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Title:
PLANT FOR THE PRODUCTION OF SANITARY ARTICLES
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2018/138670
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
A plant (1) for the production of sanitary wares (A), of the type comprising portions that are undercut with respect to the separation plane of the elements that compose the mould, comprising at least one first apparatus (2) for forming main bodies (M) of sanitary wares (A), each comprising at least one respective seat (S), and at least one second apparatus (3) for forming the undercut portions (P) of the sanitary wares (A). The plant (1) comprises at least one device (6) for feeding the main bodies (M) formed by the first apparatus (2), and at least one automatic device (7) for picking up each of the undercut portions (P) made by the second apparatus (3), and for inserting said undercut portion (P) in the corresponding seat (S) of a respective main body (M) carried by the feeding device (6), thus obtaining an assembled sanitary ware (A).

Inventors:
FRANCESCHI ANDREA (IT)
Application Number:
PCT/IB2018/050458
Publication Date:
August 02, 2018
Filing Date:
January 25, 2018
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
SITI B & T GROUP SPA (IT)
International Classes:
B28B1/00; B28B1/26
Foreign References:
JP2015196311A2015-11-09
US5741388A1998-04-21
EP1273406A22003-01-08
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
FELTRINELLI, Secondo Andrea (Via Ca' di Cozzi 41, Verona, IT)
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Claims:
CLAIMS

Plant (1) for the production of rimless toilet bowls, or rimless bidets, or similar rimless sanitary ware (A), also called "rimless" or "rim-free", of the type which comprise undercut portions with respect to the separation plane of the elements that compose the mould, comprising at least a first apparatus (2) for forming the main bodies (M) of sanitary wares (A) each comprising at least one respective seat (S), and at least one second apparatus (3) for forming the undercut portions (P) of said sanitary wares (A), comprising at least one feeding device (6) of the main bodies (M) formed by said first apparatus (2), and at least one automatic device (7) for picking up each of the undercut portions (P) made by said second apparatus (3), and for inserting said undercut portion (P) in the corresponding seats (S) of a respective main body (M) carried by said feeding device (6), characterised in that it comprises at least one at least one application apparatus (10) for applying at least one bonding substance on at least one surface area of each of said undercut portions (P) picked up from said second apparatus (3), said application apparatus (10) being provided with a dispensing mouth for the bonding substance, thereby obtaining an assembled sanitary wares (A).

Plant according to claim 1, wherein said automatic picking up and inserting device (7) includes at least one robotic manipulator (8) with a gripping end (9) of said undercut portions (P) formed by said second apparatus (3).

Plant according to claim 1 or 2, wherein said robotic manipulator (8), when is found in the zone of the application apparatus (10), provides to move the undercut portion (P) above the dispensing mouth of the bonding substance, so as to suitably distribute the same bonding substance on the parts of the undercut portion (P) that must be connected to the main body (M), the movement of the undercut portion (P) and the dispensing of the bonding substance being synchronised with each other.

Plant according to one of claims 2 or 3, wherein said robotic manipulator (8) is of the anthropomorphic type and comprises a base (11) arranged between said second apparatus (3) and said feeding device (6), and an arm (12) associated to said base (11), and to which said gripping end (9) is connected.

5. Plant according to claim 4, wherein said base (11) defines a first vertical rotation axis (Rl) of said arm (12), said second apparatus (3) and said application apparatus (10) of adhesive substance being substantially arranged along a first circumference (CI) having as centre (Rl) the trace of said first rotation axis.

6. Plant according to one of the preceding claims, wherein said feeding device (6) comprises at least one transport line (13) having a first section (14) for conveying said main bodies (M) towards an insertion zone (15) of said undercut portions (P), and a second section (16) for conveying the completed sanitary wares (A) from said insertion zone (15) towards the subsequent production stations.

7. Plant according to claim 6, wherein said conveyor line (13), in the plan view, develops along a line, wherein said insertion zone (15) is positioned between said first (14) and said second section (16).

8. Plant according to claim 6 or 7, comprising at least one device (17) for transferring said main bodies (M) from said first apparatus (2) to said feeding device (6).

