“Almost as if it were a perfectly choreographed dance, Continua+ transforms raw materials into finished objects”. These were the words of international designer Ronan Boroullec, of the famed Boroullec Brothers, recently listed in Wallpaper Magazine as one of the world’s top 100 designers. Continua+ technology offers “ the type of machine”, observed Boroullec, “that a designer dreams of encountering”. High performance and flexible, Continua+ makes, in fact, by way of an uninterrupted pressing process, qualitatively excellent large slabs with a wide range of decoration options, thanks also to smooth synergy with DDD digital decorators and the all-new DHD1808 ink-jet printer developed by Sacmi-Intesa.
In addition to the possibility of producing large decorated one-step slabs, there is also the extreme flexibility, thanks to the cutting machine incorporated on the line, that lets manufacturers produce a full range of sizes simply by adjusting a few settings. These characteristics make it the world’s most competitive large-format manufacturing solution, as shown by market results that, in 2014 alone, saw no less than 10 Continua+ production plants installed on five continents; these join the 16 traditional Continua lines that have been installed all over the globe since 2003, the year in which Sacmi launched the first prototype of this revolutionary technology.
Major industry players have gone for Continua+ because of its capacity to provide unbeatable aesthetic effects, on both relief and smooth surfaces, without any size or thickness limits; it does this by overcoming the restrictions posed by traditional systems, offering maximum scope for personalisation and creativity while exploiting the full potential of digital decoration.
A specialised provider of turnkey plant engineering solutions, Sacmi has successfully combined the development of large tile technology (from Continua+, launched at the end of 2013, to the PH 10000 press, the most powerful in the range characterised by outstanding reliability, solidity and precision in handling larger sizes) with a number of end-of-line solutions: starting with the EkoWrap and EkoRoll finished product packaging systems developed by Nuova Fima, a Nuova Sima brand. Their key advantages include excellent cardboard savings and improved slab corner protection, a factor that really makes a difference, especially on products with very high unit costs such as large slabs.
Then there is the latest machine from Nuova Fima, the new EkoSort line which stands out on account of a simplified sorting system that can be configured directly via the software; it works independently of size and thickness, with consequent minimisation of size changeover times. Previewed in September, EkoSort also provides excellent compactness and the possibility, thanks to conscientious machine design, of limiting the drop shock undergone by tiles during stacking, thus minimising environmental impact (noise etc.) in the workplace.
Advanced vision and quality control systems developed by Surface Inspection constitute another crucial part of the Sacmi range: solutions such as Flawmaster and Processmaster represent, in fact, respectively, one of the most advanced systems on the market for finished product inspection (size and flatness included) and the latest evolution of the pre-firing defect detection concept, considerably advantageous for the management of the new digitally decorated ceramic products.
Last but not least, EkoKiln solutions by Sacmi Forni have been the subject of considerable investment over the last two years; this has led to the development of models characterised, on one hand, by solutions that reduce gas consumption and fume volumes and, on the other, cutting-edge developments that optimise fume-product heat exchange thanks to a series of thermal cells that allow energy exchange between the fumes themselves and the material via efficient crossflows. This guarantees, thanks to optimal firing curve management, not only considerable energy savings but also heightened finished product quality, especially on complex products such as very large tiles.