Clay conditioners can bring several benefits to your production process, but how can you measure effectively its effects on your specific process? We have asked this question to our R&D experts in the ceramic lab and this is what they have answered.
Once you have decided that using a clay additive will be the best solution for your production problem, you have to decide what quantity is the best for your specific production process.
Blake Stacey, technical consultant in Real Material Solutions (https://real-mat-sol.com) who has worked for many years in the ceramics sector, has written a testimony about solving production problems and finding the best way to work with the difficult clays on Western Australia. Here we share some of his thoughts:
One of the most frequently asked questions we get is where to introduce the clay additive during the manufacturing process. This month we will recommend you where to place your conditioner.
Structural bricks 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 we will focus on the drying part of the process.
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.
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.
Various amounts of water are added within brick and tile manufacturing depending upon which process route you choose. A stiff extrusion may have water content as low as 10% while a soft mud factory may be as high as 30%. With hand made and water-struck products, this water addition value may even go higher. However, although these levels of water may be advantageous for manufacturing, they still require to be driven out during the drying process to enable the products to be fired.
In modern brick production, massive investments in infrastructure and machinery dictate the way we make bricks and roof tiles, i.e it will take a lot of effort (not to mention a lot of money) to rearrange a production line or buy new equipment. Still, optimizing production is always a subject of attention. Given a fixed production line, a technical manager soon runs out of options when trying to produce more bricks or tiles. However, leaning on modern chemistry, it is possible to increase the extrusion rate significantly.