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Sistema de flujo de descarga insensible a variaciones de viscosidad del esmalte para garantizar la uniformidad del color en baldosas cerámicas


Oferta Tecnológica
Un centro de investigación español de la industria de la cerámica ha desarrollado un sistema de alimentación de esmalte para aplicación por campana insensible a las variaciones de viscosidad del esmalte, que permite producir baldosas más uniformes. Este sistema ha sido probado a escala industrial y patentado. El sistema puede emplearse en otros sectores que utilizan esmalte por campana o para otros sistemas en los que el caudal de alimentación de un líquido o suspensión necesita mantenerse estable y constante. Se buscan socios con el fin de establecer acuerdos de licencia o comercialización con asistencia técnica.


Discharge flow system insensitive to variations in glaze viscosity assuring color uniformity in ceramic tiles
A Spanish research centre from the ceramic sector has developed a glaze feed system for bell application, insensitive to variations in glaze viscosity, producing more uniform tiles. It has been tested at industrial-scale conditions and patented. This system could be used in other sectors that use bell glazing or for other systems in which the feed flow rate of a liquid or suspension needs to be kept steady and constant. A license or a commercial agreement with technical assistance is desired.
The ceramic tile production process consists of a series of successive stages that can be summarised as follows: raw material preparation, pressing and drying of the ceramic bodies, firing, with or without glaze, additional treatments, sorting and packing.

A large number of the defects associated with lack of colour uniformity among different tiles is due to the changes in discharge flow rate that conventional glaze feed systems for bell glazing tend to suffer as a result of variations in glaze viscosity in the mixing tanks and pumps. These variations in viscosity, mainly due to temperature changes in the glaze as a result of the mixing and of fluctuations in room temperature, lead to significant variations in the amount of glaze applied on to the ceramic tiles, generally known as "grammage", which in turn produces colour differences in the end product.

By applying mechanical energy balances to a conventional glaze feed system, it has been demonstrated that changes in glaze viscosity lead to variations in the discharge flow rate, as the losses of mechanical energy are altered when the glaze flows through the feeder. Using the results obtained from a previous experimental stage, a glaze feed prototype has been built with a shape that minimises the variations in charge loss that the glaze undergoes when it flows inside the feeder, and which makes it insensitive to variations in glaze viscosity. In order to verify the proper working of this prototype, its performance was tested under both pilot and industrial-scale conditions. After these tests the prototype has been patented.

The control method currently used on the market to correct such variations in glaze flow consists of carrying out periodic and manual measurements (every half an hour at best) of the "grammage" applied on to a metal control plate that is run through the glaze curtain created by the bell. Thus, when the amount of glaze measured deviates from the pre-established setting values, the operator modifies the position of the valve in order to increase or reduce the flow rate of the applied glaze. Given its periodic nature, this operating approach fails to assure any stability of the amount of applied glaze, which then leads to defects associated with non-uniform colour in the end product.

The new glaze feed system developed provides the glaze feed for bell glazing but, unlike conventional systems, it is insensitive to changes in glaze viscosity, thereby ensuring that a constant amount of glaze is applied and thus reducing the defects associated with variations in viscosity.

Current and potential domain of application: This technology can be applied at all ceramic tile plants, both for wall and floor tiles, which use bell glazing. Its application could be extended to other sectors that use bell glazing or to other systems in which the feed flow rate of a liquid or suspension needs to be kept steady and constant.
Advantages and Innovations:
- The concept of the system is based on applying mechanical energy balances to a glaze feed system
- The construction shape of the developed device minimizes mechanical energy losses in comparison to conventional glaze feed systems
- The new system is practically insensitive to variations in glaze viscosity, which therefore assures that a constant amount of glaze is applied on the ceramic tiles.

In comparison to traditional glaze application methods, the developed system provides the following advantages:
1. It makes measuring "grammage" unnecessary: Tests both in the pilot plant and under industrial conditions have demonstrated that the amount of applied glaze remains within the preset control limits, without being necessary to adjust the system in any way, so that the quality of the end product remains constant.
2. Lower costs: By reducing the number of defective tiles, the task of sorting them is simplified and the number of first-quality tiles produced increases.
3. The system is five times less sensitive to variations in viscosity: The feed system that has been designed and built minimizes the mechanical energy losses undergone by the glaze as it flows through the device, in comparison to those undergone by conventional systems.
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 device 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 that use bell glazing or to other systems in which the feed flow rate of a liquid or suspension needs to be kept steady and constant.
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:
02007004 Colorantes y barnices
02007007 Cristal
02007003 Materiales y polvos cerámicos
02007009 Materials Handling Technology (solids, fluids, gases)
02006001 Materials, components and systems for construction