Lime strategy pays off.

Sales and purchasing initiative at POLYSIUS.


In 2007, around 200 million tons of lime were produced worldwide. China and the USA are the biggest producers with 75 and 21 million t respectively. With 6.8 million t, Germany lies in sixth place. A key aspect is that according to estimates, the market will grow by 5.5 percent per year to 2010. And the production of lime, in particular the kiln process, is very similar to cement production - one of the core competencies of plant construction expert Polysius. "For this reason, it was also relevant to develop an independent strategy for this market," said Dr. Thomas Schmitz, head of the "Lime strategy" ThyssenKrupp best project at Polysius.

The burning process is at the heart of lime production. The rotary kilns used by Polysius for cement manufacture are suitable for this, but the market is dominated by shaft kilns and Zurich-based Maerz AG, the company acquired by Polysius two years ago, is a market and technology leader in this area. "This enabled us to round out our portfolio for the lime industry without time-consuming and risky new developments," explains Schmitz. Stephan Lechner, Managing Director of Maerz AG, adds: "The two companies complement each other ideally. Maerz has the customer contacts and established products. Polysius provides the opportunity to acquire larger-scale projects for entire plants through its many years of global experience in the construction of large plants and rotary kilns."

Competencies center in Zurich

The foundations were laid with the merger of the two companies. The next steps for systematically developing the lime market were defined within the framework of the ThyssenKrupp best sales initiative. The first step was to establish a lime competencies center in Zurich. Order intake and resource planning were also drawn up on the basis of the expanded product range. Added to this are measures, some of which are or will become independent ThyssenKrupp best projects, for example to review the Maerz product range for potential savings.

"We held brainstorming sessions with employees from Maerz and Polysius for these projects - and the results are impressive," reports Dirk Dilly, responsible for coordinating ThyssenKrupp best activities at Polysius.

Under the purchasing initiative, procurement is also being centralized, pooled and internationalized. This is why there is now a buyer responsible exclusively for Maerz in the central Polysius purchasing department in Beckum. Both companies are already profiting from the cooperation and the systematic approach supported by ThyssenKrupp best: order intake, earnings and margins have been increased, a further expansion of the product range is planned.

First joint product

The first joint development by Polysius and Maerz is already in the assembly phase: a so-called shaft preheater with a sulfur bypass. It enables the lime needed for the manufacture of steel to be produced more cost-effectively and with significantly lower CO2 emissions. The preheater was developed with cross-segment support from ThyssenKrupp and will go into operation shortly. Versatile