Cement Kilns

Aberthaw

Aberthaw Druid Brand cement logoAberthaw "Druid" brand.
Early Aberthaw cement logoEarly Aberthaw logo.
Later Aberthaw cement logo1970s Aberthaw logo.

Location:

  • Grid reference: ST0318967417
  • x=303189
  • y=167417
  • 51°23'51"N; 3°23'29"W
  • Civil Parish: Penmark, Glamorgan

Clinker manufacture operational: 5/1914 to date

Approximate total clinker production to 2015: 33 million tonnes (12th)

Raw materials:

  • Blue Lias limestone and clay (Porthkerry Member: 190-200 Ma) from the quarry adjacent to the plant (ST)303900,167200
  • Carboniferous Limestone from Ruthin/Garwa quarries (mainly Cornelly Oolite Formation: 335-345 Ma) (SS)297400,179400 – parishes of Llanilid and St Mary Hill, Glamorgan

Ownership:

As originally built, the plant represented the expansionist economy of South Wales in the period. A long series of articles in The Engineer in 1915 described it as a state-of-art plant, using home-grown equipment. Read these articles. The long period of quiescence after its initial expansion reflected the dramatic contraction of the post WWI economy in the area. Thus, although initially an aggressive and important venture, it could be described by Cook in the 1950s as small and backward. The nearby Rhoose plant was acquired in 1919, and no new kilns were installed between Rhoose A2 in 1923 and Aberthaw A4 in 1958, by which time the existing plant was obsolete. However, Aberthaw's large reserves of raw material suitable for dry process ensured its continuance. Initially the Blue Lias alone was used, removing the clay by rumbling. As higher C3S clinker became necessary, Ruthin quarry supplied limestone (CaCO3 92-96%) from 1939 to sweeten the mix. In 1947 Aberthaw and Blue Circle purchased the quarry as a joint venture. Subsequently, rumbling was abandoned and the entire un-sorted Lias was used.

The conversion to dry process, in advance of the other smaller companies, was encouraged by Blue Circle, which by then had a substantial minority holding in the company, and Penarth was closed to make way for the additional capacity. Kiln A5 was the third suspension preheater kiln installed in Britain (after Plymstock A1 and A2), and the 12th efficient dry process kiln. Installed in 1967, kiln A5 was briefly the largest in Britain, until overtaken by Cookstown A1 the following year. Although the plant was capable of shipping product from the port of Aberthaw, transport was from the outset by rail, in line with its relationship with the South Wales coalfield. Among British plants, only Rugby is older.

Please contact me with any relevant information or corrections. I am particularly interested in firmer dates and statistics.

Note: technical information on currently operational plants is ✄withheld in the public version of the site at present, except where already published (see references).

Rawmills

  • The original two-kiln installation had four sets of ball- and tube-mills, each set driven by a common 260 kW motor. In 1938 these were replaced with two 710 kW FLS tube mills.
  • Kiln 5 had a Polysius 1190 kW Double Rotator mill heated by kiln exhaust gas. This was somewhat undersized and was supplemented with rawmix ground on cement mills.
  • Kiln 6 has a 10.15 × 4.8 m KHD 3400 kW hot gas swept ball mill, sized to make up the capacity shortfall on the Double Rotator(1).

Six rotary kilns were installed:

Kiln A1

Supplier: Ernest Newell
Operated: 18/5/1914-1967
Process: Wet: a Polysius slurry dryer was added in 1937.
Location: Hot end 303216,167399: Cold end 303212,167460: originally only the hot end was enclosed, but from 1937 the whole kiln was enclosed.
Dimensions: 200’0”× 9’10½”B / 8’10½”CD (metric 60.96×3.010/2.705)
Rotation (viewed from firing end): clockwise
Slope: 1/25 (2.292°)
Speed: 0.75-1.5 rpm
Drive: 37 kW
Kiln profile: 0×2705: 6096×2705: 6096×3010: 16764×3010: 18288×2705: 60960×2705: tyres at 4267, 20117, 31699, 41453, 55169: turning gear at 29466.
Cooler: rotary 80’0” × 7'5"/6’5” (metric 24.38×2.261/1.956) beneath kiln
Cooler profile: 0×2261: 5486×2261: 6401×1956: 24384×1956: tyres at 4115, 15240: turning gear at 7925.
Fuel: 1914-1963 Coal: 1963-1967 Oil
Coal Mill: indirect: ball and tube mills: two sets common to kilns 1 and 2
Exhaust: initially via "wet bottom" drop-out chamber direct to stack. ID fan added after slurry dryer in 1937, with a cyclone. The cyclone was replaced with an electrostatic precipitator in 1946.
Typical Output: 180 t/d pre-1937, 199 t/d post-1937
Typical Heat Consumption: 1914-1937 7.6 MJ/kg: 1937-1950 6.90 MJ/kg: 1950-1956 6.70 MJ/kg: 1957-1963 6.88 MJ/kg: 1963-1967 7.2 MJ/kg


Kiln A2

Operated: 4/5/1914-1967
Location: Hot end 303224,167399: Cold end 303221,167460: originally only the hot end was enclosed, but from 1937 the whole kiln was enclosed.
Rotation (viewed from firing end): anticlockwise
Exhaust: initially via "wet bottom" drop-out chamber direct to stack. ID fan added after slurry dryer in 1937, with a cyclone. The cyclone was replaced with an electrostatic precipitator in 1947.
Identical in all respects to A1.


