IAM Rhineland field trip

Group photo of the participants of the Rhineland field trip
Last week, Prof. Lieberwirth, research assistants Tim Hühnerfürst and Richard Kühnel, as well as a group of students from the Institute of Mineral Processing Machines paid a visit to manufacturers and operators of machines and equipment during a field trip to the Rhineland.

1st stop: Haver & Boecker OHG in Oelde

First, the group visited the wire weaving division “Die Drahtweber” – one of the two business units of Haver & Boecker – in Oelde. After arriving from Freiberg, they received a warm welcome by the company’s managing partner, Mr. Walter Haver, as well as Mr. Michael Stichling – responsible for the field of industrial wire screens.

A short presentation on its history and the current product portfolio was followed by an interesting tour of the company. Starting with the delivery and inspection of the wires, the students and research staff were shown the complete manufacturing process of the 3,600 different specifications of wire mesh products. Haver & Boecker’s wire weaving division produces precision fabrics out of wires between 15 μm and 6.3 mm in diameter in Oelde.

Stronger wires of up to 12 mm and 20 mm, respectively, are processed at the Belgian subsidiary and at Haver & Boecker in Canada. The wire screens are made on weaving machines, just like in textile weaving. These machines, however, are all produced in-house in order to meet the particular demands of wire threads.

The fabricated wire meshes are used in the fields of architecture, screening, filtration and metrology, e.g. for medical applications, latest ultrasound screens for finest powders and mineral raw materials, autocatalysts as well as architectural cladding, i.a. in the German Bundestag or the Dusseldorf International Airport.

2nd stop: Thyssenkrupp Industrial Solutions AG in Beckum

The group of students and research staff next went to see the Thyssenkrupp Industrial Solutions AG in Beckum. On-site, they received a brief introduction into the company’s R&D department for mineral processing by its head, Dr.-Ing. Falk Silbermann. He then reported on a new process, the so-called torrefaction, to roast biomass and biogenic waste – similar to the production of coffee – to make biochar by means of an energy self-sufficient process. To this end, wood pellets, straw and manufacturing waste (for instance from sugar production), green waste or organic waste, among other things, can be used.

During their tour of the R&D department’s technical center, the group then learned how to test new raw materials for cement production on a pilot scale to ensure that the subsequently built aggregates and equipment perform perfectly for each and every customer in their respective application.

Afterwards, the eccentric roller crusher was introduced to them – a newly developed crusher with integrated pre-screening and a very flat and robust construction, which makes a high throughput rate of up to 3,000 tons per hour possible. With these properties, this roller crusher is particularly suitable for the effective primary crushing of hard rock and ores – both below ground and in surface operations as the centerpiece of a mobile or semi-mobile system.

The mills and crushers designed in the firm’s R&D center are built in the nearby workshop, where approx. 120 production workers are employed. The master machining technician noted that the manufacturing of these machines takes about a full year! The numerous work steps that have to be carried out accrue about 4 tons of metal chips daily! The largest production machine actually comes from Chemnitz.

3rd stop: HAVER NIAGARA GmbH in Münster

After a short break, the HAVER NIAGARA GmbH was next. The company location in Münster is part of the engineering division of the HAVER & BOECKER OHG and specializes in processing technologies.

After arriving there, managing director Peter Grotjohann gave the students and research staff an insight into the company. About 70 employees work at the Münster site. The complete machine planning was restructured last year to assign the respective competencies to the different locations of HAVER & BOECKER’s engineering division. Graduates of the TU Bergakademie Freiberg are involved in the company’s various projects worldwide.

As was the case in Beckum, the introduction was followed by a tour of the plant, covering the complete manufacturing process – starting with the semi-finished product and ending with the finished machine. Up to a width of 4 m, these machines are still allowed to be transported in one piece within Germany.

The screening machines manufactured by the HAVER NIAGARA GmbH are made-to-order items, as each material to be screened does have its own unique processing requirements. For instance, some materials are very moist and therefore quite sticky, whereas others are very abrasive. To design these machines, tests are carried out in the company’s own technical center. There are about 300 different screen coverings available for sample screenings.

At the end of the tour, the students, alongside Prof. Lieberwirth and his research assistants, were actually given the chance to witness a screening test carried out for them in the aforementioned in-house technical center. Furthermore, they could follow washing tests that were conducted on the firm’s innovative Hydro-Clean high-pressure washing system. Usually, it is used to free minerals of impurities, e.g. gypsum rock from clay caking. This time, however, experiments with shrimp shells were done. At high water pressure of 80 bar, these shells were meant to be cleaned of preservatives in order to supply them for further processing.

Prof. Dr.-Ing. Holger Lieberwirth
Historic weaving machine from Haver & Boecker
A look into Haver & Boecker’s weaving hall with modern weaving machines
Screening machines with a 3.5 m covering width in the shipping hall
Femals student operates an unbalance exciter for vibrating screening machine
Example of a component manufactured by 3D printing for a processing machine
A man demonstrates new screen coverings from Haver Niagara in front of students
Laboratory test stand in the screening laboratory of Haver Niagara
Different types of screen coverings hung up in a row
Bowl with shrimp shells cleaned by Haver Niagara using high-pressure cleaning