Ibstock Brick PrediktIR Case Study
Ibstock Brick has a long history of brick making and industrial activity, dating back 200 years to the early 1800s. From the sinking of the first coal shaft at Ibstock in 1825 to the launch of their new i-studio in London, Ibstock Brick has witnessed dozens of building and brickwork innovations take place.
Now the UK’s largest manufacturer of clay bricks and pavers and with over 21 factories and distribution centres across the country, Ibstock Brick offers the widest range of handmade, stock, waterstruck, linear and wire cut bricks.
When manufacturing bricks or pavers, it is absolutely critical to have the clay at the correct moisture level. Because clay is a natural product, coming directly from a quarry, the amount of moisture in the clay will be affected by recent weather and storage conditions.
This means that the moisture levels need to be constantly monitored and adjustments need to be made to the amount of water that is added. Traditionally this has been achieved by using a basic, manual test but this is a spot check, it is not a continuous method and it is open to human subjectivity.
A moisture gauge from NDC Technologies uses a non-contact near-infrared (NIR) method to continuously measure the clay moisture with total precision to an accuracy of ±0.3%. The patented, dual detector design ensures a permanent, stable calibration, which is unaffected by any fluctuations in ambient temperature, light and/or humidity, common in most brickworks.
Due to the accurate and reliable measurement, the result can be used as a critical control point for the process. Ultimately the measurement is used as part of an automated control loop to adjust the flow of water that is added during the manufacturing process.
We found that we were actually losing a lot of money due to not having the correct moisture content in our bricks, so back in January 2019, we decided to look into implementing some non-contact NIR moisture gauges to enable us to monitor this more effectively. We contacted LIMAB UK and installed two NDC Technologies’ PrediktIR moisture gauges in our priority clay prep. area. I am very happy with the PrediktIR gauges and having the ability to constantly monitor the moisture content has massively improved our quality control processes.
We were impressed with the evident product knowledge and expertise demonstrated by the team at LIMAB UK and the customer service and aftersales support was great!
Scott Bamford – Technical Manager, Ibstock Brick Ltd (Aldridge)
If you would like to find out whether a NIR moisture gauge could improve your production processes and quality control procedures, then please do get in touch