The process of producing our brick begins with the mining of a select fire clay and shale from our own mines. Because of our strict quality control and environmental standards, contamination and variation problems in the raw materials are virtually eliminated.
Processing Raw Materials
The clay and shale are processed through a series of automated crushers and grinders, then screened to assure uniform blending for consistent brick structural integrity and color. After the materials are pre-mixed, they are conveyed through precision extruders.The green brick is then cut to size and automatically set onto kiln cars for drying and firing.
Methods of Creating Colors
Various methods are used to create the different colors of brick:
- Blending the fire clay and shale to produce red or buff colored brick.
- Flashing, by injecting raw gas into the kiln during the firing process. The raw gas ignites and robs the kiln atmosphere of oxygen. This condition draws the oxygen from the brick, producing deep shades of color.
- By adding special minerals to the clay and shale to create shades of brown, buff or gray colored brick.
- A ceramic coating is also applied to certain shades in the extrusion process to create unique colors and textures.
Drying and Firing Brick
The computer control system ensures uniformity of color and size throughout the firing process. Information as to the firing curve is continually monitored and can be printed at any time the kiln operator wants or needs the data. Additionally, this precision firing ensures Bowerstown brick meet and exceed ASTM standards for high compressive strength, low absorption, and no efflorescence.
Sorting and Blending Brick
Once the brick is dried and fired, it's manually sorted, blended and packaged for shipment.