PFR kiln in Storugns, Gotland, Sweden

In conversation with Marc Lindahl, Managing Director of KPAB Kalkproduktion Storugns AB

Kalkproduktion Storugns AB, founded in 1987, is a joint venture between Nordkalk (2/3) and Lhoist (1/3). Our board of directors include Paul Gustavsson, Marcel Gestranius, Mikael Furu, Riikka Hynynen, Vincent Deleers and Matias Michiels.

Our PFR Maerz R3P Kiln with a capacity of 450 tpd has been producing quicklime since 1989.

The team KPAB is made up of many long-term employees: I am Marc Lindahl, Managing Director and, a Swedish Armed Forces veteran, Sebastian Barck is our maintenance and project manager and Henric Olsson our kiln manager. Not to forget our much appreciated 12 operators and two mechanics.

KPAB Storugns Marc Lindahl and Sebastian Barck

"No experimenting – we like to call ourselves “rock solid professionals”, and in our opinion that applies 100% to Maerz as well"

Marc Lindahl, Managing Director (right) and Sebastian Barck,
Maintenance and Project Manager (left)
Storugns
Gotland, Sweden
PFR kiln R3P
Kiln type in operation
500 t/d
Production rate with heavy fuel oil

A strong partnership - for more than three decades


More than 30 years ago, you chose Maerz Ofenbau AG as a partner to build your lime kiln. In the recent past, you have been working together with Maerz again, carrying out various upgrades on your kiln. Why Maerz?

In 2012 we relined the kiln and upgraded the automation system. We built in some limitations at that time which affected our performance, causing occasional instability with unsatisfying quality and reject product.

Experience has been a good teacher and I have learned that one must be able to reconsider prior decisions and have the courage to challenge old (including your own) preconceptions. As we only have one kiln, it was an excellent decision to rely on Maerz’ proven technology rather than move into uncharted waters with another company.

I can wholeheartedly verify, that once we contacted Maerz, we were quickly able to enjoy a fruitful cooperation, with countless benefits for our company.
 

Can you tell us how the decision-making process for this project went?

In early 2019, Sebastian and I decided to seek an independent third-party audit to identify the kiln’s weaknesses and recommend what improvements needed to be made.

The Board agreed and approved a Maerz audit, which took place in August 2019. Based on the thorough audit report, we were able to prioritise and start an investment plan for 2020 - 2021. Tasks shown to be easily implemented were tackled during the audit. We were fortunate to have Maerz’ Head of Field Services on site for several days and were able to profit from his knowledge. During 2020, we stabilised our kiln process and prepared for the improvements that we needed to carry out during the complete relining at the end of 2021.

We upgraded the level control of our shafts in accordance with Maerz’ recommendation. We also upgraded our fuel control system to the latest standard, affording us the ability to now have full control of the flow to each lance.

We benchmarked with Lhoist and suppliers of refractory material to find the best design solution for our kiln. Some parts in the kiln were re-designed in the past, but for this relining we chose a more conventional and proven design.

We also installed new heat resistant nozzles for our air cannons located in the cooling zone, which was supplied and recommended by Maerz. These has worked very well and helped us to reduce build-ups and the need of manual poking. We are now preparing to upgrade our skip hoist and to test bio fuel – exciting times!

Our success so far is based on identifying what needs to be done, doing the necessary, and being rewarded with tangible improvements. This in turn has allowed our Board to continue investing in improvements, thus creating more value for our owners.

What benefits/advantages were gained from the upgrades that Maerz implemented on your kiln?

The benefits have been numerous: safety, environmental, kiln performance, quality of our quicklime, cost efficiency and production reliability – all these parameters have greatly improved over the last few years. 2013 to 2020 were challenging years for our staff, but with Maerz’ expertise we were able to turn the trend around and on October 15, 2022 we will celebrate 5 years without any LTA1/0 for our personnel and also zero LTA1 for contractors.

We are now enjoying high quality quicklime and a production rate of 500 t/d with all-time low emissions!
 

Were your expectations met, or – even better – surpassed?

I was initially slightly hesitant during the audit, as some of the findings did challenge the settings and programming of our new automation system. Since the first audit, however, I am even more impressed with Maerz; with both the professional competence, as well as the employees. We connected easily and greatly appreciate the feeling of working as one team, with easy, fast communication, mutual respect and a feeling of having known one another for ages. The phrase “preferred partner” has taken on a deeper meaning for me! I would also like to mention, that I am grateful, not only for Maerz’ technical support, but also for the skill and perseverance of my project manager, Sebastian.
 

What is your perception of Maerz in terms of sustainability and innovation?

For us, sustainability and innovation are evident in the long term solutions. Upgrading proven technology, which is based on a reliable foundation.

No gambling and/or experimenting – we like to call ourselves “rock solid professionals”, and in our opinion that applies 100% to Maerz as well.
 

Looking back, what stands out most in your memory about working with Maerz?

On a personal level, I will always remember and cherish the feeling I got from working with solid professionals, who also exhibit team spirit – something I have always valued.

We will remember Maerz as the company, which helped us turn the trend around and become even more successful!