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Title:
EQUIPMENT AND PROCESS FOR THE MANUFACTURE OF SLABS MADE OF CERAMIC AND/OR STONE MATERIAL
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2021/070030
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
The equipment (1) for the manufacture of slabs made of ceramic and/or stone material, comprises at least one mould (2), adapted to be positioned resting on a supporting surface (3) and defining with the latter at least one collecting cavity (4,5) of at least one ceramic and/or stone material intended to be deposited on the supporting surface (3) to obtain at least one slab to be compacted (C), where the mould (2) comprises at least one inner wall (2b) adapted to divide the collecting cavity (4,5) into at least a first cavity (4), adapted to contain at least a first type of ceramic and/or stone material (Ml), and at least a second cavity (5) adapted to contain at least a second type of ceramic and/or stone material (M2).

Inventors:
TAROZZI FABIO (IT)
Application Number:
IB2020/059318
Publication Date:
April 15, 2021
Filing Date:
October 05, 2020
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
SITI B & T GROUP SPA (IT)
International Classes:
B28B1/00; B28B13/02
Foreign References:
US0178308A1876-06-06
US4153401A1979-05-08
DE2550474A11977-05-12
EP0611639A11994-08-24
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
ZOLI, Filippo (Via Scaglia Est 19-31, Modena, IT)
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Claims:
CLAIMS

1) Equipment (1) for the manufacture of slabs made of ceramic and/or stone material, comprising at least one mould (2), adapted to be positioned resting on a supporting surface (3) and defining with the latter at least one collecting cavity (4,5) of at least one ceramic and/or stone material intended to be deposited on said supporting surface (3) to obtain at least one slab to be compacted (C), characterized by the fact that said mould (2) comprises at least one inner wall (2b) adapted to divide said collecting cavity (4,5) into at least a first cavity (4), adapted to contain at least a first type of ceramic and/or stone material (Ml), and at least a second cavity (5) adapted to contain at least a second type of ceramic and/or stone material (M2).

2) Equipment (1) according to claim 1, characterized by the fact that said at least one inner wall (2b) is curvilinear.

3) Equipment (1) according to one or more of the preceding claims, characterized by the fact that said at least one inner wall (2b) extends from one of the perimeter walls (2a) of said mould (2).

4) Equipment (1) according to one or more of the preceding claims, characterized by the fact that said mould (2) comprises at least one pair of said inner walls (2b) spaced apart from each other, the volume positioned between said inner walls (2b) defining said second cavity (5), said first cavity (4) being located on opposite sides of said second cavity (5) with respect to said inner walls (2b).

5) Equipment (1) according to one or more of the preceding claims, characterized by the fact that said inner walls (2b) are substantially parallel to each other.

6) Equipment (1) according to one or more of the preceding claims, characterized by the fact that said mould (2) comprises one or more supporting elements (6) positioned between said inner walls (2b) and at least one of said perimeter walls (2a). 7) Equipment (1) according to claim 6, characterized by the fact that said supporting elements (6) are housed inside said first cavity (4). 8) Equipment (1) according to one or more of the preceding claims, characterized by the fact that said supporting elements (6) are of the tubular type and define a passage which is adapted to connect said second cavity (5) to the outside, said passage defining a communication hole (10) communicating with the outside and facing the relative perimeter wall (2a).

9) Equipment (1) according to one or more of the preceding claims, characterized by the fact that it comprises first dispensing means (7) of said first type of material (Ml).

10) Equipment (1) according to one or more of the preceding claims, characterized by the fact that said first dispensing means (7) are of the type of a hopper.

11) Equipment (1) according to one or more of the preceding claims, characterized by the fact that it comprises second dispensing means (8) of said second type of material (M2). 12) Equipment (1) according to one or more of the preceding claims, characterized by the fact that said second dispensing means (8) comprise at least one dispensing element (9) movable with respect to said mould (2) to dispense said second type of material (M2) inside said second cavity (5).

13) Equipment (1) according to one or more of the preceding claims, characterized by the fact that said second dispensing means (8) comprise at least one injection element (11) connectable to at least one of said supporting elements (6) to inject said second type of material (M2) into said second cavity (5), said injection element (11) being associable with said communication hole (10). 14) Equipment (1) according to one or more of the preceding claims, characterized by the fact that said supporting surface (3) is movable along a direction of forward movement (A), said second dispensing means (8) being arranged upstream of said first dispensing means (7) along said direction of forward movement (A). 15) Process for the manufacture of slabs of ceramic and/or stone material, characterized by the fact that it comprises the following phases: supply of at least a first type of ceramic and/or stone material (Ml); supply of at least a second type of ceramic and/or stone material (M2), other than said first type of material (Ml); supply of at least one mould (2) provided with a plurality of perimeter walls (2a) defining a closed profile; placing said mould (2) on a supporting surface (3) in such a way as to define therewith at least one collecting cavity (4,5), wherein said mould (2) comprises at least one inner wall (2b) adapted to divide said collecting cavity (4,5) into at least a first cavity (4) and at least a second cavity (5); - deposition of said first type of material (Ml) inside at least said first cavity

(4); introduction of said second type of material (M2) inside said second cavity

(5); removal of said mould (2) from said supporting surface (3) to obtain a slab to be compacted (C) positioned resting on said supporting surface (3); pressing of said slab to be compacted (C).

