With a production capacity of 1.6 million t of cement and around 240 employees, the Opterra plant, located some 70 km southwest of Leipzig, is one of the largest cement plants in Germany. The planning of the packing plant’s major refurbishment began with a specific request to the Westphalia-based Haver & Boecker OHG: After more than 20 years, the maintenance effort for the existing packer had become too high. When working out a modern replacement for the ageing packer, further optimization potential ultimately became apparent. “After realizing that a replacement of the belt check-weigher and other elements would bring significant improvements to the overall performance, our customer solidified the plan to move the entire plant closer to the palletizing hall,” says Markus Horstkötter, Area Sales Manager of the Business Unit Cement at Haver & Boecker.
From a space problem to a smart solution
A key project challenge was the extremely limited available space, which did not offer enough room for a conventional filling and packing plant. Moreover, the existing bucket elevator also limited the possible overall height of the new plant. The innovative Smart Plant ultimately provided the right solution: a compact, space-saving layout could not only be achieved effortlessly on the available space, but it was also perfectly compatible with the other requirements.
“The standardized, pre-configured concept of the Smart Plant makes it particularly inexpensive to manufacture and operate. Such a plant is quickly available and installed – and at the same time it’s extremely flexible due to its modular design,” explains Markus Horstkötter. In terms of production efficiency and quality, the compact system at Opterra’s Karsdorf factory also meets the usual high standards.
Smart Plant is a clever fulfiller of wishes
The primary goals for achieving the new system were quickly defined. “A high output of at least 2800 bags per hour along with intuitive, economical operation with only 1.5 operators. Also the best possible weight accuracy and orderliness were of particular importance to the customer,” summed up Markus Horstkötter. Furthermore, on-time, reliable delivery and uncomplicated commissioning were the focus of the order. Since the calibration of the old system had expired, a prompt completion of the modern successor was essential.
For project implementation, the management of the cement plant relied on the “all-round carefree package” of the Haver & Boecker team. As part of the turnkey implementation, our specialists took over the execution and coordination of all tasks: from the construction of the new hall, including fire and lightning protection, lighting, heating, automatic gate and doors, maintenance and operating platforms, etc., and including the ready-to-use filling and packing plant.
A finished plant in just four months
After intensive planning, the construction work for the new building could begin at the end of November 2020. Pre-production was carried out at full speed at the soon-to-be decommissioned packing plant in order to ensure a continuous supply of bagged Opterra cements to specialized trade and DIY store customers. In mid-December, the old plant was then shut down so that the commissioning of the new Smart Plant could start on schedule in March 2021, in the new building which is only some 12.5 m high, 18 m long and 15 m wide.
“That was a precision landing under difficult conditions!”, summarizes Haver & Boecker project manager Guido Küpper. “Because of the Corona pandemic, numerous processes were complicated and unexpected safety precautions were necessary.” But thanks to the constant communication with the client, smooth coordination and excellent work from all the service providers involved, the ambitious schedule was easily adhered to. The new, smart filling and packing plant also more than lives up to its high standards.
Dr. Frank Noack, Head of Investments at Opterra Zement GmbH, summarizes: “The performance of the plant with up to 3000 bags per hour is impressive. We find the weight accuracy to be very good after the fine adjustment.”
Space miracle with proven Haver & Boecker quality
In its daily use at the Karsdorf cement plant, the compact Smart Plant is really impressive with its greatest possible advantages. At its heart is the powerful Roto-Packer® RVT with eight filling spouts and the fully automatic Radimat® bag applicator with double roll system. The new line can even exceed the specified capacity with up to 3000 filled bags per hour. Due to the high degree of automation and the intuitive user guidance, it was also possible to achieve the desired reduction in operating personnel.
Designed for accuracy class X(1) according to OIML requirements, the line currently fills six different products to the customer’s complete satisfaction. When it comes to clean production, the cement plant benefits from the in-depth knowledge and experience of Haver & Boecker’s specialists and from the advanced technology. “The high-quality standard equipment and the integrated patented Roto-Lock® metering unit minimize product loss,” explains Guido Küpper. “In addition, we guarantee the best results by individually testing all factors in advance. Depending on the customized product and the bag used, we optimally match up all components of the entire packing line, for example the air dosing, directly to the conditions at hand. This is often done in coordination with the bag manufacturer.” Precise dosing and filling reduce the product loss and contribute to a healthier work environment and a spick and span system periphery.
The Smart Plant from Haver & Boecker is ideally equipped for future developments: In addition to comprehensive product-type and bag-specific adjustment options, the system can be configured individually, down to the detail, with various standard versions and, of course, also equipped with the product-protecting SEAL technology.
The customer’s overall impression is absolutely positive. Andreas Klinger, responsible regional sales manager at Opterra, is impressed by the generally smooth going changeovers and the final results.