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Title:
PROCESS AND EQUIPMENT FOR THE MANUFACTURE OF SLABS OF CERAMIC AND/OR STONE MATERIAL
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2020/065509
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
The process for the manufacture of slabs of ceramic material, comprises the following steps: supplying at least one ceramic and/or stone basic material (5) in powder and/or granulate and/or flake form; supplying at least one ceramic and/or stone filling material (20) in powder and/or granulate and/or flake form; dispensing the basic material (5) on a supporting surface (3) to obtain a first slab (L1); compacting the first slab (L1); breaking said first compacted slab (L1) so as to obtain a plurality of flake-shaped elements (15); dispensing the filling material (20) to cover the flake- shaped elements (15) so as to obtain a second slab (L2); pressing the second slab (L2), the latter having an exposed surface (22) arranged resting on the supporting surface (3), and on which face the flake shaped elements (15), and a laying surface (23) opposed to the exposed surface (22). The process for the manufacture of slabs of ceramic material, comprises the following steps: supplying at least one ceramic and/or stone basic material (5) in powder and/or granulate and/or flake form; supplying at least one ceramic and/or stone filling material (20) in powder and/or granulate and/or flake form; dispensing the basic material (5) on a supporting surface (3) to obtain a first slab (L1); compacting the first slab (L1); breaking said first compacted slab (L1) so as to obtain a plurality of flake shaped elements (15); dispensing the filling material (20) to cover the flake- shaped elements (15) so as to obtain a second slab (L2); pressing the second slab (L2), the latter having an exposed surface (22) arranged resting on the supporting surface (3), and on which face the flake shaped elements (15), and a laying surface (23) opposed to the exposed surface (22).

Inventors:
TAROZZI FABIO (IT)
Application Number:
PCT/IB2019/058067
Publication Date:
April 02, 2020
Filing Date:
September 24, 2019
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
SITI B & T GROUP SPA (IT)
International Classes:
B28B1/00; B28B17/00; B28B19/00; B44F11/04
Domestic Patent References:
WO2005002878A22005-01-13
Foreign References:
ITMO20080299A12010-05-22
CH524484A1972-06-30
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
ZOLI, Filippo (IT)
Download PDF:
Claims:
CLAIMS

1) Process for the manufacture of slabs of ceramic material, characterized by the fact that it comprises the following steps:

supplying at least one ceramic and/or stone basic material (5) in powder and/or granulate and/or flake form;

supplying at least one ceramic and/or stone filling material (20) in powder and/or granulate and/or flake form;

dispensing said basic material (5) on a supporting surface (3) to obtain a first slab (Ll);

compacting said first slab (Ll), the latter having a lower surface (9), positioned resting on said supporting surface (3), and an upper surface (10) opposed to said lower surface (9);

breaking said first compacted slab (Ll) so as to obtain a plurality of flake shaped elements (15);

dispensing said filling material (20) to cover said flake-shaped elements (15) so as to obtain a second slab (L2);

pressing said second slab (L2), the latter having an exposed surface (22) arranged resting on said supporting surface (3), and on which face said flake-shaped elements (15), and a laying surface (23) opposed to said exposed surface (22).

2) Process according to claim 1, characterized by the fact that said breaking step is carried out by applying an action of pressure on said upper surface (10).

3) Process according to one or more of the preceding claims, characterized by the fact that it comprises a mutual spacing step, subsequent to said breaking step, of said flake-shaped elements (15) so as to define a plurality of interstices (17) between them, said dispensed filling material (20) inserting at least inside said interstices (17).

4) Process according to one or more of the preceding claims, characterized by the fact that said spacing apart step is carried out by applying a force substantially parallel to said upper surface (10) on said first slab (Ll).

5) Process according to one or more of the preceding claims, characterized by the fact that said dispensing step of said filling material (20) is carried out so as to cover the upper surface of said flake-shaped elements (15) and to fill said interstices (17).

