Engels Baksteen

Helden, Oeffelt

Production process

  • Productieproces - Algemeen

    General information

    during regular day shifts - 5 days a week.

    Drying and baking process
    7 days a week – 24 hours a day.

    total of 40 staff (production, technical services and office).

  • Productieproces - Klei Productieproces - Klei


    The raw material clay comes from the floodplains of the river Maas. Clay is extracted from grassland up to a depth of 2.5 metres, after which the land is transferred to the National Forest Service and turned into a nature conservation area.

    Maas clay contains iron, which causes it to turn red after baking. Several times a year new clay is supplied and the supply depot is built up layer by layer, after which the entire heap is systematically turned over in order to achieve the highest possible level of homogeneity. During build-up clay samples are taken from each layer every day and tested in a laboratory, where their composition is monitored.

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    Production process

    From the clay depot the clay is supplied to the production process. This process is fully automatic and consists of clay preparation, a manual moulding line at the Helden site, a moulding box press at the Oeffelt site, a chamber drying installation, a stacking machine, the tunnel kiln and an unloading system with an automatic packaging installation.

  • Productieproces - Kleivoorbewerking en vormzand Productieproces - Kleivoorbewerking en vormzand

    Clay preparation and moulding sand

    The clay is loaded from the heap into a pan feeder (large storage tray) with a mechanical shovel. A supply funnel is used for the moulding sand. From these storage containers the clay and sand enter the process. An electromagnet is located above the clay feed belt to remove any bits of metal from the clay. In the edge runner mill and clay shredder the chunks of clay are reduced in size and water and steam are added automatically as required. Further mixing is performed in the clay mixer. The moulding sand dryer, a long rotating drum, ensures that the moulding sand is dried.

  • Productieproces - Steenpers

    Brick press

    The most important components of the ‘brick press’ are the moulding boxes. These are covered with moulding sand underneath the press to prevent the clay from sticking. This sand also lends the sanded appearance to the bricks. Above the press is the press box, where 24 times a minute a brick mould is filled with clay. After removing any surplus clay with a levelling strip, 4 steel drying trays are placed on the moulds at the same time. The mould and tray turn 180 degrees and the wet bricks sink below the machine, out of the mould and onto the drying plate. The bricks moulded this way are placed in a collection rack and are then transferred to drying plant trolleys. The moulding boxes themselves are rinsed clean, sanded and the entire process is repeated.

  • Productieproces - Recycling


    In various locations dust and sand are extracted, collected in special silos and recycled as much as possible.
    The rinsing water from the brick press ends up in the water basin outside. Sand and clay particles settle in the sloping tank and are regularly removed with a mechanical shovel. The water then flows to a special basin where the smaller clay particles are allowed to settle. The water is then pumped back and ends up in a separate deep water basin, from where the water is reused. Rainwater from the roof is also collected and used.

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    Drying plant

    The drying plant has a number of drying chambers. Each chamber may contain drying plant trolleys with bricks that are still wet. It takes at least 2 days to dry the wet bricks. Whenever more time is available the bricks are dried more slowly to save energy. The heat used for drying is residual heat from the tunnel kiln, which is supplied by large pipes. Extra heat can be added to each chamber with gas burners. Almost 1 litre of water must evaporate from each brick. After drying the bricks will have shrunk by approx. 8 percent.
    The drying plant trolleys are moved in and out of the chambers fully automatically. After drying the bricks are shoved off the trays and transported to the stacking machine via a long chain conveyor. The drying trays are returned to the brick press.

  • Productieproces - Zetmachine Productieproces - Zetmachine

    Stacking machine

    The dried bricks now have to be baked. They are supplied in rows to the stacking machine, placed according to a fixed pattern and then – via various movements – stacked in layers and taken to the positioning belt. From this belt the bricks are picked up and placed on the tunnel kiln trolleys.
    Thus, rows of specially stacked bricks are placed on each trolley. The tunnel kiln trolleys are moved into the preheating tunnel, which serves as a feed buffer for the kiln.

  • Productieproces - Tunnelovens Productieproces - Tunnelovens

    Tunnel kiln

    From the preheating tunnel the fully-loaded tunnel kiln trolleys fully automatically enter the back of the tunnel every day. The trolleys move through the kiln very slowly and emerge at the front after a couple of days with the bricks baked. From the start of the kiln the temperature gradually rises to 1050 degrees Celsius in the middle. This temperature differs greatly for each assortment and colour. The baking method partially determines the characteristic colour of the bricks. After this, the bricks are slowly cooled down until they reach the exit. The floor of the kiln trolleys is made of fireproof bricks to protect the steel frame of the trolley against the high temperature. A total of 200 gas burners are located on the sides and top of the kiln. The kiln also includes fans, control valves and cooling systems, which are computer-controlled and together control the baking process. All the relevant data are registered and can be viewed on the displays of the various control systems. The cooling heat released by the kiln is optimally used in the drying plant and the flue gases are transported to the 40-metre-high chimney via a flue gas scrubber.

    • Engels Helden has a kiln capacity of 70 million Waal-sized bricks per year.
    • Engels Oeffelt has a kiln capacity of 60 million Waal-sized bricks per year.
  • Productieproces - Bakproces

    Baking process

    Due to the relatively low calcium content and high iron content of the clay used and due to the use of specially selected types of moulding sand, beautiful colours that retain their authenticity over the years are created during the optimally controlled baking process in the modern tunnel kiln.

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    Unloading machine

    The baked bricks are now removed from the kiln trolleys with grabs and stacked in standard hulo-packages with a height of 10 layers. For this the top layer of bricks is removed from the tunnel kiln trolley first. This is used to create the base brick layer. Four layers of bricks are placed on each base brick layer. All packs can be divided and split up to simplify the work on the building site. Where required the bricks can be placed on pallets in packaging film. Examples of customer options are: loose in hulo system / large pallets / small pallets (half height) or hulo pallets. After each round the top of the kiln trolley is cleaned.

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    Transport and delivery

    All shipments are basically supplied via builders’ merchants.

    The sales team can always provide you with excellent recommendations for the right choice of brick in our showroom.
    In this case it is recommended to bring along drawings and other necessary information.

    Lorries with special cranes take the bricks to building sites in the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany. Other export countries require a special packaging method suitable for long-distance transport. In the end the bricklayers on the building site are the ones who pick up the bricks first for processing.