Somerset, UK-based Francis Flower,
the trading company of Gurney Slade Lime & Stone Co. Ltd,
is a family business focused on the mining, processing, and
supply of limestone and lime products. The Francis Flower
Group, which has roots back to the 1950s, comprises a number of
strategic depots placed throughout the UK, in locations such as
Runcorn, near Liverpool, Ely, near Cambridge, and Gurney Slade,
Francis Flowers depots
facilitate the delivery of lime powders across the UK, but also
accept imported material for further processing, and specialist
minerals from Europe and North Africa. Strategic locations near
ports also enable the groups mineral products to be
exported easily to nearby Ireland, Europe and the Eastern
Francis Flower has production
more than 200,000 tpa. Pictured is CEO Adrian Willmott.
Courtesy Francis Flower
In the early 1980s the demand for
asphalt began to grow significantly as the UKs road
network was expanded and upgraded. For asphalt manufacturers
this boom time was tempered with the problem of balancing the
generation of filler when producing base and binder courses
with the demand when mixing surface courses.
As few asphalt plants had enough
on-site storage to be self sufficient, Francis Flower devised a
solution by the strategic placement of filler storage silos
across England, Scotland, and Wales, accompanied by a centrally
controlled road distribution function within its customer
Presently, the companys silo
storage capacity for filler materials is 30,000 tonnes, with
individual silos ranging from 70 tonnes capacity up to 1,200
tonnes. Overall, Francis Flowers distribution of filler
minerals exceeds 200,000 tpa.
At strategic silo locations the
company has installed modern remote monitoring devices Ð
provided by Dedicated Engines Ltd and Minsterport Ltd Ð
whereby the contents of silos are displayed via a web portal.
Using this equipment, Francis Flower can monitor usage, low and
high levels, and delivery and collection times, in addition to
an automatic alarm system that is connected to the customer
In addition, by looking at previous
volumes used, the system can predict when further deliveries
should be made.
Secure web portals are made
available to customers who are interested in monitoring the
vendor managed inventory (VMI) link in their supply chain. To
withstand Europes highest density of HGV and car traffic,
modern asphalt has been designed as a technical material that
is made precisely from quality assured materials.
Supporting this, Francis Flower
operates a third party accredited quality assurance scheme,
which ensures that its filler materials meet customers
technical needs. As the company told IM,
customers priorities, however, have increased beyond the
physical properties of aggregates.
Products are available in bags up
to one tonne in size.
Courtesy Francis Flower
Public companies are becoming
increasingly aware of corporate and social responsibility, and
organisations now wish to procure goods and services that
reduce the environmental impact of their own operations.
Francis Flower claims that it is
able to assist in this, by providing SGS-certified recycled
filler minerals (under BS EN ISO 14021:2000); enabling its
clients to declare that they are using recyclable materials in
their processes. Many consumers of industrial products are
following the Building Research Establishments criteria
of requiring minimum contents of recycled ingredients.
Further, Francis Flowers
detailed tracking of collection and delivery movements enables
the company to demonstrate that over their national businesses,
its customers receive goods that have travelled fewer miles
than would be possible from their own internal supplies or
virgin milled powder. Francis Flowers recycled filler
will carry the mobulus loop infinity symbol in declaration of
Manufactured filler is available
from Wicken Lime & Stone Co. Ltd based near Cambridge,
where oolitic limestone is quarried and milled. Wicken operates
three mills and 10 finished product silos. The mill has a
capacity of some 70,000 tpa and additionally supplies around
7,000 tpa of agricultural lime.
Francis Flowers Gurney Slade
operation receives and processes a variety of coarse and fine
minerals using three main procedures. The company uses a
Bradley Pulverizer machine to grind and classify material,
while any materials with high silica content undergo further
processing via a ball mill. The final process is screening
through a Mogensen sizer.
Limestone fillers, bentonite clays
and other minerals can be ground, blended, and bagged into 25kg
or 1 tonne big bags, or stored as bulk products in any of the
10 silos which offer 3,200 tonnes of storage capacity. The
facility has UFAS accreditation which enables it to process
agricultural feeds and compounds.
The company provides a number of
recycled filler minerals. Courtesy Francis Flower
The Fertilizer Co. is a wholly own
subsidiary of Gurney Slade Lime & Stone, with a 40,000 tpa
business located on Runcorn docks in Cheshire, UK. Bulk vessels
up to 3,000 tonnes are easily loaded at Runcorn for overseas
The Fertilizer Co. manufactures
Calcifert; a finely ground limestone combined with a
water soluble organic binder to produce hard 2-5mm size
particles. Owing to the manufacturing process, Francis Flower
claims that controlled amounts of trace elements can be added
into the granules to provide an enhanced product.
The company also produces bespoke
granules, predominantly formed of calcium sulphate (but if
required, also with a various mix of nutrients). Finished goods
are available in 25kg bags or bulk, or in non-returnable 600kg
Francis Flower (Northern) Ltd, also
based on Runcorn docks, processes UK-derived synthetic
anhydrite and material imported from Europe and Africa. The
plant was installed in 2004 and operates four mills with a
production capacity in excess of 140,000 tpa.
Anhydrite is available as milled
powder or unmilled granules (nominally 6mm to dust) and it can
be packaged in 1 tonne or 25kg bags, or supplied bulk in
tippers and powder tankers.
Runcorn depot also hosts Francis
Flowers central laboratory, which provides specialist
testing services to the Francis Flower Group and its regional
testing stations at Gurney Slade and Wicken. A full range of
tests including compressive and flexural strength testing,
flow, setting time and determination of particle size and
particle specific surface (Blaine), enables the laboratory to
measure the properties of anhydrite and other materials.
Making the optimum use of recycled materials is becoming
increasingly important to many organisations. The
companys anhydrite can be labelled as being 100% recycled
in accordance with EN ISO 14021, enabling customers to use this
accreditation regarding the recycled credentials of the
constituents of their own products.