BONATO, Luca (Via Ghiberti 32, Milano, I-20149, IT)
1. Method for calibrating surfaces of stone materials, suitable for working at least one slab
(1) composed of an entry side and an exit side and of two parallel side edges, said slab (1) being pushed along the side edges through a conveyor belt and subjected to the cutting action imparted by multiple tools equipped with a peripheral speed compatible with optimum cutting parameters for the stone material, said tools moving along a predefined path along the surface of the slab (1), said motion imparted by the conveyor belt and said predefined tool path being combined in order to completely cover the surface of the slab (1), characterised in that the contact between said slab (1) and said tools is ensured simultaneously at least in one point on each of the two side edges of the slab (1) .
2. Method for calibrating surfaces of stone materials according to claim 1, characterised in that, when the distance of the side edges of the slab (1) increases, the number of tool-holder spindles (3), necessary to guarantee the slab- tool contact in at least one point on each of the two side edges of the slab (1), decreases.
3. Method for calibrating surfaces of stone materials according to claim 1 or 2, characterised in that the slab-tool contact in at least one point on each of the two side edges of the slab (1) guarantees the slab stability with the uneven or not perfectly plane, or, in particular, concave bottom.
4. Method for calibrating surfaces of stone materials according to any one of claims 1 to 3, characterised in that both the advancement motion of the slab (1) and the transverse motion of the series of tool-holder spindles (3) are of a continuous type, and in that the combination of said two motions is such as to completely cover the whole surface of the slab (1) of stone material .
5. Plant for calibrating slabs (1) of stone material designed for performing the method according to any one of the previous claims, comprising at least one head (2), continuously rotating with respect to the vertical axis to the plane of a slab (1), said head (2) supporting a series of tool-holder spindles (3) radially arranged along a circumference of the head (2), characterised in that at least two tool-holder spindles (3) simultaneously press on the slab (1) at least in one point on each of the two side edges of the slab (1), each one of the tool-holder spindles (3) being connected to a coaxial electric motor, which operates independently from the other motors of the other spindles (3) .
6. Plant for calibrating slabs (1) of stone material according to claim 5, characterised in that it comprises 24 tool-holder spindles to work a slab (1) having its two side edges at a distance of about 600 mm.
The present invention relates to a method for calibrating surfaces of stone materials, ceramics, marble, granite.
A method for calibrating surfaces of stone materials is classified into the following International Patent Classes (IPC) : B24B - MACHINES, DEVICES, OR PROCESSES FOR GRINDING OR POLISHING; B28D - WORKING STONE OR STONE-LIKE MATERIALS.
The prior art in calibrating the surfaces of stone materials is given by:
DE4209273, which discloses a method for calibrating surfaces of stone materials and a plant for calibrating slabs of stone material according to the preamble of the relevant Claims. Such a prior document discloses a head with spindles which works on two sides of a slab of stone material not simultaneously, but in a sequence, due to the transverse movement of the cross-member to which it is rigidly connected, thereby providing a head with reduced sizes. Moreover, the head of this prior art document comprises spindles mechanically connected to the central drive shaft, and motored through such shaft.
US6783443: "Polishing machine for stone materials, having multiple grinding heads aligned on two oscillating and parallel beams with variable offset", in which a machine is disclosed for calibrating stone material comprising a belt conveying the slabs to be calibrated, a pair of beams oscillating along a transverse direction to the conveyor belt motion and respectively supporting a row of calibrating heads, said oscillating beams being arranged at a mutual distance that can be modified.
- US5056272: "Method and apparatus for reducing thickness of stone slabs", in which a machine is disclosed for calibrating the thickness of a slab of stone material through two sets of coaxial discs having the same diameter and respectively arranged along two parallel axes arranged transversally to the advancement direction of the conveyor belt of the slabs of stone material.
- US5022193: "Method of automatically gauging articles of granite, hard stones and the like of desired thickness, with discontinuous motion", in which a method is disclosed for calibrating slabs of stone material advancing through a conveyor belt and subjected to the action of a spindle comprising a diamond tool, said spindle being able to invert the movement direction according to a trajectory in an orthogonal direction to the belt for advancing the slab, said slab advancing discontinuously and being calibrated, when it is not moving, through a transverse movement of the spindle which covers a first section of slab, then, by stopping said calibration and advancing the slab by a distance equal to the width of the first calibrated section, repeating the procedure for the following slab sections.
US4914870: "Process for automatically smoothing and polishing slabs or marble, granite, stones and the like", in which a method is disclosed for calibrating stone material comprising a system for checking the advancement of the belt for transporting the slab, characterised in that the slab advancement occurs discontinuously and, with an unmoving slab, the beam for supporting the tool- holder spindles performs the transverse motion by calibrating a first slab area for all its width, repeating the procedure for following sections of the slab.
