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Innovative approach for the digital ceramic tile glazing process, using a continuous in-line glazer

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - Glazetile (Innovative approach for the digital ceramic tile glazing process, using a continuous in-line glazer)

Periodo di rendicontazione: 2018-11-01 al 2019-02-28

The glazing process is critical for the ceramic tiles industry. The spraying process so far used in this market, wastes up to 40wt% of material and generates high air pollution; most of the workforce of the ceramic sector in the EU is exposed to toxic wastes due to the fluid that is sprayed on the tiles: organic binders, fluidizing agents and silica. In general, the process has high energy consumption, it is costly and generates environmental pollution.
The cited problems may be solved by a breakthrough technology, as applied in Glazetile digital glazing printers.
The main objective of the project is to improve and complete a new solution using a digital process for glaze deposition able to solve the above mentioned critical aspects of the actual spraying technology.
So far, several prototypes have been developed and tested. GlazeTile project involves two sets of printers: DigiGlaze and DigiGraphic. DigiGlaze is for the uniform enamelling of tiles using a Drop on Demand (DOD) digital deposition technology. DigiGraphic is a printer able to perform uniform enamelling and print designs and patterns: it is still based on a DOD technology, but each nozzle of the printhead has his own control system.
Trials and demonstrations have been performed, both in laboratory (TRL 4) and in production plant (TRL 5-TRL 6). A prototype of DigiGlaze printer is under test from January 2019 at a customer factory with good results. Upgrades in some components and general improvements in the control system will lead to a fully TRL7 printer.
We have participated in conferences and published in important scientific journals.
Beyond the state of the art, Glazetile machines use nontoxic-to-contact, cheap, standard particle-size, water-based glazes; produce no pollution on firing; 40% less of material waste; and produce no water waste.
We have the technical and human capabilities to finish the development of Glazetile machines; we have maturity and experience in our business and commercialization strategies to introduce them into the market, and we have a very complex and dedicated network making the value chain efficient and productive.
The impacts are not only economic, which will produce savings to the ceramic tile industry, but to the occupational health and environmental.