The delicate process of quality control inside the complex industrial production line for the manufacture of flat ceramic surfaces is a crucial aspect. It can be carried out in a number of points of the line and with different supporting technologies. We already talked in an article some time ago about Creavision, the vision and self-regulation system for digital printing that ensures a higher quality of printing and a considerable saving of resources and raw materials. Creavision, therefore, impacts on the quality and efficiency of the printing of the tile before it goes into the kiln.
There also need to be controls after the firing of the ceramic surface, aimed at verifying not only the structural integrity of the product, but also the quality of the print, the colour shades and the correctness of the graphics in general.
One of System Ceramics’s technologies applicable in this context is Qualitron. Let’s find out together the advantages that a system such as Qualitron can offer to producers in the quality control process, looking at how it works and pointing out its points of strength.
What is Qualitron?
Qualitron is the vision system developed by System Ceramics for detecting the tone of the ceramic surface. Thanks to sophiticated lighting systems, it captures the image with an accurate network of latest-generation cameras; Qualitron guarantees a detailed analysis of the design, identifying any defects of structure or tone of the graphics.
Qualitron’s software has been entirely developed by the Software Engineering team in System Ceramics, and has been recently enhanced with a significant upgrading to significantly improve its performance. We will refer to this later.
Qualitron is an advanced Computer Vision IT system which, through an automatic procedure, makes it possible to recognize, self-learn and communicate to the subsequent technologies on the line about defects in the ceramic surface. This guarantees an accurate classification of the product in a rapid and consistent manner on the basis of objective data, and considerably reduces (also as far as eliminating) the quantity of non-conforming first-choice product released on the market.
What defects does Qualitron detect?
The 3 cameras, 2 in the gray scale and 1 in colour, supported by LED lighting and latest-generation infra-red vision technologies, ensure extreme precision in focusing on the anomalies in the tile.
Applicable on any ceramic production line, Qualitron can detect decoration defects, such as tone, bands or lines from digital printing, pitting or spots; it also detects structural imperfections on every single piece, such as, for example, an imperfect application of the glaze.
Once the irregularities have been detected, Qualitron then carries out a classification with such rapidity that the fluidity of the production process remains unaffected, also if the line is moving at a speed of 200 pieces per minute.
No margin of error with Creasync
As we have already said, Qualitron’s software has recently been enhanced with an upgrade that has expanded its potential and increased the activities it can perform. It’s a vehicle of innovation making Qualitron’s merits even more evident. But what does it consist of?
The updated software enables Creasync’s functions to be completely integrated. Creasync permits Qualitron to ascertain that there are no defects in the surfaces, comparing the graphic representation of the tile produced by Qualitron directly with the source graph file used for the decoration of the tiles or slabs.
It is a technology exclusive to System Ceramics, patented and developed internally by the software engineering team.
This is an unprecedented evolution, leaving no space for classification errors. Thanks to Creasync, in fact, the comparison with the source file guarantees high precision in the detection of defects, in the correct balancing of the tone and in the verification of every single graphic detail. The quantity of information that the machine is able to process is extensive, and can ensure that the quality of the finished product is constantly very high.
With Creasync it is not necessary to make samples of the graphics using physical pieces, an operation that often involves the risk of setting imprecise values and of carrying out numerous set-ups of the machine before achieving the desired result. In effect, the production process is more efficient, since:
- the operator does not have to use physical pieces for the analysis and setting up of the quality control phase with Qualitron;
- if the pieces have to enter the machine rotated by 180°, thanks to Creasync, Qualitron manages, nevertheless, to recognise the graphics and to verify correctness;
- in the event of the production of tiles through cuts of sub-formats from large slabs, the system is able to understand completely autonomously what portion of the graphics is shown on the tile.
- In the event of multi-face production, also completely randomly, the machine is able to detect the correct position of the graphics;
- the use of the original graphics makes the process rapid and precise.
A Prime Ready technology
Qualitron is a PrimeReady technology, which integrates perfectly with Industry 4.0 software. Qualitron’s software makes it possible to file, extract and consult production data, also in real time, with the result of improving, on the one hand, performances, and on the other hand, the final quality of the product.
The data extracted by Qualitron and made available provide a high level of detail for each single product piece. Not only data relating to defects, but also the process images used for the analysis, are communicated for every single piece. This information is crucial for subsequent evaluations relating to production. We can mention, for example, the importance of having in the database the complete image of a slab after production. To find out more about Qualitron, visit the product page and download the brochure.
Find out more about Qualitron, visit the product page and download the brochure.