Kiln A3

Supplier: Ernest Newell
Operated: 1917-1969, 1972-1975
Process: Wet
Location: Hot end 303235,167400: Cold end 303231,167465: originally only the hot end was enclosed, but from 1937 the whole kiln was enclosed.
Dimensions: Initially 200'× 9’10½”B / 8’10½”CD: extended 1938 with Desiccator to 214’× 9’10½”B / 8’10½”C / 13’0”D (metric 65.23×3.010/2.705/3.962)
Rotation (viewed from firing end): anticlockwise?
Slope: 1/25 (2.292°)
Speed: 0.75-1.5 rpm
Drive: 37 kW
Kiln profile:

  • 1917-1938 no information
  • 1938-1975 no information

Cooler: rotary beneath kiln
Cooler profile:
Fuel: 1917-1963 Coal, direct: 1963-1969 Oil: 1972-1975 Gas
Coal Mill: indirect: ball and tube mill
Exhaust: initially via "wet bottom" drop-out chamber direct to stack. ID fan added 1938. Fan exhaust ducted through common electrostatic precipitator with kiln 4 from 1972.
Typical Output: 195 t/d pre-1938, 215 t/d post-1938
Typical Heat Consumption: 1917-1938 7.6 MJ/kg: 1938-1950 6.90 MJ/kg: 1950-1956 6.70 MJ/kg: 1957-1963 6.88 MJ/kg: 1963-1969 7.2 MJ/kg: 1972-1975 7.5 MJ/kg


Kiln A4

Supplier: Vickers Armstrong
Operated: 1958-1969, ?1/1972-1975
Process: Wet
Location: Hot end 303248,167391: Cold end 303244,167466: mostly unenclosed
Dimensions (from cooler ports): 246’1"× 9’0¼”BC / 9’10½D (metric 75.01×2.750/3.010)
Rotation (viewed from firing end): anticlockwise?
Slope: ?
Speed: ?
Drive: ?
Kiln profile (from cooler ports): no information
Cooler: Reflex “Recuperator” planetary: 12 tubes
Fuel: 1958-1963 Coal: 1963-1969 Oil: 1972-1975 Gas
Coal mill: direct, Atritor
Exhaust: via ID fan direct to stack. Fan exhaust ducted through common electrostatic precipitator with kiln 3 from 1972.
Typical Output: 221 t/d
Typical Heat Consumption: 1958-1963 6.75 MJ/kg: 1963-1969 7.0 MJ/kg: 1972-1975 7.3 MJ/kg


Kiln A5

Supplier: Polysius
Operated: 1967-?4/1987
Process: Dry: Dopol 4-stage suspension preheater
Location: Hot end 303123,167385: Cold end 303120,167449: entirely enclosed
Dimensions: Metric 64.00×4.200
Rotation (viewed from firing end): anticlockwise?
Slope: ?
Speed: 1.36 rpm
Drive: ?
Kiln profile: 0×3800: 900×3800: 1800×4200: 63500×4200: 64000×3600: tyres at 10000, 30000, 53000: turning gear at 49000.
Cooler: Fuller 850S grate: 5° slope.
Fuel: 1967-1972 Oil: 1972-1980 Gas: 1980-1987 Coal
Coal mill: ?
Exhaust: via rawmill and electrostatic precipitator to stack.
Typical Output: 1967-1980 1160 t/d: 1980-1987 1230 t/d
Typical Heat Consumption: 1967-1980 3.56 MJ/kg: 1980-1987 3.92 MJ/kg


Kiln A6

Supplier: KHD
Operated: 5/4/1975 to date
Process: Dry: KHD 4-stage suspension preheater: dimensions✄
Location: hot end (cooler ports) 303102,167394: cold end 303089,167458: unenclosed
Dimensions: Metric 65.00×4.200(1)
Rotation (viewed from firing end): anti-clockwise
Slope: ?
Speed: 2.2 rpm
Drive: ?
Kiln profile: ✄
Cooler: planetary: 10×17.50×1.750(1)
Fuel: 1975-1980 Gas: 1980 to date Coal, from the 1990s replaced with increasing amounts (>50%) of Petroleum Coke(1). From 2005, ✄
Coal mill: ✄
Exhaust: via rawmill and electrostatic precipitator to stack(1). From 2003: ✄
Typical Output: ✄
Typical Heat Consumption: ✄



References:

  • (1) Jackson p 268

Sources: Cook, pp 115-116: Jackson, pp 206, 268: Pugh, pp 187-189: “Cement Works at Aberthaw”, The Engineer, CXIX, pp 398-400, 424-426, 497-500, 552-554, 556: "Aberthaw's suspension preheater kiln system plays major part in energy conservation", Cement Technology, 8, 1977, pp 86-89.

Read the Engineer article.


© Dylan Moore 2011: commenced 19/01/2011: last edit 14/12/2016.

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Old Maps

Aberthaw cement layout mapThis is a composite map containing details from different eras that may not have co-existed.

Approximate capacity: tonnes per year: ✄

Aberthaw cement plant 2008
Picture: ©Dylan Moore 2008, and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence. This view of the modern plant from the west shows (L to R) the rawmill building, the rawmix silos, the preheater tower, kiln A6 and the conical clinker store.