The project microfinishing "sustainable process of surface treatment of the porcelain gres" (LIFE02 ENV/IT/000052) was developed by the company Ceramica Fondovalle of Modena with the aim to demonstrate the feasibility of a new dry process for grinding / polishing the gres porcelain.
The main problem that the project has addressed is to eliminate the phase of sanding and polishing of ceramic tiles, responsible for producing a large volume of sludge. The project has developed an innovative technique, that through the use of a homogeneous mixture of substances (such as abrasive particles) of the product being processed (corundum, zirconium sand, clay), projected at high pressure on the surface to be treated by operating pressure, it allows recovery of abrasive material used and reused as raw material in the production of tiles. With the development of this project, Ceramica Fondovalle is capable of treating dry surfaces of its entire production of around 2.5 million sqm / year. The new process, unlike traditional ones, either can handle any type of surface, whether flat or planar structured.
• Barriers are that the final manufacturing step of porcelain gres has a strong environmental impact, since it consumes large amounts of energy and water. It also produces significant amounts of polishing sludge (classified as toxic waste or special). In Italy in 2003 more than 360 million square meters of vitrified tiles, where produced with water consumption (for the single phase surface finish) of approximately 1 million litres of water per day.
• Drivers include savings of resources and raw materials;
• reduction of production costs;
• strong replicability of the project results in other related fields.
The environmental benefits associated with the introduction of the technology developed in the production of porcelain tiles are as follows:
Saving of resources and raw materials:
- 20,000 litres in less than in the water / day (i.e. 4.7 million l / year);
- 18,000 kg in less than polishing sludge / day (i.e. 4,300 tonnes / year);
- Energy consumption of no more than 1 kWh / sqm, with a reduction of approximately 50% than before;
- 20,000 exhausted abrasive wheels / year less;
- 10% less glazes used.
Ceramics Fondovalle has not developed directly the pilot industrialization process that will be done through an important industrial and technical collaboration with Ceramiche Gardenia Orchidea SpA who used the CIP Eco-innovation co-financing.