Cement Kilns

Masons

Masons LogoMason & Co. brand.

Location:

  • Grid reference: TM1227350138
  • x=612273
  • y=250138
  • 52°6'32"N; 1°6'0"E
  • Civil Parish: Great Blakenham, East Suffolk

Clinker manufacture operational: 1913-1999

Approximate total clinker production: 14.1 million tonnes (28th)

Raw materials:

  • Upper Chalk (Newhaven Chalk Formation: 82-85 Ma) from quarry at 611000,250100
  • Boulder Clay from quarry at 611200,250300 extending into the parishes of Little Blakenham, Nettlestead and Baylham.

Ownership:

Often called Claydon Works, although not in that parish. The plant was built to replace the Waldringfield plant. The chalk in this area is overlain with boulder clay containing chalk and flint as major components and which could contain 40% calcium carbonate. Highly weathered, it allowed the possibility of low slurry moistures, although these were not realized until the 1970s.

Kilns A1-A3 were designed to operate with waste heat boilers for electric power generation: A1 and A2 had no chains. As a relatively inefficient independent firm, the plant survived due to a captive local market. The plant ran through both world wars – the plant was bombed on 1/2/1941 (see "People's War"), but little production was lost, and the plant benefitted from its “front line” position. After the war, however, with fuel shortages, the business became weak, and was bought by APCM in 1948.

APCM began uprating the plant in view of its useful location in East Anglia, initially by correcting the eccentricities of its independent operation, then by moving a relatively efficient kiln and cooler from Burham in 1953 as kiln A4.

Kiln A5 was identical to the previous Westbury A2, and went on to out-perform it and achieve an excellent record for efficiency, output and dependability, but deteriorated during the 1990s due to intermittent running and attempts to make "special" clinkers without the benefit of adequate raw material preparation. It was briefly the biggest kiln until overtaken by Aberthaw A5 in 1967, and was Blue Circle’s cheapest-to-run UK wet process kiln for many years.

The plant had sidings on the LNER for all transportation. The site has been cleared, and remains largely empty, although housing is planned. The quarry is to be developed as an indoor skiing centre.

Rawmills

The raw materials were always processed in washmills at the quarry, and slurry was pumped about a kilometre to the plant. In the initial installation, two 26 kW washmills ground combined raw materials. Later, a separate 90 kW washmill was set up in the clay quarry, and clay slurry was combined with chalk in a main 127 kW rough washmill and 90 kW secondary washmill in the chalk quarry. The slurry was pumped to the plant and blended there. The quarry plant was again re-built with the installation of kiln 5 in the 1960s. The slurry was classified by hydrocyclone and the rejects were re-ground in a tube mill. When reduced slurry moisture caused a fall in the efficiency of this system, a coarser slurry was made and reground at the plant using a 1190 kW FLS tube mill previously used at Rhoose.

Five rotary kilns were installed:

Kiln A1

Supplier: Polysius
Operated: 1913-22/09/1966
Process: Wet
Location: hot end : cold end : unenclosed.
Dimensions:

  • as installed: metric 41.00 × 2.000 (cooling) / 2.400B / 2.000CD
  • post-WWII: 132’0”× 6’6”(cooling) / 7’9”B / 6’6”CD (metric 40.23 × 2.362 / 1.981)

Rotation (viewed from firing end): clockwise.
Kiln profile (from end of cooling zone):

  • as installed: -5000×2000: 0×2000: 2000×2400: 12000×2400: 14000×2000: 36000×2000: Tyres at -1000, 15000, 31000
  • post-WWII: -4278×2000: 0×2000: 2000×2400: 12000×2400: 14000×2000: 36000×2000: Tyres at -1000, 15000, 31000

Cooler: None: the nose section was intended to do some cooling.
Fuel: Coal
Coal Mill: indirect: compound tube mill
Exhaust: via dry drop-out chamber direct to stack: an ID fan was added in 1949.
Typical Output: 1913-1919 80 t/d: 1920-1954 88 t/d: 1955-1960 81 t/d: 1960-1966 95 t/d
Typical Heat Consumption: 1913-1919 11.3 MJ/kg: 1920-1943 9.25 MJ/kg: 1947-1954 8.89 MJ/kg: 1955-1966 9.27 MJ/kg


Kiln A2

Supplier: Edgar Allen
Operated: 1923-21/09/1966
Location: hot end : cold end : unenclosed.
Dimensions: 132’0”× 6’6”(cooling) / 7’9”B / 6’6”CD (metric 40.23 × 2.362 / 1.981)
Rotation (viewed from firing end): clockwise.
Kiln profile (from end of cooling zone): -4267×1981: 0×1981: 2007×2362: 12014×2362: 14021×1981: 35967×1981: Tyres at -987, 15013, 31013
Exhaust: via dry drop-out chamber direct to stack: an ID fan was added in 1949.
Typical Output: 1923-1960 83 t/d: 1960-1966 96 t/d
Typical Heat Consumption: 1923-1941 9.31 MJ/kg: 1942-1954 9.06 MJ/kg: 1955-1960 9.43 MJ/kg: 1960-1966 9.25 MJ/kg
Identical in all other respects to A1


