Polialc: Ancora provides complete Finishing line for Large Slabsadmin
Polialc, located in the Castellón district of Spain and specialized in integrated services for the ceramics industry, has once again chosen Ancora end of the line technology for its new production facility. Polialc has placed another order with Ancora (Siti B&T Group), confirming its trust in a reliable technological partner with cutting-edge solutions for all finishing processes in its new department dedicated to large slabs. Ancora’s technicians, in close collaboration with their colleagues at Polialc, have designed a system for large slabs that meets the needs of the dynamic Spanish ceramic tile market, which is characterized by a wide range of sizes and thicknesses.
The plant is designed for sizes ranging from 1000×1000 mm to 1800×3600 mm and thicknesses from 5 mm to 30 mm. It performs surface lapping (of glazed surfaces) and polishing of full-body, double-loaded or through-vein technical ceramics.
Flexibility and efficiency
A unique feature of this plant is that it includes a grinding stage on an independent loading and unloading line, which means that it can produce both semi-finished and finished slabs. Polialc can, therefore, pre-grind and polish one slab while at the same time grind another slab on a parallel and completely independent line. This flexibility means that Polialc can effectively satisfy any requirements of the Spanish ceramics market.
The plant first pre-grinds the slabs before lapping. The purpose of this is to make the lapping process easier and more efficient by precisely defining the slab geometry and to bevel the edges and corners of the slab to protect the metal tools and prevent scratches caused by particles of grit during lapping.
If full-body technical porcelain stoneware has to be smoothed, the system supplied to Polialc by Ancora can also perform surface roughing. This process involves smoothing the tile using rigid tools in order to enhance double loading, vein, or grain effects. This machine consists of a single base with a traversing beam capable of grinding the full width of slabs from 1000 mm to 1800 mm.
Lapping involves the use of two double beam lapping machines. Designed to process ceramic tiles of thicknesses ranging from 5 to 30 mm, these two high-tech machines are fitted with all the features needed to machine surfaces of highly variable flatness, weight, and thickness. The brushless motor and the traversing beams for machining the edges help the operator select the method and length of time required for the critical edge lapping process according to the type of slab. One of the features of Ancora lapping machines is the option of selecting the type of tool according to the composition of the slab. Magnesium tools can be used for polished slabs or resin-coated tools can be used for full-width lapped surfaces.
Pickling consists of cleaning glazed surfaces after lapping and involves modifying the morphology of the glaze. This process is also known as “acid etching”. It is an integral part of the ceramic treatment process and is necessary for making the lapped surface resistant to acid attack. Because of its surface porosity, the tile retains processing impurities if pickling is not carried out. The process neutralizes the pores and removes any lapping residues.
Hi-Coat is the technology developed by Ancora that is used in this stage of the end-of-line process. Hi-Coat is a highly versatile machine equipped with multiple independent heads that use soft tools to apply products to the surface of the slab in order to fill the pores with protective acid-resistant products. The result is a uniform highly durable product with high resistance to the most common and stubborn stains.
The grinding stage also uses sophisticated high-tech machinery to process large slabs. The operator can control all operations via the remote control that enables rapid and efficient size changeovers to be carried out. It also allows the wear of the grinding wheel and the general condition of the machine to be assessed. Caliber and color control are the final stages in the process before the SITI B&T loading/unloading machines place the finished product in special boxes or racks for storage.