Ceramic Industry

An Energy-Saving Press for Tile

March 1, 2001
A new hydraulic press has been developed to meet the increasing quality requirements in the tile manufacturing industry.

The Omega 2100 press.
Quality requirements in the tile manufacturing industry are continuously increasing, along with the need to develop new products while streamlining production efficiencies. A new hydraulic press* has been developed to meet these requirements. The new press is designed to use 3000, 2600 or 2100 tons of pressure, depending on the model, to provide the highest possible tile stiffness and quality while using up to 25% less energy.

Development of the New Press

The 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 Controls

In 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.

Figure 1. The filling slide can be equipped with various filling systems for manufacturing flexibility.

Manufacturing Flexibility

The 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).

Figure 2. The filling slide offers the possibility for acceleration and deceleration up to 2 g.
Using this filling slide, the press can be modified to accommodate fine stoneware, multicolor bodies and other tile variations. The filling slide also offers possibilities for acceleration and deceleration up to 2 g (two-fold acceleration due to gravity) (see Figure 2). Changes for different sizes and molding materials can be set on the menu-driven TFT (high-resolution) LCD color display. The controlled-ejection device is infinitely variable and works without mechanical strokes, so that both wavelike and wedge-shaped mold fillings are possible.

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.

For More Information

For more information about the new press, contact Laeis-Bucher GmbH, Schiffstrasse 3, D-54293 Trier, Germany; (49) 651-9492-474; fax (49) 651-949251-474; e-mail info@laeis-bucher.com; or visit http://www.laeis-bucher.com.