9. Plant according to claim 8, wherein said transfer device (17) comprises of at least one robotic arm (18) arranged between said first apparatus (2) and said first section (14) of said conveyor line (13), said robotic arm (18) comprising at least one gripping element (19) suitable for picking up said main bodies (M) and placing them on said first section (14).

10. Plant according to claim 9, wherein said robotic arm (18) can revolve around a second vertical rotation axis (R2), said first apparatus (2) and said first section (14) having at least respective portions arranged along a second circumference (C2) having the route of said second rotation axis as its centre (R2).

11. Plant according to one of the preceding claims, comprising a supervisory and control unit which manages the operation of said first apparatus (2), of said second apparatus (3), of said feeding device (6) and of said automatic pick-up and insertion device (7), and coordinates and synchronises their respective operating cycles.

12. Process for the production of rimless toilet bowls, or rimless bidet, or similar rimless sanitary wares (A), of the type which includes undercut portions with respect to the separation plane of the elements that compose the mould, comprising the steps of

forming the main bodies (M) of the sanitary wares (A), each of said main bodies including a respective seat (S),

forming the undercut portions (P) of the sanitary wares (A),

feeding the main bodies (M) formed by said first apparatus (2) towards an insertion area (15) of the undercut portions (P),

picking up of each formed undercut portion (P), and

inserting said undercut portion (P) in said seat (S) of a corresponding main body (M), characterised in that it comprises a step of applying a bonding substance on at least one of the surface area of each of said undercut portions (P) carried out between said steps of picking up each formed undercut portion (P), and of inserting said undercut portion in said seat (S) of a corresponding main body (M), thereby obtaining an assembled (A) sanitary ware.

13. Process according to claim 12, wherein said step of applying a bonding substance on at least one of the surface area of each of said undercut portions (P), is carried out by moving said undercut portions (P) above to the dispensing mouth for the bonding substance, in a manner so as to suitably distribute the same bonding substance on the parts of the undercut portions (P) that will be connected to respective main bodies (M), the movement of the undercut portions (p) and the dispensing of the bonding substance being synchronised with each other.

14. Process according to claim 13, wherein said steps of picking up each formed undercut portion (P), applying a bonding substance on at least one surface area of each of said undercut portions (P), inserting said undercut portion into said seat (S) of a corresponding main body (M) are performed in an automated manner via at least one robotic manipulator (8).

15. Process according to one of claims 12-14, comprising a step of synchronising the operating cycles of said first apparatus (2), of said second apparatus (3), of said feeding device (6) and of said pick-up and automatic insertion device (7).

Description:
PLANT FOR THE PRODUCTION OF SANITARY ARTICLES

TECHNICAL FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention regards a plant for producing sanitary wares.

More in detail, the present invention regards a plant for producing rimless toilet bowls, or rimless bidets, or similar rimless sanitary wares, also termed "rim-free", comprising at least one portion that is undercut with respect to the separation plane of the elements that compose the mould, and hence which cannot be made in a single casting step.

STATE OF THE ART

The production of sanitary wares is carried out in plants in which the pressurised casting of slip is executed within forming groups of modular type: such groups usually each comprise two or more mould elements connectable together to define a forming cavity, within which the slip (i.e. in jargon a fluid mixture comprising an aqueous part and a ceramic part in suspension) is then cast under pressure. The number of elements that compose each forming group of the production line can vary in relation to various factors; typically, it can vary in relation to the geometry of the ware to be produced, with reference, for example, to the presence or lack of openings, channels or other particular geometric features.

Some types of sanitary wares, for example toilet bowls, bidets, or the like, have more or less complex geometric shape, and can comprise one or more portions that are undercut with respect to the separation plane of the elements that compose the mould; for this reason, therefore, the latter cannot be made in the casting step in which the main body of the ware is made, but they must be produced separately, and incorporated in the ware itself in a subsequent step.

