Brick Factory - As one of the popular industries in Mekong Delta, brick factory. In the past, Vietnamese used many natural materials for building house such as clay mud, timber and water palm leaves. Especially, Mekong Delta got a friendly weather all year round, it rare to have strong storm or typhoon, people tended to make their house simple and temporary. Till the late of nineteen century, French governors built palaces and houses which were more solid and strong and use to be made by cement and brick. Vietnamese quickly learnt from French techniques and gained more skills to make brick. With large of clay resources around Mekong Delta and full of natural fuel such as rice husk, char coal and mud coal, local people have fulfilled demand of bricks in constructions.
There are many brick factories in Mekong in general and Ben Tre
in particular. During state economic system, brick factory belonged to government but since 1990, most of brick factories are private own, this one is private own. There are 15 workers working in here and capacity of each kiln from 8000 to 12000 bricks. For the worker, there are 3 types of worker, from simple work to complicated work, simple worker is carry brick for drying and load and unload brick before and after heating, the worker also moving brick from factory to truck and they are paid by per day work. Skilled workers are people operate cutting machine and look after kiln during heating time. Brick is used for popular construction works such as building house, building, pavement and even house for animal for pig, chicken or cow. At the moment, there is great demand of new house built.
There are two popular types of brick called “gạch thẻ” – solid block about 20cm x 10 cm x 5 cm, it uses for foundation built, another type is “gạch ống” brick with 4 holes for air-ventilation, this type uses for wall built because it’s thick and good for sound proof and temperature roof, from here, there are also 3 categories of quality for each type of brick depends on the colour of brick.
Where do people get raw material?
Clay is mined from second layer of soil and could only get from particular of area of Mekong Delta and other places just. Clay is transported from mine to factory by truck or boat. Natural clay should be used just few days after collecting because it will become harder and difficult to get clay formed. Clay is formed by machine running by electronic power. After brick are formed, they are moving to large ground for drying up to …5 days and move to covered house to get it dried slowly.
Brick kiln and it also built by bricks and brick uses to built kiln must be thicker and good quality. Some other areas use char coal or coal but however, rice husk is the best economic material especially in Mekong delta. A biggest rice bowl in Vietnam and the world.
Wet bricks are arranged by 4-5 workers inside and 4-5 workers outside brick kiln. Inside, bricks are arranged from ground to top and leave rooms for fire and smoke going through. Quality of brick depends on where brick are arranged and fired. There are 70,000 bricks in one kiln like this. After 30 days of heating, worker will stop firing and leave it for 2-3 days for cooling down. The door is covered by special materials that consist of clay, sugar meld and water in order to keep it away from broken. Worker will make many holes at the top for heat exhortation. When they open the kiln completely, worker will move brick out and that needs 5-6 people.