50 years of Borth Salt Works
In addition to the rock salt mine, a salt works belongs to the Borth esco salt plant. It has developed into a firm mainstay of the plant and is now turning 50. The vacuum salt produced there is the basis for an attractive range of product specialties – from food-grade salt through water softening salts to pharmaceutical active ingredients.
At the time it commenced operations in 1964, the salt works was one of the few facilities of its kind in Germany and at the same time - with a production capacity of 150,000 tonnes per year - one of the biggest. Since then, almost all salt producers have developed the possibility of producing evaporated salt, and at the same time the facilities have become much bigger.
But the Borth salt works, which has expanded its capacity to 300,000 tonnes per year, is still special: solid rock salt is used for the crystallization process, while other facilities are falling back on brine. The Borth process has several advantages: firstly, it uses the powder generated during rock salt production as a starting raw material, which then does not require disposal. Secondly, the production process uses a relatively small amount of energy and can be done wholly without chemicals when separating insoluble minerals.
From Borth to Oklahoma
The facility is in continuous operation 365 days a year. About 50 of the plant's 320 employees work in alternate shifts. In the past 50 years, a total of 11 million tonnes of vacuum salt have been produced there. To put it into perspective: loaded onto trucks, this amount would fill a line of 460,000 vehicles which - bumper to bumper - would stretch from Borth across the Atlantic all the way to Oklahoma City.
More than 30 million euros have been invested in technical development and the expansion of the plant in the past ten years. That corresponds to about a quarter of the total funds used in this time. More comprehensive investments are planned for subsequent years too, such as in new systems engineering, the modernisation of logistics and the renovation of buildings.
Product Specialties for an Attractive Market Segment
The vacuum salt produced in the salt works is the starting substance for a range of about 170 articles. These are salt products which are either subject to special purity standards or in which full solubility without residue is a quality criterion. A large part of the production is processed into products for water softening, e.g. salt tablets and dishwasher salt. Other product segments are food-grade salt and particularly the expanding segment of pharmaceutical salts, in which esco has become an important supplier with Borth products and wants to take part in further market growth.