Technology

Alternating Satellite and Fickert heads: the right combination to obtain the best quality in polishing Lappato

18/06/2021

By comparing the footprints of the Fickert and Satellite tools, Premier realized that any machining marks are eliminated by alternating Fickert and Satellites heads on the finishing line.

Although Premier’s new satellite heads are becoming more and more popular, today, in the ceramic tile industry the number of Fickert heads is still predominant and represents almost all the heads that equip the finishing machines.

One of the latest researches realized at the Premier Lab has provided very interesting results. Premier’s technicians decided to compare the trajectory of the Fickert tools and the satellites on the tiles. To do this, they placed a satellite head and a Fickert in motion and pressed them against a ceramic slab until they left their mark (see photos A and B).

The mark left by the Fickert head (photo A) - and consequently the trajectory described by the tools - is made up of concentric circles, while the satellite head leaves curved marks, positioned radially from the center of rotation of the head.

Premier had then the idea to mount Fickert heads and Satellite heads alternatively on a lapping line and the result was excellent: any machining marks left by Fickert heads, instead of being highlighted due to the passage of the tools of the subsequent heads, were canceled by the passage of satellites that describe a completely different trajectory and perpendicular to the concentric circles described by the Fickerts.

Furthermore, this alternation of sign has a positive effect on the behavior of the tool, because it helps keeping it always revived and with the cut always clean and open; this is especially noticeable in the Fickert that, working in a low-speed system, tends to “Close” reducing its cutting capacity.

Photo C: The trajectories described by the Fickert (green) and satellite (orange) tools

Photo C shows the result of the intersection of the trajectories of the Fickert and Satellite tools: it can be clearly seen that the intersection between the two trajectories is perpendicular, therefore any grooves are smoothed by the passage of the following head's tools.

As a further step, Premier applied this intuition at its LAB and verified that the result obtained was excellent, as confirmed by Miguel Gimenez, director of the LAB: The quality of the gloss that is obtained by alternating Fickert and satellite heads is higher than that which can be achieved with a traditional line equipped only with Fickert heads. Today, after many days of work, the quality is constant and superior. In addition, this solution eliminates the problem of the advance sign, that web of micro-signs that treacherously appears only in certain conditions of reflected light and that suggests the trajectory of tool processing on the tile, a defect that is particular disliked. The alternation of Fickert and Satellites heads also allows us to obtain a higher productivity of the line.

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