A brick that ex­u­ber­ates en­ergy

Sushant Sarin, Ex­ec­u­tive VP- Com­mer­cial Line, TATA AIG Gen­eral In­surance, tells us the im­por­tance of refractory fire brick that are used in high-end pro­duc­tion ma­te­ri­als and how th­ese help in con­serv­ing en­ergy.

Cargo Talk - - Guest Column -


A fire brick is a block of refractory ce­ramic ma­te­rial used in lin­ing fur­naces, kilns, fire­boxes and fire­places. A refractory brick is de­signed mainly to with­stand high heat but should also usu­ally have a low ther­mal con­duc­tiv­ity to save en­ergy. Usu­ally dense refractory bricks are used in ap­pli­ca­tions with ex­treme me­chan­i­cal, chem­i­cal or ther­mal stresses, such as the in­side of a wood-fired kiln or a fur­nace, which is sub­ject to abra­sion from wood, flux­ing from ash or slag and high tem­per­a­tures. Dense refractory bricks have a high ther­mal mass which is some­times a use­ful prop­erty in that they will re­tain heat ex­am­ple, in a pizza oven af­ter the fire has been taken out. Kiln bricks are made by fir­ing a clay based com­po­si­tion in the kiln un­til it is partly vit­ri­fied, and for spe­cial pur­poses may also be glazed. The max­i­mum ser­vice tem­per­a­ture in­creases with in­creas­ing alu­mina con­tent and kiln bricks can be ob­tained with an alu­mina con­tent of 80 per cent and above. LESS DENSE REFRACTORY BRICKS In other less harsh sit­u­a­tions, such as a nat­u­ral gas fired kiln, more por­ous bricks are a bet­ter choice, usu­ally re­ferred to as In­su­la­tion Bricks. They are weaker, but they are much lighter, eas­ier to form, and in­su­late far bet­ter than dense bricks. In this case they have a low ther­mal mass and so can­not be used to store heat. In­su­la­tion bricks have a bet­ter ther­mal shock re­sis­tance than dense fire­bricks but the main dis­ad­van­tage is their low strength. PACK­ING AND TRANS­PORT The refractory bricks are largely trans­ported in ship­ping con­tain­ers. Be­cause refractory ma­te­ri­als are heavy, they reach the con­tainer weight limit be­fore the con­tainer’s vol­ume limit. Hence, such car­goes re­quire dun­nage for block­ing and brac­ing the pal­lets in­side the con­tain­ers. For max­i­mum space util­i­sa­tion (weight v/s vol­ume) it is ad­vis­able to use 20 feet con­tainer than a 40 con­tainer. The refractory ma­te­rial are also con­sid­ered frag­ile and hence their ship­ping re­quires spe­cial at­ten­tion. There are nu­mer­ous in­ci­dents noted where the pal­lets are loaded in­side the con­tain­ers with mar­ginal gaps on sides or in mid­dle space and this al­lows pal­lets to move dur­ing trans­porta­tion or sea voy­age and the cargo gets dam­aged. Hence it is pru­dent to em­ploy use of ad­e­quate brac­ing and block­ing in­side the con­tain­ers. As long as ad­e­quate block­ing & brac­ing pro­ce­dures are fol­lowed, there should be no ma­jor causes of con­cern. SAFE MEA­SURES Safe wor­thy pack­ing, mark­ing and trans­porta­tion rom ven­dor to con­sumer is im­por­tant: All parts should be pro­tected against dam­age, vi­bra­tion, rain, dirt and cor­ro­sion. Bricks are stacked on pal­lets with cor­ner pro­tec­tions so as to pre­vent any phys­i­cal dam­ages like edge chip­ping, tran­sit break­age/cracks; han­dling break­ages while stor­age and ap­pli­ca­tion or any other. The ven­dor has the obli­ga­tion to mark all in­di­vid­ual parts clear and durable to al­low easy iden­ti­fi­ca­tion dur­ing erec­tion works. All in­di­vid­ual items con­tained in one pack­ing are to be listed in the re­spec­tive pack­ing list. For all shelf life items, date of man­u­fac­tur­ing, batch num­ber and date of ex­piry shall be leg­i­bly sten­cilled on the bag it­self. Con­sumer’s ap­proved agen­cies re­serve the right to ver­ify the date of man­u­fac­tur­ing from the records at ven­dor’s man­u­fac­tur­ing premises also. Each piece shall be clearly marked and iden­ti­fied. Codes shall also be marked on part list and erec­tion draw­ing.

It is a com­mon prac­tice that such car­goes are un­loaded from con­tain­ers and sent by open truck/ trailer dur­ing the last leg of jour­ney. In In­dia, most such op­er­a­tions are done in the evening or late hours and this ex­poses cargo to han­dling dam­ages, wet dam­ages in in­clement weather, short­ages and some­times loss of to­tal vol­ume too.

It is thus pru­dent to em­ploy ex­ter­nal sur­vey­ors dur­ing such op­er­a­tions to su­per­vise the tran­ship­ment and fol­low­ing scopes can be given to sur­vey­ors for at­ten­dance: Check the cargo con­di­tion at the time of door open­ing of con­tain­ers En­sure that cargo han­dling equip­ments such as fork­lifts and their han­dlers are well versed and en­sure phys­i­cal con­di­tion of truck/trailer, con­di­tion of tyres, tyre pres­sures and doc­u­men­ta­tion En­sure ad­e­quate quan­tity and qual­ity of lash­ing ma­te­rial is avail­able with truck/ trailer/trans­porter En­sure safe un­load­ing of cargo from con­tainer En­sure safe load­ing method on truck/trail­ereach uni­tised cargo is ad­e­quately stowed on truck/trailer bed En­sure that cargo is duly cov­ered for preven­tion rom wa­ter/ ex­ter­nal dam­ages En­sure that proper protest let­ter is submitted to the re­spec­tive party or con­veyed. (The views ex­pressed are solely of the au­thor. The pub­li­ca­tion may or may not sub­scribe to the same.)

Sushant Sarin Ex­ec­u­tive Vice Pres­i­dent Com­mer­cial Line, TATA AIG Gen­eral In­surance

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