A look at top-quality wood briquettes - Case Study


Courtesy of Ruf Maschinenbau GmbH & Co. KG

The wood experts at Reuss are very happy with their RUF briquetting equipment

Nowadays, wood briquettes are a popular source of fuel - but only as long as the quality is good. The people at Reuss are well aware of this fact from their long experience in the wood business, so their briquettes are made only from dry wood shavings using high-quality briquetting equipment from Ruf GmbH & Co. KG.

The Reuss family have always been involved in wood. Their company of the same name (see box) looks after the whole logistics chain for both fuel wood and scrap lumber. As certified specialists in the disposal of waste timber, they can also handle contaminated A4 wood. And over the last ten years, Reuss has developed another mainstay of its business: the processing of wood shavings. The company's CEO, Georg Reuss, explains: 'In the past we used to collect shavings from sawmills and transport them to another company nearby. We bought our first two RUF briquetting machines from this company when it went bankrupt in the 1990s, and we installed this equipment in Eisenach. So to all intents and purposes that was the start of our briquette manufacturing business.'

Now Reuss has five briquetting presses of different sizes producing briquettes almost 24 hours a day. And they are all RUF machines. This decision to buy from the specialists in Zaisertshofen was heavily influenced by RUF's focus on top quality and its extensive expertise in this area. Georg Reuss also values the excellent personal service which he has received from the Ruf family firm right from the start. He looks back at his first contact with the company's senior partner, Hans Ruf: 'Shortly after we bought our first machines in 2000 in the insolvency sale, Hans Ruf got in touch to check that everything was OK. At the same time he put us in touch with our first customers, who still buy our briquettes today.'

Advantages of the single press principle

The long-term partnership between the two companies is based on the machinery's value for money, quality and reliability. These factors are crucial for the successful production and marketing of the briquettes. Since stumbling upon the Ruf single press technology more-or-less by chance, Georg Reuss and his head of production, Detlef

Kreft, have got to know other systems and manufacturers. 'Of course we have taken a look at the market and have particularly thought about using extrusion presses. But in the end we are convinced that the RUF machinery is the best system for our requirements', says Kreft.

The relationship between performance and output is critical. Depending on requirements, material and type of shavings, the Ruf presses use 4 to 90 kW hydraulic power units to achieve an output of 30 to 1500 kg/h, producing manageable rectangular briquettes in different lengths and sizes ranging from 160 x 60 mm to 260 x 100 mm. As the wood is pressed solely using high pressure with no binding agents, it remains an organic product and meets the latest environmental regulations in accordance with DIN 51731 and ÖNorm M 7135. In this way Ruf briquettes are particularly clean burning and produce a minimum of ash, making them suitable for use in most solid fuel burners.

Detlef Kreft also points out that space saving is another argument in favour of RUF: 'Our machines only take up a few square meters'. After pressing, the five machines send the warm briquettes out onto a conveyor belt where they are transported directly to the packaging area. Within minutes they are packaged in identical 12-packs and loaded onto palettes. The procedure is a little different with extrusion presses. They require the same amount of workshop space, but pressed extrusions with a similar density and quality to the Ruf briquettes are very hot when they come out of the machine. This means that the round briquettes need to be conveyed up to 50 meters for cooling before they can be separated and stored. 'So extra space is needed, which is often much more than that required by the machine itself', says the Production Director.

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