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Construction heavy clay: Argentine firm Canteras Cerro Negro looks to the future with Sacmi

Leading Argentine firm invests in Sacmi technology to boost production quality and plant engineering/energy efficiency. The goal: total reconversion of the plant engineering at the Olavarria facility to meet the new needs of the local market.

The market-leading Canteras Cerro Negro Group is implementing an ambitious investment plan that focuses on technological adaptation and conversion to meet the new needs of the Argentine market. The Olavarria production site, in fact, is being renewed thanks to Sacmi, the Argentine Group's partner in total plant engineering reconversion towards the manufacture of heavy clay construction products.

Already set up to allow a future output increase to 35,000 tons/month, the initial phase of this project is designed to let the company produce 18,000 tons of a complete heavy clay masonry range in compliance with Argentina's highest quality standards. Considerable attention has also been placed on energy savings (also because of new laws that have seen liberalisation of exchange rates and energy markets plus tighter rules on building energy efficiency), with design features aiming to boost process efficiency at every stage of production.

A part of the contract with Sacmi involves the supply of a new cutting line for wide outlets (up to 1.5 metres) equipped with all the features needed to safeguard and improve product quality: these include extensive use of belts instead of rollers, on-the-move wire cutting and a cutting frame compensated to differentiate cutting speed with respect to the empty return speed. The highly automated system also features product loading onto the mobile dryer beds; the drying cars have been set up to manage the variable heights of the beds.

It is, in fact, the Sacmi-designed drying system that lies at the core of this order: its outstanding technology maximises efficiency and minimises hot air and energy wastage. Equipped with a main drying chamber and a moist zone recycling circuit, the continuous tunnel drier stands out on account of a special internal ventilation system with high efficiency mobile blower cones that keep airflow perfectly in axis with the holes of the products to be dried. Special fluid-dynamic analysis models ensure the diffuser cones emit a constant air speed over the entire height of the drier car, while mobile cone movement occurs via a continuous transmission system.

Equipped with latest-generation adjustment, supervision and control systems, the new drier works alongside the cutting-edge 6-pack kiln car stacking system, designed to allow maximum flexibility (pieces can be loaded both horizontally and vertically). The existing tunnel kiln has also been re-engineered; Sacmi has equipped it with modern equipment designed to ensure product quality and energy savings (namely: a pre-heat phase recirculation circuit, “Made in Sacmi” lateral high-speed burners and a fast and slow cooling circuit with control of heat recovery towards the drier). Completing the picture is the ultra-high productivity automated finished product unloading and packaging system.

With this investment decision, then, Canteras Cerro Negro is gearing up to grasp the opportunities presented by a resurgent Argentine construction market, which is also being aided by the Government's ambitious investment plan for the industry; the medium-term goal is to direct - thanks to a new, promising national and international macroeconomic scenario - output towards foreign markets too. For Sacmi, this is a great opportunity to reinforce its South American positioning thanks its comprehensive plant engineering range and a unique capacity to accompany the customer right from the design stage and throughout the entire working life of machine and plant.

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