Technology

From its inception, Qutone Ceramics has been committed to innovation and advanced technological content along with forward-looking vision. Constant upgrading of technology and infrastructure has enabled Qutone to deliver high-quality products that satisfy the customers as well as sustain the environment. Qutone has been a pioneer in several hi-tech innovations that have set the trend in the industry. These include

1. Double Firing Technology

Double-firing is a special technological process that creates sharp colours and contrasts in tiles. Through this process, tiles can be given different shades, patterns and tints, creating a wide range of options for designers and consumers. The process involves firing, first at the base of the tile and then the enamel. These tiles are obtained by dry grinding own-quarried clays and fire clays and then mixing, dampening and compacting them in hydraulic process. Once the base has been formed, it is then quick-cycle fired in roller kilns that reach temperatures of approximately 1100 degrees.

This kind of tile is ideal for interiors, adding a touch of class to kitchens, bathrooms and work areas.

2. Glazed Porcelain

Glazed porcelain tiles are created by pressing, and stand out for their high degree of compactness and almost zero porosity. These are manufactured using extremely pure, selected raw materials obtained from highly advanced extraction and sorting techniques. These are top quality porcelain stoneware tile, obtained by wet grinding the raw materials, partially spray-drying them, storing them in silos to unify their properties and then compacting them in high power presses, reaching pressures of over 500 kg/cm2.

These tiles are enhanced by a surface glaze that makes them particularly suitable for residential flooring and public places such as shops and restaurants.

3. Decor

Qutone Ceramics employs the following 4 methods of Decor

a. Digital Ink-Jet Technology

Digital ink-jet technology represents a new system of floor and wall tile decoration that is positioned to alter the way ceramic and porcelain is decorated. Digital printing is a method of printing using digital techniques in which data and images are printed directly from a computer onto the tile. Ink-jet printing is a non-impact printing technology. It uses droplets of ink jetted from a small aperture to a specified position on a surface to create an image. Four colours - cyan, magenta, yellow and black (CMYK)-are combined in various ways to create virtually any colour required.

This technology has now evolved to allow the same printing process to be used on ceramic and porcelain tile. Using an ink-jet printing machine and four specially designed inks, the technology is used to create an unlimited number of high-quality patterns and decorations, with fewer materials, less waste and less development and production time than conventional processes.

Ink-jet is a non-contact decorating process. Tiles exit the machine as quickly as they enter, achieving speeds as high as 50-metres per minute possible with photographic-quality reproduction. This new technology allows us to achieve almost infinite design variability. Ink-jet printing offers a greatly reduced colour palette, high versatility, ultra-fine resolution, 100 per cent edge-to-edge decoration, full relief decoration, completely random designs and computer control over the entire process. With this new process, tile design and decoration is easier, less time consuming and less costly.

b. Third Firing Technology

Three-firing producers have used ink-jet equipment since its inception and we can foresee even greater adoption of this technology in the future. We can create tiles and panels of various sizes with photographic quality using 3, 4 or 6 basic colors made from normal and very fine ceramic pigments stable for these temperatures. Only by ink-jet is it possible to lay down decoration on top of frit grains because it is done without contact. Innovative effects can be obtained with semi-transparent colors and diffusion. For third-firing, ink-jet represents a huge opportunity for savings for on-demand production (reducing warehouse stock and the number of pigments needed).

For single fired wall tiles we have developed new effects that define new quality in the high rank market. For vitrified tiles soluble inks have already been used for many years. Soluble inks can penetrate into the green body or into the green glaze so polishing can be done without loss of color or definition. While better definition is normal for ceramic pigments, the layer is very thin and therefore cannot withstand polishing or heavy traffic without a protective over glaze. We can combine the ink-jet process using inks made from soluble salts and those made using traditional ceramic pigments with standard roller printing machines to obtain exquisite effects.

c. Sandblasting Technology

The methods of sandblasting or pantographing require a paint, epoxy or grout fill to create a contrast. These materials are organic substances and will deteriorate over time when exposed to the elements such as sunlight, acid rain and harsh weather conditions. Venturi siphoning action is used in suction feed blaster. It draws the blast media into the compressed air stream and then to the nozzle itself. The media is stored within the pressure pot and later it is sealed. The media goes through the valve and into the compressed air stream, which is placed in the blast nozzle. The nozzle accelerates the media and it impacts the surface of the component. Abrasive sandblasting is the specific process of using sand to remove materials. A special machine is necessary to perform this process, and the user of the machine often needs to be trained to use the equipment safely and effectively.

d. Waterjet Technology

Waterjet cutting, a process where a jet stream of water is forced through a tiny nozzle at a very high pressure, provides many unique capabilities and advantages that allow the cutting of materials and parts often considered too costly or even impossible with other methods. Our abrasive waterjet cutters are able to cut through the hardest of materials including stone and metals, leaving smooth, extremely accurate edges. Water jet cutting is an environmentally friendly technology as well.

Waterjet Cutting Maintains Material Integrity

This method eliminates material distortion or degradation such as burning, crushing, chipping, and fracturing that occurs with other cutting methods such as laser or die cutting.

Maximum Material Utilization with Water Jet Cutting

Waterjet cutting minimizes waste achieved by using narrow kerfs along with computerized part nesting.

Saves on Tooling Expenses

Waterjet cutting reduces the need for tooling and post-machining work as part edges are beautifully smooth and finished.