MORTAR ORDER

Fast-track plant construction scheduling was essential when Schluter Systems North America moved to round out its board and membrane offering to create a complete floor or wall installation system for tile and stone. Built at a Plattsburgh, N.Y., complex with polymer board and membrane production, plus sales and headquarters offices, the new plant would harbor mixing, packaging and storage of Schluter Systems’ first portland cement-based product: A namesake thin set dry mix mortar sold in 50-lb. plastic bags, shipped on 56-bag pallets.

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About one-third of the 300- x 150-ft. building is dedicated to Schluter Thin-set mortar mixing and packaging, the remainder for a warehouse serving distribution points across the U.S. and Canada. The Thin-set product is available in grey or white and three namesake varieties: SET, a premium, unmodified mortar for setting tile over the company’s boards and membranes; ALL-SET, a specialized, modified mortar for use under and over boards or membranes—allowing a single type of mortar on the job site; and, FAST-SET, a specialized, modified mortar formulated to set rapidly and suited to fast track projects. PHOTOS: Schluter Systems
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By June 2016, the company had a six- to seven-month window for building a batch plant and bagging line. The schedule was dictated by launch of the Schluter SET, ALL-SET and FAST-SET mortar series at the mid-January Surfaces 2017 show in Las Vegas, followed by formal launch 10 weeks later at Coverings 2017 – The Global Tile & Stone Experience in Orlando. Announcement to key dealer customers at Surfaces necessitated a build up of stock beginning in February; initial production would cover early orders in January and prepare Schluter Systems for much higher sales activity at Coverings.

“We developed thin set mortars to complement our membrane product, and bridge the final gap in our tile installation system. The mortars are especially designed to work with our other products,” says Schluter North America CEO Marco Ludwig. “The response to the Schluter Thin-set program was excellent. The mortars were exactly what customers were looking for. They trust our quality and now have a complete installation system from one company.”

TIMELY TURNKEY

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BMH Systems equipped the Thin-set batch plant with four 150-ton silos and a single horizontal shaft Arcen mixer. The 3-meter model features a powerful gearbox and 125-hp motor; reinforced ST52 steel vat; shaft bearings on both sides; double face mixing paddles of anti-wear material; pneumatic operated discharge door; two access doors on the front side; and, access platforms and stairs for one manual additives feed door on the mixer top.
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Bagging line and warehouse enclosure construction began in the second half of 2016 with a hard February 2017 deadline for Schluter Thin-set production start up. The new facility extends a campus Schluter Systems North America has developed over nearly three decades. PHOTOS: BMH Systems
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All production aspects were in place for the Schluter SET, ALL-SET and FAST-SET launch and order book, thanks to mobilization at Plattsburgh resulting in construction of a 47,500-sq.-ft. bagging line and warehouse plus a high output batch plant. Working under a turnkey contract, Montreal-based BMH Systems designed the latter around an MEH 4500 Arcen mixer and 600 tons of bulk storage. In addition to two cement and two sand silos, along with companion weigh hoppers, BMH supplied a holding hopper, central dust collection, control system and plant enclosure, while performing foundation design, erection, installation and start up services.

“At the beginning of the project, we did a world wide search for a prospective batch plant source. BMH is located close to our Plattsburgh facility and has a family business style approach similar to ours,” says Ludwig. “The company has quality, well organized vendors, and executed on our time line.”

With its home base still in Iserlohn, Germany, he adds, Schluter Systems continues to thrive as a family-run business that reaches many countries around the world. Schluter North America set up shop in Plattsburgh in 1989 with two employees and a 13,000-sq.-ft. warehouse. It presently occupies nearly 600,000 square feet of warehouse and office space, and employs more than 500 throughout the U.S. and Canada.