Origin of the project
In the early 2000s, CERAMICAS DE MIRA, a family-owned ceramics plant in the province of Cuenca (Spain) founded in 1929, had a production line of 400 tonnes/day using a direct kiln car stacking dryer and a Hoffmann kiln still in operation. There was still high demand in the market for building materials, so the owners considered demolishing the Hoffmann kiln and investing in a second production line, also of 400 tonnes/day.
Three things were certain: the first was that, since they were satisfied with the experience of managing a plant with a direct kiln car setting dryer, the new plant would have the same characteristics; the second, that the new plant should be multi-product, as a key element for maintaining the competitiveness of the business; and the third, that the project would be a challenge for whichever supplier was chosen, which ended up being BERALMAR.
Execution of the project
As mentioned, the new ceramics plant faced the challenge of being multi-product, but in the broadest sense of the term: it had to produce a very wide range of formats composed of families of hollow blocks, thermoblocks, large formats for interior walls, ceramic subroof bricks of up to 1 metre, acoustic formats and even semi-face formats.
The LLEVANT direct kiln car setting dryer was the only logical option, since apart from being the owner’s desired option, any other type of dryer would have added extraordinary complications at the level of loading and unloading mechanisms for such a variety of formats. The type of setting mechanism that was chosen was a crane fork with different sized prongs, which is the most suitable for handling green material.
As for the tunnel kiln, a PRESTHERMIC high-performance airtight kiln was supplied. Thanks to its design and metallic exterior insulation, this type of kiln can operate at high pressure providing more productivity, faster heat penetration to the clay and lower thermal consumption.
Despite many voices in the sector predicting this type of approach for larger formats would be doomed to failure, the project was an unqualified success.
The new plant went into service at the end of 2006, achieving the following objectives:
- All the proposed formats were manufactured fulfilling quality expectations.
- The thermal consumption for drying and firing was 8% lower compared to the previous plant for the same formats, a very significant fact given that the comparison between the two lines is perfectly valid: same formats, same clay, same fuel, same production volume and same production management. That is to say, all the variables that affect thermal consumption were the same, except the dryer and the kiln that were used.