In August 2017, humans had already used up more natural resources than the Earth could renew for the whole year. This means that last year, humanity lived on “credit” from the Earth from August to December. There are studies predicting a consumption of 2 whole planets every year by the year 2050. Our ecological footprint as a society is increasing and we are reaching Earth Overshoot day each year earlier. You can calculate your ecological footprint and surprise yourself with how many planets you would need to keep up with your lifestyle. Our planet is crying out for help and we need to understand the urge for a more sustainable style of living.
New aesthetics aligned with new technical requirements in the extrusion of ceramic bodies are demanding a new approach when it comes to additives’ requirements. In the past, lubrication and proper rheology were highly appreciated, but today there are other properties that should be taken into consideration if defects such as cracks, laminations, scumming, etc. can’t appear along the process, mainly due to the higher technical requirements of the raw materials.
Tile sizes have been increasing lately not only because large tiles have become a trend, also because of the improvement in the technology that allows to make these tiles. In some of our blog posts we already talked about trends in the market and about avoiding breakage in large tiles but, how big can a tile reach to be?
Cracking – in whatever stage of production – is a major loss issue faced within all types of clay manufacturing and the reduction/elimination is paramount for increased profitability and yields.
It has been agreed by a lot of people that this edition has been the best so far, at least along this century. Lots of new products, designs and all of them below a new sustainability umbrella that is the new flagship of the industry.
Large Structural Brick
Brick types vary from thin brick to face brick to structural through the wall units. Thin brick allow for less weight and less costly installation. Face brick provide some insulation and are practically maintenance free for the lifetime of a building. Structural clay brick provide greater insulation, more protection from the elements, and the appeal and durability that have always made clay brick a desirable building material. The manufacturing of large structural clay brick presents challenges to brick makers in two of the critical processes involved in brick making: extrusion and drying. In this blog post we will focus on how to avoid breakage in the extrusion part of the manufacturing process.
Bentonite has been used in ceramics for many years due to the way it performs in terms of plasticity and workability. Nonetheless, there are some alternative approaches that may ease its replacement, as they show some undesirable side effects when introduced into formulations.
In the past, potters used to “age” their moist clay in damp cellars or storage containers for years to achieve the effects that are now possible after a few minutes of clay mixing.
The raw materials used to make bricks are the most important part of the process. The quality of the brick and the success or failure of the brick plant can often be traced to the raw materials. The planning and implementation of a raw materials program is the backbone of a well-run brick plant. Brick plants are often built in close proximity to the primary raw materials to be used for decades. The quality and consistency of these raw materials normally vary throughout the mine property. When the characteristics of some mined materials are too far out of specifications it may be necessary to avoid these raw materials thus reducing the raw material reserves. Some of the characteristics and some of the ways to optimize the usage of raw materials are described below.
In today’s heavy clay market there is becoming a push for more product in faster lead times. This need is putting extra pressure on manufacturers especially to increase throughput times. Although kilns and sometimes driers can be the bottleneck, there is added pressure on the moulding equipment to produce clay products quicker.