Knowledge Brief

How is fuel feeding and firing done in a Zigzag kiln?

In a Zigzag kiln, fuel is fed continuously through the fuel feed holes provided at the top of the kiln, by a single fireman standing on the top of the kiln. Usually two firemen are deployed in a shift who feed fuel alternately. The fuel is fed in six chambers of the brick setting simultaneously. In each chamber, there are two rows of fuel feed holes, so in total, there are 12 rows of fuel feed holes (about 80–130 feed holes) in the firing zone.

The fuel is fed sequentially in six chambers, starting from fuel-feed holes of chamber-1 and going up to chamber-6. This cycle is repeated continuously in the firing zone.


How are the fuel feed holes arranged in a chamber of the brick setting?

One chamber consists of five lines/rows of brick setting. There are two rows of fuel feed holes in each chamber. These are usually provided in the second and fourth lines of the brick setting in a chamber in the direction of air flow as shown in the figure above (for double zigzag brick setting).


What fuels are fired in a Zigzag kiln?

Usually solid fuels such as coal, firewood, sawdust, and agriculture residues are used in a Zigzag kiln. Ideally, the type of fuel or fuel mixture used depends on the temperature to be maintained inside the chambers. An example of fuel mixtures being used in a better-operated Zigzag kiln located in North India is shown in the figure above.

  1. In the front chamber (chamber-6), which is just opened for fuel feeding, and where the brick temperature is relatively low, fuel that has high volatile content and can burn easily (i.e., having low ignition temperature), such as sawdust, is fed. The temperature of bricks in this chamber is about 500 °C to 650 °C.
  2. In chamber-5, where the temperature has reached about 800 °C to 900 °C, a mixture of sawdust and coal is fed.
  3. In chambers-4, 3, and 2, where the temperatures to be maintained are high (about 950 °C to 1050 °C) so that vitrification is complete, high calorific value fuel such as coal is fed.
  4. In chamber-1, where the temperature of bricks is about 800 °C to 850 °C, a mixture of sawdust and coal is fed.

How is fuel fed in a Zigzag kiln?

Spoons of different sizes for fuel feeding
Single man feeding fuel in a Zigzag kiln

In a Zigzag kiln, fuel is fed in crushed form (less than 5 mm). Fuel is fed continuously through the fuel feed holes by a single fireman. Spoons of different sizes are used for feeding different fuels depending on fuel density. Sawdust requires large spoon because of its low density. Medium-sized spoon is used for feeding the mixture of sawdust and coal. Small-sized spoon is used for feeding coal. Generally, 200–400 g fuel is fed per spoon.

How does the fireman move in a Zigzag kiln?

In a Zigzag kiln, the fireman starts feeding fuel in chamber-1 from one end of the trench, and goes across the trench width to feed all the holes till he reaches the opposite end of chamber-1. The fireman then comes back to the starting end and starts feeding fuel in chamber-2 in the same manner. This sequence is repeated for other chambers till feeding is complete in chamber-6 to complete one feeding cycle. The new feeding cycle is again started from chamber-1.

In a Zigzag kiln, how many chambers are fired per day?

Typically, in a Zigzag kiln (for all production capacities), three chambers are fired per day (fire travels about 18 feet (~5.5 m) in 24 hours). In every eight hours, a new chamber along the direction of fire travel is opened for fuel feeding.

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