16) Process according to claim 15, characterized by the fact that said deposition of the first type of material (Ml) is carried out after said introduction of the second type of material (M2). 17) Process according to one or more of claims 15 and 16, characterized by the fact that it comprises a phase of leveling of said materials (Ml, M2) before said pressing.

Description:
EQUIPMENT AND PROCESS FOR THE MANUFACTURE OF SLABS MADE OF CERAMIC AND/OR STONE MATERIAL Technical Field

The present invention relates to a piece of equipment and a process for the manufacture of slabs made of ceramic and/or stone material.

Background Art

It is well known how the need is particularly felt, in many sectors of industrial activities, to renew the manufactured products and to look for new ones in order to distinguish them from those of competitors.

This need is felt, in particular, in the industry that deals with the production of slabs made of ceramic and/or stone material used for the manufacture, e.g., of floors and/or walls.

Today the market requires more and more special aesthetic effects, such as e.g. the reproduction of natural rocks, such as marble or granite, characterized by the presence of “veins”, i.e. streaks of different color compared to the base material, having an irregular pattern and crossing the entire thickness thereof.

The manufacture of slabs made of ceramic and/or stone material, such as slabs of mineral grits bound with resins, generally involves a deposition phase of a base material, which may consist of ceramic materials or a mixture of mineral compounds in granular form (e.g. marble, granite), glass, mirror fragments, quartz powder, etc., as well as resins which act as binders, on a supporting surface, such as a belt or a mould, to form a slab to be compacted, and a subsequent pressing phase, so as to obtain a compacted slab.

Depending on the type of mixture, further phases are then carried out, such as e.g. firing and subsequent cooling, in order to obtain a product with special mechanical and physical properties.

The equipment required to carry out these phases therefore involves the presence of dispensing means for dispensing the base material on a supporting surface, so as to form a slab to be compacted, and pressing means to obtain a compacted slab.

As known to the technician of the sector, depending on the type of materials used, the embodiments and technical characteristics of the devices that make up the relevant equipment may vary.

A known type of equipment involves the use of a hopper that extends for the entire width of the slab to be obtained and inside which the ceramic materials to be deposited on an extraction surface are loaded, as there is a relative movement between the latter and the hopper itself.

In order to obtain particular chromatic effects, such as e.g. a “veined” effect, a plurality of materials of different type are deposited inside the hopper, which stratify inside the hopper and are then deposited in succession on the extraction surface.

As a result of the friction of the material on the walls of the hopper, the flow of the material outside the hopper is not even and random, so the intensity of the color of the veins obtained is shaded or inaccurate.

Furthermore, the ceramic material coming out of the hopper, coming into contact with the end portion of the walls, is partly dragged on the surface of the slab with a consequent alteration of the desired aesthetic effect.

Last but not least, the slab thus obtained has surface veins that do not pass through the entire thickness of the slab itself.

The processes of known type prevent, therefore, to obtain the so-called “through veins”, typical of natural rocks.

This drawback is particularly evident in the case of slabs having to be made with two orthogonal surfaces, such is the case of tops for kitchens, bathrooms, or other similar applications, so it is not possible to obtain a substantially continuous vein along the two orthogonal surfaces.

Description of the Invention

The main aim of the present invention is to devise a piece of equipment and a process for the manufacture of slabs made of ceramic and/or stone material that allow obtaining a wide variety of aesthetic effects in a simple and reliable manner.

Within this aim, one object of the present invention is to make aesthetic variants distinguished by colors and/or designs that cannot be obtained using the above mentioned natural materials, and at the same time to reproduce as faithfully as possible the veined effect typical of natural rocks, thus allowing a particularly versatile and customizable production.

A further object of the present invention is to devise a piece of equipment and a process for the manufacture of slabs made of ceramic and/or stone material that are highly repeatable and allow obtaining slabs with the same aesthetic effect over time.

Another object of the present invention is to devise a piece of equipment and a process for the manufacture of slabs made of ceramic and/or stone material that allow overcoming the above mentioned drawbacks of the prior art in a simple, rational, easy, effective to use and low cost solution.

The above mentioned objects are achieved by the present equipment for the manufacture of slabs made of ceramic and/or stone material having the characteristics of claim 1.

