Cement Kilns

Rugby

rugby LogoRugby Crown Brand of 1882. Kindly provided by John Frearson.

Location:

  • Grid reference: SP48787566
  • x=448780
  • y=275658
  • 52°22'36"N; 1°17'0"W
  • Civil Parish: Bilton, Warwickshire

Clinker manufacture operational: 1870 to date

Approximate total clinker production (to 2015): 33 million tonnes (11th)

Raw materials:

  • 1870-1938 selected Blue Lias Limestone (Rugby Limestone Member: 195-200 Ma), then 1938-1985 Limestone and Shale from quarries at:
    • 1) 448700,275800
    • 2) 448700,276000
    • 3) 449000,275800
    • 4) 449900,275900
  • 1938-1965: Grey Chalk (Zig-zag Chalk Formation: 94-97 Ma) by rail from Totternhoe, Bedfordshire (498700,222100)
  • 1965 to date: Upper (Lewes Nodular Chalk Formation: 88-90 Ma), Middle (New Pit and Holywell Nodular Chalk Formations: 90-94 Ma) and Grey Chalk pumped as slurry from quarry at Kensworth, Bedfordshire (502200,219800) – pipeline length 92 km
  • 1985 to 2003: Blue Lias Limestone and Clay by road from Southam quarry (442100,263300)
  • 2003 to 2009: Blue Lias Limestone and Clay directly from Lodge Farm quarry (Long Lawford 448300,275700)

Ownership:

  • 1870-1871: Rugby Blue Lias Lime and Cement Co. Ltd
  • 1871 -1979: Rugby Portland Cement Co. Ltd
  • 1979-2000: Rugby Group
  • February 2000 – March 2005: RMC
  • March 2005 to date: CEMEX

Old Maps

Preparation of a detail plan remains impossible due to an almost complete lack of layout information and site plans.

Approximate capacity: tonnes per year: ✄

Sometimes called New Bilton Works, and in earlier times, Victoria Works. The Bilton plant was in operation as early as 1855, making blue lias lime and at some stage “artificial cements” began to be made, called “Portland” or “Roman” fairly indiscriminately: in any case this was a “quick-setting” cement. Henry Reid visited in 1869 and consulted with the owners on making a true Portland cement, and it would appear that newly-designed plant began making it in 1870, using dry rawmix preparation. The original rectangular brick-kilns used for burning lias blocks and briquetted rawmix were replaced in the mid-1870s with bottle kilns. Although dates are uncertain, the sequence of construction seems to have been:

  • Eight kilns of total capacity 180 t/week
  • Four kilns of total capacity 110 t/week
  • Two kilns of total capacity 60 t/week

These were followed by ?seven chamber kilns of total capacity 155 t/week. All these were in place by 1889, with total capacity 505 t/week. With Newbold’s 190 t/week, this made up Davis’ 1907 figure of 700 t/week.

In 1910, the first rotary kiln was installed, and the static kilns were shut down by 1914. Kilns A1 and A2 had common ancillaries and were used alternately. In 1933, the plant reached its nadir, selling only 11000 t of cement, but in that year Halford Reddish took control, and aggressive redevelopment took place. With the development of the Rugby company in the 1930s, this became the “home” plant of the company, and at the same time the inadequacy of the local raw materials emerged. This was solved by import of chalk from Bedfordshire. All the Rugby plants were systematically up-rated, and a relatively large kiln was installed at Rugby in 1968, despite the lack of on-site raw materials. The post-1973 contraction resulted in the shut-down of all but this kiln. The plant made sulfate resisting clinker alongside ordinary clinker from 1956 to 1983. In the 1990s, it was decided to replace it with the largest kiln in Britain - a four-fold capacity increase. The use of chalk slurry as a major rawmix component continued, and the plant can be described as "semi-wet". During the long history of the plant, Rugby town and its satellite villages have gradually surrounded it. The resources of the company were concentrated at Rugby, so that by 2009 it accounted for 80% of CEMEX’s UK clinker output. With more than 140 years of Portland cement production, it is by far Britain's oldest plant, its nearest rival being Aberthaw (commenced 1914).

The plant had no direct canal connection, but had a siding on the L&NWR Rugby to Leamington branch, giving communication with the many lines radiating from Rugby. The tracks were taken up with the construction of the new plant, and now only road transport is used.

