Title:
Laminated tile and method of manufacturing a laminated tile
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A method and equipment for forming a laminated tile includes a multi-stage process line adapted to combine a tile base and a tile surface. The tile forming equipment includes a production line with a number of operation stations where the tile base is formed in a mould (4) and compacted. Adhesive or mortar is applied to a mating surface of the tile base. A tile cap has its mating face wetted and/or supplied with a second adhesive and is then applied to the mating surface of the base and pressed to form a sound contact with the adhesive.



Inventors:
Newitt, Michael James (Queensland, AU)
Kerfoot, Ross (Queensland, AU)
Leach, Phil (Queensland, AU)
Application Number:
12/158154
Publication Date:
02/26/2009
Filing Date:
12/13/2006
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
52/389, 414/222.13
International Classes:
E04F13/08; B65H5/00
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:
20060196137Tissue anchor apparatusSeptember, 2006Brenzel et al.
20050284086Foundation structureDecember, 2005Pidgeon
20060168900Fireplace wings tile setting aidAugust, 2006Scarpine
20100000171SHEET METAL CLADDING PANELJanuary, 2010Lysenko
20070113491Anchor systemMay, 2007Royals
20050138865Eave lining systemJune, 2005Gleeson et al.
20040250492Device for assembling panel edgesDecember, 2004Becker
20060130418Shaped beam suspended ceilingJune, 2006Juten
20030056444Window flashingMarch, 2003Dale Jr.
20040163330Gutter attached by adhesive above a window or doorAugust, 2004Crum
20040255529Container with windowsDecember, 2004Pielmeier



Primary Examiner:
MUSSER, BARBARA J
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
W&C IP (RESTON, VA, US)
Claims:
1. A method of forming a laminated tile, including the steps of: providing a tile base of a first material having a first interface surface adapted to receive a tile cap; providing a tile cap having a second interface surface and adapted to fit the tile base; applying a first adhesive layer at least one of the first and second interface surfaces; joining the cap and the base by pressing the first and second interface surfaces together with the adhesive therebetween.

2. A method as claimed in claim 1, wherein the base includes concrete.

3. A method as claimed in claim 1, wherein the base is pre-formed.

4. A method as claimed in claim 1, wherein the tile cap is preformed.

5. A method as claimed in claim 1, including the step of forming the tile cap in situ.

6. A method as claimed in claim 1, including the step of applying the first adhesive to the first interface surface and applying a second adhesive to the second interface surface.

7. A method as claimed in claim 1, wherein the first adhesive is mortar.

8. A method as claimed in claim 6 as appended to claim 6, wherein the second adhesive is resinous adhesive.

9. A method as claimed in claim 8, wherein the second adhesive is PVA.

10. A method of forming a laminated tile, including the steps of: inserting a measured quantity of wetted concrete tile base mixture into a tile mold; distributing the mix within the mold; compressing the mix; applying an adhesive; applying a tile cap.

11. A method as claimed in claim 10 including the step of compressing and de-watering the concrete mix.

12. A method as claimed in claim 10 including the step of distributing the concrete mix by vibration.

13. A method as claimed in claim 12, wherein the vibration is not done during tile cap application.

14. A method as claimed in claim 1, including forming the tile base and the tile cap as continuous extrusions and bonding them together.

15. A method as claimed in claim 12, wherein a keying surface is applied to the mating surface of one or both the tile cap extrudate and the tile base before pressing them together.

16. A multi-station tile manufacturing equipment adapted to manufacture laminated tiles using one or more tile molds, the equipment, the stations including: a mold filling station at which a wetted concrete tile base mix is inserted into a mould; a distribution station; a compression station to compress the mix in the mold; a first adhesive application station adapted to apply a first adhesive layer to a mating surface of the concrete base mix; and a tile cap application station adapted to apply a tile cap to the first adhesive layer.

17. Equipment as claimed in claim 16, including a second adhesive application station adapted to apply a second adhesive layer to a mating surface of the tile cap.

