ITA Ceramiche makes major investments

The first phase of a wide-ranging investment programme focusing on total process automation has been completed in collaboration with Sacmi with the aim of increasing capacity and expanding the product mix.

Fiorano-based company ITA Ceramiche has completed the first phase of an ambitious investment programme aimed at increasing its capacity and efficiency and improving product quality through total process automation. The technological partner chosen for the project was Sacmi, which during this initial phase supplied a new and larger kiln (117 metres long with a useful width of 2,950 mm) with a production capacity of over 10,000 sqm/day and equipped with the latest heat recovery systems. Sacmi also installed all the handling systems upstream and downstream of the kiln, including LGVs (laser-guided vehicles) to transport all tiles from the glazing line to the new kiln. The automated storage system will enable the kiln’s full output capacity to be used.

The kiln loading-unloading process is also automated, with automatic racking machines used to deposit the pieces onto further LGVs that take them to the sorting and grinding lines configured to handle 16,000 sqm/day.

The two new lines, each equipped with 7 stackers, were designed by Sacmi to meet the production needs of ITA Ceramiche. Founded in 2006, the company produces technical and glazed porcelain tiles in traditional sizes ranging from the historic 320x320 mm to the more recent 170x620 mm, 220x900 mm, 200x1200 mm, 300x600 mm, 600x1200 mm, 450x450 mm, 200x400 mm and 200x200 mm. As of May 2021 it will begin producing new, larger tiles in a 900x900 mm size. ITA Ceramiche’s entire output is marketed in Italy and abroad under the I.Tiles brand.

According to of ITA Ceramiche’s chairman Andrea Spagni, this investment “will allow us to pursue a twofold objective: to further improve product quality while increasing the versatility and flexibility of the 6 press-glazing lines. This in turn will enable us to create new products catering for customers in high-end, high-added-value market segments.”

In this initial investment stage, production is expected to increase by 5,000 sqm per day, bringing overall capacity to 24,000 sqm. “In 2022 we will move on to phase two of the project,” adds Spagni. This will involve a complete renewal of the handling systems serving the other two kilns, with the older of the two being replaced altogether to take output to over 29,000 sqm/day.”