Metco presents SinkMet at Tecnargilla


Metco is returning to the Kromatech section of Tecnargilla (Hall D5, stand 006) to present the completion of its “Magnificent Surfaces” project after developing the SSI Soluble Solvent Inks system, better known by the brand name SinkMet. SinkMet is a digital colour produced in Italy which revolutionises the way in which porcelain tiles are decorated. The product is made entirely of high-quality raw materials and without glass.

The goal of Metco’s R&D efforts is to give porcelain tiles a highly sophisticated design that complements their technical qualities as a highly durable material sintered at extremely high temperatures and free of surface and structural defects.

Metco’s SinkMet range of digital colours penetrate inside the ceramic surface and create infinitesimally small lines and dots of colour based on dedicated software. By creating an image in the third dimension, they give the surface a strongly material sense of depth following the honing or polishing operation. Conventional techniques generally require the use of a glaze-engobe (liquid phase superimposed over the pressed material) and subsequent to digital decoration the application of a transparent glaze that serves to seal the pigment and design. Clearly, this sandwich of 4 different materials can create problems over time, especially after installation. By contrast, Metco SinkMet digital colours interact directly with the high-quality raw materials that make up the body, creating a permanent design on the tile.

Following this in-depth printing process, the raw material can be honed to produce a high-gloss finish by removing a significant quantity of material from the surface.

Following modern full-field honing, the surface is finished by applying Metclean, a well-known Supergloss material which saturates the surface pores and reduces the risk of soiling agents penetrating (even temporarily) into the open pores created by the action of the abrasive tools.

Supergloss Metclean 1006 (an inorganic silicone lubricant) is rubbed onto the tile surface immediately after honing. Following a meticulous pickling operation, Metclean is applied by a group of 8 felt pads each mounted on a rotating head and equipped with an electronic counter-pressure system and an automatic lubricant dosing system.

Following this operation, the tile is washed with water with the aid of a further two rotating heads that dose the water using laminar mineral fibre accessories.

This technology, which is defined as “localised finishing” rather than coating, is able to achieve the status of “Magnificent Surfaces”. Technological and chemical laboratory analyses have confirmed an outstanding level of staining resistance (ISO 10545-14), a very high grip (NBR13818/97-N), especially on a wet surface, and a high gloss level (98 gloss), making this finish suitable for ASTM E1980-11 “Solar Reflectance Index SRI” and ASTM C609-07/BS8300:2009 certification.

The laboratory analyses also show that (induced) aging of the surface does not give rise to any reduction in the performance of the silicone attached to the surface pores, so Metco Magnificent Surfaces only need to be cleaned with water and neutral soap.

Metco will be present at Tecnargilla (Hall D5 booth 005) and at Cersaie (Hall 33 booth E21).