The above mentioned objects are also achieved by the present process for the manufacture of slabs made of ceramic and/or stone material having the characteristics of claim 15.

Brief Description of the Drawings

Other characteristics and advantages of the present invention will be more evident from the description of a preferred, but not exclusive, embodiment of a piece of equipment and a process for the manufacture of slabs made of ceramic and/or stone material, illustrated by way of an indicative, yet non-limiting example, in the attached tables of drawings wherein:

Figures 1-5 are schematic representations of a first embodiment of the equipment and of the process for the manufacture of slabs made of ceramic and/or stone material according to the invention;

Figures 6-7 are schematic representations of a second embodiment of the equipment and of the process according to the invention.

Embodiments of the Invention

With particular reference to these figures, reference numeral 1 globally indicates a piece of equipment for the manufacture of slabs made of ceramic and/or stone material.

In the context of the present discussion, the expression “ceramic and/or stone material” means a material of the ceramic type, in the form of atomized, grains or flakes, and/or stone material, such as marble, granite, minerals or other natural stones, in the form of powder and/or granulate and/or flakes and mixed with a binder of a cementitious or resinous nature.

The equipment 1 comprises at least one mould 2 adapted to be positioned resting on a supporting surface 3.

The mould 2 is provided with a plurality of perimeter walls 2a that define a closed profile.

Preferably, the mould 2 has a substantially rectangular shape and the perimeter walls 2a define a lower opening, intended to come into contact with the supporting surface 3 and an upper opening, opposite the lower opening.

The mould 2 defines with the supporting surface 3 at least one collecting cavity 4,5 of at least one ceramic and/or stone material intended to be deposited on the supporting surface 3 to obtain at least one slab to be compacted C.

In other words, the collecting cavity 4,5 is delimited below by the supporting surface 3 and laterally by the perimeter walls 2a, while it is communicating with the outside through the upper opening of the mould 2 through which the ceramic and/or stone material is introduced inside.

As shown in Figure 2, the supporting surface 3 is movable along a direction of forward movement A.

The supporting surface 3, e.g., is of the type of a conveyor belt or the like. Further embodiments cannot however be ruled out wherein the supporting surface 3 is of the fixed type.

According to the invention, the mould 2 comprises at least one inner wall 2b adapted to divide the collecting cavity 4,5 into at least a first cavity 4, adapted to contain at least a first type of ceramic and/or stone material Ml, and at least a second cavity 5, adapted to contain at least a second type of ceramic and/or stone material M2.

In other words, the inner wall 2b generates a compartmentalization of the collecting cavity 4,5 allowing the deposition of different materials inside the two cavities 4 and 5.

The two types of materials Ml and M2 differ from each other for at least one of grain size, color and composition of the ceramic and/or stone grits.

Conveniently, the at least one inner wall 2b is curvilinear, so as to create an aesthetic effect in the finished slab very similar to what is found in natural rocks.

The at least one inner wall 2b extends from one of the perimeter walls 2a of the mould 2, to reach another of the perimeter walls 2a.

In particular, the inner wall 2b extends from one of the perimeter walls 2a to reach the opposite perimeter wall 2a.

In other words, the inner wall 2b runs through the mould 2.

As shown in the figures, the mould 2 comprises at least one pair of inner walls 2b spaced apart from each other.

In particular, the volume positioned between the inner walls 2b defines the second cavity 5 and the first cavity 4 is located on opposite sides of the second cavity 5 with respect to the inner walls 2b.

Conveniently, the inner walls 2b are substantially parallel to each other.

The mould 2 also comprises one or more supporting elements 6 positioned between the inner walls 2b and at least one of the perimeter walls 2a.

The supporting elements 6 have the function of supporting the inner walls 2b so that the cavities 4 and 5 do not suffer deformation due to mechanical stress during the manufacture of the slab.

More particularly, the supporting elements 6 are housed inside the first cavity 4. The equipment 1 also comprises dispensing means 7,8 adapted to deposit a plurality of ceramic and/or stone materials on the supporting surface 3.

In more detail, the dispensing means 7,8 deposit the ceramic and/or stone material inside the collecting cavity 4,5.

Conveniently, the equipment 1 comprises first dispensing means 7 of the first type of material Ml, which are adapted to deposit the first type of material Ml inside the first cavity 4. In the embodiment shown in the figures, the first dispensing means 7 are of the type of a hopper.

The equipment 1 also comprises second dispensing means 8 of the second type of material M2, which are adapted to introduce the second type of material M2 inside the second cavity 5.

The second dispensing means 8 are conveniently arranged upstream of the first dispensing means 7 along the direction of forward movement A.

With reference to the embodiment shown in Figures 1 to 5, the second dispensing means 8 comprise at least one dispensing element 9 movable with respect to the mould 2 to dispense the second type of material M2 inside the second cavity 5.

