Cement Kilns

Magheramorne

Location:

  • Grid reference:
    • ITM 743646,898741
    • old style J4375398771
  • 54°48'57"N; 5°45'48"W
  • Ballylig, Glynn, County Antrim

Clinker manufacture operational: 1914 - 1980

Approximate total clinker production: 11.1 million tonnes (36th).

Raw materials:

  • Antrim Chalk (Ulster White Limestone Formation: 80-90 Ma) overlain by basalt from quarry at 743800,898100
  • Lough Clay

Ownership:

Lime was made and exported at this site on a fairly large scale for more than a century before BPCM bought it in 1911. Construction of the cement plant began immediately. The raw material, originally obtained from the chalk outcrop at the foot of the Antrim plateau, was subsequently obtained by stripping back up to 100 m of overlying basalt, this being tipped in Larne Lough, forming what is now a 70 Ha peninsula of reclaimed land.

Kiln A2 was appropriated for manufacture of calcium aluminate cement from 1927, using the locally mined bauxite. This deposit had been abandoned by the aluminium industry due to its low purity (high iron content) and this probably compromised the quality of the product compared to that of Lafarge, which also started UK manufacture (at West Thurrock) in 1926. The rotary kiln process must also have been comparatively expensive. Blue Circle re-sold the Lafarge product from 1932 onwards.

The plant was on the Belfast-Larne coastal railway line for communication with Belfast (33 km) but it had a deep water wharf on the lough and could export and import in quantity. The start-up of Platin A2 in 1977 forced a retrenchment. Uprating to a competitive low cost process was not feasible due to the escalating cost of quarrying, and the last kiln stopped in 1980. The plant remained in operation, grinding Plymstock surplus clinker, but this also ceased in 1984, as shipping of ready-ground cement proved cheaper. The remains of the plant functioned as an import terminal until 2001. The quarry is now flooded, with some of the raw milling plant standing half submerged. The production part of the plant site has been cleared although many features are still identifiable. The cement handling plant remains, awaiting redevelopment decisions.

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

Rawmills

?The original mills were probably a washmill for clay and a Kominor/tube mill combination of equivalent 180 kW (steam powered), a second set being added with the second kiln. Later setup not known, but presumably Vickers ball mills.

Four rotary kilns were installed:

Kiln A1

Supplier: FLS
Operated: 10/1914 -1978
Process: Wet
Location: Hot end,: Cold end,
Dimensions: Metric 50.53 × 2.775B / 2.400CD
Rotation (viewed from firing end): ?
Slope: ?
Speed: ?
Drive: ?
Kiln profile:

  • Originally: 0×1925: 700×1925: 700×2400: 2100×2400: 2100×2700: 9900×2700: 11925×2400: 50000×2400: Tyres at 1300, 13200, 27700, 44475
  • from 1934: 0×2407: 2489×2407: 4318×2775: 10109×2775: 11938×2407: 50527×2407: Tyres at 1543, 13373, 27730, 44533

Cooler: concentric rotary metric 9.50 × 1.050 / 1.650 beneath kiln: replaced in 1949 with part of Vectis A1 kiln: 62’3” × 7’4½” (metric 18.97 × 2.248)
Cooler profile:

  • Originally: 0×1200: 3640×1200: 3640×1050: 3920×1050: 3920×1650: 9500×1650: Tyre at 2150 with trunnion end bearing: turning gear at tail end.
  • Finally: 0×1905: 1378×2250: 18974×2250: Tyres at 4255, 14910

Fuel: Coal
Coal mill: Indirect: ball mill: later direct: No16 Atritor
Typical Output: 1914-1923 108 t/d: 1923-1935 139 t/d: 1935-1943 171 t/d: 1943-1951 140 t/d: 1951-1971 179 t/d: 1971-1978 168 t/d
Typical Heat Consumption: 1914-1923 9.38 MJ/kg: 1923-1935 8.63 MJ/kg: 1935-1971 7.48 MJ/kg: 1971-1978 6.78 MJ/kg


Kiln A2

Supplier: FLS
Operated: 12/1921 -2/1934: periodically between 1927 and 1932 it made aluminous cement
Process: Wet
Location: Hot end,: Cold end,
Dimensions: Metric 50.00 × 2.700B / 2.400CD
Rotation (viewed from firing end): ?
Slope: ?
Speed: ?
Drive: ?
Kiln profile: 0×1925: 700×1925: 700×2400: 2100×2400: 2100×2700: 9900×2700: 11925×2400: 50000×2400: Tyres at 1300, 13200, 27700, 44475
Cooler: concentric rotary metric 9.50 × 1.050 / 1.650 beneath kiln
Cooler profile: 0×1200: 3640×1200: 3640×1050: 3920×1050: 3920×1650: 9500×1650: Tyre at 2150 with trunnion end bearing: Turning gear at tail end
Fuel: Coal
Coal mill: Indirect: ball mill
Typical Output: 131 t/d
Typical Heat Consumption: 8.9 MJ/kg


