The Process of Making Ceramic Tiles in the Philippines
What is the process of making ceramic tiles in the Philippines?
- Mixing and Grinding
- Spray drying
If you’re wondering how ceramic tiles in the Philippines are made, then we’ve got the step by step process of how these home essential products are created. The Floor tiles for sale you will see at your local tile center have gone through the rigorous process you’ll read below. Here is the process of how ceramic tiles are made.
After the raw materials pass the initial examination and are given the green light to begin with processing, they go through the first step of the ceramic tile creation process called batching. Typically, the body composition of a ceramic product will be determined by the type and quantity of the raw materials.
Therefore, it is vital to mix the right amount of different raw materials together to get the desired properties and characteristics of the tiles. This is why the first step is crucial, as batch calculations need to be exact. During this step in the process, consideration of both the chemical and physical compositions of the raw materials must be identified.
Once the appropriate weight of each raw material is defined, they must be mixed together.
Mixing and Grinding
Mixed raw materials will then be weighed and transferred into a mixer. The common types of mixers that are used to create ceramic tiles are a ribbon mixer, intensive mixer, or a shell mixer. The difference between the three mixers is how they mix the raw materials together; the ribbon mixer mixes the raw materials using two helical vanes, the intensive mixer has two revolving plows, and the shell mixer makes use of two V positioned cylinders which rotate and tumble the raw materials.
Commonly water is needed to improve the mixing of a batch that makes use of multiple ingredients. This process requires a ball mill to help achieve a fine grind. Using a ball mill will result in a water-filled mixture which is referred to as slurry. After going through the ball mill, the water is removed from the slurry by filter pressing.
Spray drying is the process of removing excess water after wet milling. This is done by pumping the slurry into an atomizer which rapidly revolves around the mix using a rotating disk or a nozzle. The droplets are then heated until dry by a rising hot air column.
This turns the mix into a powder which is ideal for forming. Dry grinding and granulation is also a viable method for forming tile bodies. This process involves using a machine with dry-ground material mixed with water in order to form particles into granules.
The most common method of forming tiles is by dry pressing. During the process of dry pressing, the powder flows from a hopper into a forming die. The material is then compressed into a steel nook where steel plungers apply pressures of up to 2,500 tons to the powder and are then ejected by the bottom plunger.
There are many other ways to form tiles which can process a wetter tile body. When the tile body is wet, it’s easily moldable into different forms. Extrusion plus punching is used to create irregularly shaped and often thinner tiles at a faster pace and in a more economical way.
With this method, compacting a plastic mass in a high-pressure cylinder, then it forces the material to flow out of the end of the cylinder in the form of slugs. These slugs are then punched with a pneumatic or hydraulic punching press forming the tiles.
After forming, ceramic tiles need to be dried in an environment with high humidity. If the ceramic tiles were made with the wet method, humidity levels would need to be higher. This process of creating ceramic tiles can take several days.
During this stage of the process, water is removed at a slow rate in order to prevent any shrinkage cracks from happening. Tunnels or continuous dryers are typically used. These dryers heat the tiles using oil, gas, infrared lamps, or microwave energy.
There is no single type of dryer which is better than the other. For example, the infrared dryer is best used for creating thin tiles, whereas the microwave dryer is best suited for creating thicker tiles.
Right after drying, the tiles go through a glazing process. Glazes are made out of silica, feldspar, and other glass-like or glass-related substances which act as a vitric coating for the ceramic tiles. Mainly for decorative purposes, glazing also has its benefits for the tiles as they cover up the pores of the tiles.
The glaze could also contribute to the hardness and resilience of the final result. The glaze goes through a similar process of how the tile body was made. When it is ready, the glade is applied on the tile body via centrifugal glazing, waterfall method, or is simply sprayed onto the tile.
After glazing, the tile must be heated intensely to strengthen it and give it the desired porosity. Firing is the final step of the process before the tiles are sent to be sorted and packed for the market. This is among the most vital parts of the ceramic tile creation process.
After the glaze is applied, continuous firing is needed to strengthen the tile. The most efficient type of kiln used today is called the Roller Hearth Kiln. It’s highly regarded for its consistent temperature distribution and its ability to transport tiles at different firing temperatures.
This is how ceramic tiles in the Philippines are typically made. The rigorous process involves the use of automated machinery in order to be consistent with the quality of every tile that goes through the production line.
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