Having undergone a short trial phase, the extension to REMONDIS Production’s plaster production operations in Lünen is now fully operational. Which means that twice the amount of alpha plaster can now be produced at the Lippe Plant than before. The official name of this special type of refined plaster is alpha hemihydrate and it stands out from other products thanks to its exceptional mechanical strength. Alpha plaster is primarily used by the building chemicals and ceramics industries as well as in dentistry.
REMONDIS’ subsidiary CASEA is in charge of marketing the products. And this company believes that alpha hemihydrate has great potential in the construction sector as its properties are considerably better than those of cement when used in a variety of applications. It also has an excellent carbon footprint. Indeed CASEA is sure that moving from cement to gypsum-based building materials will make a big contribution towards decarbonising the construction industry. CASEA operates four plants in Germany and one in Spain. Alpha plaster is produced at its plants in Ellrich, Sulzheim and Lünen.
There are a number of reasons why the company chose to specifically extend the plant in Lünen. First of all, the Lippe Plant is close to major customers operating in the building materials industry, which means there are fewer logistical requirements. And Lünen has a port connecting it to inland waterways that can be used if gypsum needs to be imported from abroad, primarily from its own plant in Spain. Andreas Hübner, Technical Managing Director at CASEA, explained: “We felt it was important that the new plant should not only make high quality finished products from FGD gypsum but also from natural gypsum. By doing so, we’re ensuring that there is an alternative to FGD gypsum and securing supplies for our customers.” CASEA sees this multi-million investment in Lünen as being an important step towards the future.
Alpha plaster: a genuine all-rounder
Alpha hemihydrate is used in a whole range of products, for example in ready-to-use building materials such as screed and floor filler. One of the special features of this material is that it creates products that are exceptionally strong, a strength similar to that of concrete. But alpha hemihydrate can also be used in modern, lightweight products – for example to make lightweight, highly efficient floor panels.
While CASEA’s main customers come from the construction industry, they also sell their products to dental businesses, fertiliser manufacturers and ceramics producers. With demand having steadily increased over the last few years, the only way for the company to continue to grow was to increase its production capacities.
“If the building industry and manufacturers of building materials wish to keep the number of the expensive EUAs or EU allowances that they have to buy as low as possible, then they must achieve their carbon reduction targets. Using plaster rather than cement – or innovative mixtures of the two – will improve their carbon footprint. That should also push up the demand for plaster.”
Carsten Ketteler, Commercial Managing Director at CASEA, pointed out a further benefit of using plaster in the construction sector: “If the building industry and manufacturers of building materials wish to keep the number of the expensive EUAs or EU allowances that they have to buy as low as possible, then they must achieve their carbon reduction targets. Using plaster rather than cement – or innovative mixtures of the two – will improve their carbon footprint. That should also push up the demand for plaster.”
The new plant in Lünen is in the same building as the first production line, which has been producing alpha hemihydrate since 2003. REMONDIS also looked at other ways to keep the costs of extending its production capacities as low as possible. A central control unit, for example, has been installed for both facilities.
And the new plant will also be using the silos and heavy equipment that the company already has to store the products and transport the raw materials. And so the team working at the plaster production plant in Lünen continues to be around 45 people. Detlef Rozek, Head of the Plaster Division, and his successor Oliver Florenske were in charge of this project.
From left: Oliver Florenske, Head of the Plaster Division, Silvio Löderbusch, Technical Managing Director at REMONDIS Production, and Detlef Rozek, former Head of the Plaster Division
Image credits: image 1: Adobe Stock: Natalya Chumak; image 2: REMONDIS; image 3: REMONDIS; image 4: REMONDIS