The fast-paced development of digital decoration has, alongside the evolution of Industry 4.0-type systems, profoundly changed the conventional ceramic glazing process. The scenarios and opportunities that arise from integrating the full digital decoration process with dry glazing lines were the subject of a talk given by Sacmi at Qualicer 2018, the ceramic quality forum held in Spain on the days immediately after the international Cevisama fair (12-13 February) in the city of Castellón de la Plana.
In particular, the talk by Andrea Bresciani, director of the Sacmi Tiles R&D Center (Tuesday 13 February at 13.30), focused on the use of innovative plant engineering solutions to obtain outstanding aesthetic value. More specifically, combining dry glazing with the most recent digital decoration technology lets users overcome the limits posed by the traditional method of applying glaze as an aqueous suspension.
Of great relevance to applications on the Sacmi Continua+ line (to which, in fact, Sacmi recently added the DHD wet digital decoration module), this solution allows high-added-value large decorated tiles to be manufactured by creating a full digital compact line that is technically and managerially simpler than its traditional glazing counterpart. What's more, such solutions have lower environmental impact, now a key competitiveness factor across all main international markets.
Nevertheless, alongside these new large ceramic slab manufacturing solutions, Sacmi continues to invest in what has always been the jewel in its crown, traditional pressing technology, which continues to play a key role in terms of both volumes and market prospects. This point was highlighted by Sacmi's General Manager, Claudio Marani, during the round table that concluded the 2018 Qualicer Forum. Moderated by Juan Vicente Bono, President of the Qualicer International Technical Committee and President of the association of Spanish ceramic-making machine manufacturers (Asebec), the debate saw the participation of the world's leading ceramic technology providers. "The slab market", observed Mr. Marani during the meeting, "is an ultra-high quality segment that may go on to account for up to 10% of total ceramic output. Yet the bulk of production is - and will continue to be in the future - obtained using traditional pressing technology which, thanks to our intense research and development, will see ever-higher levels of performance and automation. It's undisputed", continued Sacmi's General Manager, "that such pressing technology ensures ultra-high productivity in the medium size tile segment (where no finishing/smoothing is required) and involves major economies in body preparation (also by using local raw materials) and the production of trims, which have shapes and structures that can only be created with a dedicated mould”.