Belgian Brick Production

The Belgians are said to be born with 'a brick inside the stomach', meaning their love for their brick houses. A lot of brick buildings in Belgium are built from hand molding bricks. Hand molding bricks are bricks which are produced automatically (not hand-made!), imitating the production process of the past. Each brick has its own bumps, roughnesses, and little cracks on it, that's why the surface of each brick is unique. The company VANDERSANDEN was founded in 1925 and it produced hand-made brick at first. Now the company possesses three fully automated brickyards which produce 50 million bricks yearly.

There are three types of clay, depending on the color it turns when fired: yellow, white, and red.

Clay and sand are stored under the roof.

Brick has four components: clay, sand, gas, and water.

They mix clay and sand with water.

A molding is a clay ball which is wrapped up in sand (the color also depends on the sand used; sand also plays the role of 'flour' for the dough-clay). Then the ball goes into the kiln.

It falls from a hight of approximately one meter and gets its unique surface. This is an imitation of hand modling.

The brickyard is pretty compact. They occupy different levels for production. A few people work there, and their task consists in watching the production process on the computer screen.

Upper excess parts are being removed.

They go back to the beginning of the process.

Then they lay the bricks out on special trays.

After that the bricks are put into the drying cabinet for a day to evaporate the water, so that no cracks appear.

Then they lay the bricks out on pallets...

...and fire them at a temperature of 1000 to 1100 degrees Celsius.

Each color is made at a certain temperature. They fire the bricks for three days minimum.

For that purpose they use gas.

This is what they have in the end. Different natural colors of brick. They are determined by the type of clay used.

This brick looks old but in fact it's new.

They made it look old artificially by applying special processing before firing.

All little cracks and roughnesses appear due to the imitation of hand molding.

They invent new types of brick at the brickyard all the time. They can lay this one without joints.

Finished products.
via zyalt


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