In more detail, the dispensing element 9 is movable along a direction of dispensing E that is substantially parallel to the supporting surface 3 and transverse to the direction of forward movement A.

This way, the movement of the mould 2 along the direction of forward movement and of the dispensing element 9 along the direction of dispensing E allows filling the second cavity 5 following the pattern of the inner walls 2b.

In an alternative embodiment of the present equipment, shown in Figures 6 and 7, the supporting elements 6 are of the tubular type and define a passage adapted to connect the second cavity 5 to the outside.

Specifically, the passage defines a communication hole 10 communicating with the outside and facing the relevant perimeter wall 2a.

This embodiment requires that the second dispensing means 8 comprise at least one injection element 11 connectable to at least one of the supporting elements 6 to inject the second type of material M2 into the second cavity 5.

In particular, the injection element 11 is associable with the communication hole 10.

After that the materials Ml and M2 have been dispensed, the mould 2 is then removed from the supporting surface 3, thus defining a slab to be compacted C placed resting on the supporting surface 3.

Appropriately, the equipment 1 comprises smoothing means 12 adapted to level the materials Ml and M2.

As shown in the figures, the smoothing means 12 may comprise a roller device 13, arranged downstream of the first dispensing means 7, which are able to level the surface of the slab to be compacted C while the supporting surface 3 is sliding along the direction of forward movement A.

This embodiment provides that the leveling is carried out as a result of the removal of the mould 2.

Alternatively or in combination thereto, the smoothing means 12 can be associated with the first dispensing means 7 and make the leveling operation at the same time as the deposition of the first type of material Ml inside the mould

2.

Finally, the equipment 1 comprises pressing means, not shown in detail in the figures, and adapted to press the slab to be compacted C to obtain a slab made of ceramic and/or stone material.

The pressing means are of a type known to the technician of the sector and will not be described in the present discussion.

The operation of the equipment 1 in the process according to the invention is as follows.

The process comprises, first of all, the supply of at least a first type of ceramic and/or stone material Ml and of at least a second type of ceramic and/or stone material M2, other than the first type of material Ml.

The process also comprises the supply of at least one mould 2 defining a closed profile.

The mould 2 is placed on the supporting surface 3 in such a way as to define therewith at least one collecting cavity 4,5, wherein the mould 2 comprises at least one inner wall 2b adapted to divide the collecting cavity 4,5 into at least a first cavity 4 and at least a second cavity 5.

The process comprises the deposition of the first type of material Ml inside the first cavity and the introduction of the second type of material M2 inside the second cavity 5.

Preferably, the deposition of the first type of material Ml is carried out after the introduction of the second type of material M2.

In the embodiment of the equipment 1 described above, the mould 2 is moved along the direction of forward movement A by means of the supporting surface

3. The process comprises, therefore, the introduction of the second type of material M2 inside the second cavity 5 by means of the second dispensing means 8.

In particular, with reference to the embodiment shown in Figures 1 to 5, the introduction of the second type of material M2 is carried out by means of the dispensing element 9, which, by moving with respect to the supporting surface 3, dispenses the material inside the second cavity 5 following the extension of the inner walls 2b.

In the embodiment shown in Figures 6 and 7, on the contrary, the introduction of the second type of material M2 is carried out by means of at least one injection element 11, suitably connected to a respective communication hole 10, which dispenses the material inside the second cavity 5 through the passages defined in the supporting elements 6.

Subsequently, the first type of material Ml is deposited inside the first cavity 4. More particularly, in the embodiment shown in the figures, the mould 2 containing the second type of material M2 is moved by means of the supporting surface 3 up to the first dispensing means 7, where the deposition of the first type of material Ml is carried out inside at least the first cavity 4.

At this point the mould is removed from the supporting surface 3 to obtain the slab to be compacted C, which is positioned resting on the supporting surface 3. The slab to be compacted C continues along the direction of forward movement A and is then pressed using the pressing means.

The process conveniently comprises a leveling phase of the materials Ml and M2 before pressing.

The leveling phase is carried out by the smoothing means 12. In particular, the leveling can be carried out by means of the roller device 13, after the removal of the mould 2, and/or by the first dispensing means 7, during the deposition of the first type of material Ml.

The leveling of the materials Ml and M2 allows obtaining a slab to be compacted C with a substantially even surface so as to optimize the pressing phase. It has in practice been ascertained that the described invention achieves the intended objects and, in particular, the fact is underlined that the equipment and the process according to the invention allow obtaining a wide variety of aesthetic effects in a simple and reliable manner and, in particular, obtaining slabs provided with aesthetic variants distinguished by colors and/or designs that cannot be obtained using the above mentioned natural materials, thus allowing a particularly versatile and customizable production.

Moreover, the equipment and the process according to the invention allow obtaining slabs that reproduce as faithfully as possible the chromatic effect of natural rocks.