Variety and individuality with ceramic roof tiles from Jacobi-Walther

Quality clay

The clay from which our high-quality bricks are produced.

Three steps to the finished product

Our roof tiles are a natural product consisting of three basic elements: clay, water and fire. Find out more about the production of our quality roof tiles and our raw material from regional pits.

  • Clay

    Our quality clay is extracted regionally and is our greatest asset. Its quality is the basis for the longevity of our products. All clays have their own specific properties, which is why our tiles are made of different varieties of clay. If the proportion of clay is very high, we call it ‘fat’ clay, while if it is very low, it is known as ‘lean’. When making roof tiles, the most important thing is getting the right mix. But it is not only the clay itself but also how the natural raw material is prepared that is decisive for a good roof tile. We crush the clay to a grain size of half a millimetre in order to ensure ideal mass compression.

    We use clay from various regional pits for our high-quality roof tiles.
  • Water

    We also need water for production. It is the water that makes the clay malleable and ensures optimum mixing and compression. The soil moisture is between 10 and 15 %, depending on the precipitation and the time of year. Before pressing, our clay has a water content of approx. 20 %. The difference is added to the raw material by us. In Langenzenn, we extract this from surface water in the clay pit, and in Bilshausen we have our own spring. The pressed roof tiles are then dried until the water content is approx. 3 % before being fired. The water required for the production process is treated and fed back into production.

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  • Fire

    The furnaces are the heart of our roof tile production. Our tunnel furnaces, some up to 130 metres long, fire our tiles at temperatures of up to and over 1000 degrees Celsius. This gives the tiles their hardness and the natural colourants are inextricably bonded to the tile surface during the firing process. We always use H cassette technology to fire our roof tiles and guarantee straight lines and dimensional accuracy for our products.

    Fire, an important element in the manufacture of our products.

Did you know?

About clay

Jacobi-Walther operates two pits of its own under very different conditions. Our pit near Bilshausen in Lower Saxony is in what is known as the red sandstone region. The quality clay there was formed some 250 million years ago when the landscape of the region was dominated by lakes. Generally, bodies of water have a positive effect on clay deposits, which was a stroke of luck for this traditional family company. Decades ago, the Jacobi family was already researching the perfect mixing ratios for roof tiles and bought in raw material from other clay pits. And they were very successful! Our Jacobi products are all about robustness, longevity and a particularly fine finish.

Our clay from Langenzenn

There is lots of ‘Lahma’ or lime in the tile works in the town of Langenzenn. Roof tile production has been a tradition in Langenzenn for a long time because of it. In geological terms, our quality clay from the Franconian scarpland belongs to the South German Scarpland, while in terms of the history of the Earth, it is part of the Keuper formation.  The raw material formed and was deposited in Langenzenn some 230 million years ago, and the fact it is deposited in layers makes it an excellent raw material for quality clay tiles. The layers can clearly be seen on the aerial view. An exact analysis of each individual layer carried out in our own laboratory shows elements of sand, clay and marl which we selectively extract and use to create the optimum mix.

Our Langenzenn pit is part of the Franconian stratified terrain

Basis of life

Element of water

Water is a key element of our production process. The raw material needs to contain around 20 % water in order to achieve the ideal malleability and bendiness. Soil moisture levels are around 10 – 15 %, depending on precipitation and the time of year. This means we have to top up the remaining liquid. At the production site in Langenzenn, we use surface water straight from the pit and in Bilshausen we extract the water from our own spring.  This is why we prepare the resource and feed it back into the production cycle. Careful and conscious handling of this precious commodity is part of our ethos.

Our water for the production process: surface water from the pit.

Insight into our production

How our tiles are produced …

Clay and sand are extracted from pits, mixed and gradually broken down to the grain required by passing through the crusher, panmill and rolling mills in turn, with water added all the time. In the clay store, known as the ‘soaking house’ in Langenzenn, the tile clay is stored for an interim period before the crushed and homogenised clay material is fed into the press.

Production insights

A vacuum extrusion press 

is used to produce a clay column from which either extruded roof tiles (e.g. plain tiles) can be produced directly, depending on the tile form required, or clay chunks are formed which are the precursor for pressed roof tiles. The next step is to feed these clay chunks into a press fitted with plaster moulds and press them under high pressure to form pressed roof tiles (e.g. flat roof tiles).

From our production: An employee at the press.

Production insights

After pressing,

the final tile design is already evident. The pressed tiles are fed into the drying process on drying frames. The natural red tiles are then taken directly to the furnace and afterwards they are prepared for transport. All other tiles are given the required colour finish and then fired.

From our production: Natural red roof tiles are engobed or glazed here.

Our style consultants will be happy to help

Got your own ideas?

No matter how far along you are with your decision on the perfect roof tiles, a personal consultation with our experts is bound to help. We have roof tiles for all types and solutions to all technical problems.

You can find your own contact person, style consultant, or ‘solution finder’.

Colors of our roof tiles