Stone World

Jura limestone supplier invests in the future

September 1, 2011
kaldorf
With five quarries and multiple processing facilities in the nucleus of Germany’s Jura limestone district, Vereinigte Marmorwerke (V.M.) Kaldorf GmbH has made a number of recent investments to increase its production of high-quality stone products. These additions were made at both the quarry and production level.

“Our investments were made to meet customer demand,” explained Hubert Kuenzl, who works in the company’s commercial department. “We want to have a strong reserve of material available at all times.”

The company sells blocks, slabs, tiles and architectural work to a global client base. Located in the village of Kaldorf — part of the city of Titting — the company is currently working two of its five quarry sites, and it has purchased various pieces of equipment to bolster the extraction process.

Among them, VM Kaldorf has invested in a new drilling rig with three hydraulic hammers, representing the latest model from Wimmer of Austria. The machine sits on top of a Caterpillar base.

VM Kaldorf is currently extracting 25,000 cubic meters of material per year, and it is continually maintaining the quarry sites to ensure that new areas are always prepared and ready to be worked. During the past winter, the quarries were only closed for four weeks due to intense customer demand.

Typically, a quarry site will have 25 different layers, with each yielding a different shade: layers 1 through 6 produce gray-blue varieties; layers 7 through 15 are light beige and well-suited for products such as tiles and stairways; and layers 15 through 25 are dark beige and well-suited for elements such as facades and monuments. “We are always working on different levels so we can get the right stone for the right order,” Kuenzl said.

VM Kaldorf maintains a deep inventory of blocks, and each is marked with the level of the quarry where it was taken as well as the weight of the block.

In the area of handling equipment, VM Kaldorf invested in a new Caterpillar 988H wheel loader, giving the company multiple loaders of this model. The unit is capable of handling blocks of various sizes, which allows VM Kaldorf to optimize its shipping with 24-ton containers.

The company’s current equipment inventory stands at six wheel loaders, four drilling machines, two quarry trucks and two splitting rigs. “We always want to replace a machine after 10,000 working hours,” Kuenzl said. “Its first life is gone at that point. Our machines run about 2,000 hours per year.”

In the production facilities, VM Kaldorf has constructed a new 28,000-square-foot sawing plant that is being equipped with two blockcutters from Kirschner, which feature 3-meter-diameter cutting discs. Two new gangsaws are also being added to the new sawing plant.

The additional sawing equipment is expected to continue a steady pattern of growth at VM Kaldorf, which was founded in 1971 as a supplier of local stone materials. The name of the company, Vereinigte Marmorwerke, translates to “United Stoneworks” in English — and it currently employs 130 workers.

Currently, 15% of sales are blocks, 20% is slabs, 40% is tiles and 35% is cut-to-size work. The company has supplied for prominent projects in Germany and around the world. Among these, VM Kaldorf supplied 70,000 square feet of Jura Beige limestone for the new Museum of Liverpool in the U.K. (see March 2010 Stone World), and several architectural projects are ongoing at this time.

Current projects being processed include a hotel in Tierra del Fuego, Argentina, which is utilizing 32,000 square feet of Jura Beige light in a honed finish. Dimensions of the pieces are 120 x 40, 120 x 60 and 120 x 80 x 2 cm, and it will be shipped at the beginning of the year.