Metso Insights Case studies Aggregates From the combustion chamber to the crushing chamber
Jul 23, 2021

From the combustion chamber to the crushing chamber: Refractory rock for reprocessing

The Eifeler family business Bierbrauer & Sohn GmbH has been active since 2004 with the rental of mobile crushing and screening equipment, construction machinery, transport services, civil engineering, as well as construction waste and soil processing; and operates a 6-hectare recycling yard between Neuwied and Mayen. With the acquisition of a 50-hectare basalt lava quarry 15km away in Ettringen, owner Karl-Werner Bierbrauer entered the extraction business in 2017 with the establishment of Terratec-Basalt GmbH and has since been attracting attention in the region via a broad portfolio of services. Special tasks in processing technology, such as crushing trials for large corporations, have always tempted the entrepreneur to go to the limits of his technical equipment if necessary.
Fireclay processing at Bierbrauer & Sohn GmbH, in the background the LT106 mobile crusher from Metso Outotec.

Purity requirement for medium grain sizes

Karl-Werner Bierbrauer has currently taken on a special challenge successfully, which involves the processing of large quantities of fireclay bricks supplied to him by a globally operating customer in the refractory industry. In this project, the materials are temporarily stored in the recycling plant and are crushed on demand. The fireclays are 400 to 500mm in size and are fed via a Metso Outotec Lokotrack LT106 jaw crusher and are then processed into 40/45mm grains.


Two workmen in front of LT106 crusher at the at Bierbrauer & Sohn site.
Almost square fireclay bricks pass through the crushing process via the Metso Outotec LT106 crusher.

For this purpose, the Lokotrack was specially equipped with particularly magnetic crushing jaws, whose wear is higher than that of manganese. Contract background: The customer has high requirements for residue-free crushing and is incredibly careful to ensure that no metal particles contaminate the end product. Since there is always a high level of wear on the crushing jaws, Karl-Werner Bierbrauer has taken this situation into account and ensured that only particularly magnetic residues can enter the crushing process. After it has been crushed, a correspondingly strong magnetic separator pulls the wear material out of the crushing process all the more reliably.

The machine has been especially reserved for this recurring contract work and is thus exclusively reserved for fireclay processing. The customer then takes over the pre-crushed material to break it down further into smaller fractions and screen it on his own.

"At the time, it was very difficult for the company to find a processing partner who could store the expensive material in a dry place, weigh and balance it precisely, and process it cleanly,” says Karl-Werner Bierbrauer. "You could almost call an articulated truck with an average of 25 tons of this material a value cargo as soon as it leaves our plant. That is why it is no surprise that a laboratory technician from the client continuously monitors the processing procedure as well as the end product."

Fireclay material in sleeves

Workman with a fireclay brick

The fireclay bricks are sometimes also supplied in metal sleeves, which the company is also prepared for. In such cases, additional changeover time for the crushing tool and thorough cleaning of the Lokotrack are required to cleanly prepare and separate the mixed products.

The refractory rock is broken out of the sleeves during processing in the LT106 jaw crusher. The appropriate setting of a generous crushing gap is used to press in the sleeve, which is, however, not completely crushed. At the end, the magnetic separator pulls it out. "You have to imagine it as if you were pressing a tin can in a controlled manner to completely get rid of the contents. All the batches are individually numbered, labeled and must not be mixed together," adds Karl-Werner Bierbrauer.

The key to soil remediation: Tree and lawn substrates with lava

Tree substrate from lava production at Bierbrauer & Sohn GmbH site
Tree substrate from our own lava production at Bierbrauer & Sohn GmbH

Pumice, tuff ash, lava and basalt are the main components of the soils in the Eifel region where Karl-Werner Bierbrauer's quarry and recycling site are located.

Recently, the company has been engaged in the production of substrates whose components are made up of the regional minerals. Sometimes lava from our company's own quarry is used, sometimes – depending on the objective of the production – light or heavy lava material is purchased. Bierbrauer & Sohn produces tree substrates for planting pits that cannot be built over in the 0/16 and 0/32mm fractions from lava rock. For this purpose, the topsoil is mixed with lava and screened using Metso Outotec's mobile Lokotrack pre-screening unit ST2.4 or a corresponding 35 square mesh. An average of about 9 cubic meters of material is required for a tree pit, whereby the appropriate substrates must be able to store the corresponding amounts of water and air.