18. Equipment as claimed in claim 16, wherein the first adhesive is mortar.

19. Equipment as claimed in claim 16, wherein the second adhesive is resinous adhesive

20. Equipment as claimed in claim 16, wherein the second adhesive is PVA.

21. Equipment as claimed in claim 16, including a robot arm with a gripper capable of picking up the vibrating head as well as a tile cap independently,

22. Equipment as claimed in claim 20, wherein the gripper includes a vacuum pad to pick up a tile cap for placement on the substrate.

23. Equipment as claimed in claim 16, including one or more molds adapted to receive a predetermined quantity of concrete tile base mix.

24. A composite tile including a base layer of a first material and a top layer of a second material.

25. A composite tile as claimed in claim 24, wherein the first material includes concrete, and the second material includes clay.

26. A composite tile as claimed in claim 24, wherein the first material includes concrete and the second material includes a ceramic material.

26. A composite tile made by the method of claim 1.



27. (canceled)

28. (canceled)

29. (canceled)

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

This invention relates to a laminated tile and a method of manufacturing such a tile.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Tiles are commonly manufactured monolithically of a single material. Glazes and coatings are sometimes applied to one or more faces of the tiles.

There is a demand for natural look tiles which are made of clays. However, the supply of some clays is limited.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

This invention proposes a laminated tile in which an upper layer of the tile is made of a first material or materials and the remainder is made of a different material or materials.

The invention also provides a method of forming a laminated tile, including the steps of:

  • forming a tile cap;
  • forming a tile base;
  • applying a binding or adhesive layer to at least one of the mating faces of the base or the cap;
  • bringing the mating faces of the base and the cap together.

Adhesive can be applied to both the mating surface of the tile cap and the base.

Different adhesives or adhesive components can be used for the cap and the base.

The first adhesive can be mortar.

A second adhesive can be a resinous adhesive.

The second adhesive can be PVA.

The base can include concrete.

The cap can include clay.

The cap can include ceramic material.

According to a further embodiment of the invention, the method can include the steps of:

  • inserting a measured quantity of wetted tile base mixture into a tile mold;
  • distributing the mix within the mold;
  • compressing the mix;
  • applying an adhesive;
  • applying a tile cap.

The method can include the step of compressing and de-watering the concrete mix.

The method can include the step of distributing the concrete mix by vibration.

Preferably, the vibration is not done during tile cap application.

The invention also provides laminated tile manufacturing equipment including:

  • one or more tile molds adapted to receive a predetermined quantity of concrete tile base mix;
  • a plurality of manufacturing operation stations;
  • the stations including:
  • a mold filling station at which a wetted concrete tile base mix is inserted into a mould;
  • a distribution station;
  • a compression station to compress the mix in the mold;
  • a first adhesive application station adapted to apply a first adhesive layer to a mating surface of the concrete base mix; and
  • a tile cap application station adapted to apply a tile cap to the first adhesive layer.

The equipment can include a second adhesive application station adapted to apply a second adhesive layer to a mating surface of the tile cap.

The equipment can include a robot arm with a gripper capable of picking up the vibrating head as well as a tile cap independently.

The gripper can include a vacuum pad to pick up a tile cap for placement on the substrate.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

An embodiment or embodiments of the present invention will now be described, by way of example only, with reference to the accompanying drawings, in which:

FIG. 1 is a schematic view of a multi-station carousel implementing a process embodying the invention from a first perspective;

FIG. 2 is a schematic view of the carousel of FIG. 1 from a second perspective;

FIG. 3 is a schematic view of a mold filling station;

FIG. 4 is a schematic view of an agitation station;

FIG. 5 is a schematic view of a pressing station;

FIG. 6 is a schematic view of a mortar application station;

FIG. 7 illustrates aspects of the tile delivery and attachment process; and

FIG. 8 illustrates an unloading press.

FIG. 9 illustrates a laminated tile 1200 made according to an embodiment of the invention.

FIG. 10 shows a first embodiment of the pressed concrete base.

FIG. 11 shows a second embodiment of the pressed concrete base.

FIG. 12 is a schematic representation of a method of forming a continuous tile/base composite.

