The inaugural lighting of a tunnel kiln is a rare and very special event for a ceramics’ manufacturer. After all, such a high-performance kiln only begins operation once and ideally runs for decades without interruption.
Due to Covid-19 restrictions, the ceremonial lighting of the 96-metre-long kiln took place under somewhat different circumstances, however. With around 80 representatives from all business divisions of the Steuler Group present, it was a rather small group that had the opportunity to witness the special event under strict hygiene regulations and usher in a new era of firing technology at Steuler.
“In extraordinary times like these, it is important to remain confident and focus on the future. This investment serves to underscore our forward-looking approach”, is how Michael Steuler, Managing Director of Steuler Holding and Ulf Frohneberg, Managing Director of STEULER-KCH Materials summed things up.
The state-of-the-art high-performance tunnel kiln – which will create new jobs and increase the production capacity in Höhr-Grenzhausen by around 8,000 tonnes per annum – has been in operation since the 18th of August 2020. With immediate effect, Steuler’s Höhr-Grenzhausen and Breitscheid factories now have the kiln capacity to manufacture a total of 60,000 tonnes of special refractory and acid-resistant bricks a year.
The new kiln will save up to 500,000 EUR in gas costs annually – while simultaneously increasing output. Thanks to its intelligent heat recovery system, the waste heat from the kiln operating at 1,350°C will be used for drying, heating the buildings and producing hot water. Because the kiln and ancillary facilities operate with such remarkable energy efficiency, the project was subsidised by the KfW (Credit Institute for Reconstruction).
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