Warnham Brick Factory in West Sussex is one of the 197 Wienerberger production sites located in 30 countries worldwide. Founded in 1819 and with headquarters in Vienna, Wienerberger Building Solutions is the world’s largest producer of bricks and clay blocks, as well as the market leader for clay roof tiles.
When manufacturing bricks or tiles, it is absolutely critical to have the clay or cement mix 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.
The NDC PrediktIR moisture gauge 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.
Maintaining precise control of moisture levels can have a significant impact on the plant yield by reducing the number of poor-quality products and waste.
I knew that some of the other Wienerberger sites had already purchased some NDC PrediktIR moisture gauges and I had heard that they were really improving the production processes and quality control procedures. I met up with some of the LIMAB team at ClayTech, and I was immediately impressed with their expertise and what they had to offer. After discussions with NDC Product Specialist, we went ahead and purchased four NDC PrediktIR gauges. The gauges have really helped us to monitor and have greater control of our water input system and we are already getting some really useful data. I would certainly purchase from LIMAB again in the future.
Philip Smallridge – Process Improvement and Quality Control, Wienerberger Ltd
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.