Sunday, 6 November 2011

Start a Clay Brick (BTKs) Plant

(192)Start a Clay Brick  (BTKs) Plant

Common fired clay brick is one of the important building materials in India. Bricks are used as walling material in most residential and commercial buildings. They are also used for other applications, e.g. road and canal construction. India is the second largest producer of bricks in the world, and is next only to China in terms of brick production. An estimated 140 billion bricks were produced during the year 2000–01. Brick production is estimated to be growing at a rate of 4% per year. Bricks are produced at village and rural enterprise levels. The sizes of brick units are much smaller in the rural areas. However, in peri-urban areas, the size of brick producing units is much larger, and clustering of brick making units is quite common. Regional variations are also observed in the size and scale of the brick production units. The total number of brick making units is estimated at around 100,000.
Traditional technologies are used for brick production. In general, bricks are hand moulded, sun dried and fired in a kiln. The entire process of brick making is manual and estimated to provide employment to 8 million workers.

Technologies used

Bull’s trench kilns (BTKs) and clamps are two prominent firing technologies used for brick making in India. The BTK is a continuous type kiln and has higher production capacities (15,000–50,000 bricks per day). It also has better energy efficiency compared to clamps. BTKs account for 70% of the total brick production in the country. Coal is the main fuel used in BTKs. The specific energy consumption in firing bricks in BTKs ranges between 1.1 and 1.6 MJ/kg of fired brick. Clamps are used for smaller production levels. A variety of fuels such as coal, firewood, various types of agricultural residues and dung cakes are used in clamps. Large variations are observed in the shape, size, stacking of bricks and firing techniques in clamps. Generally, energy efficiencies of clamps are lower. The specific energy consumption of clamps ranges between 1.5 and 3.0 MJ/kg of fired brick.

Energy use in brick firing

Brick firing is an energy-intensive process. The annual estimated coal consumption by the brick industry is 24 million tonnes, which represents around 8% of the total coal consumption in India. Besides coal, the Indian brick industry also consumes a large quantity of biomass fuels. The share of fuel in the total production cost of bricks is in the range of 35% to 50%. The total estimated expenditure on fuel by the Indian brick industry is in excess of one billion USD (1 USD= Rs 50).

Concerns in the brick sector

Stack emissions are a major source of air pollution by the brick industry. The brick industry also uses up good quality top soil from agricultural fields. The unplanned and unregulated exploitation of good quality agriculture soil for brick making is a major area of concern. Production of 140 billion bricks per year (year 2000-01 estimates) requires around 540 million tonnes of soil. The depth of excavation is shallow and usually ranges from 0.5 – 2 metres. Assuming an average depth of excavation of 0.75 m, around 500 sq. km of agriculture land is adversely affected by brick production every year.

The Indian brick industry produces mainly one product, i.e. red coloured, hand moulded, solid bricks. For long-term sustainability of the industry, it is important to diversify the product range and move towards products that are less resource intensive and fulfil market requirements. Production of less resource intensive clay products and use of alternate building materials can result in significant conservation of top soil.


The barriers that are responsible for stagnation of the Indian brick sector are also inhibiting technology upgradation. The major barriers identified in the Indian brick sector are as follows:

(i) Policy

The existing codes and specifications for building materials are based on traditional brick making and do not meet modern practices and technologies. With the availability of new building materials, these codes and specifications need to be reviewed and modified for large scale production and end-use.

(ii) Financial

There is lack of awareness and knowledge among brick kiln entrepreneurs necessary to prepare project reports/ documents for seeking loans from financial institutions/ banks. The credit-worthiness of brick kiln entrepreneurs is also not very favourably viewed by banks. At present, there is no tailor-made financial instrument available to brick kiln entrepreneurs for investing in technology upgradation. Higher transaction costs are envisaged by individual brick kiln entrepreneurs for developing markets for resource efficient bricks. These financial barriers are responsible for brick kiln entrepreneurs not investing in technology upgradation and by banks related activities.

(iii) Business skills 

The majority of the brick kiln entrepreneurs use traditional methods of green brick production, brick firing and marketing. They lack capacities in regard to modern practices in marketing, business opportunities and kiln management. There is also lack of trained manpower to cope with new technology changes.

(iv) Technology

There is limited availability of technology know-how for resource efficient bricks, as very few technology providers are available in the country. With brick kiln operations in India generally being carried out at the small scale level, individual brick kiln entrepreneurs find it difficult to access such know-how.

(v) Awareness barrier

The present level of awareness of entrepreneurs and end-users on modern technologies (machineries) and building products is low. The benefits from the production of resource efficient bricks - such as energy savings, reduction in top soil consumption and air pollution - are also not well known to brick entrepreneurs. The end-users such as builders, architects, etc. too lack information on the benefits of using REBs in building construction (insulation properties of REBs, saving in mortar during construction, etc.). 

