Manufacturer hired to produce multi-million pound production line

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Wakefield-based Craven Fawcett, a manufacturer of clay preparation and extrusion machinery and part of the Rhodes Group, has won a major contract to supply the UK’s first net zero brick plant.

The multimillion-pound project will see Craven Fawcett design and manufacture a state-of-the-art, fully integrated clay preparation and extrusion line at Atlas’ site in Ibstock in the West Midlands.

This follows Ibstock plc’s announcement of a £60 million investment in its Atlas and Aldridge factories, which will collectively provide an additional capacity of 115 million bricks per year.

Andrew Craddock, Engineering Development and Manufacturing Manager at Ibstock Brick, said: “As a supplier to Ibstock for many years, we are aware of Craven Fawcett’s capabilities in the design and construction of new production lines to meet our exacting requirements.

“This is a significant undertaking and we are delighted to be working with a UK partner who not only has the expertise in clay preparation and extrusion technology, but who also understands the holistic approach of clay. ‘Ibstock vis-à-vis its sustainability strategy.

Mark Ridgway, CEO of Group Rhodes, said: “As a company, we are committed to good environmental practice and are pleased to be able to support projects where improving sustainability is a key outcome.

“Goods will be sourced with low environmental impact and we will work with local suppliers wherever possible.”

Glynn Dixon, Head of Contracts at Craven Fawcett, added: “Ibstock has been a valued customer of Craven Fawcett for nearly 40 years.

“We are understandably very pleased with this new contract and look forward to designing and building this line of custom-cut clay bricks to further strengthen Ibstock’s strong market position.”

Over the next few months, Craven Fawcett will recruit additional design and engineering personnel to manage this and other recent contracts.

And its sister company, Hallamshire Engineering Services, is expected to supply drums and conveyor rollers to the project. The Ibstock contract is expected to last approximately 24 months until final commissioning.

Craven Fawcett has been supplying extruders and other machinery to the clay brick and pipe making industry for over 175 years. It manufactures a range of specialty equipment sold worldwide to the heavy clay and ceramics industry, as well as the mining, quarrying and environmental sectors.

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