In particular, a toilet bowl type, so-called "rimless" or "rim-free", has recently been diffused that lacks the downward-bent upper edge, or it has an upper edge provided with a reduced curvature, in order to facilitate the cleaning of the edge itself and prevent possible water stagnation.

This toilet bowl type therefore lacks a peripheral channel for supplying the waste water, and is characterised by the presence of an undercut portion with reduced proportions, with function of diffuser for the washing water of the bowl.

More in detail, currently the main body of the ware and the undercut portions, after having been autonomously cast and extracted from the respective moulds, are mutually connected when they are still found in the so-called "green" state and before drying, and therefore contain a certain amount of water.

The mutual connection between the parts must be carried out at a precise moment of the production cycle, in which the main body and the undercut portions are found in the correct state, i.e. mainly when they have the desired humidity content.

In the production of wares of conventional type, e.g. bowls provided with a peripheral channel for water dispensing, such connection can be carried out in an automated manner, by means of complex apparatuses, comprising for example multiple moulds actuated by multiple-axis Cartesian movement devices.

The Japanese patent application JP2015-196311A and the United States patent US5741388A illustrate such devices.

In the European patent application EP1273406A2, a plant is illustrated for producing toilets provided with an anthropomorphic robot for the mould-removal of the toilets.

However, in the case of the "rimless" or "rim-free" bowls, the connection between the main body and the undercut portions is currently carried out in a manual manner, upon application of a glue or another material suitable for ensuring a stable adhesion of the parts, such that the assembly can then be carried towards the subsequent production stations (typically drying, enamelling, firing, etc.). The production times for making the main body and the undercut portions are usually quite different, since respective sizes and shapes are different: normally, therefore, an undercut portion is made in much less time than that necessary for producing the main body.

Also the manual assembly operation requires a certain amount of time, which can be rather long and variable in relation to the person who executes it. The main bodies of the sanitary ware and the relative undercut portions are made in separate machines, functioning with the same principle but which have correspondingly different sizes and operating times.

The need to manually assemble the parts, therefore, can require that the quicker machine is maintained stopped for certain time periods, so as to synchronise the production of the single parts that compose the ware; or, it may happen that the objects made in shorter time periods - usually the undercut portions - must be maintained in a temporary waiting storage, with suitable precautions taken so that a precocious drying of the piece does not occur (e.g. by covering the piece with a film, or the like).

Currently, therefore, the production process is excessively costly both since there are long periods of inactivity of the machines, and since in some cases it may be necessary to provide for spaces and/or structures for the produced objects which must be simultaneously preserved and/or stored during waiting conditions.

This is particularly important if the apparatus that produces the main bodies of the sanitary wares is of the type comprising a plurality of forming groups arranged in a set, each comprising two or more mould elements hung from a support structure and couplable against each other so as to define a respective forming cavity; within such cavity, for example, pressurised slip or another material is cast at the fluid state which, once solidified, will make the aforesaid main body.

Indeed, in this case the forming apparatus which produces the main bodies functions in a discontinuous manner, since it is able to simultaneous make a certain number of objects for each cycle, at the end of which however it is necessary to have a certain time period in order to open the forming groups, extract the objects and transfer them, and then arrange the machine for the subsequent cycle.

As mentioned above, a type of sanitary wares with undercut portions, presented merely as a non-limiting example, is constituted by the so-called "rimless" or "rim-free" toilet bowls, i.e. lacking the downward-bent upper edge which acts as a channel for the waste water. In these bowls, the single undercut portion - which does not allow making the entire ware in a single casting step - is constituted by a diffuser element positioned in front of the water discharge opening, usually provided in the rear zone of the bowl; such diffuser element, hit by the flow of water, suitably deflects it towards the sides such that it also reaches the zone opposite the opening, i.e. the front zone.

OBJECTS OF THE INVENTION

The technical task of the present invention is to improve the state of the art in the field of plants for producing sanitary wares.

In the scope of such technical task, one object of the present invention is to implement a plant for producing sanitary wares with undercut portions, which allows overcoming the above-lamented drawbacks.

