New large-capacity and high-tech brick plant starts production in Kurdistan

Following intensive comparison of tenders by several suppliers, Ashur Bricks selected Cleia as its partner for the turn-key engineering, erection and commissioning of the new Ashur Bricks plant in Kurdistan.

The reasons for that decision were besides the recognized quality of the plants engineered and commissioned by Cleia, the expertise demonstrated by Cleia in the ceramic process and the long-term view of the two partners Ashur Bricks and Cleia for this project.

The new plant has a planned capacity of 1 200 t/day with a wide product portfolio from the local common bricks to large-size hollow blocks and the ability to produce vertically perforated insulating bricks.

For the greenfield project, after numerous intensive preliminary tests on site, Cleia and Ashur Bricks selected and defined the clay mixture to guarantee a high brick quality with consideration of the different types of clay available in the region.

Here Cleia’s ceramic engineers working at the 4C (Cleia Ceramics Competence Centre) provided support in finding solutions for clay preparation, as well as the drying and firing process.

The technological line

The grinding line was engineered by Cleia with provision for the locally available clays and the final clay blend to guarantee the best quality for the final products. The clay preparation section and the extruder were supplied by a Cleia partner.

At the exit of the extruder the wet slugs can be conveyed to two different multi-wire cutters depending of the type of bricks to be produced. The wet bricks are loaded on drying trays which are designed to handle the variety of products.

The trays are loaded on double multi-tier dryer cars with a loading fork. Owing to the wide range of product dimensions, the number of tiers in the dryer car depends on the dimensions of the products. The loading fork used gives the full flexibility for such a loading process.

The tunnel dryer is divided into five zones in order to control and guarantee the very specific drying cycle adapted to the drying behaviour of the local clay.

Hot air recovery from the tunnel kiln and two hot air generators running with LPG supply hot air to the dryer under the constant control of the Opencer Scada system developed by Cleia to optimize the energy balance of the plant.

The kiln cars are loaded by a fully robotic system, which gives the full flexibility to adapt the setting pattern on kiln cars depending on the geometry of the bricks.

The 9-m-wide and 230-m-long “Tradifast” tunnel kiln supplied by Cleia guarantees reliable firing of the bricks. The burner equipment of the tunnel kiln designed by Cleia uses gas and LPG. The control system of the kiln is based on the latest development of the Opencer Scada system developed by Cleia.

A fully robotic unloading and packaging machine picks up the fired bricks from the kiln cars and builds packs in a “no-pallet” process. The robots bring the full flexibility to the system which is required to handle the extensive range of products. The final packs are automatically strapped and transferred to the storage yard.

VSI bricks: as the long-term perspective

The local market in Kurdistan is currently very active. Even if new blocks made of AAC (Autoclaved Aerated Concrete) are starting to appear in Kurdistan, the market is mainly supplied with so-called “common bricks” which are very similar to the NF size bricks.

Before choosing a technology, the Ashur Brick management team visited several European countries to survey the international building solutions. With the close cooperation of Cleia, they identified VSI bricks (Vertical Structural Insulating bricks) as a key strategic objective for the new plant even if there is no local interest in such a product as yet. Ashur Bricks’ business strategy is to start production with common bricks and to convert the market to VSI bricks after an intermediate step with conventional load-bearing blocks. As it can be cold as well as very hot in this part of Kurdistan, vertically perforated insulating bricks are a s good choice for better building insulation.

The expected timeline for the completion of the project was unfortunately impacted by the safety situation. Mutual trust between Ashur Bricks and Cleia enabled them to successfully overcome this challenge. In the meantime, the plant is now producing high-quality bricks.



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