The prior art substantially takes into account: the continuous calibration by means of a spindle supporting a cylindrical tool whose extension is greater than or equal to the maximum slab width, rotating along a fixed axle parallel to the slab plane and orthogonal to the slab advancement direction. The continuous slab advancement, coupled with the spindle rotation, produces a cutting edge, namely a partitioning line between the calibrated surface and the rough surface that must be calibrated, which covers the whole slab width and advances with the advancement of the slab itself. Approaching the tool with respect to the slab surface occurs by cutting, namely along a direction parallel to the slab surface. For this reason, the continuous calibration works "with position"; the intermittent calibration through a spindle supporting a tool rotating along an orthogonal axis to the slab plane and translating along a transverse direction to the slab advancement direction. Coupling of transverse translation and rotation around its own axis for the tool-holder spindle, produces a cutting edge which does not cover the slab width, but only a part of it. Approaching the tool with respect to the slab surface occurs through pressure, namely along an orthogonal direction to the slab surface. Due to this, the intermittent calibration works "with pressure" .
The continuous calibration has the advantage of making a cutting edge coinciding with the slab width. It also has the disadvantage of having to have available a supporting structure for the cylindrical tool with high stiffness and therefore with big sizes in order to ensure the uniform slab calibration. Since the slab reaction force, subjected to the distributed action of the cylindrical tool, is maximum at its centre, where the cylindrical tool is more inflected, the continuous calibration by means of a transverse cylindrical tool is: efficient along slab edges, namely next to supporting bushes for the cylindrical tool; scarce along the slab center-distance, namely at half the cylindrical tool height. The intermittent calibration has the advantage of making the tool better suited to the slab profile due to the fact that the cutting edge does not completely cover the beam width. This allows adopting a slim, not necessarily stiff machine structure.
A problem, occurred in these years, deals with the difficulty of obtaining calibrated slabs and complying with always more and more accurate dimensional tolerances.
It is known that the slab, usually coming from sawing by means of blades or from sawing by means of multi-wire frames, has a surface with a high central concavity. In the '90s, it has been deemed advantageous to calibrate the slab by keeping the slab profile concave; this implied making a product with a high degree of surface finish but, at the same time, provided with a strong geometric irregularity.
In spite of the fact that keeping the slab concavity allows reducing waste to be disposed of, due to the lower amount of removed material, nowadays the market requires more accuracy coupled with an extreme brightness quality of the worked material .
The intermittent slab advancement, coupled with the transverse movement of the tool-holder spindle, allows obtaining slabs with high aesthetic qualities, but low geometric accuracy.
Therefore, the calibration with intermittent advancement is not able to satisfy the dimensional requirement required by the marked.
Object of the present invention is solving the above prior art problems, by providing a method for calibrating slabs of stone material capable of satisfying both requirements - geometric accuracy and aesthetic qualities.
This is a combination of the continuous advancement motion of the slab with the continuous transverse motion of the tool, so that the contact between slab and tool occurs simultaneously in at least two points, respectively placed in the surface position adjacent to the slab side edges.
The above and other objects and advantages of the invention, as will result from the following description, are obtained with a method as described in claim 1. Preferred embodiments and non-trivial variations of the present invention are the subject matter of the dependent claims.
It will be immediately obvious that numerous variations and modifications (for example related to shape, sizes, arrangements and parts with equivalent functionality) can be made to what is described, without departing from the scope of the invention as appears from the enclosed claims.
The present invention will be better described by some preferred embodiments thereof, provided as a non-limiting example, with reference to the enclosed drawings, in which: figure 1: first reference to prior art for the intermittent calibration method; figure 2 : reference to prior art for the continuous calibration method; figure 3: second reference to prior art for the intermittent calibration method; figure 4 : axonometric view of the slab entry side for the application of the described calibrating method; figure 5: side, front, axonometric and plan views of the application of the calibrating method in the phase with maximum slab-tool contact; figure 6: side, front, axonometric and plan views of the application of the calibrating method in the phase with minimum slab-tool contact; figure 7: side, front, axonometric and plan views of the application of the calibrating method in the following phase with maximum slab-tool contact .
