AAC factory in Kaluga is producing at full steam

After its launch in March last year, the new factory of Kaluzhskiy gazobeton was already producing 1,200 m³ of autoclaved aerated concrete (AAC) per day at the end of 2017. From the region of Kaluga, the products being certified as environmentally compatible even reach construction sites in St. Petersburg. 

Russia has fully entered the age of autoclaved aerated concrete. This is the impression one gets when talking to the sales staff of the manufacturing company Kaluzhskiy gazobeton. The company headquartered in Obukhovo near Kaluga, a university and state-supported industrial location situated about 180 km southwest of the Russian capital of Moscow, is new in the market. The staff is highly motivated.

As a matter of fact, the market of AAC blocks had constantly been growing in Russia until 2016. Production capacities were built up, and according to the tables of the “Federal States Statistics ...

Text: Christian Jahn, M. A.

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WKB Systems – the company
WKB Systems is specialized in the production of machines and equipment for the production of autoclaved aerated concrete and sand-lime bricks as well as automation solutions especially for the forging industry. The company supplies all components required for the production process up to the complete, turn-key plant. The business also includes the modernization and automation of already existing plants.
The WKB Systems GmbH was founded in 2010. The company originated from W + K Maschinenfabrik GmbH headquartered in Hörstel, about 35 km west of the northern German city of Osnabrück.
WKB Systems has positioned itself as supplier of customized machinery and plant solutions. The deliberate decision in favor of this upscale niche is due to the trends on the increasingly competitive markets. The specialization is possible because WKB Systems, among others, is operating four own AAC factories and apart from the know-how in machine and plant construction, they also have profound know-how in process technology.
At present, 110 employees are working at the headquarters of WKB Systems in Hörstel and the worldwide agencies. WKB Systems don‘t want to disclose exact sales figures. Just one remark: The AAC segment accounts for 60 % of total sales, 30 % account for machinery for the production of sand-lime bricks and 10 % for automation solutions for the forging industry.
The Russian AAC market
According to “The Russian AAC market. Results of 2016” survey conducted by the “National Association of Autoclaved Aerated Concrete (AAC) Producers” (Natsionalnaya assotsiatsiya proizvoditeley avtoklavnogo gazobetona, NAAG) who interviewed manufacturers in January and February 2017, there were 77 manufacturers in Russia at that time – including the factory of Kaluzhskiy gazobeton (see page 86, AAC factory in Kaluga is producing at full steam). The survey estimates the maximum annual production capacity of all manufacturers at 18,575,500 m³.
Actually, the 77 manufacturers utilized only 64.3 % of their capacities on average in 2016. Hence, the annual output in Russia only amounted to 11,844,206 m³ in total. The NAAG stated a decline of -9% compared to the previous year 2015, the “Federal State Statistics Service” (Federalnaya sluzhba gosudarstvennoy statistiki) a decline of -11%. However, in 2016, additional AAC products were imported to Russia from the neighboring countries – from Belarus about 780,000 m³ and from Kazakhstan about 50,000 m³. Based on these figures, the NAAG estimates Russia’s AAC consumption in 2016 at a maximum of 13 million m³. The demand is estimated much higher by industry experts. A presentation of the Sibirski element group, which the Kaluzhskiy gazobeton AAC factory is part of, assumes a demand of more than 40 million m³ in 2016.
The Russian manufacturers produced blocks with densities ranging between 0.2 kg/dm³ and 0.7 kg/dm³ in 2016. 66.27 % of the production accounted for blocks with a density of 0.5 kg/dm³. The survey revealed that the average density of all products has been declining continuously in the last few years and amounted to 0.512 kg/dm³ in 2016 (in 2012, it was 0.520 kg/dm³). The authors of the survey explain this with an increasing demand for products with higher thermal insulation values.
The average price of autoclaved aerated concrete at the time when the survey was conducted (January/February 2017) was 3,160 Rubles per m³ (equivalent to about 49 Euros at the exchange rate valid at that time); according to the authors of the survey, this was 169 Rubles per m³ (equivalent to 2.64 Euros) or -5.1 % less than in the same period of 2016. The survey stated 5,500 Rubles per m³ (equivalent to about 86 Euros) as the highest price level in January/February 2017, and 2,300 Rubles per m³ (equivalent to about 36 Euros) as the lowest price level.
In the past years until 2016, the Russian manufacturers had acquired their plant equipment primarily from Wehrhahn (a market share of about 33%, according to NAAG), Masa (a market share of 18.5%), Hess (a market share of 8.2%), and WKB Systems (with 8.0% market share). The Russian machinery and equipment manufacturers have a market share of 18%, according to the association’s statistics. 14.2% are accredited to other foreign suppliers.

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