A Brick Factory

A visit at a brick factory, Cambodia

It all starts with a truck carrying a load of a specific type of earth, a kind of clay.
Up there, a tractor is waiting to roughly mix it up and push it over a given path
It is then pushed on a sort of rolling ribbon that delivers it inside the first machine of the chain, a mixer
The process is not perfect; everything that spills over is put back in by hand
Of course there is always time to have a short break
Children find playgrounds everywhere
The machine smashes the earth, mix it with water and produces some continuous block of material
There is a second machinery waiting for the output of the first. This is intended to cut the continuos block of material into discrete sections – the bricks themselves.
This is where the continuos block of material stops and …
… is cut into equally spaced blocks
A vibrating section separates the cut sections from one another allowing other persons along the chain to move the produced bricks to a moving cart next to them
This is done quickly, piling up groups of bricks
Section by section the cart is filled with blocks
Not everything goes always right, so there is always a certain amount of waste. This is disposed of in a separate waste tray
The filled cart is moved to the area where the bricks are going to be stored. It is a vast drying facility
I heard that they keep them drying for 7-10 days, under no direct sunlight and no wind.
The special, very large, areas where the bricks are stacked to dry are really full with bricks but a sufficient room among rows is allowed for the flow of air to circulate and to help them to dry.
Once the cart is emptied, it is taken back to the start.
But this is not the end of the process. What about when the bricks are dry?
When the bricks are dry and ready to be cooked they are brought to another area of the factory, this one
The bricks are piled up in stacks inside these narrow furnaces
Going inside most of them (when they are not hot, of course) it is easy to realise how the work is done
It is possible to have a glance over some stacks when they are not completed to have a inner insight of the very long structure running along this whole area
On the other side of the structure there are the furnaces. These are constantly filled with material to be burned
The material is put into every burning chamber from the above…
… but also from the side. Now, the fire is heating the inner chambers where the bricks were placed
To give so many furnaces enough material to burn, many large stacks of material are needed. This material is made out of disposal of rice cultivation, in particular the outer barks

The process ends here. Once cooked, the bricks are left in the chambers to cool down for four days until they are finally ready to be transferred onto trucks and delivered where needed – to construction sites and stores.

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