Floor by floor, the heat exchanger tower in Wössingen, Germany spirals up into the sky. Alongside the rapidly growing structure stands a rotating tower crane, which is attached to the structure and grows taller with every stage of construction.
“This construction project would not have been possible using conventional cranes,” explains Thomas Kolbeck, Project Manager at Hilgefort GmbH. “There was just not enough space around the new tower for free-standing cranes.”
The assembly of the mighty system marked the conclusion of a major order for the Dinklage-based plant production unit at Hilgefort GmbH. The production of the heat exchanger in Wössingen took 11 months. For the tower and the cement production system contained inside it, Hilgefort produced and pre-assembled 1900 tons of steel and around 800 tons of process equipment.
In addition to this order, which was spectacular even by the standards of a company regularly entrusted with industrial projects like Hilgefort GmbH, they were also responsible for comprehensive detailed engineering. All the necessary process equipment in the approximately 112 m high tower, such as calciners, tertiary air ducts, combustion and mixing chambers and five cyclone separators, was built turnkey by Hilgefort.
The company also produced and assembled the steelwork, including stairs, scaffolding, lift and 500 m long conveyor. Hilgefort GmbH also renewed part of the rotary kiln during the plant extension work.
Like almost any other major order, this too had a fixed handover date. At peak times, 43 technicians and 2 construction supervisors would be on site, all working on the final assembly of the plant under rigorous safety requirements.
“We are proud to have completed this project seamlessly, on-time and to the highest standards of quality,” says Thomas Kolbeck. When asked if there was anything that left an impression on him during this project, he begins talking about the countryside. “The view across the Rhine valley from 112 m up in the air is fantastic. Motorways, railway lines and buildings – they all look so tiny it’s like they belong in a toy train set. And if you’re standing at the top of the steel structure when there’s a sudden gust of wind, you’re very happy to know that you can rely on the ‘German workmanship’ of the expert engineers and plant constructors involved in the design and execution of the project.”