Another object of the present invention is to provide a plant for producing sanitary wares with undercut portions, which allows reducing the production costs of the wares themselves.

Still another object of the present invention is to provide a plant for producing sanitary wares of the type with undercut portions, which allows reducing the production times.

A further object of the present invention is to make a plant for producing sanitary wares with undercut portions, adapted to eliminate or reduce the times of inactivity of one or more of the machines which make the various portions of the objects.

Another object of the present invention is to provide a plant for producing sanitary wares with undercut portions, with overall planar bulk that is reduced with respect to the plants of known type.

Still another object of the present invention is to implement a plant for producing sanitary wares with undercut portions which allows reducing or eliminating human intervention.

Such task and such objects are all achieved by a plant for the production of sanitary wares according to the enclosed claim 1. The plant comprises at least one first apparatus for forming main bodies of sanitary wares, each comprising at least one respective seat, and at least one second apparatus for forming the undercut portions of the sanitary wares.

The plant comprises at least one device for feeding the main bodies formed by the first apparatus, and at least one automatic device for picking up each of the undercut portions made by the second apparatus, and for inserting the undercut portion in the corresponding seat of a respective main body carried by the feeding device, thus obtaining a complete sanitary ware.

The operating times of the forming apparatuses, of the feeding device and of the pick-up and insertion device can be suitably synchronised so as to reduce to a minimum the wait times of the various parts before they can be assembled.

Due to this solution, one first obtains the elimination of human intervention, and then the elimination of the factors that make the production times variable and random.

In addition, the need to use temporary storage structures to meet various operating times is eliminated, thus reducing costs and planar bulk.

The dependent claims refer to preferred and advantageous embodiments of the invention.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

Further characteristics and advantages of the present invention will be clearer from the detailed description of a preferred but not exclusive embodiment of a plant for producing sanitary wares, illustrated by way of a non-limiting example in the set of drawing tables in which:

figure 1 is a plan view of the plant according to the invention;

figure 2 is a detail of figure 1;

figure 3 is a detail of figure 2;

figure 4 is a schematic perspective view of a sanitary ware with an undercut portion that can be made with the plant according to the present invention.

EMBODIMENTS OF THE INVENTION

With reference to the enclosed figures, reference number 1 overall indicates a plant for the production of sanitary wares with portions that are undercut with respect to the separation plane of the elements of the mould, according to the present invention.

The plant 1 comprises at least one first apparatus 2 for forming main bodies M of sanitary wares A.

Each main body M comprises at least one respective seat S.

In addition, the plant 1 comprises at least one second apparatus 3, for forming undercut portions P of the aforesaid sanitary wares A.

As stated, by undercut portions P it is intended those portions of the ware which are found in undercut condition with respect to the separation plane of the elements of the mould.

For improved comprehension, reference is made for example to figure 4, in which a schematic perspective view of a sanitary ware A is shown having at least one undercut portion P: in figure 4, the main body M and the undercut portion P of the sanitary ware A are shown already assembled.

By way of a non-limiting example, the sanitary ware A shown in figure 4 is constituted by a toilet bowl of so-called "rimless" or "rim-free" type, i.e. lacking the downward-bent upper edge which acts as a channel for the waste water; the undercut portion P is constituted by a diffuser element positioned in front of the water discharge opening of the toilet bowl.

Clearly the sanitary ware A can be of any type, without limitations for the purposes of the present invention.

The first apparatus 2 and the second apparatus 3 can be of any type.

For example, the first apparatus 2 can be of the type comprising a plurality of forming groups 4 arranged in a set, each comprising two or more mould elements hung from a horizontal support structure 5, and couplable against each other, so as to define a respective forming cavity; within the aforesaid forming cavity, pressurised slip or another material is cast at the fluid state which, once solidified, will give rise to the sanitary ware A via separation of the elements of the mould. The first apparatus 2 could also be of another type known in the field of production of sanitary wares.

According to one aspect of the invention, the plant 1 comprises at least one device 6 for feeding the main bodies M formed by the first apparatus 2.

