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Compressed air for the ideal tiles

Supplier: Hurll Nu-Way
09 July, 2013

Southern Cross Ceramics has been designing and manufacturing high quality decorative tiles since 1987.

They use sophisticated technologies to manufacture tiles in accordance with international standards and a world class colour laboratory allowing creation of diverse designs and colours.

Reliable equipment is only one of the essential components of the company's success, but it has to be selected accurately to ensure seamless manufacturing process.

One of the most versatile methods used for printing glazing materials onto ceramic tiles is screen printing. The technology allows printing different decorative materials onto complex surfaces, penetrating into the uneven printing surface. To achieve the high quality of prints on tiles, it requires a dry and contaminate free tile. The presence of the tile chips or any excess moisture on the tile during screen printing may lead to creation of scrap on the surface of a tile.

Peter Lawson, Southern Cross Ceramics' plant engineer, considered using air knives to solve the problem. He had looked into air knives usage for a range of applications before, including removing moisture from difficult surfaces and drying of crates for labelling. So he decided to discuss the application with Braydon Cocks, sales engineer at Hurll Nu-Way.

Lawson and Cocks were looking for the most cost effective solution and discussed two options, using a blowing system or using the current compressed air capacity. Blower system is considered to be more energy efficient and quiet, while compressed air is expensive to generate. However, the existing compressor had some left over capacity in the current system, which allowed solving the problem with minor investments.

They had to find an efficient air knife capable of delivering the capacity needed. Cocks offered the compressed air knife Neublade, manufactured in the UK and characterised by the highest performance, lowest noise and lowest air consumption compared to any other compressed air product. The low dBa reading of the air knives during their operation was of high importance due to OHS regulations. The operators have to be safe in the area where they work.

Installing the air knife was easy due to the fact that the model has many thought out mounting options, and the results were seen immediately — consistent air stream across tile, very efficient and solving the problem straight away.

Hurll Nu-Way has been a long-term equipment supplier for the company, providing the tile manufacturer with infrared process heaters for heating and drying the ceramic paint. Their sales engineers and product specialists are highly professional, knowledgeable and helpful.

Among other products HNW can supply to the ceramics, tile and printing industry, there are gas burners, centrifugal blowers, high velocity fans and infrared heaters used to heat the warehouses.