Spotlight on Exhibitor – IBU-Tech
Monday, 20 May 2019
IBU-tec advanced materials offers thermal treatment services in rotary kilns and pulsation reactors for industry clients. For several decades their knowledgeable and experienced team have provided clients their expertise in R&D and the Scale-up process, in addition to providing an ever-increasing tolling capacity for a broad spectrum of customer materials. As rotary kiln experts, they offer a variety of calciners, along with a unique proprietary technology: the pulsation reactor.
Q: Since 1993, IBU-tec has established a long history of development and innovation. What current projects are most interesting to you and potential customers?
A: Good question. I think the construction of a new pilot plant at our headquarters in Weimar is of particular interest. We’ve consolidated all of our small trial kilns and ancillary equipment in a single location to allow for concentrated competencies and increased efficiency when it comes to overcoming the challenges of customer project development.
In addition, we are expanding our tolling capacity with a brand new production facility in an actual chemical park. That will open up tremendous possibilities when it comes to handling challenging materials for our clients.
The new facility is actually located in the same park as our most recent acquisition, BNT Chemicals, a respected leader in wet chemistry and organometallics.
Q: Well, given what must be a significant capital outlay in the construction of two new facilities, you must be quite confident of a substantial return on your investments. What types of projects do you anticipate for the pilot plant?
A: Historically, as our analysis has shown, certain types of client projects – specifically, those dealing with more challenging materials – tended to be somewhat expensive for customers to implement via conventional methods. We wanted to offer our clients a more cost-effective solution.
Hence the new pilot plant, where we have all the necessary equipment and experts concentrated in one location, thus making trials easier and less expensive and very importantly, allowing us to pass the savings on to our clients.
Now, even difficult materials and/or processes can be quoted quite economical prices. Furthermore, because we are now able to precisely run the trial sizes needed to obtain conclusive results, we’ve realized additional cost savings and minimized the actual amount of raw material needed.
Q: Can you elaborate on what technologies will be available for the pilot plant?
A: At present, we have two plants running. The first one is an adaptable rotary kiln of about 2m heated length that’s suitable to operate various reaction atmospheres: inert and reducing. The other is something quite special that we’re really proud of.
IBU-tec has a proprietary technology called the pulsation reactor. It’s named after the pulsating hot gas stream, in which the reaction takes place. Material is sprayed into the stream, resulting in an extremely homogeneous end product.
Our previous platform had limited modularity, but no longer. In the new pilot plant, we have a special pulsation reactor, designed from the ground up to be extra versatile and adaptable for a wide variety of customer projects. The smaller reactor size consumes less customer material and is cheaper to operate. Thus, lowering the price entry barrier significantly while providing greater customer options in a much more cost-effective manner.
Q: Regarding the new tolling site, what type of production is being planned and what kind of equipment do you intend to use?
A: Mainly, larger kilns for more economical production, in addition to having them be small enough to provide greater flexible for our clients. We intend the equipment there to be used for more challenging projects in terms of raw material and/or process. Being located in a dedicated chemical production park gives us the necessary infrastructure to realize that.
What sort of projects will we be doing there? Mostly larger scale production for clients that we have already developed a working process with via a scale-up project, or for clients that come directly to us with a process that they cannot or do not want to realize at their own plants for a multitude of reasons, such as capacity shortages or a more difficult process they prefer to outsource. We’ve got the all the necessary equipment and know-how to do that in a safe, cost effective manner.
Q: Finally, do you have any expectations for the Ceramics trade fair?
A: We consider the ceramics industry to be an incredibly important market sector. As such, we are really looking forward to doing some networking, making new relationships as well as meeting existing clients. We are certain that the pulsation reactor platform offers some incredibly interesting possibilities for the ceramics field, so we are really eager to see what sort of interesting and challenging projects could benefit from that.