February 28, 2017

The two-millionth tonne of salt slag

In February, the excitement in Wunstorf, Lower Saxony reached its peak: which K+S Entsorgung customer would be the one to deliver the two-millionth tonne of salt slag for recycling in the REKAL plant? The lorry that made the milestone delivery was from Neu-Ulm, and operated by Oetinger Aluminium NU.

Oetinger Aluminium NU delivers milestone load

The supplier of cast aluminium alloy and the K+S Group have worked together for decades. Originally, Oetinger was a salt flux customer. ‘However, the contract signed in 1994 contained a passage concerning a salt slag recycling plant under construction. And when the plant went into operation in 1995, Oetinger was ready’, says director of REKAL, Veit Wehmeier.

 The two companies have gone through thick and thin together and the relationship, says Wehmeier, ‘is very personal and characterized by mutual trust. In light of this, I think it’s really great that this particular customer made the milestone delivery.’

Gerhard Martin, the Head of Technical Purchasing at Oetinger, is equally thrilled: ‘I have been doing business with K+S for 30 years and I have witnessed how their offering, at the request of the secondary-lime industry, has expanded bit by bit to include a full-service package, which we also use.’

Oetinger not only recycles its salt slag at K+S Entsorgung, but also takes advantage of the full-service package designed for the secondary aluminium industry. The mid-sized Swabian company obtains both salt fluxes and aluminium granules, and it delivers fly ash for disposal.

Two million tonnes of salt slag are hard to imagine. Veit Wehmeier estimates, ‘that would be 80,000 lorryloads’. The aluminium, which has been recovered from the REKAL system, is enough to build 1.7 million engines or the body parts of 730,000 new cars. The light and corrosion-resistant metal can be melted as often as needed and without loss of quality. And enough aluminium is extracted from the salt slag to make recycling worthwhile.

The REKAL area celebrated its first million after 12 years, ‘we reached the second a little faster’, reports Veit Wehmeier. ‘Every million is an opportunity for us to thank our customers and the employees who make this all possible.’

Left: Headquarters of the Oetinger Group in Weißenhorn, Right: REKAL plant at Sigmundshall site