High-pressure fans for PFR kiln in Acajete, Mexico

In conversation with Erik Riefkohl Brown,
Grupo Calidra

In the hundred years of its existence, the Mexican Calidra Group has established itself as a leading company in the lime industry, even beyond Mexico. The now 30-year cooperation between Calidra and Maerz has been a significant contributing factor - with the cutting-edge technology supplied by Maerz, Grupo Calidra has not only been able to maintain its market leadership, but to steadily expand it.

Calidra Group Erik Riefkohl Brown

"We now have 31 Maerz kilns in operation and two more under construction."

Erik Riefkohl Brown, Technical Director, Grupo Calidra

With Maerz, becoming a global lime company


You have been working with Maerz Ofenbau AG for over 30 years. Why Maerz?

Calidra started 30 years ago with the transformation of the company from a local Mexican lime producer into a globally competitive lime company with a presence in several countries. One of the key aspects of this transformation was working with industry-leading technologies, and even then Maerz was the clear market leader in lime burning technology. That is why we started working with Maerz.

Today, we can proudly call ourselves the most efficient lime producers in the world, as 100% of our lime production comes from PFR kilns. We have 31 Maerz kilns in operation today and two more under construction. With all the environmental challenges ahead, the industry is embarking on a long process of converting from old inefficient calcining technologies to PFR kilns. We embarked on this path together with Maerz, and it was certainly the right decision.
 

In your project, the existing rotary piston blowers were replaced with the high-pressure fan system developed by Maerz. Can you tell us how the decision-making process for this project went?

We are always looking for new ways to make our processes more efficient. In the past, Maerz has approached us several times to try out new technologies and the results have always been very positive.

When Maerz suggests that we test something new, we know that there is a lot of hard work and analysis behind the idea. That is why we are very open to implementing new concepts in collaboration with Maerz. We know that we will have few, if any, unwanted surprises when testing new technologies.

Although the PFR kilns are close to the maximum theoretical thermal efficiency, the power consumption of the PFR kilns can be optimised even further. With the new high-pressure fan system, we have the opportunity to further increase the efficiency of this leading technology by reducing the power consumption of the entire calcining process by almost 20 %.

What advantages do you enjoy from Maerz products and services?

We have always seen Maerz more as a partner than a supplier. Our cooperation has always been very close and Maerz's technical know-how has helped us a lot in developing improvements in our calcining processes. At the same time, Maerz has proven that it is always one step ahead of the competition in terms of service, know-how and technological development.
 

To what extent have your expectations been met or - even better - exceeded?

We always look for win-win relationships in our business and Maerz has always shown a compatible mindset. The employees have always been understanding and have given us the support we needed whenever necessary.
 

How do you perceive Maerz in terms of sustainability and innovation?

Maerz has always been, and will continue to be  a leader in developing the most innovative and reliable calcining technologies. We see that Maerz is constantly working hard to develop sustainable solutions for the future. Maerz has focused strongly on innovation in areas where it can add the most value. We see that Maerz is constantly working hard to develop sustainable solutions for the future. Maerz has focused strongly on innovation in areas where it can add the most value.
 

When you look back, what do you remember most about working with Maerz?

I have worked with many members of the Maerz team over 12 years on 4 different continents and have had some very memorable experiences with them during that time. I have learned a lot from the Maerz team and am proud to call some of them my friends.