Triangle Brick Expands in Texas
A new stiff extrusion plant is enabling Triangle Brick to serve the growing construction industry in new markets in Texas and the surrounding states.
Triangle Brick is a leading U.S. manufacturer of high-quality face brick. Incorporated in 1959, the company, which has belonged to the Roeben Tonbaustoffe group for 35 years, was one of the first brick manufacturers in the U.S. to incorporate a completely automated manufacturing process. Today, with a total of five plants, Triangle Brick sells brick to customers in over 30 U.S. states.
In October 2014, after intensive discussions and preliminary planning, LINGL was entrusted with the planning and construction of a new plant in Henrietta, Texas. LINGL prepared the foundations and constructed the entire turnkey plant.
The new stiff extrusion plant, which is the fifth plant built by LINGL for Triangle Brick, enables the brick manufacturer to best serve the growing construction industry and new markets in Texas and the surrounding states. The new plant has been designed for the production of about 90 million Kingsize face brick per year. Production is run 50 weeks per year, five days per week with two eight-hour shifts per day.
Cutting, Placing and Drying
LINGL’s push-through harp is used for cutting the green products in the plant. This cutting equipment not only works with precision to meet quality demands, but it also allows very high capacities because two columns can be cut simultaneously. The grouping system consists of nine individual robots that ensure the flexible and gentle grouping of the green products, placing them directly on the kiln cars.
Drying of the green products is realized within 30 hours in the 105-m-long LINGL tunnel dryer. The dryer’s new design represents the latest drying technology for direct setting processes.
Firing and Unloading
The brick are fired in a 155-m-long tunnel kiln. The passage time is about 44 hours at temperatures of up to 1,080°C. From an energy efficiency point of view, the installed kiln allows operation with both natural gas and light oil.
The hacks are unloaded after firing with a pack gripper and fed to four de-stacking robots, where the packs are separated layer by layer. Following separation, the products are checked, grouped and transferred to the packaging installation on the main line. If required, it is also possible to transport individual layers to a separate line for a closer check and then re-feed them to the main line.
Pack formation is realized by “half-pack technology,” a system that has long been successfully used by Triangle Brick. Half-pack technology means that the brick are packed so as to allow the easy separation of big packs into two smaller and separately packed packages. This technology offers an easier, more stable and simpler handling of the individual packs, among other advantages. This leads to more increased safety and efficiency on the construction site, as well as a significant reduction in the number of damaged brick.
A Simatic S7 control system programmed by LINGL is used to coordinate machinery and technical processes. Intuitive user interfaces on operator panels for machinery and transport installations, along with a process control system for the dryer and kiln, provide the required functionality, traceability and reproducibility to ensure production of the highest quality and quantity.
Testing and Implementation
Required laboratory investigations were made in close cooperation by both companies. The suitability of the raw material was checked by carrying out two large-scale tests. The raw material that was sent from the U.S. to Krumbach was tested and analyzed in the LINGL laboratory in order to determine the best possible mixing ratio of the individual raw materials.
Before being delivered to Triangle Brick, a compulsory test setup of the installation and test runs were carried out on LINGL’s premises. Only after the successful completion of the test runs were the installations sent to Triangle Brick.
The persistent heavy rain flooding the production buildings on the construction site in Texas made the implementation phase difficult at the beginning. Despite this impediment, the first car charged with fired goods left the kiln according to plan one day before the actual scheduled date. A relationship built on trust and professional cooperation between Triangle Brick and LINGL made it possible to successfully realize the project in compliance with all contractually agreed services, and to complete it before the set date.