Around 380 million years ago, huge limestone reserves accumulated in the lime dell of Hillesheim in the Volcanic Eifel region of Germany. Numerous dolomite formations and several basalt and lava cones demonstrate the geological diversity of the area. At the heart of the region lies the small parish of Üxheim-Ahütte. Portlandzementwerk Wotan H. Schneider KG, informally known as Wotan Zement, has had its plant on the outskirts of a village with 180 inhabitants since 1923. The family-owned enterprise has 70 employees and produces nine cement types. According to Technical Director Gerd Morenhoven, these include Portland cement, Portland limestone cement, Portland pozzolana cement, blast-furnace cement and Portland slag cement. These are bagged or filled into silo trucks and transported to construction sites, ready-mix plants, concrete component manufacturers and building material traders.
The enterprise mines the necessary raw materials (limestone and marl) in the Üxheim, Nohn, Berndorf and Kerpen quarries that all lie closely together in the lime dell of Hillesheim. “Due to increased demand for Portland cement we currently need to buy additional cement clinker. It is delivered in trucks to a specially built clinker receiving station”, explains the technical director. The cement manufacturer needed an efficient solution for transporting the arriving material to the processing site. “We were looking for an eco-friendly and low-maintenance solution”, specifies Gerd Morenhoven. The new conveyor had to be optimally adapted to the existing premises; for example, it had to follow the course of the access road and not lose any material during transport, even on uphill and downhill slopes.
2 Comprehensive expertise, optimum support
For the building material manufacturer, the Beumer Group was their first choice to supply optimal conveying equipment. The provider of conveying solutions has been well-established in the building industry for nearly 80 years. Beumer has bundled its comprehensive expertise in the industry and established different Centers of Competence to offer optimal support to building material manufacturers by providing single-source solutions. The Pipe Conveyor segment is one of Beumer’s Centers of Competence, which are in charge of worldwide project management and sales. This specific project was carried out in close collaboration between the group companies in Austria and the Czech Republic.
3 Maximum environmental protection, minimum maintenance
“Together with the management team in Üxheim-Ahütte, we developed a solution that is tailored to match exactly the customer’s requirements”, says Josef Amon, Project Manager at Beumer Group Austria GmbH who was responsible for the project. It became apparent that a pipe conveyor was the best solution offering environmental protection and low maintenance. Wotan Zement already has a pipe conveyor and the system has stood the test of time. “Its closed design reliably protects the environment from dust and people or vehicles from falling goods”, explains Josef Amon. The conveyors also offer many other advantages. They are able to navigate long distances and tight vertical and horizontal curve radii. The ability to negotiate curves means that far fewer transfer towers are needed in comparison with other belt conveyors – or, depending on conveying length and curve radii, even none at all. Thanks to this, the customer can significantly reduce costs and Beumer can more easily adapt the system to specific requirements.
Beumer Group supplied and installed a system with a pipe diameter of 200 mm and a length of 213 m. It conveys up to 200 tons of material per hour. Another system advantage is the reduced noise emission of the pipe conveyor. Special idlers, low-noise bearings and electric motors work very quietly. “This makes for a more pleasant working environment for our employees. Besides, the people in the vicinity are not disturbed by the noise. It is an important aspect, since the plant is located on the outskirts”, notes Gerd Morenhoven.
4 Smooth performance from start to finish
Besides the supply and installation of the pipe conveyor, Beumer also took care of all the necessary solutions for ensuring flawless operation. Among other things, Beumer equipped the conveying system with a magnetic separator.
The route of the pipe conveyor now runs along the access road, crosses a weigh-bridge, then reaches a two-way chute. There, clinker is either transported to the mill via an existing reversible belt conveyor or taken to the existing clinker store.
5 Constructive solutions
The Beumer Group was in charge of the entire process. Beumer Austria took over the project implementation: its employees created the basic design and included all the systems supplied by the customer, delivered the components and commissioned the pipe conveyor. Beumer Czech Republic a. s. took care of the detailed engineering, the steel structure and the installation. “We designed the frames so that they could support the pipeline for pneumatic cement transport supplied by the customer”, explains Josef Amon. This pneumatic pipeline was part of another project. The simultaneous use of the pipe conveyor frames as a pipeline bridge allowed for substantial cost savings in the other project. “The challenge was to do without additional supporting structures”, says Josef Amon. Furthermore, the engineers integrated the pipe conveyor into the existing plant structure. “However, because the system was quite old, there was very little documentation left”, he reminisces. That challenge, too, was successfully mastered by Beumer, as pipe conveyors are quite easy to integrate into existing plants.
The complete project implementation lasted around ten months. Since February 2015 the system has been operating successfully.