The Manufacturing Process for SILICAWOOD® Blocks
SILICAWOOD® Blocks can be manufactured with conventional automatic or semi-automatic block making machinery
The following steps are commonly used to manufacture Silicawood blocks.
1. The Silicawood Raw is stored in large wood storage silos and conveyed to the batching plant either on purposely fit conveyer belts or transferred by bins. The Portland cement is stored outside in large vertical silos to protect it from moisture.
2. As a production run starts, the required amounts of Silicawood Raw, and cement are transferred by gravity or by mechanical means to a weigh batcher which measures the proper amounts of each material.
3. The dry materials then flow into a stationary horizontal planetary mixer where they are blended with the addition of water.
4. Once the load of Silicawood Mix is thoroughly mixed, it is dumped into an inclined bucket conveyor and transported to an elevated hopper. The mixing cycle begins again for the next load.
5. From the hopper the SW Mix is conveyed to another hopper on top of the block machine at a measured flow rate.
6. In the block machine, the concrete is forced downward into molds. The molds consist of an outer mold box containing several mold liners. The liners determine the outer shape of the block and the inner shape of the block cavities. As many as 15 blocks may be molded at one time.
7. When the molds are full, the concrete is compacted by the weight of the upper mold head coming down on the mold cavities. This compaction may be supplemented by air or hydraulic pressure on the mold head. Most block machines also use a short burst of mechanical vibration to further aid compaction.
8. The compacted blocks are pushed down and out of the molds onto a flat steel pallet. The pallet and blocks are pushed out of the machine and onto a chain conveyor. In some operations the blocks then pass under a rotating brush which removes loose material from the top of the blocks.
9. The pallets of blocks are conveyed to an automated stacker or loader which places them in a curing rack. Each rack holds several hundred blocks. When a rack is full, it is rolled onto a set of rails and moved into a closed curing closed cell. The whole curing cycle takes about 24 hours.
10. The racks of cured blocks are rolled out of the curring cell and the pallets of blocks are unstacked and placed on a chain conveyor. The blocks are pushed off the steel pallets, and the empty pallets are fed back into the block machine to receive a new set of molded blocks.
11. If the blocks are to be made into split-face blocks, they are first molded as two blocks joined together. Once these double blocks are cured, they pass through a splitter, which strikes them with a heavy blade along the section between the two halves. This causes the double block to fracture and form a rough, stone-like texture on one face of each piece.
12. The blocks pass through a cuber which aligns each block and then stacks them into a cube three blocks across by six blocks deep by three or four blocks high. These cubes are carried outside with a forklift and placed in storage.