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Ultra-modern facing brick plant for Ibstock

In Ibstock, near Leicester in the Midlands, UK, one of the most modern brick plants in the world has been started up this year for the production of façade bricks. Keller HCW supplied the new plant, in which soft-mud bricks are produced in a wide range of colours and shapes.

Bricks have been produced in Ibstock since the 1830s. Since then, the site has continued to develop sustainably with “innovation based on tradition”. In October 2015, Ibstock was transformed into a public limited company.
Ibstock PLC now is one of the largest building materials businesses quoted on the London Stock Exchange.Ibstock’s declared aim is to continue extending its leading market position in the building products industry. In line with this aim, the new brick plant was built at the Ibstock headquarters in cooperation with Keller HCW GmbH, the traditional manufacturer of plants and machinery for the heavy clay industry.

In the new plant, 100 mill. soft-mud bricks per year are produced customer- oriented in various colours and shapes.

 

Production

From the beginning of the project phase, great importance was attached to keeping energy consumption as low as possible. With a clear focus on energy saving, the tunnel dryer in a specially designed cogeneration system with the modern tunnel kiln and the heat-transfer optimized tunnel kiln car lining has proven to be the right concept.

Keller’s scope of supply begins with the take-over of the green products on drying pallets and the fully automatic loading of the newly developed tunnel dryer cars.


Fully automatic wet/dry side

Key feature of the tunnel dryer cars is a closed chassis. Excess sand is not distributed in the dryer, but collected and removed by a fully automatic cleaning system after unloading.

Fully automatic setting station

The fully automatic setting station is equipped with a total of six robots and an 8-row conveying line, consisting of toothed belt conveyors and belt conveyors.
Integrated waste conveyors dispose of any drying loss. An automatic dust extraction system ensures minimum dust emission in the area around the machine.

Fully automatic unloading system

The fully automatic unloading system begins with the unloading of packs from the kiln car. Robots are used to dehack the packs in layers and to distribute them to 2 x 6 rows, to sort them and to pack them without pallets to packs of 500 bricks. For the transport in the unloading and packaging station, only toothed belts and conveyor belts are used, roller conveyors are only used in the area of the pack-strapping unit.

Tunnel dryer

Chamber dryers are usually used for the production of soft-mud bricks. Impressed by the further developed tunnel dryer cars and the dryer with horizontal slot nozzles developed by Keller, Ibstock was immediately convinced of the advantages of the Keller tun- nel dryer. The tunnel dryer is characterized by an optimal air flow combined with very good energy consumption. With storage of dryer cars in the wet and dry areas, continuous pushing of cars can be absolutely guaranteed even outside machine running time.

Tunnel kiln

The tunnel kiln with upstream holding device is also designed for continuous operation 24/365, with an average output of 16 tunnel kiln cars per day. With the concept of the insulation of the tunnel kiln walls and ceiling, the inner sealing skin made of Teflon film, the air circulation in the heating and cooling area, the energy-optimized top burner system and a flexible K-matic tunnel kiln control system, optimum product results with the lowest energy consumption could be achieved already after a short time.

Conclusion

This important project for Ibstock and Keller could be completed with great success. Basis for this was the professional cooperation between all partners. Such a plant with a production capacity of 100 mill. first-class bricks per year with very low energy and labour requirement is certainly exceptional at the present time.