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Control automático de la densidad de un cuerpo cerámico fabricado mediante prensado


Oferta Tecnológica
Un centro de investigación español del sector de la cerámica ha desarrollado un sistema innovador para controlar de forma automática el proceso de prensado en la industria cerámica. El sistema desarrollado permite mantener una constante densidad media en seco de las baldosas de cerámica compactadas industrialmente. La densidad determina el comportamiento de la baldosa durante la fabricación y las características técnicas y estéticas del producto final. El centro de investigación está interesado en establecer acuerdos de licencia, comercialización o cooperación para instalar el sistema en la industria de la cerámica u otros sectores cuyos productos requieren una densidad constante.


Automatic control of the bulk density of a ceramic body made by pressing
A Spanish research centre from the ceramic sector has developed an innovative system to control the pressing process in the ceramic industry to keep dry bulk density constant in the industrial pressed tiles. The density determines their behaviour in manufacturing and their final technical and aesthetical properties. The centre searches for license or commercial and technical agreements to install the system in the ceramic sector or other in which products require constant density.
The ceramic tile manufacturing process consists of a series of successive stages, which can be summarized as follows: raw materials preparation, pressing and drying of the green body, firing, with or without glazing, additional treatments and sorting and packing.

Dry pressing (at 5-7% moisture content) with hydraulic presses is the most common tile forming method. Forming takes place by mechanically compressing the powder bed in the die, which is one of the most cost-efficient forming methods for making ceramic ware with a regular geometry. In pressing, the oil-hydraulic press system drives the rams into the powder bed in the die. The main hydraulic press characteristics are as follows: high compaction force, high productivity, easy adjustment and consistency in holding the set pressing cycle schedule.

The importance of the pressing process lies in the fact that it determines both the bulk density distribution in the tile and means bulk density. This bulk density will determine ceramic tile behaviour during manufacture and the technical and aesthetic characteristics of the end product.

The control method used at present in the pressing process is discontinuous, performed by hand and uses mercury, making it inefficient and involving health risks for the workers. Therefore, an on-line control system, which is non-destructive and risk-free, has been developed and implemented.

The developed method consists of a system which, using on-line non-contact measurement of the ceramic compacts, allows adjusting pressing pressure in order to keep dry bulk density constant in the pressed tiles.

Before installing the control system it is necessary to know the compaction diagram of each composition, the target bulk density and the maximum admissible margins of variation in the bulk density of each product.

The moisture content of the pressed compact is determined directly by on-line non-contact measurement on the compact with an infrared sensor, when the compact is ejected from the press.

The sensor measurement is used as a variable in a specifically designed software application in which the interdependence functions (previously obtained in the laboratory between the moisture content measured by the sensor and the pressure that the press shall apply to keep tile dry bulk density steady) are programmed, adapted to industrial practice.

The computer is connected to the press to control press pressure, and it enables plotting and recording the evolution of the operation variables, programming alarm dialogues, entering settings, and communicating with the corresponding press PLC (Programmable Logic Controller) and with the industrial data network of the manufacturing plant.
Advantages and Innovations:
- No mercury is used.
- Keeps dry bulk density constant in ceramic tiles by on-line measurement of tile body moisture content.

In comparison to the traditional method, the system provides the following advantages:
1. Reduces production problems: By keeping tile bulk density constant. As bulk density determines tile porosity, constant tile bulk density reduces or avoids numerous production problems, such as breakages, curvature, etc.
2. Reduces costs: As the number of defective tiles is reduced, store management is simplified and less space is needed to store products, thus lowering production and storage costs.
3. Enhances end product quality: End product quality is enhanced by improved control of the manufacturing process.
4. Improves store management and reduces store space: Obtaining tiles with a single size improves store management of end products, and reduces the space required to store these products, as a result of having a single size for each model.
5. Improved customer service: Complaints from lack of tile dimensional stability and possible errors in preparing the lots to be dispatched to customers are eliminated.
Stage of Development:
Already on the market
Patents granted

Partner sought

Type and Role of Partner Sought:
The centre is seeking ceramic manufacturers interested in installing the system at their plants, or machinery manufacturers interested in a license of the patent in order to sell and install the device themselves. Partners from other sectors are also considered as the system use could be extended to other fields in which products require constant density.
The types of agreement considered are license agreement, commercial agreement with technical assistance and technical cooperation agreement.
The partner sought will collaborate with the system developers during the installation or further development, providing information about the manufacturing process, the sector and requirements.


Type and Size of Client:
R&D Institution
Already Engaged in Trans-National Cooperation:
Languages Spoken:


Technology Keywords:
02007003 Materiales y polvos cerámicos
02007009 Materials Handling Technology (solids, fluids, gases)
02006001 Materials, components and systems for construction
02007015 Properties of Materials, Corrosion/Degradation
09001009 Tecnología de sensores relacionada con la realización de medidas