K+S potash plant marking system

A lot of power in a small space: K+S introduces a power station marking system

K+S has introduced the KKS marking system in a potash plant with an in-house power station – using system expertise from Gabo IDM and marking labels from Phoenix Contact. Not only did this substantially improve their overview of the plant, it also increased process reliability and occupational safety considerably.

Customer profile

K+S is an international raw materials company which extracts and processes mineral resources for use in agriculture, food, road safety, and industry. A new labeling system was to be introduced for a potash plant.


Since the mining operation and crude salt processing are energy-intensive, a combined cycle power plant with a thermal firing capacity of 116 MW is operated. Before the KKS marking system was introduced, there was a wide range of different markings and documentation in use. There were many reasons for introducing a comprehensive and standard-compliant identification and documentation system for all plant sections and equipment based on the standardized power station marking system, KKS. The primary aim was to increase operational safety, and to improve occupational health and safety.

A complex hybrid system was created over several decades due to different plant builders. The plant marking and documentation were not from a single source. Mixing up a unit or cable can result in serious personal injury or damage to the plant. In addition, the plan was to make maintenance and servicing easier, and for operation to be safer.

Christian Berghausen - K+S, Head of Power Station Operation
Christian Berghausen (K+S) and Hans Karl Preuss (Gabo IDM)

Christian Berghausen from K+S (left) and Hans Karl Preuss from Gabo IDM

K+S plant marking


To prepare, Gabo IDM coordinated the transfer of all the existing plant documentation and data structures to the AVIS management system, developed in-house. “Using an actual state analysis of the technical documentation of the existing installation, we checked which standards and regulations were already complied with,” explains Hans Karl Preuss, General Manager of Gabo IDM. “With a view to achieving the required level of conformity, the necessary directives were drafted.” All the process steps were discussed with Berghausen and his team and gradually implemented.

Following this intensive preparatory work, all inventory plans were digitalized. The old markings were transferred to the new marking system in accordance with KKS. An additional database was set up to ensure transparent conversion from the old system to the new system. Altogether, more than 4,800 plant marking labels were produced by Phoenix Contact. The TOPMARK LASER marking system was drafted in for this. It uses a special laser process to ensure good legibility and high resistance.

The marking labels produced by Phoenix Contact in Blomberg were then matched with the appropriate colors to indicate the medium and mounted in the plant using special carriers. In the case of pipelines for water and gas, the medium and the direction of flow were indicated in detail.

Thanks to our KKS project, we have been able to substantially improve our overview of the plant and increase process reliability considerably. Our expectations have been fully met, both from a technical point of view and with regard to the time frame.

Christian Berghausen - K+S, Head of Power Station Operation


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