In my efforts to preserve the history of the industry, and to describe its evolution, the information that I have available on the earlier Rugby plant is extremely unsatisfactory, particulary with regard to the rotary kilns. Please contact me with any relevant information or corrections. I am particularly interested in firmer dates and statistics, pictures, plans.

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

  • Wet process plant: I have no information at all about equipment at Rugby.
  • Kensworth chalk quarry
    • 1965-1999 two washmills grinding 400 dry t/h.
    • 1999 to date washdrum grinding 1400 dry t/h.
  • Semi-wet Plant: ✄

Seven rotary kilns were installed:

Kiln A1

Supplier: Ernest Newell
Operated: 1/1911-1926
Process: Wet
Location: Hot end 448957,275610 : Cold end 448921,275619 : entirely enclosed
Dimensions: 120’0” × 7’4½” (metric 36.58 × 2.248)
Rotation (viewed from firing end): clockwise
Slope: ?°
Speed: ?
Drive: ?
Kiln profile: 0×2248: 36576×2248: tyres at 3429, 17145, 35433: turning gear at 18974.
Cooler: concentric rotary beneath kiln
Cooler profile:
Fuel: Coal
Coal mill: indirect: coal fired drier followed by ball and tube mills
Typical Output: 55 t/d
Typical Heat Consumption: 8.0 MJ/kg


Kiln A2

Location: Hot end 448959,275617: Cold end 448924,275627 : entirely enclosed
Operated: 1/1915-1939
Process: Wet; waste heat boiler added in 1926.
Identical in all other respects to A1


Kiln A3

Supplier: ?Edgar Allen
Operated: 1926-28/6/1968: ?/11/1977-?/10/1980
Process: Wet, originally with waste heat boiler.
Location:

  • 1926-1968: Hot end 448957,275610: Cold end 448915,275621: entirely enclosed
  • 1969-1980: Hot end 448957,275610: Cold end 448881,275630: entirely enclosed

Dimensions:

  • 1926-1968: 141’0"× 11’0”/ 9’0” (metric 42.98 × 3.353 / 2.743)
  • 1969-1980: 257’6”× 11’0”/ 9’0”/ 11’0” (metric 78.49 × 3.353 / 2.743 / 3.353)

Rotation (viewed from firing end): clockwise
Slope: ?°
Speed: ?
Drive: ?
Kiln profile:

  • 1926-1968: 0×2743: 1524×2743: 3048×3353: 7620×3353: 9144×2743: 42977×2743: tyres at 762, 9830, 27230, 41843: turning gear at 25375
  • 1969-1980: 0×2743: 1524×2743: 3048×3353: 7620×3353: 9144×2743: 42215×2743: 44958×3353: 78486×3353: tyres at 762, 9830, 27230, 41834, 55626, 70866: turning gear at 25375

Cooler: Rotary beneath kiln: dimensions? about 40' long.
Cooler profile: ?
Fuel: Coal
Coal mill: ?
Typical Output: 1926-1968 120 t/d: 1977-1980 236 t/d
Typical Heat Consumption: 1926-1968 8.5 MJ/kg: 1977-1980 6.79 MJ/kg


Kiln A4

Supplier: Edgar Allen: ex Gillingham A1 with burning zone shortened and enlarged rear section added
Operated: 1940-?/9/1981
Process: Wet
Location: Hot end 448958,275602: Cold end 448872,275625: entirely enclosed
Dimensions: 292’0”× 10’0”/ 9’0”/ 12’0” (metric 89.00 × 3.048 / 2.743 / 3.658)
Rotation (viewed from firing end): anticlockwise
Slope: 1/24 (2.388°)
Speed: ?
Drive: ?
Kiln profile: 0×2743: 1524×2743: 4369×3048: 13818×3048: 15850×2743: 58522×2743: 61570×3658: 89002×3658: tyres at 762, 16612, 35433, 54864, 68580, 82296: turning gear at 32385
Cooler: Rotary beneath kiln: dimensions?
Cooler profile: ?
Fuel: Coal
Coal mill: ?
Typical Output: 1940-1968 236 t/d: 1968-1981 266 t/d
Typical Heat Consumption: 1940-1968 6.79 MJ/kg: 1968-1981 6.89 MJ/kg