FIG. 13 illustrates a production line adapted to use pre-formed base and cap layers.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE EMBODIMENT OR EMBODIMENTS

FIGS. 1 & 2 illustrate different views of an embodiment of tile manufacturing equipment. The ingredients for making a concrete tile base, such as cement, sand, aggregate and additives, are stored in bins and hoppers (not shown). The various ingredients of the concrete are measured into the required proportions, for example, by weight or by quantity, using the appropriate weighing or measuring equipment (not shown) and conveyed to mixer 2. The mixer 2 mixes and blends the ingredients and water is added at this stage.

The mixer provides a preset measured amount of concrete mix equivalent to one concrete tile base to a delivery system such as a screw feed 5, which transports the mix to a mold 4 on a carousel table 3 which carries molds 4 through a sequence of stations where the stages of the manufacturing process are performed. The operation of the carousel table 3 can be synchronized to the slowest operation in the process.

The molds are preferably steel plates with a cavity of the shape of the tile. To facilitate the removal of the assembled paver from the cavity, the cavity can be a through-hole. Usually the cavity will be square, but other shapes are within the scope of the invention.

The various elements of FIGS. 1 and 2 include:

  • 2 tile base mixer
  • 3 carousel
  • 4 tile mold
  • 5 screw feeder
  • 6 agitator station
  • 7 press station
  • 8 mortar application station
  • 281 mortar hopper
  • 282 mortar feeder
  • 283 mortar spray
  • 284 mortar spillage shield
  • 9 cap delivery station
  • 291 robot arm
  • 292 tile caps
  • 293 glue spray
  • 294 gripping head
  • 10 unloading station

FIG. 3 illustrates details of a mould filling station. The mixer 2 delivers a measured quantity of concrete mix to the mould charging device which can be a screw conveyor or chute 5 which feeds the mix into the mold 4. The mold 4 is mounted on the carousel table 3.

When the concrete base mix has been delivered to the tile cavity in mold 4 and the compaction process has been completed, and all other stages have been completed on the other molds on the carousel, the carousel 3 indexes to the next stage which is agitator station 6. At agitator station 6, the concrete mix in the mould 4 is shaken and vibrated to spread the mix evenly and condense the mix within the cavity of the mould.

Details of the agitation station 6 are shown in FIG. 4. The mold 4 is mounted on an agitation platen which is adapted to agitate the mix in at least one direction. Preferably the agitation station produces agitation in 2 or 3 dimensions. This assists in distributing the mix in the mold cavity.

At the succeeding press station 7, FIG. 5, the concrete mix is pressed to further compress the mix and to form it into a stiff but uncured solid base. The press station 7 includes means for removing excess water. In one embodiment, the water can be removed using a vacuum. The use of a vacuum enables control of the surface moisture of the interface to optimise the wetting of the dry adhesive. This can be done by controlling the vacuum level during the pressing phase.

FIG. 5 illustrates details of the pressing station. An hydraulic press has a plate 52 adapted to fit closely within the mold cavity to compress the concrete mix. Water which is squeezed from the mix is collected in a gutter 517.

Optionally, the press can impress a keying pattern on the upper surface of the compressed concrete base, such as those shown in FIG. 10 or 11.

FIG. 10 illustrates an embodiment of a concrete tile base 1002 after the pressing operation. An array of indentations 1004 are formed in the upper surface of the concrete base. The mortar powder is applied to cover the rims of the indentations. Mortar powder will also fall into the indentations. Preferably the peripheral rims of the concrete base do not have mortar applied to them so that the mortar will not be forced out from between the concrete base and the tile cap when the tile cap is applied. The indentations permit the mortar to be displaced during the tile capping process described below with reference to FIG. 7.

An alternative tile base 1102 is shown in FIG. 11. In this base, the indentations are replaced by raised grid 1104 which functions in a similar manner to the rims of the indentations 1004 of FIG. 10. The walls of the grid 1104 can be of the order of 1 mm wide. The mortar powder applicator is designed so that little or no mortar powder is deposited on the peripheral area 1106. This reduces the possibility of the mortar being squeezed out from between the concrete base and the tile cap.

When the pressing operation is complete, the carousel indexes to the next station 8, which is a mortar application station. Mortar is fed from a hopper 281 containing a pre-blended mix of dry polymer mortar via a feeder 282 which lays an even depth of mortar on the wet uncured concrete paver base. The feeder 282 can be a traversing vibrating feeder. The deposited layer of mortar is wetted by a spray 283. A shield 284 is provided to reduce spillage from the mortar application station.

