Company History

Alfred Herbert

Alfred Herbert

In the early 1920s a relative of Alfred Herbert, owner of one of the biggest machine tool companies in the world of the same name, headquartered in Coventry, devised a unique new concept to fuel rotary kilns at his cement works. The idea was to be able to continuously feed lump coal from an exposed storage pile, into a machine where it would be dried, pulverised to a large proportion less than 100 microns, simultaneously classified, and blown into the kiln burner by an integral internal fan at rates of up to 10 tons per hour.

Having only a cement company, this cousin had no means of turning his idea into a reality and so he turned to Alfred with the blueprint and asked him if he could make such a multifunctional machine, and make it robust enough to withstand the rigours of coal pulverising, which was known to be potentially highly abrasive. The machine was ultimately developed with high chrome iron castings providing the wear resistant grinding media, cast in Alfred Herbert's own foundry, which is still in operation at Atritor. After some initial prototype adjustments the machine was introduced to the kiln and boiler-firing market and quickly became a global success; the machine was named the ATRITOR.