The ceramic tile industry is a critical industry within the EU, accounting for over 200,000 jobs in the EU-27, with an annual production value of €28 bn. World-leading companies in this sector are headquartered in the EU. According to Grand View Research, the Ceramic Tiles Market size worth is estimated to reach a value of €151.18bn by 2024.
The main challenge faced by the ceramic tile industry is of long processing times – glazing is one main processing stages that is also slow. This process is currently carried out through highly unsustainable screen printing and spraying technologies that uses organic solvents and experience significant glaze and solvent loss. These technologies are slow and pose serious health threat to ceramic tile workers due to continuously exposure to high levels of toxic organic solvent and Silica.
Although inkjet printing for the decoration of ceramic tiles is a mature technology and several machines are currently commercially available, there is currently no digital machine able to apply and dose the ceramic glazes on the tiles in a continuous in-line process. Further spray technologies available use glazes with of <40 microns and mixtures of water and organic solvents in different ratios as suspension media, and thus use a lot of energy in glaze milling and extractors to maintain acceptable level of volatiles in the atmosphere.
The Glazetile project seeks to develop a new family of digital machines (named DigiGlaze and DigiGraphic) to achieve in-line deposition of glass/ceramic glazes using water based suspensions with particle size of < 50 microns. Our water based suspensions eliminate the vapour origins from organic solvents and create a healthier and safer working environment. In addition to this, the glazes deposed with our technology have a better tactile impression when the tile is touched. Glazetile thus reduces the cost of glazing and decorating, producing a higher quality end-product.
Field of science
- /social sciences/economics and business/business and management/commerce
Call for proposal
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Funding SchemeSME-1 - SME instrument phase 1