In this article:
- Large format tiles: a costly love story
- Plant solutions supporting manufacturers
- STUDIO 1 and Movingfluid: the driving force behind simple solutions
- The customer’s request
- Cross-cutting vision: an extraordinary power
- Benefits that make the world go round
Large format tiles: a costly love story
In this article we will see how Movingfluid alongside STUDIO 1 Automazioni Industriali has successfully responded to a request from the ceramic industry by providing a two-component glue spraying system solution suitable for solving the problem of fragility in large format tiles, thus simplifying the application of glass fibre reinforcement.
A system that can be perfectly integrated into existing lines, the glue spraying system developed by our mishap-solvers is fast, precise, automatic, and capable of ensuring efficiency, quality and process control.
In this way, we intend to support all those ceramic manufacturers who must meet the demands of a market that is increasingly oriented towards the use of massive slabs with an extremely thin thickness. The products in question can reach formats of 3,600 mm x 1,800 mm with minimum thicknesses of 3 mm.
These dimensions have inevitably made the structure of the tiles fragile, exposing them to the risk of breakage at all stages of their use. Not only during handling, but also after laying. Indeed, it only takes a small imperfection to the substrate, a slight unevenness, to cause it to crack under pressure, leading to possible claims for compensation or replacement even years later.
But why are large format tiles so trendy and loved by architects today, to the point of making them a must for indoor floor and wall coverings? Thin porcelain stoneware slabs are particularly useful in renovations. Applied on the screed or on existing floor and wall coverings, these solutions do not impose structural works to the house, such as changes in door heights. Resulting in low renovation costs, with the guarantee of extraordinary and fully customisable aesthetic results.
The reduced thickness also simplifies processing: the material can be cut, shaped and drilled at will with glass and porcelain stoneware tools.
Large ceramic panels are also used for exterior cladding of buildings and skyscrapers. These, for safety reasons, must meet the requirements of a perfect seal, able to withstand harsh weather conditions such as frost and hailstorms.
Recognising that the construction market is now completely captivated by the ductility of use and the charm of large-size thin ceramic materials – so much so that it is no longer possible to do without them – it is therefore necessary to develop a sustainable production system upstream, capable of meeting this demand while containing production costs.
Two directions to work on:
- increase the strength of the product, allowing it to be used without the risk of breaking, crumbling or chipping during cutting;
- standardise glue spraying and subsequent reinforcement at the production line level.
Plant solutions supporting manufacturers
In order to make tiles more resistant, the solution most frequently adopted by leading players in the ceramic sector is the application of a glass fibre mesh on the back of the slab, which is adhered to the base by means of a two-component adhesive applied by spray.
A production system that, given the frequency of requests and the increasingly diverse uses of large format ceramic tiles, is gradually becoming a production standard, applied also to smaller formats.
As such, the activity of spraying two-component glue prior to the application of the reinforcement also needs to be standardised and optimised, so that it can generate a yield, rather than a loss.
In production processes, the adoption of a unified process solution, applicable to every type of manufactured product, does generate obvious economic benefits by virtue of the economies of scale effect, with measurable results in terms of long-term unit cost reduction. How to automate tile bonding?
In the eyes of our mishap-solvers, the issue is clear: we are faced with a situation of need to be turned into an advantage for the producer. In other words, we are faced with a mishap that, by our very DNA, we want to turn into a great opportunity.
We do this together with STUDIO 1 Automazioni Industriali.
Do you have an idea for your system but do not know if it is feasible?
STUDIO 1 and Movingfluid: the driving force behind simple solutions
With headquarters in the province of Reggio Emilia, STUDIO 1 Automazioni Industriali is a flagship of the Italian industry for the design and construction of machines and complete automatic systems for various industrial sectors.
A dynamic company, geared towards providing automation related to the entire production process. With the mission to provide solutions, not just machines, the company has based its success on constant improvement, supported by intensive research. A path that has enabled STUDIO 1 to implement new technological solutions, optimising existing production processes to overcome their limitations. Underlying this is the awareness that the simplest ideas are those that can leave their mark in time.
An approach that has led to major advances in the fields served by STUDIO 1: glass, cookware, robotics, special systems, natural stone, ceramics.
