ACerS Structural Clay Products Division & Southwest Section Meeting in conjunction with the National Brick Research Center Meeting
June 5-8, 2018 | Columbia, South Carolina
Over 90 attendees converged in Columbia, SC June 5-8 to take part in the combined meeting of the ACerS Structural Clay Products Division, ACerS Southwest (SW) Section, and Clemson University’s National Brick Research Center (NBRC). A record number of eighteen companies sponsored this year’s meeting.
The meeting kicked off with the NBRC Spring Executive Committee Meeting on Wednesday morning. NBRC Director, John Sanders, Testing Services Manager Mike Walker, and other NBRC staff provided the members with updates on current research and other updates on the Center.
On Wednesday afternoon and Friday morning, attendees heard from 12 industry experts on a wide range of topics, including topics on energy (i.e., powering a brick plant with the sun at Palmetto Brick, results of an energy efficiency project at Meridian Brick’s Muskogee, OK plant, faster drying and firing considerations, and an update on energy savings at the kiln), advances in automation and robotics, thin brick processing and testing, tools to determine extrudability, advances in die technology, OSHA’s silica rule, and an overview on clay brick standards.
Brick plant tours
On Thursday, attendees toured two brick plants—Carolina Ceramics and Meridian Brick, both located in Columbia. At Carolina Ceramics, Michael Borden (CEO) and Grady Hansen (Plant Manager) greeted attendees and along with other staff guided attendees through the plant. Carolina Ceramics has the flexibility to produce a wide variety of sizes and colors using the combination of shale and kaolin raw materials and various additives. Colors range from light buffs and greys, red and brown colors, to flat set flashed products which they have built their reputation on. Carolina Ceramics currently has one plant dedicated to producing FBX quality brick and the second plant producing rustic products to simulate brick produced hundreds of years ago. After the tour, Carolina Brick treated attendees to a much appreciated barbeque lunch.