How tiles are made?
Ever wondered how are tiles made?
Porcelain and ceramic tiles are commonly used across the world and have versatile applications. They have been around for years with their usage dating back to the ancient civilisations. It is estimated that tiles were used in Egypt around 4000 B.C. Tile bricks have been found in various civilisations like Mesopotamia, Indian subcontinent, Ancient Iran, the Islamic Empire and Medieval Europe. The tile manufacturing process has improved by leaps and bounds thanks to technology.
In this article, we have discussed the manufacturing process of ceramic and porcelain tiles. Keep reading to learn more.
Manufacturing process for tiles
Tiles can be made from various materials like ceramic, porcelain, stone, metal or glass and can be used on floors, roofs, and walls.
Ceramic and porcelain tiles are made from clay, sand and other components. The materials are mixed, dried, moulded into the required shape and baked in a kiln. So how are tiles made?
Raw materials used to make tiles include:
Process the raw materials
The raw materials are broken down according to their particle size. Machines like jaw crushers are used to break down the large materials to smaller lumps. These smaller lumps are then broken down further.
Step 1: Batching
For tiles, the composition determines the type and amount of raw materials. Raw materials decide the colour of the tile. Batching is an important step during which the physical and chemical composition of raw materials should be determined. Once the weight has been determined, the materials are ready to be mixed together.
Step 2: Mixing and Grinding
This step would break down the particle resulting in fine-sized particles using a Ball Mill. Water is added to the mix to make the raw materials finer. This process is called Wet Milling and the mixture is called Slurry. 40-50% of the water is removed by the process of Filter Pressing.
Step 3: Spray Drying
The excess moisture during wet melling is removed by spray drying. It converts the slurry into powder and the moisture content in this powder is about 4-5%.
Step 4: Forming
The powder is then pressed or formed into the required tile shape. The commonly used steps are extrusion or pressing. In extrusion, the tiles are passed through a metal die or moulds to obtain a long thick sheet. The extruded tile is then cut into the desired shape. Pressing is more common these days than extrusion. In pressing, the tile body is pressed between two halves of a mould mounted in a hydraulic press. The high pressure sets the tiles into the required shape and size and gives it high tensile strength.
Step 5: Drying
The tiles are dried at a high temperature to remove the water slowly to prevent cracks.
Step 6: Glazing
Glazing is done if the tiles have a matte or high-gloss finish. Not every tile is glazed and this step can be skipped for unglazed tiles. A liquid coloured glass is sprayed or poured on the tile. Glazing can be done via roller glazing, spraying, waterfall, dripping, screening or dry glazing. This process can make it more durable, harder and lends different designs and styles to the tile.
Step 7: Firing
The tiles are finally placed in a kiln and baked at high temperatures of almost 1300 degrees Celsius or more. Baking the tile at high temperatures makes the tile stronger. The commonly used kilns nowadays are the tunnel or roller-hearth kilns. The tiles are rolled in the kiln at a uniform temperature. The tiles fired once are called Monocottura tiles or single-fired.
Bicottura tiles are fired twice or more times - this method is used for tiles with different colours and patterns. The tiles are fired every time glaze is applied to it. The tiles are gradually cooled to prevent them from exploding due to a temperature shock.
Last step: Quality Assurance, Sorting and Shipping
The tiles are then ready to be inspected for defects and chips. Once the quality assurance test is passed, they are sorted, packed and shipped.
Ceramic and Porcelain Tiles
Both ceramic and porcelain tiles are made from clay. Porcelain tiles use denser types of clay and it is baked at high temperatures for more duration so that the water is removed completely. It is denser than ceramic tiles.
Want to learn more about ceramic and porcelain tiles? Check out these resources:
Bathroom Renovation Experts Brisbane
The technology used to produce tiles has improved immensely thanks to modern machinery. When you are considering tiles for your reno projects speak to our team. Mastercraft Tiling & Bathroom Renovations can provide you with professional tiling service for all of your tiling projects in Brisbane. For more information on bathroom renovations and tiling, contact Mastercraft Tiling on 0435 243 235 or complete the tiling enquiry form.
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