FIG. 6 illustrates a mortar application station. A hopper 662 is mounted on a transport system shown illustratively as rails 663 and wheels 665. A vibrating feeder 668 receives mortar from the hopper 662 and delivers it evenly on top of the compressed concrete mix in the mold cavity of mold 604 mounted on conveyor 603. A surface spray 668 prepares the mortar for use in attaching a tile cap to the concrete tile base. A shield 666 can be provided to reduce spillage.

On completion of the mortar application process, the carousel 3 indexes to a tile delivery station 9. The delivery station includes a robot arm 291 adapted to transfer a tile cap from a stack of tile caps 292 and apply it to the pre-mortared concrete tile base after an adhesive, for example, a PVA solution, has been applied to its underside by spray 293 to aid adhesion between the tile cap and the mortar. The robot arm has a head 294 which is adapted to grip each tile cap and lift it from the stack 292, transport it via the PVA wetting station 293 and embed the tile cap on the layer of mortar on the concrete paver base. The assembled tile is then delivered to the tile unloading station 10, where it can be placed on a conveyor for delivery to further processing such as drying.

Details of the tile cap delivery process are illustrated in FIG. 7. A supply of tile caps 742 is provided by conveyor 744. At Stage A, the robot arm 709 removes individual tile caps from the stack and, at Stage B, conveys them through the PVA solution spray 793 and thence, at Stage C, to the mold where the robot arm presses the tile cap into the mortar on the concrete base.

The robot arm has a gripper capable of picking up the vibrating head as well as a tile independently, combined with a vacuum pad underneath the vibrating head to pick up a tile for placement on the substrate.

At tile capping station 772, the vibrating head settles the tile cap into the mortar to ensure sound contact between the tile cap and the mortar. A lateral vibration combined with a compressive force serve to form a sound contact. While the vibrating head settles a tile on to the base during a carousel-stationary period, the robot/gripper takes a dry tile and places it over the sprays or dips it in a water tub and leaves it there. When vibrating has finished it collects the vibrating head and uses it to pick up the tile with the now-wet underside, placing both on top of the mortar layer in the current mold.

After the tile cap has been applied to the concrete base, the carousel indexes to the unloading station 10, where the tile is pressed from the underside of the mould plate onto a tray on a conveyor to transport the paver for further processing. The paver can be transferred to a drying/curing rack (not shown) which can be transported to a drying/curing area by suitable means such as a conveyor or forklift.

FIG. 8 illustrates details of the unloading press. An hydraulic press 810 pushes the paver out of the mold 804 onto a conveyor platen or tray 880 so that it is available for further processing.

While the process has been described in relation to a carousel table, the process could also be implemented using a sequential line to implement the process steps. For example, a shuttle press can be used to implement the invention.

FIG. 9 illustrates a tile 900 made in accordance with an embodiment of the invention. The tile cap 902 is affixed to the concrete base 904 along the plane of the join 906. The thickness 908 of the concrete base 904 can be greater than the thickness 910 of the tile cap 902.

The tile 900 includes an upper layer 902, and a lower layer 904. The layers 902 and layer 904 interface along the planes of line 906. The interface can be a suitable adhesive or mortar.

The lower layer has a first thickness 908, and the upper layer has a second thickness 910, which may be the same as or different from the thickness 908. Preferably the thickness of the upper layer is less than the thickness of the lower layer.

In FIG. 12, the upper tile layer is extruded through first extrusion head 1202, and the base is extruded through second extrusion head 1204. The upper extrudate 1206 and the base extrudate 1208 are pressed together by a first pair of rollers 1222, 1224. An adhesive and/or mortar can be applied to the mating faces of the upper and base layers from adhesive vessel 1262 before they are pressed together.

Optionally a second pair of rollers 1210, 1212 can be used to apply a keying surface to the mating surface of the upper extrudate. Similarly a third pair of rollers 1214, 1216 can apply a keying surface or roughening to the mating surface of the base extrudate before they are pressed together by the first pair of rollers. The rollers 1214, 1216 can also act as a de-watering press.