Kiln A5

Supplier: FLS
Operated: 17/12/1953 - 4/7/1982
Process: Wet
Location: Hot end 448954,275621: Cold end 448867,275644 : entirely enclosed
Dimensions: Metric 90 × 3.450
Rotation (viewed from firing end): anticlockwise
Slope: 1/25 (2.292°)
Speed: ?
Drive: ?
Kiln profile: 0×3450: 88700×3450: 88700×3000: 90000×3000: tyres at 4500, 23500, 42500, 61500, 80500: turning gear at 40000
Cooler: Folax ?624 grate under kiln.
Fuel: Coal
Coal mill: indirect: FLS Tirax ball mill
Typical Output: 1953-1967 398 t/d: 1968-1974 388 t/d: 1975-1982 357 t/d
Typical Heat Consumption: 1953-1967 6.25 MJ/kg: 1968-1974 6.81 MJ/kg: 1975-1982 6.85 MJ/kg


Kiln A6

Supplier: FLS
Operated: 30/6/1968-?/2/2000
Process: Wet
Location: Hot end 448638,275676: Cold end 448800,275633 : entirely enclosed
Dimensions (from cooler ports): Metric 168 × 4.25BC / 5.00D
Rotation (viewed from firing end): ?
Slope: ?°
Speed: ?
Drive: Dual ?kW
Kiln profile (from cooler ports): no information
Cooler: Unax planetary 10 × 13.50 × 1.650
Fuel: Coal
Coal mill: indirect: FLS Tirax ball mill
Typical Output: 1968-1986 1015 t/d: 1987-2000 1190 t/d
Typical Heat Consumption: 1968-1986 6.85 MJ/kg: 1987-2000 6.55 MJ/kg


Kiln A7

Supplier: Polysius
Operated: 15/2/2000 to date
Process: semi-wet air-separate precalciner: details ✄
Location: hot end 448691,275742: cold end 448750,275722: unenclosed
Dimensions: Metric 62.00 × 4.600
Rotation (viewed from firing end): clockwise
Slope: 1/25 (2.547°)
Speed: ?
Drive: through cold end tyre
Kiln profile: 0×4400, 1550×4400, 2200×4600, 60800×4600, 61650×3200, 62000×3200: tyres at 11750, 45250
Cooler: grate: details ✄
Fuel: ✄
Coal mill: ✄
Exhaust: ✄
Typical Output: ✄
Typical Heat Consumption: ✄



Sources: Cook, pp 53, 100: Francis, pp 212-214: Jackson, pp 256, 296: Pugh, pp 114-115


© Dylan Moore 2011: commenced 07/08/2011: last edit 11/01/2017.

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Rugby 1865
Picture: Rugby Archive ©2011. This shows the plant viewed from the south in 1865 when the first attempts at Portland cement manufacture were taking place.

Rugby 1928
Picture: Rugby Archive ©2010. This shows the plant viewed from the south on 8/5/1928, with bottle kilns still in place to the left. Behind them are the banks of lias shale side-cast after extracting the limestone. At the far right is the kiln house with the early Kiln 3 in operation. To the left of the kiln house is the waste heat boiler complete with cooling tower. The stack in the foreground is that of the engine house, by this time no longer used. Behind the kiln house and out of frame to the right is the quarry, extending to the opposite side of the railway.

Rugby 1953
Picture courtesy of Warwickshire County Record Office, catalogue no. CR4457/RC/3/7/20, © 2016. This shows the "old" kiln house, looking west, probably just after the commissioning of kiln 5 in 1953. The kilns are (left to right) numbers 4, 3 and 5. Kiln 3 is still in its original short form, designed for use with a waste heat boiler. The far end of kiln 3 marks the extent of the original 1910 kiln house, as shown in the picture above. For kilns 4 and 5, the kiln house was extended westward - in the case of the latter, the rear of the kiln hung precariously over the edge of the old quarry. Between kilns 3 and 5 rises the stack of kiln 5 grate cooler. Although considerably modified, kiln 4 shows recognisable features of the Gillingham kiln from which it was constructed. See Gillingham kiln.