or directly as an employee.

After the coffee break, Markus Pfeil from FLS Pfister GmbH, Augsburg demonstrated the relationship of Pfister in the parent company structure of FLSmidth and explained where and why in the cement production line metering is the important key for a calm running process and a constant product quality. After displaying the working principle of the scale and its application areas, he pointed out job opportunities at Pfister in Augsburg or working in a global market.

In the final time before the lunch break, Markus Peitzmeier and Kay Wieczorek from the Beumer group, Beckum together presented the vast range of equipment of their cement division. Starting with the company’s history, they gave an overview of all the devices for conveying, stacking, blending, filling, palletizing and dispatch technologies. One core equipment is the pipe conveyor, inter alia the world’s longest conveyor installed in Sichuan, China, which bridges a 12 km distance. They also gave an insight into stacker and reclaimer technologies, clinker transport and bucket elevators. After all these interesting specialities, they brought the focus on to their system solutions in packaging, palletizing and dispatch. And then they drew attention to the students’ opportunities for starting their carrier at Beumer and explained which values are important to begin with; practical training, ­final papers or directly as a specialist.

Finally, Marion Kinscher, HR Manager of the host company, HeidelbergCement AG, from the Headquarters in Heidelberg, examined her company’s recruitment and personnel development policies, and highlighted the opportunities for working for a global player. As she pointed out the range of opportunities, starting in the quarry, also with biologists who are responsible for sustainable management, up to a comprehensive field of employment for young engineers in cement production, plant engineering and in the support activities provided by suppliers. She indicated again that students should apply via the homepage, on their own initiative or directly to open vacancies.

In answer to the positive response of the universities attending, ZKG International wishes to thank HeidelbergCement AG for its kind hosting and support on the cement work and we also wish to express our gratitude to our industrial partners for their support and assistance, and for their excellent cooperation.

We wish all participating students the very greatest success in their continuing studies, and trust that they have gained useful ideas for their future working life. We hope most sincerely to see you again in the cement family!

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