Project Rationale

Use of obsolete technologies and use of solid bricks with traditional practices are seen as major threats to the Indian brick industry. Under the business-as-usual scenario, Indian brick industry will continue to operate with traditional technologies and practices, which are poor in energy efficiency and environmental performance as well as resources-intensive. The following have been identified as major problems faced by the Indian brick industry:
  • Limited information on resource efficient technologies
  • Lack of resource efficient model brick kiln units at cluster levels
  • Non-availability of trained manpower
  • Limited access to finance
  • Unexplored market for alternate building products
  • Old specifications and codes for building material
  • Non-availability of institutional mechanism.
The project preparatory phase clearly indicated several opportunities in the Indian brick industry to improve resource efficiencies and promote production of resource efficient bricks such as perforated bricks, hollow blocks and fly ash bricks. This would require significant changes and upgradation in the existing brick making processes, for which ready-made solutions are not available.

Project Strategy

The project has planned to undertake interventions in all regions of the country, i.e. North, East, West, South, and North East. The project interventions would help in introducing ‘Resource Efficient Brick’ (REB) products such as hollow blocks, perforated bricks and fly ash bricks in different regions of the country. This will lead to switch over from the traditional hand moulding method to the use of machinery (mechanization or semi-mechanization) by the brick kiln units.

What are REBs?

REBs are products that consume less energy and resources for their production than traditional fired clay bricks, and also have better quality and insulation properties. There are different types of REBs, such as perforated bricks, hollow blocks and fly ash bricks.

Project Implementation

In order to reach out to various regions and brick clusters, the project has set up Local Resource Centres (LRCs) in different regions of the country, i.e. North, South, East, West and North-East. The activities of the LRCs encompass the following:
  • Create awareness among architects, builders, other end-users and government departments in order to facilitate the uptake of REBs.
  • Prepare and disseminate promotional material on REBs.
  • Establish facts such as strengths and properties of various REB products.
  • Facilitate adoption of REB technologies (both mechanization and semi-mechanization) by interested entrepreneurs
  • Prepare DPRs (detailed project reports) for availing loans from financial institutions and banks.

Why REBs are Important?

Traditional brick manufacture uses up huge quantities of top soil and fuels. It is becoming increasingly difficult for brick entrepreneurs to tackle the challenges posed by the growing scarcity or non-availability of top soil in their vicinity, escalating fuel prices, and difficulty in finding workers. At the same time, the construction sector is witnessing an increasing use of products such as REBs that offer better qualities than traditional bricks in certain parameters. Present day constructions usually have RCC (reinforced concrete cement) columns, with bricks mainly used as partition walls. Unlike earlier, bricks are no longer being used as load bearing walls in the majority of buildings.

Traditional brick manufacture uses up huge quantities of top soil and fuels. It is becoming increasingly difficult for brick entrepreneurs to tackle the challenges posed by the growing scarcity or non-availability of top soil in their vicinity, escalating fuel prices, and difficulty in finding workers. At the same time, the construction sector is witnessing an increasing use of products such as REBs that offer better qualities than traditional bricks in certain parameters. Present day constructions usually have RCC (reinforced concrete cement) columns, with bricks mainly used as partition walls. Unlike earlier, bricks are no longer being used as load bearing walls in the majority of buildings.

Advantages of REBs

REBs offer a number of advantages in production as well as end-use applications. These include the following.
  • Uniform product size and better finish
  • Low water absorption (<10%)
  • Improved crushing strength of extruded products (300 to 350 kg/cm2)
  • Resource savings – energy (up to 20%), and top soil (up to 30%)
  • Reduction in masonry costs and plaster requirements
  • Reduced cooling/heating load requirements.

Project Outcomes

The following outcomes are envisaged through the various activities proposed under the project:
  • Enhancing public sector awareness on resource-efficient products
  • Access to finance for brick kiln entrepreneurs
  • Improved knowledge on technology, including marketing
  • Availability of resource efficient technology models in five clusters through Local Resource Centres
  • Improved capacity of brick kiln entrepreneurs

Project Outputs

  • Higher energy efficiency in brick production
  • Improved resource efficiency and reduced land degradation
  • Reduced local and cluster level pollution
  • High level of awareness among various stakeholders
  • Additional benefits:
    • Improvements in building efficiency with reduction in heating and cooling loads, due to the air gaps in resource efficient bricks
    • Reduced drudgery and improved health of moulders and other workers.
    The addresses shown below do not represent a complete list. This list will be updated on a regular basis.

    Indian manufacturers

    De Boer Damle (India) Pvt. Ltd.
    “Anant”, Plot No. 98, Lane 5, Natraj Society, Karvenagar, Pune 411 052
    Maharastra, India
    Tel: +91 20 25446127 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting            +91 20 25446127      end_of_the_skype_highlighting
    Fax: +91 20 25446127 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting            +91 20 25446127      end_of_the_skype_highlighting
    Fortune Engineers
    C-403 Shrinandnagar V
    Vejalpur, Ahmedabad-380051
    Mr Neeraj Arora
    Tel: 91 79 26823411 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting            91 79 26823411      end_of_the_skype_highlighting
    Mob: 91 9558818695

