Siliceous earth is a valuable raw material. It has applications not only in the cosmetic, food and pharmaceutical industries, but also in plastic and rubber manufacturing where it is used as a filler for polymers and elastomers.
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One type, Neuburg siliceous earth, is special on account of its structure: it is a naturally formed combination of corpuscular, cryptocrystalline and amorphous silica and lamellar kaolinite, found only near the town of Neuburg on the Danube. Hoffmann Mineral, a mining company based in Neuburg, specialises in mining, processing and refining this material and exports it to all parts of the world. For this purpose the company needs load carriers with high capacity, stability and cleanliness. It has found that rugged plastic pallets made by Cabka are ideal.
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The pallet turner grabs a black plastic pallet from the pallet dispenser, rotates it quickly into position and loads it with the first layer of 25-kilogram paper bags. After swiftly turning the pallet another 180 degrees, it adds the next layer. Working reliably, the system creates stacks that are perfectly aligned, space-saving and stable. At the end the pallet has been loaded with 39 stacks in groups of three and weighs about one tonne.
The CPP 888 used by Hoffmann Mineral is one of the strongest EuroPallets made by Cabka. An automatic palletiser can pack it in only a few minutes. Then, after a quick stop for shrink-film packaging to protect it in transhipment, the unit is sent by a fully automatic conveyor system to a high-bay warehouse for multiple-depth buffer storage. The loaded pallets are shipped from Neuburg to customers all over the world, who prize this exceptional product.
The region between Donauwörth and Ingolstadt in Bavaria is unique. Nowhere in the world does this useful mineral occur in such pure form. Terms used in past centuries like “Neuburg siliceous whiting” and “genuine Neuburg silicic chalk” testify to the special composition of this powder, which continues to be mined, processed and shipped by Hoffmann Mineral.
Today Neuburg siliceous earth is used as a filler for polymers and elastomers in tubing for cars and in flooring and roofing for construction. It is indispensable in the paint and varnish industry and is an essential ingredient of cleaning agents and polishes – including even toothpaste. Its special properties allow it to be used in food as well, for example in dietary supplements to strengthen hair, fingernails and bones.
Each year the company mines some 200,000 tonnes of raw siliceous earth in the Neuburg area. From this it extracts about 55,000 tonnes of fine white powder using a sophisticated physical separation process.
“Sillitin and Sillikolloid are the basis for our product range. They are obtained from raw siliceous earth and are a pure, natural product,” explains Hoffman Mineral’s dispatch manager Harald Zitzelsberger. “We pack our products mainly in 25-kg paper bags, PE bags or EVA bags. About 20 percent of our goods are shipped in heavy bags weighing up to 1,200 kg.”
The internal logistics chain at Hoffmann Mineral is fully automatic. It comprises a pallet dispenser, packing machine, chain-driven automatic roller conveyer system and shrink-film packaging unit. At the end there is a high-bay warehouse with a fully automatic storage and retrieval machine. Here wooden pallets, along with plastic pallets with loads of up to 1,200 kg, are kept in intermediate storage until shipment. More than 200 tonnes of powder and granulate material are shipped from here daily. Production is in three shifts. Customer orders are filled individually within 24 hours. Here secure packaging for transport is essential.
Customers are increasingly demanding shipment on plastic pallets because they are “cleaner and sturdier than non-returnable wooden ones”. For dispatch manager Zitzelsberger, Cabka’s CPP 888 pallets are “more than just a low-cost alternative to conventional wooden pallets”. They are also superior because of their ruggedness. Hoffmann can thus be sure of providing reliable, on-time delivery. “Whenever a pallet is shoved into a shipping container it takes a beating,” Zitzelsberger explains. “Cabka pallets are handled perfectly by our automatic system and can be stored in our automatic high-bay warehouse without any trouble.”
For the same reasons, Sonax GmbH, a company belonging to the Hoffmann Group, also uses Cabka plastic pallets. “Never change a winning team” is its motto. Sonax has manufactured polishes and car care products for more than 50 years. Today it is the market leader for car care products, with sales in some 80 countries. In 2012, it was the official supplier for the Red Bull Racing Team led by drivers Sebastian Vettel and Marc Webber.