Kiln B2

Supplier: Vickers, previously British Standard A2: the shell was kept intact, but the tyres were moved to suit A2 piers.
Operated: 1934-1978
Process: Wet
Location: Hot end,: Cold end,
Dimensions: 195’4”× 9’10½”B / 9’0¼”C / 12’0”D (metric 59.54 × 3.010 / 2.750 / 3.658)
Rotation (viewed from firing end): ?
Slope: ?
Speed: ?
Drive: ?
Kiln profile: 0×2572: 1295×2572: 2946×3010: 14910×3010: 16129×2750: 49581×2750: 50648×3658: 55905×3658: 56972×2750: 59538×2750: Tyres at 2134, 17234, 31636, 48451, 57976.
Cooler: Rotary metric 23.22 × 2.400 cut from BE of old kiln A2, beneath kiln
Cooler profile: 0×1905: 1753×2400: 23216×2400: Tyres at 5182, 20152.
Fuel: Coal
Coal mill: Direct: No 18 Atritor
Typical Output: 1934-1942 276 t/d: 1942-1947 264 t/d: 1947-1961 294 t/d: 1961-1973 285 t/d: 1973-1978 267 t/d
Typical Heat Consumption: 1934-1942 7.57 MJ/kg: 1942-1947 7.32 MJ/kg: 1947-1957 7.60 MJ/kg: 1957-1961 7.14 MJ/kg: 1961-1968 7.65 MJ/kg: 1968-1973 7.93 MJ/kg: 1973-1978 7.25 MJ/kg


Kiln B3

Supplier: “made up” by Harland and Wolff using Metropolitan A1 (Vickers Armstrong) for the rear part. The burning zone is also of Vickers Armstrong design.
Operated: 10/1953-11/11/1980
Process: Wet
Location: Hot end,: Cold end,
Dimensions: 289’11¼”× 11’6”B / 10’6”CD (metric 88.37 × 3.505 / 3.200)
Rotation (viewed from firing end): ?
Slope: ?
Speed: ?
Drive: ?
Kiln profile: 0×3048: 2438×3505: 24790×3505: 27229×3200: 88373×3200: Tyres at 3353, 19101, 35789, 52457, 69145, 85706
Cooler: Rotary 97’6”× 8’4⅞” (metric 29.72 × 2.562) beneath kiln
Cooler profile: 0×2254: 2972×3016: 12116×3016: 13564×2562: 29718×2562: Tyres at 6299, 15443, 25832
Fuel: Coal
Coal mill: Direct: 2 No18 Atritors
Typical Output: 1953-1965 437 t/d: 1966-1976 467 t/d: 1977-1980 420 t/d
Typical Heat Consumption: 1953-1957 7.66 MJ/kg: 1957-1961 7.03 MJ/kg: 1961-1965 7.58 MJ/kg: 1966-1976 7.35 MJ/kg: 1977-1980 6.86 MJ/kg



Sources: Jackson, pp 239, 286: Pugh, p 266


© Dylan Moore 2011: commenced 07/08/2011: last edit 31/12/2016.

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An almost total lack of layout information has prevented development of a detail plan.

Approximate capacity: tonnes per year

Magheramorne Capacity


1929 picture
Picture: ©English Heritage - NMR Aerofilms Collection. Britain from Above reference number XPW028903.
Britain from Above features some of the oldest and most valuable images of the Aerofilms Collection, a unique and important archive of aerial photographs. You can download images, share memories, and add information. By the end of the project in 2014, 95,000 images taken between 1919 and 1953 will be available online.
View from the NE in 1929, showing the two original kilns in operation. The picture confirms the essential similarity to the two more-or-less contemporary FLS kilns at Peters, and gives an idea what the latter looked like. Typical of FLS kilns of the time are the kiln feed tanks under the kilns between the cold-end piers. Also operational (black smoke) is the original power house. View in High Definition.


1935 picture
View from the NW around 1935, kindly supplied by Tony Graham. Note the small extent at this stage of the peninsula formed by dumping of waste basalt, ultimately extending 1.5 km up the lough.


 GeoScenicP225312 ©NERC 1967
Picture: ©NERC 1967: British Geological Survey Cat. No. P225312. This is the southeast side of the quarry viewed from the northwest in 1967, showing the layers of Paleocene Basalt that had to be removed to get at the chalk.


 GeoScenicP225313 ©NERC 1967
Picture: ©NERC 1967: British Geological Survey Cat. No. P225313. This is a view from the railway in 1967, showing the successively larger kilns A1, B2 and B3.


 GeoScenicP225314 ©NERC 1967
Picture: ©NERC 1967: British Geological Survey Cat. No. P225314. This is a view from the quarry, looking north, in 1967. In the foreground are the conical chalk store and the slurry blending tanks, two of which still stand. The kiln feed slurry tanks are to the right, in front of the stack. The cement grinding and storage area and the wharf are to the left.