Completed for the occasion of the Tecnargilla 2008 trade fair, a new Research Centre for the Ceramics Division is now in full operation. At the heart of the centre, which covers an area of 6 thousand square metres and employs around fifty technicians, are the laboratories and pilot plants, which simulate, in scale, the entire industrial process.
Thanks to its own Research Centre, Sacmi Imola is able to offer the sanitaryware industry a range of innovations for the turnkey production process. To be more precise, this means it can carry out the industrial tests required to help the customer make the transition from traditional production technology with plaster moulds to high pressure casting technology using resin moulds. For this purpose the centre has to be equipped to handle the whole production process for an item, starting from the drawing, and start up production internally in order to evaluate its effectiveness on an industrial scale. By analyzing the casting cycle on the machine, the firing stage and the finished product, a comparison can then be made to check whether the project objectives have been met.
As customer requirements and expectations increase, the technical solutions we propose evolve correspondingly. In some cases high pressure technology enables us to develop articles which would previously have been considered impossible with traditional technology. For example, manufacturing WC bowls with very large flat surfaces – even 40 cm per side – using traditional technology would present a very high risk of deformation, both after forming and during firing.
To provide these services the pilot plant is equipped with a series of latest-generation machines. The hub of the department is made up of the high-pressure casting machines; the single-mould AVM dedicated to WC bowls, the AOM for large WC bowls with incorporated water tank (one piece), the single mould ADM for two-part moulds (washbasins, etc.) and the multi-mould ADS for washbasins, water tanks and pedestals. Finally, there is also a press for tableware. The pilot plant is completed with equipment for drying and glazing, which take place before the firing stage. Firing is then carried out in a modular shuttle kiln.