The name Keymer has, since 1588, signified the very best in hand made clay roof tiles. For over 400 years our unique hand made clay roof tiles have enhanced the character of buildings all over the world.
handmade tilesare abeautifuladdition tojust about any building and have been used inthe buildingsector for many years. The processstarts out in the clay pit from where the clay, laid downmany years ago, is excavated.
The clay, a combination ofblue and red clays, is allowed to weather for aboutone yearbefore beingtaken to the hoppers and thenplaced on the conveyor belt to the wet pan. Here is where the clay is broken down, movingviaThirteen millimetre wide grids as well as dead plates. Watertogether with barium carbonate isappliedat this pointto help increasemoisture contentin the clay and also to neutralise soluble salts. The clay nextmoves alongtowards thehigh speed rollers prior to beingfedin apugmachinethatleads todualstrips of clay, that arechoppedinto6 foot pieces. Thoseportionsarethenchopped upin totile sized pieceswith wire and after thattaken tothe creators. The creatorsadd infine sand to the tilesto give them theircolour, differingamounts of manganese oxide within the sand give thevarioushues of red and teak.
The unprocessedtileis positionedinside the mould, it ispounded and the excess clay is cut off with a wireand finally the punch is usually pulled down to shape the nibs, holes together with the creator'sidentity marks. Everytile is imprinted with a codeallowing the company to knowthedaythe particulartilewas madeandthe tile maker. The impression of the makers palmremainsin everyroof tile, which gives it a unique feel.
Fittings andspecialsare manufacturedusingtemplatesto cut the tile to the desired shape. The pieceis thenpositionedacross amouldgiving it its shape. The roof tileswill be then left to dry out for 7 - 10 days, during which they willreduce in size by 5%before beingdelivered to the setting area.
The cars on the docks can hold 5400 tiles and are generallyarrangedto ensure that when in the kiln, the high temperaturespreadsall the way through the car evenly. As the tiles are loadedthey'rechecked for imperfections. The tilesaresubsequentlyloadedin to a pre drier, wherethey willremainfor 2 days to lower the moisture content to undertwo percent.
The driedtilesarethenpackedinto theshuttle kilnsin whichthey arebakedfor up toone week and reach temperatures as much as1000 degrees celsius. This helps to ensure that the tilesremaintough and that they aren't going to beimpacted byice. Theyshrink by a additionalseven percentduring thisprocedure.
The firedroof tileswill bedelivered to the drawing dock in whichthey'reorganised into boxes.
The drawerslook over the tilesby hand for faults, ensuringthe quality of the tiles. The roof tiles are then taken out to the stockingdeckwaiting forto be soldafter which out to adornhomesall over the world.