An application of the calibrating method of the present invention comprises a slab 1 of stone material, with indefinite length and width H, continuously advancing along direction AD. A head 2, whose maximum diameter is D, supports a series of tool-holder spindles 3 radially arranged at the same distance from the rotation centre R and with the same angular pitch. The tools have a cylindrical shape, a circular base with diameter d and a cylinder height h. The head 2 rotates with continuity with respect to the fixed axis of a shaft 4 perpendicular to the slab 1 surface; the tool- holder spindles 3 rotate at a speed corresponding to the peripheral cutting speed Vp compatible with the characteristics of the slab material to be calibrated. According to one of the features of the present invention, each one of the tool-holder spindles 3 is connected to a coaxial electric motor (not shown) , which operates independently from the other motors of the other spindles 3. This is due to the fact that, differently from the prior art (ex. DE4209273), it would be impossible to mechanically connect the spindles 3 on a head with a diameter of
2 or 3 m.
Also differently from the prior art (ex. DE4209273), all working tool-holder spindles 3 simultaneously press on the lateral edges of the slab 1 to be worked.
The mathematical relationship between geometric variables of slab 1, head 2 and tool-holder spindles
3 and between production variables of advancing speed AD, angular rotation speed R of the head 2 is defined by the following expressions:
AD(m/min) *Δt (sec) *1000/60=h (mm) ; α (RAD) =2*π*n (RPM) /60*Δt (sec) ; where :
Of(RAD)= angular rotation section of which the tool-holder spindle 3-3 moves to reach the position at the center-distance of the slab 1; Δt(sec)= time interval passed by the head 2 for moving along the section α (RAD); n (RPM)= rotation speed of head 2; h (mm) = tool height integral with tool-holder spindle 3. By setting: α (RAD)= 1.05 corresponding to a head 2 supporting six tool-holder spindles 3 at the same distance;
AD(m/min)= 2 m/min; h(mm)= 50 mm; the following are obtained: Δt (sec) = 1.5 sec; n (RPM)= 6.68 RPM.
Having set the number of tool-holder spindles 3, radially arranged along a circumference D of the head 2, the minimum width H of the slab 1, capable of ensuring the slab-tool contact in at least two points adjacent to the respective side edges of the slab 1, can be deduced from: H(mm)= D(mm)*sen α (RAD). For: α (RAD) = 1.05 corresponding to six spindles; and D (aim) = 2300 mm the following is obtained: Hmin(mm)= 2300*0.87 = 1992 mm.
To be able to calibrate slabs with a reduced width H, it is necessary to increase the number of tool-holder spindles 3. For example, for: α (RAD)= 0.26 corresponding to 24 tool-holder spindles 3 at the same distance; with:
D(mm)= 2300 mm; the following is obtained: Hmin(mm)= 2300*sen ( 0.26) = 595 mm.
The above stated mathematical relationships rule the design of an application capable of guaranteeing the simultaneous slab-tool contact in at least two points adjacent to the side edges of the slab 1.
According to such method, the cutting edge advances along the slab due to the effect of the sum of the following front sections (fig. 5): a cutting edge section 5-1, on which the tool moves integral with the spindle 3-1 and adjacent to the right edge of the slab 1; a cutting edge section 5-2, on which the tool moves integral with the spindle 3-2 and adjacent to the left edge of the slab 1. In a following step, said edge is composed of
(fig. 6): a cutting edge section 5-1, on which the tool moves integral with the spindle 3-1 and adjacent to the right edge of the slab 1; a cutting edge section 5-2, on which the tool moves integral with the spindle 3-2 and adjacent to the right edge of the slab 1; a cutting edge section 5-3, on which the tool moves integral with the spindle 3-3 and adjacent to the left edge of the slab 1.
In a further phase, said edge is composed of
(fig. 7) : a cutting edge section 5-2, on which the tool moves integral with the spindle 3-2 and adjacent to the right edge of the slab 1; a cutting edge section 5-3, on which the tool moves integral with the spindle 3-3 and adjacent to the left edge of the slab 1. The cycle goes on by repeating the advancement sequence of the cutting edge due to the remaining tool-holder spindles arranged along the circumference of the head 2.
The polishing method of the present invention obtains the aim of balancing the cutting forces through at least two slab-tool contacts, said pair of contacts being distributed so that the slab does not oscillate when rolling onto its own concave bottom. This method can then be used for reaching a high standard of dimensional accuracy of the slab thickness, starting from surfaces with concavity defects causes by cutting with blade-type and/or multi-wire frames.
The application of this method on polishing machines for stone material allows: removing the oscillating plane characteristic of intermittent calibration; simplifying the construction; improving the working accuracy standard; in particular, it is possible to work thicknesses down to a minimum of 3 mm; reducing the noise emitted by the machine and energy consumptions: these are some of the peculiarities of a plant made according to the method described in this document. The continuous advancement of the slab of stone material in fact allows increasing the working speed and at the same time reducing the energy consumption.
Moreover, the calibrating method of the invention alows using a head with big sizes, which needs a reduced number of radial spindles 3 to work wide slabs, and a high number of radial spindles 3 to work narrow slabs.