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4/15/2003
News from the world of kilns

Tile manufacturing flexibility, low investment costs and just in time setting are the new market objectives: how can we get them?

How can we combine tile manufacturing flexibility with needs to increase the productive capacity of individual production lines? Because this is exactly what the market requires: sizes range from the “infinitely small” (100x100 mm) to the “infinitely big” (1,350x2,000 mm), with unfired thickness ranging between 4 and 35 mm. Then, if we add the need to produce small lots of one line and high quantities of another to the request for variable sizes, it becomes even more complex. Other considerations are added to these. Moreover, in the last few years the investments of ceramic companies have been continually directed towards rigid plants stripped to the bare essentials to keep down costs and space, even though no companies can do without the flexibility or the high quality standards that distinguish it on the market. Therefore, driers and kilns have been perfected from a technical, functional and above all operational point of view. Driers using convective and radiating types of heat treatment offer just in time setting even in large mouthed machines and provide drying curves which can be adapted to all types of product. A feature of Sacmi thermal machines concerns their capacity for managing production gaps using software which varies the opening of the motorised valves according to a programmed logic, when there is an absence of material. In this way material arriving after a gap still finds perfect conditions even in the absence of product. Thus all the problems which may be caused by production gaps, size changes, changes in thickness and types of mix can be removed by using management software systems on the process parameters. In order further support the customer's productive requirements, you can set “dynamic” formulae in Sacmi thermal machines and obtain fast firing cycles (less than 2 hours) even for large sizes. The even thermal treatment and the reduction of the temperature of the products coming out of the kiln (which must be very low for the pieces sent directly to the sorting line), are the crucial corner stones of Sacmi technology. The rigidity of the plants resulting from the low investment costs, means that short term objectives are: 1. improving plant management, by making “automatic” corrections; 2. making communication between man and machine more efficient and more direct; 3. increasing the productive potential of the kilns; 4. further reducing discards How to attain them: 1. Sacmi proposes a retroactive roller kiln with automatic management of the devices and procedures for correcting the production quality defects. The aim of this new kiln, which has been designed with contributions from Italian law n. 46/82 for industrial research, is to automatically intervene whenever there are variations of size compared to the standard ones or changes to the physical and chemical features of the product. 2. Sacmi has improved the man/machine relation by introducing centralised controls, computerised assistance and by making the plants even more “communicative”. A significant improvement of the interface quality means greater operative efficiency and excellent managerial safety. If the plant becomes easier to “understand” and communicates what it is doing immediately, then it is easier and quicker for the person controlling it to intervene. 3. Sacmi aims to exceed the 3 metre wide and the 150 metre long limit for kilns by the end of the year. 4. Sacmi machines are designed to be inserted into “in line” plants, which reduce production discards because of their low storage capacity and simplified systems.
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