Even a tunnel kiln needs care
What does it actually mean when a kiln – the heart of any ceramic production – has to be shut down for maintenance work?
Extensive maintenance work was needed to ensure the long-term operability of the 112-metre-long tunnel kiln at the ceramics plant in Haldensleben (DE). After a good 20 years in operation, a major overhaul of the tunnel kiln had become necessary. “Particularly in the main firing zone, where temperatures of over 1,200 °C prevail, roofing units had failed or were no longer stable,” explains Frank-Peter Märtens, kiln master in Haldensleben since 2006.
Three days of cooling
Generally speaking, all maintenance work on the kiln has to be planned carefully as it has to be shut down for a long period. Normally a tunnel kiln runs 24 hours a day, seven days a week. It is only shut down every one to two years for minor cleaning and maintenance work. And with good reason: “It takes a good three days for the kiln to cool down to room temperature,” explains Frank-Peter Märtens.
Franziska Beger, assistant to the plant manager, and Frank-Peter Märtens, kiln master, at the newly renovated kiln in Haldensleben.
A look inside the 112-metre-long tunnel kiln at the ceramics plant in Haldensleben.
Work quickly completed
Thanks to the forward-looking organisation and the well-coordinated execution of the renovation, the work was completed faster than originally planned. “We managed to complete all the work in eleven days, which meant that the first load of glazed ceramic parts could be taken to the kilns earlier than planned,” says a satisfied Frank-Peter Märtens.