Forterra Building Products’ latest UK factory, a purpose-built 3000m² aggregate block and block paving plant, has opened on the 10-acre site that already houses the company’s Kings Dyke Brickworks at Whittlesey near Peterborough.
Merchants, stockists, builders and contractors will appreciate the upgraded customer service. The facility’s high speed double cubers can package the blocks into various formats as specified by customers: standard, voided, palletised and plastic-wrapped.
The new facility, which replaces the recently decommissioned St Ives block factory near Cambridge, represents an investment of £8.75m, and further demonstrates Forterra s commitment to sustainability and environmental issues.
The state-of-the-art manufacturing equipment includes a two mixer batching system which can produce two cubic metres of concrete per minute. The concrete is then transported to the downstream high-speed block making machine. Designed to achieve rapid cycle times and optimum product quality, this machine has a production capacity of 24 standard 100mm blocks or 48 pavers every 12 to 15 seconds.
A major advantage of this new machine is the production time it saves: its fully automated mould changeover system means that a product mould change which used to be a two-hour manual procedure is now carried out in under 20 minutes. This new factory can also process 100 tonnes of aggregates per hour.
The humidity controlled curing environment allows for earlier handle ability and ensures consistent paver colours. With some pavers now being manufactured on this site, the new factory offers an alternative production facility for the company’s Formpave division.
Forterra is committed to sustainability, environmental protection, and health and safety issues, and has continually demonstrated this commitment during the past several years, most recently by signing up as a founding member of the Sustainability Charter.
The production equipment and working environment at Whittlesey Block Works reflects this commitment. The highest specification machinery and systems have been chosen to ensure noise and dust control. All hydraulic and electrical services are housed in three separate air-conditioned containers positioned on a platform high above the factory floor. The block machine is enclosed within its own acoustic box to keep the noise below 75 decibels. A separate acoustically insulated cabin ensures operator comfort and safety, whilst the heat generated from curing the concrete is re-used to minimise energy usage.
The new block plant will be taking its raw materials of sand and gravel from the adjoining quarry excavations at Must Farm, which currently has a reserve life in the order of 25 years. Sand and gravel from Must Farm will be transported to the new block making factory directly via conveyor. Using contiguous materials ensures the most sustainable use of on-site materials, whilst having regard to the local environment by keeping raw material traffic off the local road network.