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Clean Brick Making Technology - Success of VSBK in Kathmandu
Satya Narayan Brick Industry - The VSBK Champion

It is unlike to hear any brick making technology running through out the year, especially in the south-east region of Asia where the brick kiln operates from six to eight months. Amid of many speculations and hype about the possibility of Vertical Shaft Brick Kiln (VSBK) operation year round, last year Satya Narayan Brick Industry, using VSBK technology has achieved a landmark by operating the kiln for 365 days a year. In our knowledge, it's an achievement for VSBK in South-East Asia and we believe that it is a big leap in the history of brick making. The six shaft VSBK kiln has a daily production capacity of 30,000 bricks.

The advantage of VSBK is in its unique design of the furnace for firing bricks, which can be operated in monsoon. Further, it has the flexibility to operate at different production capacity due to separate firing shafts. This flexibility enables the entrepreneurs to invest less in the shed-house for storage of green bricks.

Satya Narayan VSBK located in the outskirt of the capital city of Nepal was built in the year 2003. The entrepreneur changed from the old polluting Movable Chimney Bull's Trench Kiln (MC-BTK) firing technology to the more environmental friendly and energy efficient Vertical Shaft Brick Kiln technology - Satya Narayan VSBK started its venture from a two shaft VSBK and now has a six shaft kiln.

The introduction of VSBK technology and its adoption by Satya Narayan has been slow and painful over the past three years. The new technology required new skills and a much better knowledge of the entire brick making system. No one at Staya Narayan was prepared at the time and much less knew what was expected from them to be able to operate a brick industry producing 30,000 bricks every 24 hours.

Changes in the management style and the whole organization of the brick making process had to be undertaken. Old working culture, deeply embedded in the traditional brick industries, had to be up-rooted.

Three crews of fire-master, fire-men and its associated helpers had to be trained and introduced to work on an eight hours shift base. Working odd hours, during the night and resting during the day, is a new system in the sector.

The introduction and use of the VSBK technology at the early stages was difficult to master due to many constraints, such as recruitment and training of workers, selection of appropriate raw material, use of pug mills and the introduction of new tools (bow cutter). Convincing customers about the strength and quality of the products was neither an easy task. Certainly, during the first two years, the management and the seasonal workers required to learn many new tasks and skills. Hard lessons had to be learned by all individuals. The quality of the product was not constant and complaints from customers and visitors time and again led to frustration. However, at the same time the management motivated the respective team members to do what was necessary for an improvement of the products with the aim of achieving its ultimate goal: "Full satisfaction of the customer!"

After all this painful lessons, today Sataya Narayan consists of six Vertical Shafts, out of which four have been non-stop firing bricks for over two years. The latest expansion of the kiln was in July 2005, two shafts, bigger in size, that increased the production capacity by 25%. They are on the way to achieve the 365 days mile-stone. Satya Narayan has produced 17.5 million bricks with a total turnover of US$ 850,000 during the past two and a half years.

A research on the internet and contacting like minded persons, working for years with this technology, reveals that no where in the world any brick kiln, using the VSBK technology has continuously produced fired bricks for more then nine month at the time. Satya Narayan is the champion and has demonstrated that if there is commitment and dedication one can run a VSBK based brick enterprise around the clock and around the year, regardless of rain or sunshine, while maintaining a constant quality.

Customers will not only be able to obtain "fresh" bricks throughout the year but will also greatly contribute towards a cleaner environment and to the reduction of GHG, therefore slowing the global warming which is threatening our entire planet. The VSBK technology energy consumption is 0.8 MJ/ kg of fired brick and emits about 101 mg of SPM/Nm3. Due to its uniform size and shape the VSBK fired bricks reduces the amount of mortar required in the construction, therefore saving additional resources making it a popular product among the housing companies.

VSBK, Kathmandu, Brick kilns
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