Drum changes in ten minutes

For the LAV Erdenwerk company in Germany, smooth screen drum changes are of the essence. LAV has made a name for itself as a producer of special substrates, and often has to change screening grades several times a day for the different substrate requirements.


Over the years, the company has invested in a wide array of screen drums. When LAV switched to Komptech machines, they were able to continue using the drums without problems.

Visitors to LAV Erdenwerk in Kulkwitz in the east of Germany would scarcely imagine that this is a place where substrates for zoo animal keeping are developed and produced. One thing they notice immediately is the gigantic smokestack almost in the centre of the 60,000 square metre facility. It is a relic of a former power plant. At its base are large piles of all sorts of mineral and organic substrates. “LAV has been recycling organic raw materials for over 25 years,” explains CEO Detlef Schmidt, standing out on the yard. “At two soil-making works we dispose of and repurpose C&D waste, excavation soil and compostable waste from Leipzig and surrounding areas.” The company just took delivery of its third Komptech drum screen, a Maxx 518.

A big plus: Compatibility

The decision to go with Komptech machines 5 years ago was based on “design and quality,” as Schmidt puts it. Before that LAV had used machines from another vendor for almost three decades. Operations Manager Andreas Kanters tells why they switched, pointing to the Maxx. “The scooped conveyors on Komptech screeners concentrate the screen material on the belt so there is only minimal trickle, which would otherwise get the machine dirty or clog it up. That really boosts our productivity.” Another advantage he sees is the foldout function for drum changes. “It’s absolutely problem-free and takes only 10 minutes,” he says.


Smooth drum change is very important for LAV, since they not infrequently change screening grades several times during the same day. Schmidt: “Over the years we’ve invested in a wide assortment of screen drums to make our special substrates. The fact that we could keep using them with Komptech was a major factor in our decision to buy.” Ultimately it was the rigorous customer focus in Komptech’s after-sales service that got them the nod, he notes. Kanters adds, “If there is a problem with a machine, we typically get an immediate fault analysis with suggested solution online or by phone. If necessary, a service technician can usually be here within a couple of hours.


Source separation as far as possible

LAV’s main business is the production of compost in various quality classes and for various applications, including as an additive for turf. The company makes pure green-cuttings compost without sewage sludge or organic waste. “But our export hit is our Meerkat Substrate,” says Schmidt and laughs at our surprised faces. He explains that customers kept asking for substrates with specific properties, so he and his team had long since started to develop their own products, eventually making a name for themselves beyond their region. They got an order from a zoo for a soil that would be suitable for meerkats. “Previously the animals’ burrows had typically collapsed or been washed away when it rained. Now we have a substrate that looks like African red dirt, is diggable and stable when wet, and which the meerkats like.” With that success on the books LAV soon had further substrates for coatis, elephants and many other zoo animals in their portfolio. Naturally the formulations remain a secret.


Another LAV development is a particularly drainable playing field support layer. It is used by the Bundesliga, among others. The challenge in making special substrates like this is to find the right mix of different components with which the defined chemical, biological and physical properties can be attained. These include water permeability, water storage capacity and water sealing ability. Special formulations like this require unadulterated starting materials. Kanters: “Extensive screening with Komptech machines and different screening grades let us get exactly the substrates we need. Contaminants are under one percent.”

“Extensive screening with Komptech machines and different screening grades let us get exactly the substrates we need. Contaminants are under one percent.”

Andreas Kanters

New regional service partners

LAV Technische Dienste GmbH & Co. KG (LAV TD) was spun off in 1996 in order to separate the recycling of organic residues and mineral substrates from other waste disposal tasks (especially sewage sludge and commercial waste). Via the private shareholders there is a direct link to sewage sludge handler Veolia Klärschlammverwertung Deutschland GmbH (VKD). LAV TD and VKD work together closely in the region. For example, VKD’s Workshop Department does all repairs for both machine parks. “With seven Komptech machines in the group, they have amassed so much experience and technical knowledge that VKD will be our service partner in the region going forward,” says Komptech Operations Engineer Karsten Runge. It was Runge who first talked to CEO Schmidt when it came time for a new screener. They knew each other from back when he was in charge of screening machine development at Komptech. “A trusting personal relationship grew out of that,” notes Schmidt.