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  • Dear Readers!

    If truth be told, we had all been hoping that we would no longer have to talk about Covid by spring 2021. Who would have thought that we would be spending a second Easter and a second Ramadan with no end to the pandemic in sight? The longer this situation continues, the more difficult it is to maintain the public and personal discipline needed to fight the pandemic. People are weary. They are fed up with having to go from one lockdown to the next with there being no real prospects of life returning to normal. And while infection rates continue to rise no matter what restrictions are put in place, the country’s normally reliable federalist system is beginning to reveal some weaknesses. Is it really helpful that the measures taken to tackle this global threat are decided on at federal state level? On the other hand, why should public life grind to a halt in a sparsely populated region with a low two-figure infection rate just because the number of people catching the virus is rising exponentially in an area several hundred kilometres away? There are no simple answers but at least we are fortunate to have almost 27,000 ICU beds here in Germany and are better prepared for the situation than many other countries. However, being forced to focus almost entirely on treating Covid patients, hospitals are finding themselves in a difficult financial position – to say nothing of the huge and constant stress levels that the ICU healthcare professionals are having to cope with. At least the Covid measures have led to a dramatic decline in all other kinds of respiratory illnesses. Fortunately, the strict hygiene measures have meant that we have not had to deal with a flu epidemic this year.

    The world tends to view Germans as being both extremely organised and efficient. Some may be reconsidering their opinion, though, looking at the speed – or lack of speed – vaccinations are being rolled out. Which once again brings us back to the subject of using the private sector to deliver essential services. Here, too, many problems could have been prevented right from the start if politicians had taken up the help offered by the private sector to support the vaccination campaign. It can be assumed that an international online ticket seller, one able to sell millions of tickets for rock festivals or worldwide concert tours within just a few hours, would be able to organise online vaccination appointments faster and more efficiently than the overworked local health authorities with their outdated IT systems – and certainly without their website crashing or without them having to develop new software first. Such offers, however, have been taken up by just a few individual public health offices and then only belatedly.

    Are things running more smoothly in the circular economy? This latest issue of REMONDIS aktuell takes a closer look at the differences between rural districts and cities. It is, above all, the rural district authorities that turn to the private sector for help in providing a number of services – both in the circular economy as well as in the area of water and wastewater management. This approach not only promises to deliver the best services at sensible prices. It also has a major impact on how efficient their sustainability efforts actually are. With local authorities facing both an increased financial burden caused by the pandemic and an urgent need to renovate their infrastructure, it is well worth taking a closer look at the situation. 22% of local councillors believe that their local business tax revenue will be at least 10% lower in 2021 than it was in 2019. The majority of district and town councils, 64% to be precise, are planning to increase their local taxes and/or charges. There is certainly room for them to optimise their business operations in the area of cost-intensive key services, such as waste and water management, by systematically putting these services out to tender, extending their PPP arrangements or founding a new PPP company.

    We hope you enjoy reading this latest issue. Stay safe!

    Yours, Ludger Rethmann

A patented process

  • BUCHEN has a tradition of delivering innovations. For years now, the company has been driving forward progress in the industrial cleaning sector by coming up with its own novel systems. Its latest development: a patented process for cleaning cement kilns. An innovation that also clearly illustrates what the primary goals of BUCHEN’s development work are – namely to further increase customer benefit, environmental protection and safety levels.

The important work of removing deposits

As with any other type of production process, deposits build up in cement kilns over time. Steps must be taken at regular intervals, therefore, to remove these deposits so that the kilns continue to work efficiently and production operations run smoothly. Such work is usually carried out manually with the operatives entering the facility as soon as the kiln has cooled down sufficiently for them to be able to do so. Add together the time needed to shut down the kiln, to carry out the cleaning work (which can last several days) and to start the kiln back up again and operators find themselves facing a relatively long shutdown period. Which means, of course, that they are extremely interested in ways to shorten the length of such projects – and a good reason for BUCHEN to develop an innovative, time-saving alternative.

BUCHEN’s mission is to maximise customer benefit by delivering innovative services and deploying future-oriented technology.

Being a specialist for cleaning power stations, boiler plants, incineration plants and steam-generating plants, BUCHEN KraftwerkService has created a process that enables the sections of cement kilns most affected by build-ups to be cleaned without the operatives actually having to climb into the area itself. The company has solved this conundrum by combining automation and high pressure water jetting technology: two of the BUCHEN Group’s areas of expertise and two key areas of its service portfolio.

This new system offers some significant practical advantages. As it is automated, the actual cleaning process can be completed far more quickly.

Faster, better, safer

This new system offers some significant practical advantages. As it is automated, the actual cleaning process can be completed far more quickly. In addition, less time is needed for the kiln to cool down as the equipment can cope with much higher temperatures. Besides saving time, this system further improves the quality of the cleaning results as BUCHEN KraftwerkService makes the most of the remaining heat and the thermal movement of air to ensure the deposits are broken down in the best possible way.

BUCHEN has helped to significantly advance the industrial cleaning sector thanks to its automated systems and processes.

This pioneering process only uses high pressure water – no additional cleaning agents are deployed. This, of course, means greater environmental benefits and lower waste management costs. It is also a particularly safe system for operatives as the work is carried out from a distance – an advantage that effectively eliminates the potential risks of manual cleaning work. At the same time, it reduces the level of strain the staff have to deal with as manual high pressure jetting is always physically challenging work.

First projects have brought excellent results

This automated system has now been used on different kinds and different sizes of cement works. And the results have shown that BUCHEN has easily met the goals it set itself: depending on the type of plant and the cleaning requirements, BUCHEN KraftwerkService needed up to 80% less time to complete the project. And, in the best case scenario, the costs for the customers were reduced by up to 60%. Clear proof, therefore, that BUCHEN’s innovations help drive success – both for its customers and for its own business.

A more detailed look at the technology

At the heart of this patented process is an automated high-pressure machine equipped with a robust high-pressure pump and tank cleaning head. The tank cleaning head is inserted into the cement kilns’ cyclone preheaters and calciners, i.e. into the sections that are most impacted by deposit build-ups. The cleaning process begins with the opening of the first access point. Controlled from outside the kiln, the tank cleaning head can move freely around the area it is cleaning – even in very tight spaces. Once the defined ratio of water pressure and discharge rate have been set, the high-pressure pump supplies the jet of high pressure water required to perform the work.

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