The Research Facility of K+S
In the Hessian-Thuringian potash district, in close vicinity to the Unterbreizbach production site, more than 100 employees work in laboratories and test facilities of the technical center. In the central laboratory of the ARC, which is certified in accordance with DIN EN ISO / IEC 17025, around 30,000 samples are processed each year. Our production processes are tested, optimized, and innovatively developed on a small scale in the pilot plant. These activities are carried out in close coordination with our mining sites and in dialogue with colleges and universities.
Current topics at the ARC
Diverse Research Areas
The competence of our employees can be found at many different workplaces: In the area of responsibility of the ARC, they work in analytics, mechanical processing, sorting technology, and chemical process engineering.
Work at the Flotation Test Facility
New ideas are realized up to pilot scale at test facilities, e.g., for granulation, flotation, sorting, or electrostatic separation (ESTA). This results in optimized or new processes for potash and salt production.
Robots are Important Supporters
Analytics and fertilizer research include modern technology as well as automated standard procedures.
Chemical Analytics Provides Essential Data
Every day, the central laboratory receives numerous salt, waste, and environmental samples. At the ARC, thousands of samples are analyzed every year and specially adapted analytical methods are employed.
Historical Sources and Modern Knowledge
The ARC is the Company's long-term memory. Knowledge sources are explored here, information is tapped, digitally processed, and provided in a knowledge database throughout the Group.
360 Degree View into the Lab
Product Innovation - How does it work?
It sounds as simple as it is obvious: a fertilizer granule must be sufficiently firm to prevent dust from forming on the field. Even before that, it must be capable of withstanding tough mechanical stresses, such as during transportation and storage. K+S has a great deal of experience in granulating potash and magnesium fertilizers meeting such requirements. What happens, however, when a micronutrient is added to the tried and tested fertilizer? Do the components of the granules still maintain their stability even then?
As part of product innovation, the employees of the Mechanical Processing department test grain stability, for example, by exposing the fertilizers to mechanical stress under varying climatic conditions in the laboratory. The check also includes chemical analysis, which is why such samples also end up in the central laboratory. There, it is then examined whether all admixed ingredients are contained in the correct concentration and evenly distributed.
Our aim is to make processes more efficient and improve the quality of existing products. Supported by experts in our own company and external cooperation partners as well as research institutes, we are constantly developing the extraction and refining of raw materials for potash and salt.
A company like K+S can only be successful in global competition in the long term if new knowledge is continuously generated. It must also be capable of implementing this knowledge rapidly in practice - the ARC provides the basis for this.
100 Years of Potash Research
Systematic research into the extraction and processing of potash salts - a very "young" raw material at that time - began on October 28, 1919. Today, in the tradition of this special research sector, K+S has a recognized center of competence where potash history continues to be written.
One Employer - Many Opportunities
As an employer, K+S provides excellent working conditions at its Analytics and Research Center, also due to its state-of-the-art equipment.
Professions at the ARC in Unterbreizbach
At the ARC, our focus is on people: what our employees have in common is their ability to work in a team, their spirit of research, and a solid education. For many professions, opportunities for personal development are provided here, for example when entering professional life or as a career component on the further path of life.
Discover open positions at the Unterbreizbach ARC.
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The ARC as a Partner to Industry and in Exchange with Universities
K+S employees have advanced research and testing knowledge. They work according to established industry standards in chemical testing as well as in analysis and process development. Many years of experience make the ARC specialist groups valued partners in cooperative projects, working groups, and research projects with external institutions.
As a mining company, K+S works on research issues deep below the earth's surface with specialists from almost all geo-faculties. This is supplemented above ground on the computer by simulations of air flow situations, for instance, to ensure sufficient fresh and clean air at the miners' workplace underground.
The laboratories have a wide range of services. We are a laboratory certified according to DIN EN ISO 17025 and the water module and specialize, for example, in the analysis of groundwater as well as surface water, drinking water, process water, and wastewater.
Together with renowned industrial partners, research is being conducted into processes and plant elements. K+S holds its own patents in the field of potash and salt processing.
K+S participates in cooperative research projects with public funding. For example, the extent to which the use of new technologies could make it possible to treat and recycle saline water streams is being investigated there.