The installation manufactures bricks from mudstone sourced at High Greenscoe Quarry (600 metres away) and fireclay transported from North East England. Approximately 50 000 tonnes of mudstone and 1500 tonnes of fireclay are used per year to produce around 15 million bricks.
The clay is stored in large open-air stockpiles at the south end of the site along with waste bricks that are to be re-used in the brick making process. Crushed coke is also stored in a three-sided building at this end of the site and is used to provide a surface texture to bricks if required.
The mudstone, fireclay and waste bricks are transferred from the stockpiles by a loading shovel into a chute and then onto a conveyor that leads to the crusher. Dust from the brick making process is also added at this point.
The crushed material then enters a silo where water can be added if required. The material is then transported by conveyor to one of the two brick making machines. The ‘green’ bricks are then transported by conveyor (where additional water can be added if required) to the manual stacking area. Some are removed for further treatment (shaping/texturing).
The green bricks are stacked by hand onto pallets. The pallets are then transferred by forklift truck into the kiln.
The 20 chamber transverse arch kiln is top-fired with propane/air (around 800 tonnes/year) and crushed coal singles and pet coke (around 1500 tonnes/year) at a ratio of 4:1. The coal and pet coke is stored in bunkers to the east of the kiln and is transferred to the top of the kiln using a loading shovel and a conveyor. The propane is stored in tanks to the east of the site.
The firing of the kiln is continuous with each of the 20 chambers at various stages of the firing cycle i.e. at any one time a chamber is being prepared to take green bricks while another chamber at the end of the cycle is being emptied of fired bricks. Thus the drying and firing of bricks takes place at the same time in different chambers in the kiln and the emissions are drawn by a fan into a single stack 42 metres high at the northern end of the kiln.
The fired bricks are unloaded from the kiln using forklift trucks and taken to brick sorting areas. Some bricks are cut using re-circulated water system. All acceptable bricks are then placed on pallets and wrapped in polythene and stored to the east of the installation. Any waste bricks are stored at the northern end of the site prior to re-use within the installation or for repairing the road at High Greenscoe quarry.