In addition, and according to another aspect of the invention, the plant 1 comprises at least one automatic device 7 for picking up each of the undercut portions P made by the second apparatus 3, and for inserting such undercut portion P in the corresponding seat S of a respective main body M.

As will be clearer hereinbelow, this plant 1 solution allows synchronising, in an automated manner, the operating cycles of the first apparatus 2 and of the second apparatus 3, so as to limit the inactive times of one or the other as much as possible.

Indeed, the main bodies M, as they are progressively made by the first apparatus 2, are then transferred into the feeding device 6, and from here carried one-by-one towards the automatic pick-up and insertion device 7; the latter provides, in optimized times in relation to the work cycle of the first apparatus 2, for picking up each undercut portion P made by the second apparatus 2 and then for inserting it in the corresponding seat S provided in the respective main body M.

More in detail, the automatic pick-up and insertion device 7 comprises at least one robotic manipulator 8; the robotic manipulator 8 has a respective gripping end 9 for gripping the undercut portions P formed by the second apparatus 3.

In addition, the automatic pick-up and insertion device 7 comprises at least one application apparatus 10, provided with a dispensing mouth for the bonding substance (not illustrated), capable of dispensing at least one bonding substance on at least one surface area of each of the undercut portions P, after having been picked up by the second apparatus 3 which carried out the forming thereof.

The application of the bonding substance allows obtaining the immediate and secure adhesion of the undercut portion P within the seat S of the main body M, such that the two assembled parts can then be subjected to the subsequent processing necessary for obtaining the sanitary ware A in finished product form. According to one aspect of the invention, the robotic manipulator is of Cartesian type- According to a further aspect of the invention, the robotic manipulator 8 is of anthropomorphous type and comprises a base 11, and an articulated arm 12 associated with the base 11; the arm 12 is connected to the aforesaid gripping end 9.

The base 11 of the robotic manipulator 8 is positioned between the second apparatus 3 and the feeding device 6.

More in detail, the base 11 of the robotic manipulator 8 defines a first vertical rotation axis Rl of the arm 12.

The second apparatus 3 for forming the undercut portions P and the apparatus 10 for applying the bonding substance are arranged substantially along a first circumference CI having as centre the trace, in the horizontal plane, of the aforesaid first rotation axis Rl .

The first circumference CI also delimits - in plan view - a work volume of the robotic manipulator within which the gripping end 9 can be moved.

As schematically illustrated in figure 3, the aforesaid arrangement allows the robotic manipulator 8, by rotating the arm 12 around the first rotation axis Rl, to pick up each undercut portion P formed by the second apparatus 3 (in the position defined by a first radius Bl), to bring it into the zone of the apparatus 10 for applying the bonding substance (in the position defined by a second radius B2) and finally to insert it in the seat S of the main body M (in the position defined by a third radius B3).

This is therefore an arrangement that is particularly advantageous from the standpoint of the times for arranging each undercut portion P, and for the subsequent connection to the respective main body M.

According to one aspect of the invention, the same robotic manipulator 8, when it is found with the gripping end 9 in the zone of the application apparatus 10, provides to move the undercut portion P above the dispensing mouth of the bonding substance, so as to suitably distribute the same bonding substance on the parts of the undercut portion P that must be connected to the main body M, the movement of the undercut portion P and the dispensing of the bonding substance being synchronised with each other.

According to still another aspect of the invention, the feeding device 6 comprises at least one transport line 13.

The transport line 13 in turn comprises a first section 14.

The first section 14 is adapted to convey the main bodies M, formed in the first apparatus 2, towards a zone 15 of insertion of the undercut portions P.

The aforesaid insertion zone 15 is, in other words, the particular section of the transport line 13 that is found at the robotic manipulator 8.

The particular position of the insertion zone 15 can be determined in relation, for example, to considerations linked to the operating times of the production cycles of the first apparatus 2 and of the second apparatus 3, and also in relation to the maximum time period possible between the forming of each main body M and the assembly with the respective undercut portion P.