6) Process according to one or more of the preceding claims, characterized by the fact that said basic material (5) is different to said filling material (20).

7) Equipment (1) for the manufacture of slabs of ceramic and/or stone material, characterized by the fact that it comprises:

at least one bearing frame (2);

at least one supporting surface (3) associated with said frame (2);

first dispensing means (4) of at least one basic material (5) of the ceramic and/or stone type in powder and/or granulate and/or flake form on said supporting surface (3) to obtain a first slab (Ll);

compaction means (11) of said first slab (Ll), the latter having a lower surface (9) arranged resting on said supporting surface (3) and an upper surface (10) opposed to said lower surface (9);

breaking means (12) of said first compacted slab (Ll) to obtain a plurality of flake- shaped elements (15);

second dispensing means (19) of at least one ceramic and/or stone filling material (20) in powder and/or granulate and/or flake form on said flake shaped elements (15), to obtain a second slab (L2);

pressing means (21) of said second slab (L2), the latter having an exposed surface (22) arranged resting on said supporting surface (3) and on which face said flake-shaped elements (15) and a laying surface (23) opposed to said exposed surface (22).

8) Equipment (1) according to claim 7, characterized by the fact that said breaking means (12) are of the mechanical type and comprise at least a substantially cylindrical first element (13) provided with one or more protrusions adapted to contact said upper surface (10).

9) Equipment (1) according to claim 7 or 8, characterized by the fact that it comprises spacing means (16) of said flake-shaped elements (15) so as to define a plurality of interstices (17) between the flake-shaped elements (15) themselves.

10) Equipment (1) according to one or more of the preceding claims from 7 to 9, characterized by the fact that said spacing means (16) comprise at least a substantially cylindrical second element (18) adapted to contact the upper surface of said flake-shaped elements (15), the lateral surface of said second element (18) having an irregular extension.

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

Technical Field

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

Background Art

The manufacture of slabs made of ceramic and/or stone material, including slabs made of mineral grits bound with resins, generally comprises a deposition phase of a basic material, which can be made up of a ceramic material, i.e. based on clay or silica, or a mixture of minerals in granular form (e.g. marble, granite, glass, fragments of mirror, and/or others) as well as quartz powder and, in fact, resins that act as binders, on a supporting element, 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 basic material that is dispensed on the supporting element, which can be of a single type or of different types mixed or loaded in a layered manner into a relevant hopper, the surface appearance taken by the slab changes.

In particular, the slabs thus obtained may have even coloring, may have flakes of various sizes and colors or veins depending on the type of loaded material. The trend today is to look for new aesthetic effects, so as to offer the market a wide range of products.

A limitation of the known types of product is that the obtained aesthetic effect is strongly bound to the type and conformation of the basic material loaded into the hopper.

Description of the Invention

The main aim of the present invention is to devise a process for the manufacture of slabs of ceramic and/or stone material that allows obtaining different aesthetic effects compared to the products known today and not strictly bound to the size of the basic material used.

Within this aim, one of the objects is to obtain ceramic slabs comprising large sized flakes. Another object of the present invention is to devise a process for the manufacture of slabs of ceramic and/or stone material that allows overcoming the mentioned drawbacks of the prior art in a simple, rational, easy, effective to use and low cost solution.

The aforementioned objects are achieved by the present process for the manufacture of slabs of ceramic and/or stone material having the characteristics of claim 1.

The aforementioned objects are also achieved by the present equipment for the manufacture of slabs of ceramic and/or stone material according to claim 7.

