Favre Betonwaren AG, a member of Müller-Steinag Group, was founded in 1891 in Zurich and has been operating its Däniken headquarters since 1960. The company manufactures concrete products and precast elements for regional and national markets.
In the concrete products line of business, the company’s core expertise lies in the manufacture of products for civil engineering and road construction, systems for tree root protection, and cable ducts. These ranges are being marketed via Creabeton Baustoff AG.
In the precast segment, Favre Betonwaren AG specializes in prefabricated concrete elements for civil engineering and building construction as well as underground infrastructure, railways, and roads. “In addition, we have earned a solid reputation for our noise barrier products consisting of lava concrete,” says managing director Urs Gehriger. These high-quality products are being marketed through the Müller-Steinag Element AG sales organization.
Favre currently employs 65 people. “We would also gladly provide vocational training,” Gehriger adds. “But we are currently having problems finding the right apprentices.” About 90 % of concrete products and custom elements are sold in the domestic market. The remaining 10 % are marketed in regions close to the border in Liechtenstein and in Germany. The business benefits from its own rail link that facilitates environmentally friendly transport of its high-quality products.
In 2018, initial plans were prepared to modernize and upgrade the plant in order to be able to use self-compacting concrete. It became clear right from the outset that virtually none of the existing plant and equipment of the old production facility could be retained, which is why comprehensive reconstruction activities were necessary. The planning exercise comprised a new concrete production line, new silos for cement and limestone dust, and a water recycling unit including sludge water reprocessing. The total investment amounted to €1.8 million.
Many years of partnership
As its project partner, Favre Betonwaren AG commissioned Eltecna, an industrial engineering office selling Teka equipment in Switzerland. “We have been cooperating with Eltecna for decades, and we have successfully completed a number of projects together and always found tailor-made solutions. And we are just as satisfied with the five Teka mixers we already operate,” Gehriger says.
The company has specified the target of completing construction works by the middle of December 2018 at the latest, and starting with the installation of the steel structure and the assembly of the plant components at the beginning of January 2019. Commissioning and start of production were scheduled for mid-March 2019. “The project continued to grow during the detailed design stage and also gave rise to new challenges,” recalls Paolo Vieceli, deputy managing director at Eltecna. A particular challenge arose from the restrictions owing to the low height of the factory building and the requirement to position the plant not in the center but along one side of the building. “A sound design is worth half the project,” Vieceli adds.
Delivery and assembly of plant components
After completion of the comprehensive dismantling of the old plant and installation of the new cement silo as early as in December 2018, Favre Betonwaren AG decided to carry out the steel construction and assembly works in-house. Assembly began upon delivery of the plant components. As a result, the new connecting conveyor for gravel and sand constituents as well as the transfer conveyor and part of the inclined conveyor were also installed in late 2018. In January 2019, the remaining components were installed with the support of Eltecna, including the water recycling unit (a Hölscher Klärfix system), the remaining portion of the inclined conveyor, the mixer platform, and the core piece, i.e. the new Teka concrete mixer, followed by installation of the feed screws and floor cover plates. The new facility was successfully commissioned and produced the first SCC batch in March 2019.
The core piece: the Teka THT 1125 high-performance turbine mixer
Considering the technical specifications defined by Favre Betonwaren AG, the Teka THT 1125 high-performance turbine mixer quickly proved to be the right choice for this upgrade. This turbine mixer is equipped with a frequency-controlled 37 kW motor and ensures a maximum concrete output of 0.75 m³ per batch, which is why it is perfectly suited for producing SCC.
Quick and thorough mixing process
The new high-performance turbine mixer is equipped with a patented mixing turbine that ensures high-intensity mixing of the constituents while preventing the destruction of particles and thus retaining the grading curve of the mix. The rotating scrapers continuously feed material to the mixing turbine, which leads to highly intense, quick mixing of the material within an exceedingly short period, thus achieving a high degree of homogenization.
Particularly well-suited for very small quantities
Compared to other mixer designs, one of the major advantages of the new mixing unit is that it provides the option of producing minimum or extremely small quantities for custom products. Furthermore, the mixing turbine is equipped with a self-cleaning scraper. The mixing turbine and the scrapers have been coated with a hard-wearing metal layer in order to ensure a long service life. The thorough mixing process ensures that mixing water is added to the mix in a uniform manner so that the moisture curve comes very close to a straight line.
Low operating and maintenance costs
Thanks to the custom mixing turbine design and the small number of mixing tools, the THT 1125 mixer shows very low wear compared to other types of mixers. In addition, it ensures low cleaning costs and long cleaning intervals with very short cleaning times. Low equipment wear and the resulting low costs of wear and tear as well as the small amount of cleaning lead to low total repair and maintenance costs. The mixing turbine is height-adjustable so as to optimally adjust the turbine to the bottom of the mixing vessel, which ensures a very quick and clean, complete discharge of the mixer.
Full satisfaction gives rise to extra modernization period
All project stakeholders were exceedingly satisfied with the collaboration. “Operating the new plant is fun, and the automatic cleaning process ensured by a high-pressure system also makes our work much easier. The same is true for working with self-compacting concrete,” Gehriger summarizes. Overall, the Däniken facility is very much state-of-the-art, and the modernization and upgrade works are currently being continued because of the lacking production space needed to fully utilize the new plant. This is why Favre is currently constructing a new factory building whose completion is scheduled for this summer.