Clinker manufacture operational: 1949 to date
Approximate clinker production to 2015: 31 million tonnes (13th)
The plant was one of several post-war projects that were somewhat delayed by the economic circumstances of the late 1940s: it was originally scheduled for start up in 1947. It was the last green-field plant location to be remote from both raw materials and its position seems to have been predicated by the rules of the then-existing pricing cartel. Even water was not available on site: it was pumped from an artesian well 8 km away. Both raw materials are brought by rather arduous trips on minor roads through a semi-urban area. The use of colliery waste, with a potential fuel saving, was not new: it had been employed at Cousland much earlier. Despite the obvious suitability of dry process, FLS were uninterested in this, and the plant used standard wet process as previously installed by them at many other hard-rock sites such as Hope, Ketton, Drogheda, Limerick and Ribblesdale. By the 1960s, however, they had started to develop “long dry” kilns, and A3 became a successful first venture in Britain. The carbonaceous rawmix made it peculiarly appropriate in this instance. It had a long service life.
The need to maintain capacity while getting rid of the wet kilns necessitated its replacement with the highly-efficient A4, which for the first time allowed full utilization of the potential heat content of the raw material.
The plant is on the Wrexham to Connah’s Quay branch railway and could use this initially for shale movement (from Llay Main’s siding when it still operated) as well as coal and despatch. Now only coal arrives by rail, and the plant transport is nearly all by road. The A55, 3 km away, gives rapid access to the motorway network.
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.
Four rotary kilns were installed:
Rotation (viewed from firing end): clockwise
Operated: 12/1949-1991, 1995-2005
Sources: Jackson, pp 248, 291: Tunnel Cement (brochure), Tunnel Portland Cement Co., Ltd., 1950: Mervyn E. Foulkes, “The History of Cement Manufacture at Padeswood, North-east Wales” in Magazine of the Buckley Society, 28, 2004: Mervyn Foulkes also produced a video: A History of Cement Making at Padeswood Works in North Wales, Knew Productions, 2006 - the motivations for the production of this video were essentially the motivations for making this website - it is highly recommended.
© Dylan Moore 2011: commenced 07/08/2011: last edit 14/12/2016.
Approximate capacity: tonnes per year: ✄
Picture: ©English Heritage - NMR Aerofilms Collection. Catalogue number 415290. A high-definition version can be obtained from English Heritage. This was taken in 1981, looking northwestward. On the far right is the limestone intake, fed throughout the life of the plant by road vehicle. Part of the limestone stockpile is visible. The long storage building in the centre, operated by overhead cranes, contained raw materials (far end) and clinker (near end). In a typical FLS design, the rawmills and finish mills are grouped together next to the store. Slurry was blended in the silos and basins to the right of the stacks and was fed to the two wet process kilns.The long dry kiln 3 is to the left. Its own dry rawmill and six rawmix silos are behind the stacks. The coal intake and oil tank are at the near end of the kiln houses.