Brief Description of the Drawings

Other characteristics and advantages of the present invention will be better evident from the description of a preferred, but not exclusive, embodiment, of a process for the manufacture of slabs of ceramic and/or stone material, as well as of a piece of equipment for the execution thereof, illustrated as an indication, but with no limitation thereto, in the accompanying tables of drawings in which: Figure 1 is a schematic and partial representation of a piece of equipment for the execution of the process according to the invention during the dispensing phase of a basic material;

Figure 2 is a schematic and partial representation of the equipment of Figure 1 during the compaction phase of a basic material;

Figure 3 is a schematic and partial representation of the equipment of Figure 1 during the breaking phase and during the spacing away phase of the compacted basic material;

Figure 4 is a top view of the slab obtained after the spacing away phase;

Figure 5 is a schematic and partial representation of the equipment of Figure 1 during the dispensing phase of a filling material;

Figure 6 is a schematic and partial representation of the equipment of Figure 1 during the pressing phase;

Figure 7 is a top view of the slab obtained according to the invention.

Fmbodiments of the Invention

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

The piece of equipment 1 comprises a bearing frame 2 with at least one supporting surface 3 associated therewith.

In particular, the supporting surface 3 is of the type of a belt or of the type of a mould.

In addition, the supporting surface 3 can also be moved along one direction of forward movement or, alternatively, can be of the fixed type.

In the particular embodiment shown in the figures, the supporting surface 3 is of the type of a belt and can be moved alternately along a first direction Dl and along a second direction D2, substantially parallel but opposite each other.

The equipment 1 then comprises first dispensing means 4 of at least one basic material 5 of the ceramic and/or stone type in powder and/or granulate and/or flake form on the supporting surface 3 to obtain a first slab Ll.

Advantageously, the first dispensing means 4 comprise at least one hopper 6 provided with an outlet port 7 extending along a dispensing direction Z and placed above the supporting surface 3.

In particular, the supporting surface 3 is adapted to be initially moved along the first direction Dl and the dispensing direction Z is substantially transverse to the first direction Dl.

Furthermore, the hopper 6 is provided with at least one inlet port 8 to allow the insertion of the basic material 5 therein.

The basic material 5 contained inside the hopper 6 can be of the ceramic type, in the form of atomized products, grains or flakes, and/or stone type (such as marble, granite, minerals or other natural stones) in the form of powder and/or granulates and/or flakes and mixed with a cement or resinous binder.

The basic material 5 may consist of a single type of material, or of a plurality of primary materials of different types and/or with different colors.

The basic material 5 contained in the hopper 6 may therefore have a substantially uniform grain size and color, or it may be composed of a plurality of different materials, in terms of type and/or coloring, mixed together or superimposed to define a plurality of layers.

Depending on the loading method of the hopper 6 it is therefore possible to obtain various aesthetic effects such as, e.g., veins which cross the entire thickness of the first slab Ll and which are adapted to reproduce the aesthetic characteristics of the marble or of the natural stones.

The characteristics of the materials of which the slabs could be made, in any case, do not constitute a limitation to the objects of the present invention.

Advantageously, the first slab Ll has a lower surface 9 positioned resting on the supporting surface 3 and an upper surface 10 opposed to the lower surface 9. Conveniently, the equipment 1 comprises compaction means 11 of the first slab Ll, placed downstream of the first dispensing means 4, according to the first direction D 1.

The compaction means 11 are of a type known to the industry technician and may vary constructively depending on several factors, including the nature of the basic material 5 used.

In particular, the compaction means 11 may be of the dynamic type or of the static type.

If the compaction means 11 are of the dynamic type, they comprise a pair of belts adapted to contact the opposite faces of the slab to be contacted during the forward movement thereof.

In particular, one of these belts is of the type of a buffer that is adapted to exert a force of predefined intensity on the slab to be compacted, the other slab acting as a counteracting element.

In the event of the compaction means 11 being of the static type, a buffer is provided which exerts a pressing force on the slab to be compacted when this is stationary.

The compaction means 11 are adapted to exert a pressing force of predefined intensity on the first slab Ll, to obtain a first compacted slab Ll.

According to the invention, the equipment 1 comprises breaking means 12 of the first compacted slab Ll to obtain a plurality of flake- shaped elements 15. Conveniently, the breaking means 12 are placed downstream of the compaction means 11 , relative to the direction of forward movement of the first compacted slab Ll.