In other words, each main body M formed by the first apparatus 2 cannot travel an overly long first section 14 while waiting to be connected to the respective undercut portion P, since there is the risk of premature drying of the body M itself, and hence the risk of determining conditions that are non-optimal for the correct assembly between the parts.

The transport line 13 also comprises a second section 16.

The second section 16 is adapted to convey the complete sanitary wares A from the insertion zone 15 towards a subsequent production station (e.g. drying, enamelling, firing, etc.); by complete sanitary wares A it is intended herein the sanitary wares A, each comprising a main body M and at least one undercut portion P that are already assembled, but which have not yet been subjected to the subsequent processing necessary for obtaining the finished products.

The transport line 13 can for example be of the type with belts, chains, strip or of another equivalent type.

In addition, the transport line 13 can have, in plan view, a linear extension in which the insertion zone 15 is interposed between the first section 14 and the second section 16.

Alternatively, the transport line 13 can be constituted by sections arranged with specific angles with respect to each other.

The linear arrangement of the transport line 13 is particularly advantageous from the standpoint of the bulk reduction.

According to a further aspect of the invention, the plant 1 comprises at least one device 17 for transferring the main bodies M from the first apparatus 2 to the feeding device 6.

More particularly, the transfer device 17 comprises at least one robotic arm 18; the robotic arm 18 comprises at least one gripping element 19.

The robotic arm 18 is interposed between the first apparatus 2 and the first section 14 of the transport line 13 : the robotic arm 18 is adapted to pick up, by means of the aforesaid gripping element 19, each main body M formed by the first apparatus 2, and to position it on the first section 14 of the transport line 13.

More in detail, the robotic arm 18 is rotatable around a second vertical rotation axis R2; the gripping element 19 can then be moved within a work volume delimited by the second circumference C2, which has the centre constituted by the trace, in the plane, of the aforesaid second rotation axis R2.

In the scope of the aforesaid work volume, the gripping element 19 can reach both the first apparatus 2 and the first section 14 of the transport line 13.

In other words, the first apparatus 2 and the first section 14 of the transport line 13 have at least the respective portions arranged along a second circumference C2 having as centre the trace of the second rotation axis R2.

More in detail, in the embodiment of the invention illustrated in the enclosed figures, the first apparatus 2 is - as stated - of the type comprising a plurality of forming groups 4, arranged as a set side-by-side each other and hung from the horizontal support structure 5.

The robotic arm 18 is then arranged side-by-side the support structure 5 of the forming groups 4; the gripping element 19 must then be able to reach, within the work volume of the robotic arm 18, each forming group 4 in order to be able to pick up the respective main body M formed at its interior.

The plant 1 can comprise a supervisory and control unit which manages the operation of the first apparatus 2, of the second apparatus 3, of the feeding device 6 and of the automatic pick-up and insertion device 7, and coordinates the various operating steps thereof.

The operation of the plant 1 according to the invention is the following.

A certain number of main bodies M of sanitary wares A is formed in the first apparatus 2.

More in detail, in each forming group 4 provided in the first apparatus 2, a respective main body M is formed.

At the end of the forming operation, each main body M is picked up by the transfer device 17, and positioned on the first section 14 of the transport line 13. The times with which the transfer device 17 carries out the aforesaid operations can vary in relation to the specific production needs; for example, the various main bodies M formed together by the first apparatus 2 can be quickly positioned one after the other on the first section 14, or a certain waiting period can be provided between the positioning of each main body M and the subsequent one, above all for needs of synchronization with the subsequent operating step.

Simultaneous with the forming of the main bodies M, or in a specific suitably selected time period, the second apparatus 3 provides for forming, one after the other, a number of undercut portions P corresponding to the number of main bodies M made by the first apparatus 2.

The operations of the first apparatus 2, of the transfer device 17 and of the second apparatus 3 are suitably synchronised in a manner such that too much time does not elapse between the moment when the forming of the main bodies M and of the undercut portions P is completed and the mutual connection thereof, for the grounds set forth above.

