Argex Bucket Dredger
This clay pit is pretty much at its end and exhausted from resources, so that gigantic dredge monster is standing still nowadays. I had the chance to explore the site and take cool pictures of it during the summer of 2014.
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The Bucket Dredger
An impressive machine
Argex grains are made of Boom clay which is reclaimed from the back clay pit by means of a bucket dredger. Every day, conveyor belts bring approximately 1,000 tons of clay to the plant for further processing. The clay is kneaded and ground, and according to the desired grain calibre, compressed into small bars. Next, these clay bars are baked in a 84 m long rotary kiln at a temperature of 1100° C and expand into little round balls: 1,700 m³ of grains a day. With its production capacity of about 500,000 m³ Argex NV has the largest kiln to produce expanded clay grains in Europe.
Lightweight aggregate has been used in construction since Roman times, valued for its combination of low weight and high strength. The variability of natural lightweight aggregate remained a challenge for almost 2,000 years until the advent of industrial production processes.
Argex started the production of expanded clay in the early 1950s. Today, expanded clay is a well-established lightweight aggregate suitable for a wide range of applications. It has proven to be a durable and safe material able to withstand different climates all over the world: from the Mediterranean to Scandinavia and the US to the far East. The expanded clay industry is a sustainable industry. It is resource efficient and contributes to a competitive low carbon economy. The industry is committed to continuously reducing the impact of production and developing the properties and applications of the material to improve its sustainability.
The weather was pretty nice and warm, so I decided to hit the road with my bike again. This time I wanted to explore this gigantic Argex dragline machine just 20 minutes from home standing bulky near a clay pit in Kruibeke. A massively deep pit with water at the bottom, pretty dangerous if you would fall down the edge. I’m smart enough to know what I’m doing and so I keep myself steady while walking near the edge. Climbing this machine was easy and at the top of its nose the view was marvellous and I stayed there for at least half an hour to admire the scenery around me.