Rebuilding a Bell Kiln

Category: Articles
28 July 2015,

Here at F.S. Sperry, we are very proud of our Resource Center. We’ve been collecting this vast library of prints, schematics and diagrams since 1946. This wealth of resources often means we have the knowledge to service older heat processing equipment that no other refractory contractor in the country may have!

Some of you have been asking for examples of how we leverage all of those blueprints and schematics on the job. One recent example comes from a customer that has a unique Bell Kiln. Many companies assume, incorrectly, they can only go to the original equipment manufacturer (OEM) for refractory repair service.


This kiln requires specialized high-alumina brick to withstand temperatures that exceed 3000 degrees F. It’s also unique in that it contains two different types of mortar in the lining. One can’t be substituted for the other, and if it is, the lining will fail.

Because we’ve worked on this kiln for 25 years, we have developed our own internal notes, procedures and prints on how the construction and rebuilding process works.

Not Just a Contractor, But a Partner

When the customer contacted us to perform a kiln rebuild, we knew exactly what was needed. However, before the project started, the plant engineer with whom we’ve had a long-standing relationship moved to a different division of the company. His replacement engineer is very bright, but was just getting up to speed about the kiln at the start of the job.

From start to finish, we went over every detail of the kiln with the new engineer, performing brick counts, reviewing inventory and assisting with decisions regarding stock and ordering (as lead times for this brick are significant).

The OEM is typically the only other group that can perform this type of work. Since few, if any, have their own refractory crews in-house, this work is usually sub-contracted out. But our intricate knowledge of industrial furnaces allows our customer to get complex work completed properly for a lower cost than going to the OEM.

The end result is we have brought our customer comfort, security and a partner-like relationship for 25 years.

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