For this purpose, the solution that is the object of the present invention is particularly effective and advantageous since the second apparatus 3, the robotic manipulator 8 and the apparatus 10 for applying the bonding substance can be driven to operate with relatively high production speeds, in any case such to reconcile the different working modes of the first apparatus 2 - which typically makes a certain number of main bodies M simultaneously in a given time period - and of the second apparatus 3, which makes a certain number of undercut portions P in a different time and in an autonomous manner with respect to the first apparatus 2.

Therefore, with each production cycle of the first apparatus 2, a certain number of main bodies M is situated on the first section 14 of the transport line 13, which makes them advance at a suitable speed towards the insertion zone 15; the robotic manipulator 8 then provides to pick up, one after the other, each undercut portion P formed by the second apparatus 3, to position it at the application apparatus 10 (where it remains for the time necessary for dispensing the correct quantity of bonding substance), and finally to insert it in the seat S of the respective main body M.

Upon terminated assembly, each main body M comprising the respective undercut portion P then travels beyond the insertion zone 15 and continues along the second section 16 of the transport line 13; from here, it can then be picked up in order to continue towards the subsequent production stations.

It must be observed that in the above-described operating mode, the robotic manipulator 8 plays an essential role. In addition to being quicker than the human operator, the robotic manipulator 8 operates within the pre-established times and in a constant mode over time, and this allows planning the various production steps in a particularly precise manner.

Reduced operating times, limitation of the waiting or inactivity times, increased production regularity and more constant quality in the obtained products are thus attained.

From the standpoint of the layout of plant 1, the bulk is optimized: in particular the transverse bulk is minimal due to the arrangement of the first apparatus 2 and of the feeding device 6 side-by-side each other.

The operating cycle is completely automated, and does not provide for any human intervention, except for of course the operations of maintenance and/or size change.

Due to this, the factors which currently most affect the variability of the production process operating times are eliminated.

Also forming the object of the present invention is a process for the production of sanitary wares.

More particularly, the present invention regards a process for the production of sanitary wares with undercut portions.

In one embodiment of the invention, the process can be actuated with the plant 1 having the above-described characteristics.

The process comprises a step of forming the main bodies M of sanitary wares A, such main bodies M each comprising a respective seat S.

The process also comprises a step of forming the undercut portions P of the sanitary wares A.

The process comprises a step of feeding the formed main bodies M towards a zone 15 of insertion of the undercut portions P.

A step is then provided for picking up each formed undercut portion P, and for inserting the latter in the seat S of a respective sanitary ware A.

Between the step of picking up each undercut portion P and of inserting the latter in the aforesaid seat S, an intermediate step is provided for applying, on at least one surface area of the undercut portion P, at least one bonding substance.

According to one aspect of the invention, this intermediate step is executed by the same robotic manipulator 8 which, when it is found with the gripping end 9 in the zone of the application apparatus 10, provides to move the undercut portion P above the dispensing mouth (not illustrated) for the bonding substance, in a manner so as to suitably distribute the same bonding substance on the parts of the undercut portion P that must be connected to the main body M, the movement of the undercut portion P and the dispensing of the bonding substance being synchronised with each other.

The type of bonding substance is suitably selected in relation to the material used for the production of the sanitary wares A.

According to one aspect of the invention, the steps of picking up each undercut portion P, of applying, on at least one surface area of the undercut portion P, at least one bonding substance, and of inserting the undercut portion P in the aforesaid seat S are executed in an automated manner.

More in detail, in one embodiment of the invention, the aforesaid steps are executed in an automated manner by using a robotic manipulator 8.

The process also provides for a step of synchronising the operating cycles of the first apparatus 2, of the second apparatus 3, of the feeding device 6 and of the automatic pick-up and insertion device 7, so as to reduce the inactivity times and to maximize the production efficiency, according to that described above.

It is thus seen that the invention attains the preset objects.

The invention thus conceived is susceptible of numerous modifications and variations, all falling within the scope of the inventive concept.

In addition, all the details can be substituted with other technically equivalent elements. In practice, the materials employed, as well as the contingent shapes and sizes, can be of any type in accordance with the requirements, without departing from the protective scope of the following claims.