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Focus Product

Today, CLAYTAN is the only surviving pioneer in the ceramic industry in Malaysia and the most diversified manufacturer of ceramic products consisting of sanitary ware in two types of body (vitreous china and fire clay), tableware in four types of body (earthenware, vitreous china, stoneware and fine china) and two types of vitrified clay pipes (standard VCP's, and jacking pipes). 70% of the Groups products are being exported to Australia, Japan, Europe, the UK and USA. The Group is now turning its attention to the market in the Asia Pacific and ASEAN region.

1. Sanitary ware

The production of ceramic sanitary ware began in 1952 at the JPC factory mainly for the Housing Trust of Malaya and the Singapore Improvement Trust. In 1965, Clay Industries Sdn. Bhd. (CISB) was set up to focus on manufacturing only sanitary ware products.

2.Tableware

Established in 1975, Oriental Ceramics Sdn. Bhd. is Malaysias only major ceramic dinnerware manufacturer producing a full range of high quality fine English Earthenware and vitrified hotel ware under the CLAYTAN brand.

3. Vitrified Clay Pipe

Since its inception in 1935, Johore Pipe Company has expanded its operations to encompass a varied product range of vitrified clay pipes. The Company is proud to have undertaken Malaysias first sewerage project undertaken by the Kuala Lumpur Municipality, and Singapores first sewerage works in 1952.

How Its Made

Raw Materials Toilet bowls and tanks are made from a special clay called vitreous china. Vitreous china is a mix of several kinds of clay, called ball clay and china clay, silica, and a fluxing agent. Clays are hardened by first drying in air, then being fired (baked) in a very hot oven called a kiln. Usually a shiny, waterproof coating called a glaze is applied only after a first firing, and the clay is fired a second time. Vitreous china is an exception, in that clay and glaze can be fired together. The whole clay body vitrifies, or turns glassy, so the toilet is actually waterproof and stainproof through its entire thickness. Toilet seats are generally made from one of two materials. Plastic toilet seats are made from a type of thermoplastic called polystyrene. The less expensive and more common type of toilet seat is made from a blend of wood and plastic. The wood is hardwood, usually maple or birch, which has been ground up into the consistency of flour. This wood flour is blended with a powdered plastic resin called melamine. Zinc stearate is a third ingredient in wooden toilet seats. This prevents the wood-resin mix from sticking to the mold in the manufacturing process. The metal tank fixtures are made of stainless steel or copper, and the joints that hold the seat to the bowl are usually a rubber-like plastic.

A chamber pot.

Some Victorians couldn't abide the thought of indoor toilets because they reviled at the notion of odor and unclean gases associated with them. Today, it is difficult to imagine life without indoor plumbing. How awful to have to scurry to the outhouse in cold weather or to stumble to the privy late at night when duty called. One did not always have to walk to the privy on these occasions, however. Instead, one could use a ceramic chamber pot. It functioned like an indoor toilet that did not flush one perched upon it for defecation or used it as a urinal and then the "slop jar" was emptied into the outhouse. Some chamber pots were decorated with lacy covers along the edge of the bowl called silencers and presumably muffled the noise of clanking of the top upon the bowl at night so that others weren't awakened by its use. The chamber pot in the photo is part of a large set of ceramics used for personal hygiene in the days before indoor plumbing. Many bedrooms had a pitcher for fresh water, a basin to hold the water for cleansing, a soap dish and a chamber pot. These ceramics were always fashionably decorated, so that the bedroom could be attractively appointed even for these disagreeable tasks.

The Manufacturing Process Plastic seat A plastic toilet seat is made by a process called injection molding, where plastic pellets are melted and injected into a mold. A wooden toilet seat is produced from a mixture of wood powder and melamine mixture that is heated to 300 F (149 C). Once both types of seats are molded, they are hung on an overhead conveyor rack that moves them along to the finishing area. Plastic seats begin as pellets of polystyrene. A worker feeds the pellets into a hopper attached to an injection molding machine. From the hopper, a precisely measured amount of pellets flows into a container that heats the material until it melts. Then the liquid polystyrene flows through a small hole in the center of a two-part mold. The mold is made of chrome-plated machined die steel. Its two halves are hollowed in the shape of the toilet seat and cover. When the mold is full, it is clamped together by a huge hydraulic press. This exerts 10,000 lb per sq in (4,540 kg per sq cm) of pressure on the mold, and heats the polystyrene to 400 F (204 C).