    Lakshmi & Co
    30, Amman Kovil Street
    Venkatapuram, GCT Post
    Coimbatore – 641013
    Tamil Nadu, INDIA
    Tel: 91 422 2436129 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting            91 422 2436129      end_of_the_skype_highlighting
    Fax: 91 422 2452104

    Neptune Industries Limited
    1A, First floor, Ankur complex
    Behind Town Hall, Ellis Bridge
    Ahmedabad – 380 006
    Gujarat, INDIA
    Tel: 91 79 26576234 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting            91 79 26576234      end_of_the_skype_highlighting
    Fax: 91 79 26576234 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting            91 79 26576234      end_of_the_skype_highlighting
    297, G I D C Phase-2
    Modhera Road, Mehsana-384004
    Gujarat, INDIA
    Tel: 91 2762 224551 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting            91 2762 224551      end_of_the_skype_highlighting, 224331
    Fax: 91 2762 252070
    Mr Sandeep Dave
    Mr Dhaval Patel
    Vijaya Prakash Industries
    NH-17, Near Sarada Mandiram
    P O Kolathara Calicut - 673655, Kerala
    Contact: Mr K K Vijayan
    Tel: 91 495 2482542 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting            91 495 2482542      end_of_the_skype_highlighting, 91 495 2485373 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting            91 495 2485373      end_of_the_skype_highlighting
    Mob: 91 9447075373

    Walter Craven Ceramic Products (India) Limited

    1, G T Road, Bhadrakali,
    Uttarpara, Hooghly – 712232
    West Bengal, INDIA

    18 & 19-B, G T Road
    Uttarpara, Hooghly – 712232
    West Bengal, INDIA
    Tel: 91 33 64517357 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting            91 33 64517357      end_of_the_skype_highlighting
    Fax: 91 33 26632764
    Contact: Mr M k Banerjee

    Foreign manufacturers

    BEDESCHI spa
    Via Praimbole, 38
    25010 Limena (Padova), ITALY
    Tel : 39 49 7663100
    Fax : 39 49 8848006
    Email :

    Ceratech SA/ NV
    Rue du Touquetstraat 228
    B-7782, Ploegsteert
    Tel: 32 56 565758, 32 56 565653
    Fax: 32 56 565505
    E mail:

    Craven Fawcett Limited
    Belle Vue, Wakefield
    West Yorkshire WF1 5EQ
    Tel: 44 1924 375444
    Fas: 44 1924 290245

    HAENDLE GMBH Maschinen und Anlagenbau
    Industristrasse 47
    75417 Muehlacker, GERMANY
    Tel: 49 7041 891-1 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting            49 7041 891-1      end_of_the_skype_highlighting
    Hotline : 49 171 7323636 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting            49 171 7323636      end_of_the_skype_highlighting
    Telefax : 49 7041 891-232
    Email: ,

    POB 2064 - 49470
    Tel: +49 (0) 54 51 85-0 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting            +49 (0) 54 51 85-0      end_of_the_skype_highlighting
    Fax +49 (0) 54 51 85-3 10
    Brochure [1] [2] [3]
    Ctra. Igualada, P O Box 172
    Barcelona, SPAIN
    Website :

    Kusum Brick Field

    Kusum Brick FieldKusum Brick Field is located in Hapur, Distt. Ghaziabad (UP) and is owned by Mr Sanjay Dadoo, a 3rd generation brick entrepreneur. His brick kiln unit has a production capacity of about 50,000 bricks per day, with the brick production season usually extending from December to July each year. Shift from moving chimney to fixed chimney design
    Till 1997, Mr Dadoo had a moving chimney brick kiln. With environmental regulations being enforced on the brick industry by the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF), he switched over to a fixed chimney kiln equipped with gravity settling chamber (pollution control system), based on the design provided by the Central Building Research Institute (CBRI), Roorkee. The switchover helped in better kiln operation, which eventually yielded fuel savings of about 10%. This motivated Mr Dadoo to explore other technology options that he could adopt to improve the market for his products.
    Adoption of semi-mechanization for production of perforated bricks and hollow blocks
    Kusum Brick Field was producing only solid bricks. Mr Dadoo visited a number of places like Malur (Karnataka), Baliapatam (Kerala), Morvi (Gujarat) and Vietnam to assess the technology options available in the Indian market and abroad. He acquired semi-mechanized brick moulding machinery from Gujarat, which he himself modified to suit the local conditions. From 2005, he began to produce perforated bricks in his unit (along with traditional bricks). Slowly and steadily, he increased the share in production of perforated bricks (Table 1).

    Table 1 Production of perforated bricks of Kusum Bricks Field
    Year Annual brick production
    2005-06 8 lakh
    2006-07 12 lakh
    2007-08 15 lakh
    2008-09 20 lakh
    Some of the challenges faced by Mr Dadoo while adopting semi-mechanization include:
    • No previous experience in extruder operation and handling of perforated bricks
    • No trained operator/ labour
    • Controlled drying is required for drying of extruded products, which otherwise will lead to cracks, wastage and production losses.
    Mr Dadoo has successfully solved the issues faced in technology adoption. Now, he has plans to diversify his production to include other products such as hollow blocks.

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