A surface texturing roller 1226 can be used to apply a pattern or texture 1228 to the surface of the tile. This roller 1226 can be used in place of roller 1222.

A flying cutter, such as described in Australian patent application AU2004906979 can be used to dissect the combined extrudate into individual tiles for downstream drying and processing in a manner similar to that disclosed in the above referenced Australian patent application.

FIG. 13 shows a production line adapted for assembling pre-made bases and caps to make a composite paver.

A supply of pre-made paver bases 1340 and a supply of pre-made caps 1342 are fed to an assembly station via conveyors 1354, 1344 respectively. Robot arm 1343 having a gripping or vacuum head 1308 can be used to transfer the bases and caps to their conveyors. Alternatively, a dedicated machine can be used to place the caps and bases on their respective conveyors. Alternatively, the caps and bases can be loaded manually.

The base passes through adhesive station where a predetermined amount of mortar or glue is applied to the mating face of the base from adhesive vessel 1362 and spread evenly by vibration, raking or other suitable spreading means. The adhesive station can include a squaring and locating device 1353 to align the base for processing.

At wetting station 1348, the cap is placed on an array of pegs to enable the underside to be wetted by a spray from underneath. The wetting agent can be water or a mixture of water and PVA, or other suitable wetting agent. A collecting trough is provided to collect the excess wetting agent. Instead of a spray, the cap interface surface can be wetted by dipping into a bath of wetting agent. Precise alignment means, such as squaring and location device 1351 accurately aligns the cap for precision placement on the tile base at combining station 1350 after the base has also been accurately aligned by locating/squaring device 1352. The robot arm can provide the required amount of pressure and vibration to ensure proper adhesion. The robot arm 1309 then places the assembled tile on the unloading conveyor 1356 or transferred for drying, curing, packaging, etc. Again, the transfer of the assembled tile to the unloading conveyor can be done manually or by a dedicated machine.

The Component Table below lists elements of the embodiments of the invention.

TABLE 1
DRAWING CONCORDANCE
FIGURES
1/2345678910111213ITEM
2302tile base mixer
3303403503603carousel
4304404504604704804tile mold
5305screw feeder
6agitator station
7press station
517gutter
8mortar application station
281mortar hopper
282mortar feeder
283mortar spray
284mortar spillage shield
9cap delivery station
291robot arm
292tile caps
293793glue spray
294gripping head
10unloading station
11
662mortar hopper
663hopper rails
664surface spray
665hopper wheels
666shield
668vibrating feeder
742tile cap supply
772tile capping station
810hydraulic press
880unloading platen
900assembled tile
902cap
904base
906cap/base interface
908base thickness
910cap thickness
1000pitted tile base
1002toile base
1004pits
1100profiled tile base
1102tile base
1104raised profile
1106tile interface surface
1202cap extrusion head
1204base extrusion head
1206upper extradate
1208base extrudate
1210support roller
1212keying roller
1214keying roller
1216support roller
1218feed roller
1220feed roller
1222joining roller
1224joining roller
1226pattern roller
1228surface pattern
1262adhesive application
station
1309robot grip head
1340base supply
1342cap supply
1344cap conveyor
1346cap
1348cap wetting station
1350cap/base combining
station
1351/2/3locating/squaring register
device
1354base conveyor
1356unloading conveyor
1362mortar vessel

Where ever it is used, the word “comprising” is to be understood in its “open” sense, that is, in the sense of “including”, and thus not limited to its “closed” sense, that is the sense of “consisting only of”. A corresponding meaning is to be attributed to the corresponding words “comprise”, “comprised” and “comprises” where they appear.

It will be understood that the invention disclosed and defined herein extends to all alternative combinations of two or more of the individual features mentioned or evident from the text. All of these different combinations constitute various alternative aspects of the invention.

While particular embodiments of this invention have been described, it will be evident to those skilled in the art that the present invention may be embodied in other specific forms without departing from the essential characteristics thereof. The invention covers various combinations of the features and functions of the different embodiments which would be apparent to a person skilled in the art. The present embodiments and examples are therefore to be considered in all respects as illustrative and not restrictive, and all modifications which would be obvious to those skilled in the art are therefore intended to be embraced therein.