Hurll Nu-Way Pty Ltd  worked with Southern Cross Ceramics to identify a cost-efficient solution for achieving a dry and contaminate-free tile prior to screen printing.
Southern Cross Ceramics has been designing and manufacturing high quality decorative tiles since 1987, using sophisticated technologies to match international standards, and a world class colour laboratory allowing creation of diverse designs and colours.
Screen printing is considered one of the most versatile methods used 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. The high quality of prints can only be achieved if the tile is dry and contaminate-free. The presence of tile chips or any excess moisture on the tile during screen printing may lead to creation of scrap on the tile’s surface.
Having considered using air knives, Southern Cross Ceramics’ Plant Engineer Peter Lawson decided to discuss the application with the Sales Engineer at Hurll Nu-Way, Braydon Cocks.
Looking for a cost-effective 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.
They had to find an efficient air knife capable of delivering the capacity needed. Braydon offered the compressed air knife Neublade, manufactured in the UK and characterised by 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 air knife was easily installed thanks to its mounting options, and the results were seen immediately including consistent air stream across the tile and high efficiency.
Hurll Nu-Way has been a long term equipment supplier for the company, providing the tile manufacturer with infrared process heaters for heating and drying the ceramic paint. HNW also supplies gas burners, centrifugal blowers, high velocity fans and infrared heaters to the ceramics, tile and printing industry.