Kiln A3

Supplier: Edgar Allen
Operated: 1939-21/09/1966
Process: Wet
Location: hot end : cold end : unenclosed.
Dimensions (from cooler ports): 130’0”× 9’6”B / 6’6”CD (metric 39.62 × 2.896 / 1.981)
Rotation (viewed from firing end): clockwise.
Kiln profile: (from cooler ports): -610×2438: 584×2438: 5055×2896: 14808×2896: 17196×1981: 39624×1981: Tyres at 5817, 20879, 34747
Cooler: Reflex planetary coolers 5 × 15’5” × 2’10” (metric 4.72 × 0.864)
Fuel: Coal
Coal Mill: ?
Exhaust: via dry drop-out chamber direct to stack: an ID fan was added in 1949.
Typical Output: 1939-1950 86 t/d: 1950-1959 93 t/d: 1960-1966 100 t/d
Typical Heat Consumption: 1939-1950 8.45 MJ/kg: 1950-1959 9.33 MJ/kg: 1960-1966 8.67 MJ/kg


Kiln A4

Supplier: Ernest Newell (ex Burham A1), lengthened by 29’0”
Operated: 6/1953-27/9/1966: 6/1969-9/1974
Process: Wet
Location: hot end : cold end : unenclosed.
Dimensions: 231’0”× 9’11?”B / 8’5¾”CD (metric 70.41 × 3.045 / 2.584)
Rotation (viewed from firing end): anti-clockwise.
Kiln profile: 0×2464: 1657×2464: 3931×3045: 15354×3045: 17183×2584: 68885×2584: 69494×2134: 70409×2134: tyres at 2667, 18098, 33642, 50127, 65469: turning gear at 36081
Cooler: rotary 80’6”× 6’4” (metric 24.54 × 2134: ex Burham A1 cooler) beneath kiln
Cooler profile: 0×2078: 775×2078: 18455×2229: 54544×2229: 6039×1930: 24536×1930: tyres at 3810, 18745
Fuel: Coal
Coal Mill: direct: No18 Atritor
Exhaust: ID fan followed by electrostatic precipitator.
Typical Output: 285 t/d
Typical Heat Consumption: 1953-1966 7.56 MJ/kg: 1969-1974 7.33 MJ/kg


Kiln A5

Supplier: Vickers Armstrong
Operated: 17/09/1966-07/02/1999
Process: Wet
Location: hot end : cold end : entirely enclosed.
Dimensions: 500’0”× 14’6”B / 13’6”CD (metric 152.40 × 4.420 / 4.115)
Rotation (viewed from firing end): clockwise.
Kiln profile: 0×3810: 737×3810: 2743×4420: 33833×4420: 36982×4115: 150876×4115: 151486×3200: 152400×3200: tyres at 3658, 23470, 44196, 64922, 85649, 106985, 127711, 144780: turning gear at 67970.
Cooler: Fuller 850H grate
Fuel: Coal, from the 1990s up to 100% replaced with Petcoke.
Coal Mill: direct: MPS112 roller mill
Exhaust: ID fan followed by eight parallel APCM "Unit" electrostatic precipitators.
Typical Output: 1966-1973 944 t/d: 1973-1987 1073 t/d: 1988-1993 1122 t/d: 1994-1999 1030 t/d
Typical Heat Consumption: 1966-1973 6.63 MJ/kg: 1973-1981 5.29 MJ/kg: 1982-1987 5.49 MJ/kg: 1988-1993 5.39 MJ/kg: 1994-1999 5.56 MJ/kg



Sources: Cook, p 115: Francis, p 207: Jackson, pp 240, 287: Pugh, pp 267-268: The Blue Circle, April 1955, pp 10-14: “A new cement works near Ipswich”, The Engineer, 117, pp 310-312 (March 20, 1914): "Extension of Mason's Cement Works, Suffolk", Cement and Lime Manufacture, 27, Sept 1954, pp 67-71: Masons Works: A Pictorial History, Blue Circle Industries plc, 1999.


© Dylan Moore 2011: last edit 25/11/2014.

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Old Maps

A detail plan of the plant has been partially completed, but further progress is prevented by lack of information on the layout of the earlier plant.

Approximate capacity: tonnes per year
Masons Capacity


Masons Picture
Picture: ©Dylan Moore 2008, and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence. This shows Kiln 5 in 1996, viewed from the first pier.

Masons Picture
Picture: ©English Heritage - NMR Aerofilms Collection. Catalogue number A210695. A high-definition version can be obtained from English Heritage. This was taken on 8/5/1971, viewed from the southwest. Kiln 5 is in the long building, and the eight APCM-designed "Unit precipitators" are to the left of the stack. Kiln 4 is in the centre behind the stack. The recently-cleared kilns 1-3 were parallel in the space immediately beyond kiln 4. Although not running at the moment, kiln 4 ran as top-up capacity for another three years before being removed.