Sustainable pelleting

Article by Philipp Matzku (translated by Eva Guzely) | 19.07.2021 - 09:10

In 1996, Salmatec of Gödenstorf/DE delivered the first press to the timber industry, to a company in Germany. The Maxima840 is the best-selling model of the family company which was founded in 1972. “The press is still in operation and we just modernized it. We have different series of models, including one that was developed specifically for biomass pelleting. Depending on the material and customer-specific requirements, it is modified according to our modular structure,” Timo Müller, marketing manager at Salmatec, explains.

Machines and entire plants

Salmatec supplies machines and plants, including the plant design, for various industries. In addition to plants for the production of fuel pellets, the company also manufactures many machines and plants for animal feed production. “In the past two to three years, the number of plants we sold to the timber industry has grown considerably and already accounts for up to half of all the plants we delivered. We deliver individual machines to companies which need a replacement or want to increase their capacity. We also integrate many machines and components into complete plants as well as into new production sites built by system manufacturers. Salmatec’s plant designs are tailored to individual customer requirements. Compared to the competition, we have high-performance machines with high throughput rates,” Salmatec CEO Bernd Petersen emphasizes. “Our wide range of presses with a drive power from 15 to 630 kW makes us a very flexible one-stop supplier. We always take the customers’ capacities and space requirements into consideration,” Müller tells us. “When we build plants ourselves, we take over the goods from the dry chip silo up to and including loading and packaging,” Petersen adds. Customers include big sawmill and timber processing companies as well as SMEs. This year, Ziegler Group of Pressath/DE will start up the biggest pellet production in Central Europe – with presses from Gödenstorf.

“We are constantly developing technical solutions in order to minimize the maintenance times of our machines and components and to reduce operating costs at the same time,” Petersen underlines. Examples are the S-shaped die and the single-stage direct drive via V-belts with the corresponding monitoring and automatic clamping. In combination with the three-roller system, which is used in 90% of all Salmatec machines, the high press forces are distributed to several rollers thereby taking pressure off the bearings. “This reduces operating costs and is also resource-efficient thanks to the low material input,” Müller explains.

Customer loyalty and after-sales service

After-sales service, consulting, training and maintenance play an important role at Salmatec. “Downtime costs the customer money and therefore has to be as short as possible. For us, it’s not enough to just assemble the machine or plant. We don’t want to be like a traveling machine supplier on the market. We want to build a long-term business relationship with our customers through a good overall business model and after-sales service. Many customers, especially those in the timber industry, are newcomers and have not had a pellet press before. With our know-how and trained staff, we can help them to achieve the best results,” Petersen emphasizes. Salmatec recommends annual maintenance to its customers, but also encourages and supports them in simple maintenance work, such as exchanging pressing tools. “Our after-sales service is available around the clock. Our service department trains the customer’s employees and supports them with videos and pictures,” Petersen adds.

New construction in the neighboring municipality

Five years ago, Salmatec bought a parcel of land in Gödenstorf with the aim of relocating both the entire production site and the administrative building from the current location in Salzhausen to the neighboring municipality by 2023. “Our goals are to make our production more efficient and to be able to respond even faster to customers,” Salmatec production manager Christopher Gerdau tells us. The pelleting presses are already being produced at the new headquarters in Gödenstorf. Only part of the die and roller production is still located in Salzhausen. From 2018 to 2023, 3,200 m² of production and 2,100 m² of storage space will be created at the new site. The production area is used, among other things, for all steps of the die production, from the first chip to the hardening of the finished die. “Thanks to the new big warehouse, we can now offer our customers shorter delivery times and a better availability. It’s important to us to train young people ourselves so that we can continue to offer the after-sales service as usual. For this purpose, we have made 300 m² available for a training workshop,” Gerdau explains. Salmatec trains four to five apprentices a year, most of whom stay with the company. In the modernized technical center, sample material can be pelleted on site. “This allows us to determine the requirements of the individual material before the project is carried out and design the plant accordingly,” Müller says.

Sustainability and added value

Salmatec delivers its solutions to over 60 countries on all continents. Europe and the DACH region, in particular, are the main markets because of the strong demand in the sawmill and wood processing industries. “Sustainability is an increasingly important factor and it has become essential for the wood processing industry to use the entire tree in order to have an added value of nearly 100%. Pelleting is therefore not in competition with construction timber. On the contrary, it complements its supply chain perfectly, because by-products will always accumulate in sawmills. And it’s important to use them in the most efficient way possible,” Müller explains.


Location: Gödenstorf
Established in: 1972 
Management: André Müller, Christian Müller, Bernd Petersen
Staff: 130
Pelleting plants for wood, animal feed, food and recycled products, spare and expendable parts
Sales: over 400 wood presses installed worldwide