Origin of the project
The business relationship between MÁLYI TÉGLA, a ceramics plant located on the outskirts of Miskolc (Hungary), and BERALMAR goes back to the year 2000 when BERALMAR’s managing director Ramon Sarió, the technical director Artur Massaguer, and the representative in Hungary Carlos Acosta, visited the plant and were very kindly hosted by the owner, László Stark. At that time, MÁLYI TÉGLA was a historic ceramics plant in the northeast of Hungary with an interesting design: a two-level building containing two Hoffmann kilns on the lower floor, drying chambers on the upper floor, and a very unique clay preparation line, vertically arranged, that divided the premises into two symmetrical halves. Other unique aspects of the factory included the delivery of clay using baskets that crossed over a road and an impressive outdoor chimney that dominated the view of the region. During that first visit, one of the two Hoffman kilns was being repaired and a discussion was held about the possibility of building a tunnel kiln with the aim of expanding production and lowering both energy and labour costs. However, the biggest problem was the lack of space: the thickness of the plant’s interior pillars left a passage of only 5,450 mm between them, making it difficult to find a viable solution. It didn’t make sense to install a narrow kiln that wouldn’t offer a significantly larger production than the nearly 200 tonnes that the factory was already producing with the two Hoffmann kilns. Finally, a few years later, between Mr Stark’s insistence and Artur Massaguer's love of a challenge, solutions were proposed to begin a project involving a tunnel kiln that would produce 350 tonnes/day.
Execution of the project
The planned kiln would be 84.90 meters long (including the pre-kiln), with an inside width of 4,700 mm and an outside width of 6,140 mm. Despite the fact that, according to Mr. Stark, other engineering firms that had been consulted had claimed that a kiln could not be built with the available space, BERALMAR solved the issue of the distance between pillars (5,450 mm) in an ingenious way: by integrating them into the kiln structure. This was not as simple as it sounds, given that the planned kiln was a PRESTHERMIC model, BERALMAR's high-performance airtight kiln that allows working at high pressure thanks to its design and finish in welded sheet metal. It was therefore necessary to clad the pillars with this sheet metal to ensure that the bricks that comprised them would not have to withstand temperatures of more 600 °C, in addition to passing the kiln pipes through some unusual spaces. In this way the pillars were integrated in the kiln not only for reasons of space, but above all to ensure airtight conditions. A resulting feature is that the vault is held under beams of two different lengths depending on the presence of said pillars.
The kiln was equipped with natural gas combustion equipment and a MICROBER automatic management system.
The new kiln was built in the space previously occupied by one of the two Hoffmann kilns that was knocked down, so the other kiln continued operating during the entire construction of the new tunnel kiln.