Home > Case study: Compressed air knives at Southern Cross Ceramics' factory

Case study: Compressed air knives at Southern Cross Ceramics' factory

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article image The compressed air knife Neublade is characterised by high performance, low noise and reduced air consumption

Hurll Nu-Way  has supplied a cost-efficient compressed air solution to a leading decorative tile manufacturer to enable high quality printing on tiles.
Designing and manufacturing high quality decorative tiles since 1987, Southern Cross Ceramics employs sophisticated technologies to manufacture tiles in accordance with international standards, while a world-class colour laboratory allows creation of diverse designs and colours.
The company uses screen printing technology for printing glazing materials onto ceramic tiles. The technology allows different decorative materials to be printed onto complex surfaces, penetrating into the uneven printing surface. For Southern Cross Ceramics to achieve high quality prints on tiles, the company needed to ensure dry and contaminate-free tiles. The presence of tile chips or any excess moisture on the tile during screen printing could otherwise lead to creation of scrap on the surface of a tile.
Southern Cross Ceramics’ Plant Engineer Peter Lawson considered using air knives to solve the problem. Having considered air knives previously for a range of applications, including removing moisture from difficult surfaces and drying crates for labelling, he decided to discuss the application with Hurll Nu-Way Sales Engineer, Braydon Cocks.
Seeking a cost efficient solution, Peter and Braydon discussed using a blowing system or the current compressed air capacity. The blower system is considered to be more energy efficient and quiet, while compressed air is expensive to generate. However, the existing compressor had some leftover capacity in the current system, which allowed the problem to be solved with minor investments.
Since the requirement was for an efficient air knife capable of delivering the capacity needed, Braydon recommended the compressed air knife Neublade, manufactured in the UK and characterised by its high performance, low noise and reduced air consumption. The low dBa reading of the air knives during operation was of high importance due to OHS regulations.
The many mounting options enabled simple installation of the air knife.
Hurll Nu-Way is a long term equipment supplier for Southern Cross Ceramics, providing the tile manufacturer with infrared process heaters for heating and drying the ceramic paint. The company also offers gas burners, centrifugal blowers, high velocity fans and infrared heaters for the ceramic, tile and printing industry.

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