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Research and development—the power of innovation

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Being a future-orientated company, the constant further development of our methods and products is obviously very close to our hearts. Through their intensive work our research and development department opens up new markets and applications with innovative products. Trends that could be important for future developments are thoroughly investigated.

New and, in some cases, pioneer products come into being in many different projects—either at the wish of the customer or on our own initiative. Minerals can be crushed, for example, from the millimetre range down to just a few hundred nanometres, and can be chemically and physically modified.

An overview of our research and development

Applications engineering

Lacquers, paints, coatings, adhesives, construction chemistry products as well as thermoplastic and thermosetting compounds are made and properly tested here in accordance with basic or customized formulations.

The technical study centre for plastics

At the technical study centre for plastics, primary mixtures of polymers and fillers are processed into moulded parts. An extruder and an injection moulding machine are available for thermoplastics. A universal vacuum mixer and a casting station are used for thermosets.

In addition, granulates that have been compounded using a twin screw extruder are made for our own applications engineering tests and for tests performed by our customers.

Applications engineering tests can be performed on thermoplastics and thermosets using the moulded parts, e.g. tensile elongation tests, bending tests, tests for shock resistance, shrinkage and temperature stability.

Paints and coatings

Diverse applications engineering tests can be performed in the area of paints, coatings and lacquers. Devices, such as a dissolver and a speedmixer, are available for making paint and lacquer formulations. Coatings are applied by means of a doctor blade and a film applicator. Colorimeters, gloss meters, viscometers, cross-cut/adhesion testing devices for the purpose of determining the resistance to wet abrasion, scratch resistance and layer thickness are available for quality testing.

The technical study centre for glass

Glass types consisting of the raw materials quartz, sodium carbonate, lime, dolomite and feldspar are smelted at 1550°C and cast at the technical study centre for glass. All specimens are annealed stress relieved for non-hazardous further processing. An automatic grinding and polishing machine is available for the machining of the specimens. The subsequent analysis of the chemical composition and light transmission takes place at the central laboratory.

The technical study centre for foundries

The technical study centre for foundries went into operation at the end of 2012, parallel to completion of the screening tower in Haltern. The main responsibility of the technical study centre is the development and testing of formulated sands and our COMIN sands for the foundry sand sites of the Quarzwerke Group. Samples from what are in fact an infinite number of screening tower options are adapted computer-aided to the specific wishes of our customers in close collaboration with the sales department.

The characteristics of the moulded material, i.e. the grain, core strength and gas permeability, are tested out. The bending bar strength is tested by means of a modified three-point bending test. To do so, automatically 'projected' test pieces consisting of sand hardened with a binder system are used.

CQ applications engineering

The CQ applications engineering department develops Coloritquarz (CQ) in a variety of colours and made of a variety of raw materials. Raw materials, such as granulates, pigments and binding agents, are tested in advance and in use.

In addition to the analytical facilities available at AKW, the following are some of those that are directly available to the CQ laboratory:

  • Screening machine
  • Colorimeter
  • Heated mixer for Coloritquarz production (25 and 50 kg)
  • Individual sack filling of 25 kg valved sacks
  • Outdoor weathering stand
  • CQ sample store
  • Weathering chamber

Technical study centre for product development

Samples on a scale of 1 kg to 1000 kg can be made at the technical study centre for product development. All milling, screening, grading and coating techniques that are also used in the production plants of the company Quarzwerke are available. Under upscalable conditions, product samples and product batches can be made and samples can be produced for our own applications engineering tests and for tests performed at the premises of our customers.

Upscaling of the development products at the production plant for manufacture on a scale of tonnes is also a task performed by the product development department.

Central laboratory

As the final stage, our products are released for despatch to our customers and the test certificates issued at our state-of-the-art equipped central laboratory. The employees of the central laboratory answer analytical questions within the context of the development of new high-performance fillers. In addition, they elaborate new methods for the characterization of these materials in terms of the performance specifications required in the applications. This is focused on the investigation of mineral raw materials, glass sands, foundry sands and high-performance fillers. The standard processes are extensively automated.

Instrumental analytics and physical metrology

The instrumental analytics and physical metrology comprise many special methods that enable the wide range of our products and raw materials to be informatively described. New products are analytically monitored in the development phase in close collaboration with our product development and processing technology departments. This sometimes includes the introduction of new methods and measuring techniques. By this means it is ensured that new materials can be characterized reproducibly when they are introduced to the market.

Have we managed to arouse your interest in our research and development, or do you have any questions? Just speak to us about it!