Extrusion is a common process used to manufacture different types of ceramic products, for example, face bricks, ventilated walls, floor tiles, special shaped products and many others. Several parameters affect the operation of the extrusion. These parameters include the nature of the raw materials, their particle size, and their plastic behavior, the water content and the additives you use.
The clay does not last forever and, with limited deposits and high market demands, the best clay is very expensive. What would an endless source of raw material do to the prices of decorative tiles? Let's think about it and ask ourselves, how do the prices on high-quality clay dictate the market? Understanding this, might make us more open to the idea of doing things differently, be less dependent on expensive clay, thus reducing your production costs.
Cellulosic compounds are not new into the Ceramic Industry. They have been used in ceramic bodies for a long time.
In ancient cultures, straw could be used to bring porosity to clay, easing water entrance and hence increasing its workability. It would also provide some air entrance, helping in the drying process, that would take place in the open air. This is useful in hand-made products and in low-automated processes.
Measuring results is key to be able to understand how your production is going and if you should make any changes in your supply chain. In today's ceramic market, new tools to measure different parameters appear every year, making it barely impossible to be able to catch up with all of them. However, we have found several that we think might be relevant and a bit more unknown. So this month is all about tools!
Large and thin tiles are one of the most important trends in the ceramics market right now, as we have already talked about in this blog. However, the manufacturing of these thinner tiles can be tricky, and maintaining the quaity is a challenge.
New aesthetics aligned with new technical requirements in the extrusion of ceramic bodies are demanding a new approach when it comes to additives’ requirements. In the past, lubrication and proper rheology were highly appreciated, but today there are other properties that should be taken into consideration if defects such as cracks, laminations, scumming, etc. can’t appear along the process, mainly due to the higher technical requirements of the raw materials.
The pressing stage is one of the most demanding in the production of ceramic bodies. Therefore, gaining any improvements here is directly translated into savings along the production process. These improvements will help to optimize the total costs of the manufactured products by reducing losses whilst improving the quality of the shaped materials.
One of the main challenges of the Ceramic Industry is related to the lack of good quality plastic clays. Though there are many reliable sources, its cost is banning industrial usages, especially in a moment when tiles are becoming larger and larger. Furthermore, if we consider how market is moving towards higher performance requirements, this situation is not showing any ways of changing
Plasticity is the characteristic behaviour of a ceramic material to become permanently deformed after the application of an external force. This property is the most characteristic one in clays, and there are some factors that influence the plasticity and they should be considered in plasticity measurements:
The clay does not last forever and, with limited deposits and high market demands, the best clay is very expensive. Add to that the conflict in Crimea, where the Russian occupation has choked the supply of cheap Ukrainian high-quality clay, and you face a situation where lack of supply has caused the raw material prices to increase five times since the manufacturers started using it. This is, of course, critical for the industry, but the forward leaning manufacturers go looking for alternative sources.