News about limestone and aggregate

Latest news about limestone and KFN Netstal

by Dr. Dirk Sewing, Head of Research and Development, Kalkfabrik Netstal AG

Numerous KFN clients make a large variety of calcium salts based on KFN’s white lime products. These salts are used for a large part in the food and feed industries, and to a smaller scale also in the pharmaceutical industry. It is obvious that for these industries there are a very strict requirements referring to the purity. The purity of the lime product, as a rule of thumb, has to be safeguarded by complying with the specifications set out for food additives. Additionally, there are legal limits for the final products of our clients.

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nekablanc 0 (extra fine calcium hydroxide) meets the high product requirements as a raw material for stabilizing plastic additives. In terms of purity and fineness, nekablanc 0 has secured a top position among the world's hydrated lime hydrates.

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An unusual lime application comes from Mexico. There, large quantities of maize kernels are soaked in very dilute, almost boiling milk of lime (with 1% lime content) for 20 to 45 minutes.

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Preserving with lime

KFN’s high grade calcium oxide CaO and calcium hydroxide Ca(OH)2 are used in the production of a preserving agent called calcium propionate.

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lime to fight lime

Is it fighting fire with fire? You could almost think it’s true when we tell you that taking out calcium or lime from drinking water, a process called decalcification, is done with – lime! The explanation is both simple and fascinating. Calcium deposits or limescales from drinking water, chemically calcium carbonate, are created following simple chemical or physical processes: Carbon dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere is captured by rain or ground water to become carbonic acid. If water containing this carbonic acid flows over lime, the carbonic acid dissolves the lime to become soluble calcium hydrogen carbonate. This calcium hydrogen carbonate stays in solution with the drinking water until that water evaporates or is heated. In that case, carbon dioxide (CO2) and non-soluble calcium carbonate (limescale) re-emerge.

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Do you know the different types of calcium carbonate?

 Famous siblings

Calcium carbonate does not always equal calcium carbonate. Many times, subtypes of calcium carbonate have more well-known names than calcium carbonate (the category) itself.

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Since 2012, the Kalkfabrik Netstal AG is certified for the production of lime products for food. Since that date, the high-quality calcium oxide and calcium hydroxide products of Netstal can be purchased as guaranteed food safe. The certification was a logic consequence of the high purity of KFN lime, known for many years.

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In the past years, thanks to the extraordinary purity of the KFN lime products, it has been possible to find more customers in the food, animal feed and pharmaceutical sectors. To guarantee a constant hygiene in the lime production to these customers, in 2011 the executive board decided to apply for the certification according to ISO 22000. The following year this intention has been successfully implemented: since 2012 KFN disposes of the respective certificate. In the meanwhile, the global customers’ demands have increased so much, that for the next deadline an extension to FSSC 22000* is sought.

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Soil treatment with lime has been known since ancient times. It was technically developed in the 1950s to consolidate the underfloor of motorways, railway track installations and airfields. This soil treatment could spread quite widely, as hereto only simple operations are needed and it is therefore affordable and very effective. Thanks to the soil improvement with lime, soils that are otherwise useless become good installable construction materials. Soil replacement as well as difficulties in finding a landfill are avoided. A standstill at the construction site in case of bad weather can be prevented with a soil treatment with lime and in this way, a continuous building implementation will be reached.

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Whether as a calcium additive for foods and feeds, pharmaceutical solutions or as a highly pure acid scavenger in plastics: Due to its consistently high and outstanding quality, lime from the Swiss Netstal valley is a partner in all these fields.

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Wound healing using lime hydrate patented

The disinfecting effects of lime have been known for centuries. Now, lime hydrate can be used directly for wound healing. In a current patent filing, the wound healing effects of a mixture of a preparation of lime hydrate and oil are described. The highly pure calcium hydroxide from KFN is ideally suited for this disinfecting effect.

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