Premier Satellite heads for improved productivity in lapping and polishing


Besides the advantages of the satellite respect to the fickert, Premier launches its new parallel row Satellite System for ceramic tile lapping

The lapping and polishing process is essential for producing ceramic tiles with a smooth, polished surface. To optimise this process, it is important to maximise productivity while cutting costs. The Premier Satellite offers an effective and reliable alternative to Fickert heads for any lapping or polishing line and for use with all kinds of materials and surface effects. In general, satellite systems can be used on any kind of polishing machine and can perform a series of operations such as roughing, lapping, polishing and satin finishing.

The distinctive feature of this particular system is its ability to generate a greater quantity of kinetic energy than any other system in use, resulting in higher quality and productivity in end-of-line processing. The efficiency of the system is practically doubled: the diamond resin tool rotates at a speed of about 1,500 rpm and generates a very large quantity of kinetic energy, equivalent to the amount produced by two Fickert heads.

A growing number of lines have now been converted for use with the Premier Satellite.

This system employs a dual rotary motion, one for the head and the other for the tool, which together with the translational movement of the tiles greatly improves the uniformity and speed of removal. Greater head efficiency brings huge benefits: a smaller number of heads devoted to roughing, a better finish and the use of finer gritted tools.

Ceramic tile manufacturers increasingly need to use hard grits that are difficult to work with using conventional Fickert heads.

Right from the start of R&D work on the new Satellite, Premier was fully aware that the high speed reached by the satellite (the 1,500 revolutions per minute performed by the tool around its axis of rotation) is what really makes the difference in the process. This rotational speed is transformed into kinetic energy capable of triplicating the cutting power compared to a conventional Fickert head, allowing the diamond bond to operate in optimal conditions.

The following are three of the other main benefits of the satellite.

► Firstly, the smaller contact area compared to the Fickert head allows the tools to penetrate into every depression and achieve a better finish. This allows the tool to be positioned in such a way that the edges and high and low points are polished perfectly. The Premier tool can reach all points on the surface and work uniformly due to the very small point of contact (about 2.5 cm) compared to the Fickert head, which instead has a minimum contact width of 10 cm.

► Secondly, the diamond satellite is scalable and can be made up of several Velcro layers or a single block. The versatility and modularity of the tool allows the configuration to be changed according to the desired degree of flatness.

► Finally, tools with finer grit can be used while maintaining the same removal volume. Eliminating coarse-grit tools from the end of the line stage results in scratch-free tiles with a higher gloss level. The Satellite permanently solves the dilemma of edge processing: whether to avoid processing them at all or to risk removing too much glaze and allowing the body to appear.

The Premier Satellite is available with a 4-hole or Terzago type connector, with grits ranging from 50 to 12,000, and in two diameters: 130 mm or 150 mm.

  • The parallel row Satellite System for tile lapping

For increasing lapping line productivity, Premier Lab has developed the parallel row Satellite System. In practice, whereas in the conventional system tiles proceed along the belt in a single row, Premier proposes using its special Satellite head to process tiles moving along several parallel rows at the same time. This option would be impossible on polishing and lapping lines that use Fickert heads.

The Premier Lab investigated application of the Premier Satellite on tiles arranged in parallel rows, and the results show that this setup is in fact possible. There are two reasons for this:

► first, the Premier Satellite does not perform a sweeping movement: it rotates around its own axis and moves from one tile to another by rotating around an inclined axis, thereby pushing the tile against the conveyor belt; this means there is no risk of the tiles being lifted even if they are kept separate;

► secondly, the tangency line is 25 mm, divided over two rows of teeth, so the tool is able to penetrate into all the depressions, including those between tiles placed side by side. If we add to this the technical characteristics and advantages of the satellite system, it is clear that the system is able to improve the quality of the finished product, boost the productivity of the lapping process and significantly reduce costs per square metre.