The following is a preview from the October 2017 issue of The Scoop, the quarterly printed magazine for Dal-Tile team members. The issue has mailed to team members’ home addresses and will be posted in PDF format to myMohawk this month.
There’s a new best practice in place for creating a distinctive selling point for our tile products.
Rectification is a crucial step in the manufacturing process where tile is ground down on all four edges to ensure each dimension meets specification. Without it, customers can’t get the smooth, continuous polished look they’re often trying to create with tile. But all the grinding also creates a lot of dust, which must be removed before the product is packaged for customers.
After successful implementation at the Dal-Tile Monterrey and Salamanca manufacturing plants in Mexico, dry rectification is now being piloted at the Dal-Tile Florence (Ala.) plant, where it’s cutting down on maintenance, operational costs, environmental impact and water use.
A better environment
Traditionally after rectification, water washes away the dust after the tile has been ground to the exact size, making it a messy and wet process. Then the dirty water must be filtered so it can be recycled, along with sticky paste that’s created when the powder and water mix.
Instead of washing dust away, dry rectification is a process where machinery vacuums excess powder into a waste duct and cools the pieces of tile with compressed air as they move down the line. The dust is recycled much more quickly than the water and sediment waste from the wet rectification process.
“It’s safer and more comfortable, since we’re not using water and there’s less humidity,” Florence Plant Manager Gianni Ferrari said. “Overall it’s a better environment for the operator to work with.”
Plus, with water being removed from the process, there are fewer worries about it freezing during the winter for potential slip hazards and corrosion is much less of a concern.
“Taking water out of rectifying is a big deal,” Florence Department Manager Mike Brewer said. “I’m optimistic about what it will mean in terms of servicing of the module. It will be simpler to maintain than what we already have, as the new line nearly takes care of itself.”
Less maintenance means more productive hours and the new system even requires less floor space than wet rectification. Transitioning to a new process always presents risks, but so far quality has not been an issue with dry rectification.
“I’ve been very impressed with the way the cuts look and the way the polish goes on the side,” Brewer said. “It’s very compatible with what we’ve already got.”
Dal-Tile Florence team member Mark Hughes checks the controls of the dry rectification equipment at Florence.
The Dal-Tile team members who collaborated to implement the dry rectification process at Florence (from L to R): Chad Wang, Sergio Simoes, Ferrari, Mark Hughes, Albert Pullen, Brewer and Roberto Fogliani.