We carry out continuous research to achieve better solutions for our customers. This work includes both the improvement of existing products and the development of new ones. Furthermore, we keep on finding new fields of application for proven processes.
Our development work is focused on innovations aimed at the efficient use of raw materials and resources, on achieving larger production units, on improving the operating economy and on increasing the plant availability.
We also perform laboratory, testing and development work for customers on a contract basis. Our Research and Development Centre is among the world's foremost establishments for technological development in the mining and materials handling industries.
The R+D Centre has laboratories for chemical, physical and mineralogical investigations. There are departments dealing with technical calculations, measurements and process and design development. And there is the test plant facility, which contains 'miniature production lines' (including mills, kilns and a workshop) where comminution tests, burnability tests and wear tests are performed, components tried out and environmental effects observed.
Significant success factors for research and development work are interdisciplinary teamwork and the capability to employ a broad range of different instruments, e.g.:
... the scanning electron microscope with connected MLA (Mineral Liberation Analyser) software.
In some cases, we test new plants and machinery on a smaller scale to save costs and time. In the area of pyroprocessing, for example, ores are examined under real conditions in a scaled-down rotary kiln using different preheater systems.
This process delivers important parameters, which are used later to optimize the design of the industrial-scale plant.