The plastic in the mold begins to solidify. Then cool water is pumped through a channel system around the mold to bring the temperature down. A worker releases the hydraulic clamp and separates the two halves of the mold. The worker removes the seat and cover from the mold, breaking off the extra plastic that formed in the water channel. Then, the worker places the seat and cover into a water bath.

After the seat and cover have cooled in the bath, a worker takes them to a finishing area for the final steps. Here holes are drilled for the hinges. Then, a worker smooths the rough edges at a sanding machine. The sander is a rotating wheel covered with an abrasive material. The worker passes the seat or cover along the wheel until any plastic fragments from the drilling or from the mold are sanded off. A similar machine with a softer surface may next be used to give a final polish.

Bowl and tank

The toilet bowl and tank are made at a type of factory known as a pottery. The pottery receives huge amounts of vitreous china in a liquid form called slurry slip. Workers at the pottery first thin the slurry slip to a watery consistency. Then, they feed it through very fine screens in order to sieve out any impurities. The purified slip is thickened again, and pumped into storage tanks in preparation for use in casting.

Next, the slip is carried through hoses and pumps into the casting shop. Workers fill plaster of Paris molds with the slip. The molds are in the shape of the desired piece, except they are about 12% bigger, to allow for shrinkage. The workers fill the molds completely with the slip, and let it sit for about an hour. Then, the workers drain out any excess slip. This is recycled for later use. The clay sits in the mold for another few hours. The plaster of Paris absorbs water from the clay, and the clay dries to the point where the mold can be safely removed. At this point, the casting is semisolid, and is called greenware. Workers use hand tools and sponges to smooth the edges of the casting and to make holes for drains and fittings.

The greenware castings are left to dry in the open air for several days. Then they are put into a dryer for 20 hours.

The Toilet bases are cast from a slurry of vitreous china and molded into the base shape. Once molded, the greenware, as it is called, goes through a series of drying, glazing (Glaze is a layer or coating of a vitreous substance which has been fused to a ceramic object through firing. Glaze can serve to color, decorate, strengthen or waterproof an item ), and firing (Firing produces irreversible changes in the body ) steps until it reaches final inspection. The dryer is set to 200 F (93 C). After the castings come out of the dryer, they have lost all but about 0.5% of their moisture. At this point workers spray the greenware castings with glaze. Now, the pieces are ready for the kiln.

The kilns ( Firing Process ) at a large industrial pottery are warehouse-sized tunnels, and the pieces move through the kiln on a conveyance called a car. Each car is loaded with a number of pieces, and then it moves automatically through the hot kiln at a very slow pace. Because rapid changes in temperature will cause the clay to crack, the cars move leisurely through graduated temperature zones: the first zone is about 400 F (204 C), and it increases in the middle of the kiln to over 2,200 F (1,204 C)

degrees. The temperature gradually decreases from there, so that the final temperature is only about 200 F (93 C). The whole firing process takes approximately 40 hours.

When the pieces are removed from the kiln and fully cool, they are ready for inspection. After inspection, the flushing mechanism is installed. This is either manufactured at the plumbing fixture company or bought from a contractor. The seat too may be installed at this time, or the parts may be sold separately and assembled by a plumbing distributor.

Quality Control As with any industrial process, quality checks are taken at several points in the manufacturing of toilets. The clay is sieved and purified before it is pumped into the factory's tanks. Workers doing the manual finishing of the castings check the pieces for cracks or deformities. After firing, each toilet is tested individually. Random sample checks are not a good enough gauge of quality: each piece must be inspected for cracks. There are several ways to do this. One test is to bounce a hard rubber ball against the piece. It should emit a clear, bell-like ringing sound. A cracked piece will give off a dull sound, indicating a crack that might not have been visually obvious. Byproducts/Waste The pottery is able to recycle much of its clay. As long as it has not been fired, all the clay is reusable. Even the air-dried greenware can be scrapped, softened and reprocessed into the watery slip of the first step of the process.