Gypsum world looks to the future during conference on the Pacific coast

12.11.2018 - Grenzebach presents digital services at the Global Gypsum Conference in Vancouver.

For two days in October the global capital of gypsum expertise was to be found on the west coast of Canada. At the Global Gypsum Conference in Vancouver professionals from around the world dealt with topics such as global market trends, methods of calcination and the gypsum treatment and processing technology of the future. Grenzebach's focus at this year's event was on advances in engineering, process and service quality through digital solutions - and innovations in plant and control technology were presented as well.

Using a touch display, for instance, customers were shown how they can make a visual tour of a future plant already during the design phase and get an idea of what it will look like. As in a computer game, customers can freely move around in all directions and familiarise themselves with the technology. Training of future plant operators can also be provided in this way.

Also on show was a 3D simulation of a plant section, a tool that helps to explain customers the effects of parameter changes in an easier and clearer manner.

Modern knife control

The eye-catcher at the Grenzebach booth in Vancouver was a knife used in plasterboard production to cut the endless web into accurately sized boards. This is a central piece of machinery in the production line. On display was a size 1:5 model. Live demonstrations showed visitors how the machine can be controlled via a tablet using wireless network technology and an in-house developed app; an example of digital networking of machines and systems. Parameters such as the quantities of (virtually) produced boards, power consumption, running time etc. could be recorded and analysed in real time.

Mobile documentation and digital spare parts catalogue

"Digitalisation is a lever for us to elevate service quality to a new level", says Dr Christoph Habighorst, Vice President Sales of Grenzebach's Building Materials Business Unit. A typical element of the new service level is the online documentation, which can include anything from descriptions of important procedures via instructions up to specific details. Access to the "mobile documentation" is via a QR code on the machine. The user scans it with a tablet and can then call up all information.

The digital spare parts catalogue also attracted a lot of interest. When a project has been completed, this catalogue it is made available online to the customer. Via the work breakdown structure the customer can call up each machine supplied and is also shown a 3D view. In that view machines can be moved, rotated and enlarged. A click on a selected machinery part automatically displays the part together with all necessary information. The item can then be added to the "shopping cart" to request a quote from Grenzebach.

Through to turnkey production lines

Grenzebach technology has been used in the gypsum industry for decades and has proven reliable and successful. Grenzebach supplies plasterboard producers with individual equipment items, complete production lines and turnkey installations. The portfolio naturally also includes upgrades, modifications and revamps. In cooperation with its customers, Grenzebach continuously improves its services and its plant and control technology. "Plasterboard producers run their plants 24/7. We continuously enhance the level of automation and the sturdiness of the plants – and of course energy efficiency, for instance of the dryer, is also a major point we deal with," explains Christian Gärtner, Sales Manager Gypsum Technology at Grenzebach.

Grenzebach is one of the few companies worldwide capable of supplying complete production lines for gypsum plaster, gypsum plasterboard and gypsum blocks, including buildings, infrastructure and logistics. 

A very special kind of building is where the delegates at the Global Gypsum Conference in Canada met for their gala dinner: the Vancouver Aquarium. There they could continue to talk shop about the gypsum production of today and tomorrow – and the Grenzebach team received the Global Gypsum Special Award for Technological Excellence.