In particular, in the embodiment shown in the figures, the supporting surface 3 is adapted to be moved along the second direction D2 following the compaction of the first slab Ll; therefore the first slab Ll moves along the first direction Dl to displace towards the compaction means 11 and, once the compaction is completed, it is moved along the second direction D2, thus reversing the motion thereof.

The breaking means 12 are therefore located downstream of the compaction means 11, relative to the second direction D2.

It cannot however be ruled out that the first slab Ll may only move along the first direction Dl, in which case the breaking means 12 are arranged downstream of the compaction means 11 relative to the first direction Dl.

Advantageously, the breaking means 12 are of the mechanical type and comprise at least a substantially cylindrical first element 13 with one or more protrusions 14 adapted to contact the upper surface 10.

In particular, the protrusions 14 contact the upper surface 10 and exert a pressure thereon so as to determine the breaking lines of the same so as to obtain a plurality of flake- shaped elements 15.

The flake-shaped elements 15 are substantially portions of the first compacted slab Ll having irregular outer edges and variable conformation relative to each other.

According to the invention, the flake-shaped elements 15 comprise a lower surface allocated directly onto the supporting surface 3 and an upper surface opposed to the lower surface.

Furthermore, the equipment 1 comprises spacing means 16 of the flake-shaped elements 15 so as to define a plurality of interstices 17.

The spacing means 16 are located downstream of the breaking means 12 relative to the direction of forward movement of the first compacted slab Ll.

In particular, in the embodiment represented in the figures, the first compacted slab Ll moves along the first direction Dl to displace towards the compaction means 11 and, once compaction is completed, it is moved along the second direction D2, thus reversing the motion thereof.

Therefore, the spacing means 16 are located downstream of the breaking means 12, relative to the second direction D2. It cannot however be ruled out that the first slab Ll may only move along the first direction Dl, in which case the spacing means 16 are arranged downstream of the breaking means 12 relative to the first direction Dl.

The spacing means 16 comprise at least a substantially cylindrical second element 18 which is adapted to contact the upper surface of the flake- shaped elements 15.

The second element 18 is adapted to exert a thrust on the flake- shaped elements 15, substantially parallel to the supporting surface 3, so as to space these from each other and define the interstices 17 between them.

Advantageously the equipment 1 comprises second dispensing means 19 of at least one ceramic and/or stone filling material 20 in powder and/or granulate and/or flake form on the flake-shaped elements 15, to obtain a second slab L2. The second dispensing means 19 are positioned downstream of the spacing means 16 relative to the direction of forward movement of the second slab L2.

In the embodiment shown in the figures, the second slab L2 moves along the second direction D2 to displace towards the second dispensing means 19 and therefore the second dispensing means 19 are arranged downstream of the spacing means 16 according to the second direction D2.

It cannot however be ruled out that the second slab L2 may move along the first direction Dl to displace towards the second dispensing means 19 and therefore the second dispensing means 19 are downstream of the spacing means 16 according to the first direction Dl.

In the embodiment shown in the figures, the first dispensing means 4 and the second dispensing means 19 coincide with each other and differ only in the type of material they dispense.

Therefore, for the second dispensing means 19 we recommend referring to the full description of the first dispensing means 4, with the exception of the type of material they are adapted to distribute.

It cannot however be ruled out that the second slab L2 may move along the first direction Dl to displace towards the second dispensing means 19, which in this case do not coincide with the first dispensing means 4.

The second dispensing means 19 are adapted to distribute the filling material 20 inside the interstices 17 and above the upper surfaces of the flake- shaped elements 15, so as to obtain the second slab L2.

The filling material 20 is of a different type from the basic material 5 and is adapted to create an agglomeration with the flake- shaped elements 15.

According to the invention, the equipment 1 comprises pressing means 21 for pressing the second slab L2, placed downstream of the second dispensing means 19 according to the direction of movement of the slab L2.