We are perfectly reflected in the mission of this great company. The search for a smooth and viable solution is also, always, our goal. For us, working together with STUDIO 1, was a natural process. It is no coincidence that this collaboration has taken the ceramic production sector one step further, with the emergence of a completely autonomous two-component glue spraying system that can be applied to any line.
The customer’s request
The challenge set by the owner of STUDIO 1 to our mishap-solvers was to help him respond to an increasingly pressing need of his customers – ceramic manufacturing companies distributed worldwide. With a view to optimising the production process, tile bonding can no longer be considered a secondary step, but must become an integral part of the process.
It was therefore necessary for the Movingfluid engineers to devise an automatic two-component product spraying system to be connected to the existing system. A complete system capable of storing, mixing and dispensing the two-component glue evenly, allowing effective and immediate application of the reinforcing mesh under the ceramic slab, ensuring excellent hold and high reliability of the quality standard.
Cross-cutting vision: an extraordinary power
Our team’s capacity for cross-cutting vision together with the flexibility that characterises our solutions have created that essential combination to meet the challenge posed by STUDIO 1.
In this case, our engineers have demonstrated an innate ability to permeate technological solutions by transferring them from one sector to another, optimising them according to the specific industrial context.
It goes without saying that all our fluid handling systems are characterised by versatility, modularity and customisation capabilities. We design them ourselves. We find the best suppliers in the world for each individual component and ensure that they are always replaceable. We provide 24-hour assistance where required.
We know what to do.
Alongside Henkel, we have seen how our mishap-solvers have been able to automate the glue dilution process in industrial production systems, eliminating any possibility of error and bringing benefits to the entire cycle at several levels.
And we stood by our heroes when, on a challenge by Lamborghini, they were able to build custom spray paint booths for the final treatment of luxury motor cars.
For our “Mr. Wolf”, landing in the ceramic industry by making use of the experience gained in other production contexts was a matter of refinement, mastering one’s own previous challenges and being aware of the performance and potential of tried and tested systems.
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Benefits that make the world go round
The new complete two-component mixing and spraying system for ceramics developed by Movingfluid is self-contained, modular and can be integrated into any existing process line.
A machine perfectly capable of performing all the following operations independently:
- mixing of different types of two-component products with catalysis ratios ranging from 1:1 to 100:1 and vice versa;
- constant and optimal dilution of the glue without fluctuations in the percentage of components;
- even spraying of two-component adhesive product;
- uniform distribution on the slab, a prerequisite for perfect mesh adhesion;
- greater safety for the operator, who is not required to take part in the bonding preparation stages;
- consistent and guaranteed product quality;
- cleanliness in the production department.
The system is equipped with electronic control with specially developed dedicated software. The latter ensures:
- setting of correct parameters and programmability of various productions;
- centralised supervision of machinery, with monitoring of behaviour and performance;
- availability of information when data recovery is required;
- development paths of data analysis for process improvement;
- recording of consumption, on an hourly basis and/or by production batches;
- Uninterrupted “continuous” preparation for maximum production efficiency.
To the above-mentioned advantages, we add the significant one of increased decision-making freedom on the part of the manufacturer who decides to adopt the automatic two-component adhesive application system. By automating the operation, it will be undoubtedly easier to decide whether and how to apply it, with any extensions, including:
- applying several coats of product to achieve greater resistance;
- reinforcing small-sized tiles with mesh, even if they have passed the strength test but may thus enjoy greater protection when stacked during transport, especially when intended for long distances.
Of course, this Movingfluid technology also enjoys all the benefits that always characterise our solutions. From start-up with initial set-up, to the generation of all accompanying documentation, to uninterrupted service including the search for every possible spare part. We are there.
Advantages that have not gone unnoticed by operators in the ceramic industry, who are enthusiastically embracing the adoption of this automatic two-component adhesive spray system.
To date, alongside STUDIO 1, we have installed systems at Florim Ceramiche, Lioli, Cosentino and several other companies internationally, reaching countries such as Spain and India.
A simple solution, destined to leave its mark.
As is in STUDIO 1’s philosophy and ours.
Do you also want to make a breakthrough in fluid technology?
Let’s start with your system.
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