An Energy-Saving Press for Tile
Development of the New PressThe new one-piece press was developed based on the rigidity and accuracy of presses in the steel processing industry. Using finite element calculations and analyses, the technology was refined for manufacturing ceramic tile. In collaboration with industry specialists, systems were developed to prolong the working life of the seals and bearing surfaces, and these components were then tested extensively. Through this development process, the size of the press’s traverse and main cylinder was reduced by nearly 16% compared to the preceding model, allowing the press to maximize production speeds while minimizing energy consumption.
Developed in cooperation with noted manufacturers of hydraulic components, the press provides exact reproducibility of all movement and pressure sequences while further optimizing energy use. The press reuses the oil compression energy in the pressing operation, which reduces the frame distortion and provides energy cost savings of up to $20,000 to $30,000 per year at a production of 3 Mio m2/year. Only 0.16 kWh/m2 of energy is required to manufacture standard tiles, compared to the more than 0.2 kWh/m2 required with conventional presses. The power regulation of the main pump, low-wear logic elements, high-speed piston-type accumulators and short fluid paths, as well as control circuits for pressing, filling and ejection cycles, increase the economic benefit. Using the new press, tile manufacturers can reduce their energy requirements by 25% while increasing production by up to 2.2 million square feet of tile per year.
Electronic ControlsIn this age of fast-moving technology, electronic controls require intensive scientific monitoring. For the new press, a sophisticated control system was developed in cooperation with specialists in the field. The system features intuitive user prompting in combination with simple, high-speed fault localization. It works without a hard disk, is virtually shake-proof, and is insensitive to weather influences. Very high processing speeds (the cycle time for the positioning module is about 1 meter/second) and exactly reproducible movement sequences increase the equipment’s reliability. The system also provides links via Profibus (a network that transmits information to and from a number of end users along one cable) and digital/analogue peripherals, as well as remote fault diagnosis, remote viewing, data scanning (Intranet/Internet) and data acquisition. A robot pressure booster ensures that the press’s maximum high pressure remains fixed at 315 bar, which guarantees the continuous operation of the press at the rated load.
The machine’s total mass has been reduced by 20% compared to the previous model. The link between the regulated and “soft” travel of the plunger piston, and the ability of the press to be erected on insulating plates without anchorage, minimizes dynamic stresses. Additionally, the structure-borne noise is diverted to the press’s foundation, distinctly reducing noise emissions.
Manufacturing FlexibilityThe new press features a robust filling slide—driven by a central, axis-regulated linear drive—that can be equipped with various filling systems for manufacturing flexibility (see Figure 1).
Additionally, the new presses aren’t limited to the manufacture of tiles. They can also be used for other ceramic pressing operations, including the dry pressing of parts of up to 100 mm filling height.