Triangle Brick Plant's Grand Opening:
Barry Snowden, left, Marc Balckson, Chase Blackson, Brae Barton and Justin Serna, all of Blackson Brick Company, check out the texture of a new brick at the grand opening of Triangle Brick Thursday morning in Henrietta. The plant is one of the largest and most modern brick factories in the world. Customers, wholesalers, company reps, city and county officials attended the opening ceremonies for company.
After years of planning and construction, Triangle Brick Company's newest, most modern and largest brick making plant is up and running in Clay County on U.S. 287 between Henrietta and Bellevue.
It's the first TBC plant to be built outside of its home state of North Carolina.
Howard Brown, chief operating officer and executive vice president of TBC, said the plant has been a long term vision of the company as well as its owner, Germany-based Röben Tonbaustoffe. The process of planning for the plant and seeing it come to fruition has been exciting, and it's a great opportunity to make brick.
He said the biggest draw to North Texas was the raw materials available on the 994-acre parcel needed for TBC's process.
"We make brick a certain way, and in order for us to do that, we had to find materials similar to what we have in North Carolina," he said. "And we found that here."
The new 400,000-square-feet plant will produce 100 million bricks annually, adding to the 400 million already manufactured at plans in Merry Oaks and Wadesboro, North Carolina.
Brown likened the process of brick making to a baker baking a cake. He said the raw materials are mined from the Clay County landscape and ground into a product with the consistency of flour. The flour-like product is then mixed with water, then formed and extruded. The green bricks are then sent through a kiln where it is dried and then fired.
Packaging and shipping is all that's left to do after those steps.
"Because we're mining and making raw material from here in Clay County, a little bit of Clay County gets dispersed out through the rest of Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana — all those places," he said. "It's really just a great opportunity. We are, like I said, really grateful for everybody for being here."
Rick Langford, economic development director for the Henrietta Growth Corp., said conversations began about four years ago. Because Clay County doesn't have an economic development entity, he worked in his official capacity with Henrietta and county leadership on the project.
He also credited the Governor's Office in Austin, NORTEX Regional Planning Commission, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality and other agencies to ensure the success of the venture.
"This is like the climax of a book, I tell you," he said. "It's been a long time coming. Everybody has been talking about it and seeing the construction, but we could finally, today, get to show it off."
Representatives from TBC began looking for a location in 2009, and the land in Clay County was bought in 2011. Construction began in November 2014, finishing in late 2015. Crews began making bricks in the all-automated plant soon after.
Langford said he doesn't have an exact figure on the economic impact the plant will have on the surrounding communities and county, but he is already seeing a difference in other sectors because of the plants construction and operations.
"Up to this point, there's already been a lot of money injected into the community," he said. "We've had local workers out here. We've had local contractors. Scales Concrete out of Wichita Falls has poured all of the concrete that you've seen out here. That's a big job, and they employ local people."
Langford said the company is hoping to employ up to 45 people.
With the kiln always running, the plant is a 24/7 operation. Once bricks are extruded, they are placed on automated cars that are sent through the remaining processes. Each car carries 15,600 bricks, and go through a 1,900-degree kiln.
Source the Times Record News par John Ingle pictures TORIN HALSEY