In the embodiment shown in the figures, the second slab L2 moves along the first direction Dl to displace towards the pressing means 21, since the supporting surface 3 is adapted to be moved according to the first direction Dl following the dispensing of the filling material 20.

It cannot however be ruled out that the supporting surface 3 moves exclusively along the first direction Dl without reversing the motion thereof.

Conveniently the pressing means 21 coincide with the compaction means 11, differing only in the extent of pressing force that is exerted on the first slab Ll and on the second slab L2.

In particular, the pressing force exerted by the pressing means 21 on the second slab L2 is igger than the pressing force exerted by the compacting means on the first slab Ll.

Therefore, for the pressing means 21, we recommend referring to the full description of the compaction means 11, with the exception of the pressing force exerted on the slab L2.

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

The process for the manufacture of slabs of ceramic and/or stone material comprises, first of all, the supply of at least one ceramic and/or stone basic material 5 in the form of powder and/or granulate and/or flakes and the introduction thereof into the first dispensing means 4.

In particular, the basic material 5 is introduced into the hopper 6 through the inlet port 8.

In addition, it is possible to provide for the supply of a plurality of basic materials 5 different from each other, both in terms of coloring and type. In this case, the introduction of the basic material 5 into the hopper 6 is carried out according to a predefined sequence in order to define layers of the basic material 5, to obtain veins.

Then, the basic material 5 contained in the hopper 6 is dispensed onto the supporting surface 3, to obtain the first slab Ll.

In the embodiment shown in the figures, the basic material 5 is dispensed by the hopper 6 and deposited on the supporting surface 3 during its forward movement along the first direction Dl.

An alternative embodiment cannot however be ruled out wherein the hopper 6 may move relative to the supporting surface 3.

Once the first slab Ll has been formed, the same is compacted and, in the embodiment shown in the figures, the first slab Ll is moved according to the first direction Dl until it reaches the compaction means 11.

Subsequently, the first compacted slab Ll is broken to obtain the flake-shaped elements 15.

In the embodiment shown in the figures, following the compaction phase, the motion of the supporting surface 3 is reversed, which surface moves forward according to the second direction D2.

Following the breaking phase, the first compacted slab Ll is divided into a plurality of flake-shaped elements 15 by the breaking means 12, located downstream of the compaction means 11, relative to the direction of forward movement of the first compacted slab Ll.

The flake- shaped elements 15 are then spaced apart, so as to define the interstices 17 between these.

This phase is carried out by means of the spacing means 16, located downstream of the breaking means 12.

Furthermore, the process for the manufacture of slabs of ceramic and/or stone material requires the supply of at least one ceramic filling material 20 and the dispensing thereof above the flake- shaped elements 15 in order to obtain a second slab L2.

This phase is carried out by means of the second dispensing means 19, located downstream of the spacing means 16 along the direction of forward movement of the second slab L2.

In the embodiment shown in the figures, following the compaction phase, the motion of the supporting surface 3 is reversed, which surface moves forward according to the second direction D2.

A pressing phase of the second slab L2 is then performed, the surface of which resting on the supporting surface 3 defines the exposed surface 22 and the external surface of which defines the laying surface 23.

In particular, the lower surfaces of the flake- shaped elements 15 are adapted to contact the supporting surface 3 and are therefore not covered by the filling material 20; therefore the exposed surface 22 comprises the lower surfaces of the flake- shaped elements 15 and the external portion of the filling material 20 which is distributed internally to the interstices 17.

In the embodiment shown in the figures, the pressing phase is carried out using the pressing means 21 located downstream of the second dispensing means 19 along the first direction Dl .

It has in practice been ascertained that the described invention achieves the intended objects and, in particular, it is underlined that the process and the equipment to which the present invention relates allow obtaining a slab made of ceramic and/or stone material characterized by a plurality of scales that face on the exposed surface of the slab obtained, the dimensions of which are not related to the size of the material used.

This is made possible by breaking the first slab made with a first ceramic and/or stone material and the subsequent dispensing of a second ceramic and/or stone material thereon.