Processing line for granulate production at Bierbrauer & Sohn GmbH with Metso Outotec Lokotrack primary crusher, fine crusher and Nordtrack S4.9 mobile screening plant.
Processing line for granulate production at Bierbrauer & Sohn GmbH with a Metso Outotec Lokotrack primary crusher, fine crusher, and a Nordtrack S4.9 mobile screening plant.

Another component of the new company portfolio is the 0/8mm turf substrate, a mixture of topsoil, lava, and appropriate compost components, which can be used to lay rolled turf or to sow lawns. Product Manager Ralf Beissel, says, "We pass this material on to garden- and landscape builders unfertilized. Pumice is often an integral part of the substrate or part of the topsoil as we only process pumice-containing soils from the region. Lawn substrate requires 35% water storage, and the compost content is correspondingly high. At our quarry in Ettringen, we use our own laboratory to independently test grading curves, water storage, and all-important components of the substrate for reliability."

Germany's largest Metso Outotec mobile plant operator

Bierbrauer & Sohn GmbH has maintained close business relations with Metso Outotec dealer Fischer-Jung Aufbereitungstechnik GmbH, from Krefeld, for nine years. The family business and its sister company Terratec-Basalt GmbH now operate a total of 24 Metso Outotec mobile plants, making them the largest customer of the Finnish manufacturer in Germany. "I can only praise the cooperation with Fischer-Jung Aufbereitungstechnik, our direct contact, in the highest terms – on the one hand, on the service side, the training of our personnel, and on the other hand, we are always supplied with the necessary spare and wear parts in time. Every year, we stock up with crushing jaws, impact bars, the necessary screws, crushing shells, crushing cones and screen linings. In the overall package, we benefit from more favorable purchase conditions when we plan a year in advance. Since we are also permanently required in the area of contract crushing and screening, the stocking of spare and wear parts is vital for us," says Karl-Werner Bierbrauer.

Metso Outotec equipment at Bierbrauer & Sohn site.
The company is increasingly using Nordtrack equipment for mobile crushing processes at the recycling site, including the CT24 mobile stockpile conveyor.

In the area of contract processing and machine rental, there are fruitful synergies between the companies Bierbrauer & Sohn and Fischer-Jung Aufbereitungstechnik. Machines that are not currently in use for the company's own operational purposes are rented out to external companies. Fischer-Jung Aufbereitungstechnik mediates corresponding rental requests from Bierbrauer & Sohn, which come from the local area. Then, with its own low-loaders, Bierbrauer & Sohn also takes over the transport to the respective locations where they are needed. "If requested, we supply not only the crusher but also the wheel loader/excavator required for the task and the corresponding personnel,” says David Jakoby, who is responsible for the rental of construction equipment, as well as the crushing and screening plants. "We are the only suppliers here in a 100-km radius that provide equipment from 25 tons upwards along with personnel, which is a key competitive advantage for us. Just recently, we transported an LT106 with a total weight of 47 tons to a customer."

Ground preparation for construction development

Currently, Karl-Werner Bierbrauer is preparing another 6-acre parcel of land that he describes as an engineered building site, which he is expanding with an additional 500,000 tons of soil using a sandwich construction method. The contractor is redeveloping the site by hauling in his own recycling and soil material, as well as with additional soil stabilization measures, so that he can later sell it to investors ready for construction. Delivered construction waste for filling runs directly over a mobile scale on site and is then processed into RC using a Metso Outotec Lokotrack LT96 jaw crusher with a hydraulic crusher gap adjustment and a heavy-duty ST2.5 screening plant.

"With projects like this, I provide employment within my own ranks and subsequently benefit from the increase in the value of the property," says Karl-Werner Bierbrauer.

Ralph Phlippen of Fischer-Jung Aufbereitungstechnik handing over the keys to Karl-Werner Bierbrauer.
Soil preparation at the new site to be developed with Metso Outotec's S2.5 mobile heavy-duty screening plant. The new Nordtrack model is the latest addition, supplied by Fischer-Jung Aufbereitungstechnik (left, Karl-Werner Bierbrauer, right, Ralph Phlippen of Fischer-Jung Aufbereitungstechnik handing over the keys).
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