Oklahoma State Home Builders Association

An Affiliate of the National Home Builders Association

Thick as a Brick

 
Posted on November 16, 2014 by Mike Means

Ok, I know I am showing my age when I use the title of an old Jethro Tull song as the title to my blog. But it was what came to mind after touring the Acme Brick Plant in North OKC. Brick is the favorite facade on building new homes in Oklahoma and I was curious as to how they are made. So I accompanied a bunch of Certified Professional Builders on a seminar we had arranged for continuing education purposes.

First, a big shout out of thanks to Bryan Smittle, District Sales Manager, and John Spence, Plant Manager, for allowing us and taking us on a guided tour of their plant.

Acme Plant Manager John Spence explaining the science behind the making of bricks.
Acme Plant Manager John Spence explaining the
science behind the making of bricks.

The North OKC plant is the #1 plant for Acme (once again proving Oklahoma is number 1!) and mainly produces bricks for the residential market. Brian joked about being a "burnt dirt" salesman, but let me assure, the science behind making the brick was fascinating.

The tour followed the path of the clay as it enters the plant. Since it was a very cold day for our tour we didn't spend too much time looking at the mounds of dirt, except to note that it is worked continually to provide for thorough mixing of the material.

Conveyer taking raw material up to be pulverized.
Conveyer taking raw material up to be pulverized.

It is then brought into an area where it is beaten and pulverized (think OU-Baylor last weekend) into very fine almost sand like material.

Very fine clay ready to be sent through the extruder.
Very fine clay ready to be
sent through the extruder.

As the material goes into the extruder, additives are introduced to give the brick the various colors that you find. It comes out of the extruder and then it is cut into the bricks. They are then stacked and allowed to dry to a certain point.

Finished bricks on the left and
Finished bricks on the left
and "green" bricks ready
for the kiln on the right.

At that time they are then sent into the kiln for firing and extreme hardening.

Coming out of the kiln. That is fire in between the bricks in the 1800 degree kiln.
Coming out of the kiln. That is fire in between the bricks
in the1800 degree kiln.

The bricks are then sorted, stacked and palleted, ready to be shipped to your new home. Where you can rest assured of such quality that Acme gives a 100 year warranty.

100 year warranty on Acme Bricks.
100 year warranty on Acme Bricks.

If you want to know more about our Certified Professional Builder program, give us a call or visit our website - www.osha.org.

 

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