Spotlight

Mirror and Premier develop the first “Polishing-lapping machine”

16/03/2021

This versatile new line is capable of simultaneously polishing technical porcelain tiles and lapping glazed tiles with just a single tool change, thereby solving the problem of calibration.

In recent years, the “lappato revolution” has led more and more ceramic tile manufacturers and subcontractors to decommission their polishing plants complete with calibration used for machining porcelain tiles. However, the production of full-body technical porcelain surfaces is now seeing a revival due to the technical limitations of glazed and lapped products for floors subject to intense foot traffic and the arrival of new solutions developed by glaze and colour producers. This means it is once again necessary to be able to polish these kinds of tiles or slabs.

To cater for this need, a number of leading producers of technical porcelain in the Sassuolo ceramic district have turned to Mirror, a historic end-of-line subcontractor renowned for being one of the first to experiment with the “super treatments” now widely used in end-of-line departments.

In order to meet its customers’ requirements, Mirror itself had to solve a problem: how to polish slabs and tiles without using the bulky calibrating machine it had decommissioned some time previously.

The solution was found in collaboration with Premier, its longstanding supplier. Mirror’s technicians Luca Buzzoni and Tiziano Nordi worked alongside Premier’s technicians to study the applicability of metal satellites on an existing lapping-only line, transforming it into a versatile line capable of simultaneously polishing technical porcelain tiles and lapping glazed tiles with a single tool change.

By applying Premier satellite heads to a lapping line, they created the first “Polishing-lapping machine” capable of performing both calibration/polishing and lapping with a single tool change. This operation was made much faster thanks to the new quick couplings designed by Premier that drastically reduce tool changeover times.

Today, the 30-head line in operation at Mirror is capable of polishing 600 mm technical porcelain tiles at speeds of 3 - 3.5 m/min. while attaining an excellent gloss level. The same line can be transformed into an efficient lapping machine simply by changing the tools and without the need to perform mechanical adjustments. Thanks to the satellite heads, it guarantees an increase in productivity and 15-20% cost savings compared to a line equipped solely with fickert tools.

These results have been obtained thanks to the hard work of the Mirror and Premier technicians, who have succeeded in achieving optimum polishing quality by refining the machining parameters. Moreover, by adopting the “Polishing-lapping machine”, Mirror has become the leading “polisher” of technical porcelain tiles for the most important ceramic tile manufacturers in the Sassuolo area without having to expand its lines or make costly investments.