SPECIAL REPORT/MATERIALS HANDLING/POWDER PROCESSING: Case Study: Tile Savvy

August 1, 2009
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Porcellan turned to Sacmi to help it achieve its goals of providing the local ceramic industry with a diverse product line while also attaining success in international markets.

MMC continuous grinding mills consist of three single-chamber interchangeable grinding cylinders.


Production began in January 2009 at the new Porcellan Co. LLC plant in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. Designed to produce large, high-quality glazed and technical porcelain tile, the plant is located in an area of the capital that will soon see extensive construction work. The new industrial district also offers land and sea connections for efficient export opportunities.

The latest addition to the Jamal Al Ghurair Group, Porcellan aims to provide the local ceramic industry with a diverse product line while also attaining success in international markets. In order to achieve these goals, the company turned to Sacmi for much of the facility’s equipment.

Milling

The plant features two MMC180 mills, currently the largest in the world. The continuous grinding mills consist of three single-chamber, independent-driven grinding cylinders, each of which is equipped with an inverter that allows Porcellan to set different rotation speeds to obtain the optimal grinding curve for each tile formulation.

The material is fed by a worm screw with a wear-resistant lining on the feed surfaces. Specially designed grills and diaphragms introduce the material into the connection fitters and ensure the continuous passage of slip from one grinding chamber to another.

The system is fully programmable and offers management of start and stop sequences, control and monitoring of lubrication systems, control of main bearing and drive component temperatures, and operational diagnostics for mechanical and electrical parts. In addition, the control panel provides comprehensive management of the material infeed/outfeed systems.

Spray Drying

Two ATM200 spray dryers, as well as a smaller ATM65 used specifically for colors, are also key elements of the plant. During the spray dryers’ operation, a fan forces air through a burner that heats the air and transfers it along a thermally insulated steel duct to a ring distributor, where it begins to rotate inside the drying tower. The slip is fed at constant pressure by a pump through filters into a series of calibrated-aperture nozzles, which nebulize the slip as it moves into the drying tower.

After it is dried, the product falls to the bottom of the tower, where it is off-loaded onto a conveyor belt that transports it to storage silos. Separate cyclones capture the damp air and eliminate most of the suspended fine powder while the main fan sends the air into a dust separation device, which completes the elimination of the powder.

The spray dryers’ startup and guidance sequence is performed automatically via an electronic control unit. Operating data is set via a keypad and shown on the display, which also provides a full range of diagnostic messages (e.g., shutdown, alarms, maintenance, etc.).

A Good Start

The new plant also features eight high-tonnage presses and eight five-layer horizontal dryers. In addition, four roller kilns with pre-kilns (two 207.9-m-long and two 218.4-m-long) provide almost 1 km worth of high-efficiency kilns. Sacmi also equipped many of these systems with special energy-saving capabilities.

The first finished products left the factory just 48 hours after startup, a source of considerable satisfaction for both Porcellan’s managers and Sacmi’s technicians. By utilizing technologically advanced equipment to achieve an output capacity of 54,000 square meters a day, Porcellan is well on its way to becoming a leading producer at both the local and international levels.

For additional information regarding the equipment mentioned in this article, visit www.sacmi.com. Porcellan’s website is located at www.porcellan.com.

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