Emerson’s Coriolis flowmeter aids colored ceramics blending

Austin, TX—Emerson Process Management is using its Micro Motion Coriolis technology to help Euroelettra Sistemi SpA design and implement a skid-mounted blending system for ceramic slip and coloring materials.


Austin, TX— Emerson Process Management is using its Micro Motion Coriolis technology to help Euroelettra Sistemi SpA design and implement a skid-mounted blending system for ceramic slip and coloring materials. Euroelettra is an Italy-based leader in automating ceramics production.

Euroelettra reports that its customers have experienced up to 30% production quality improvements by using the new skid systems, which enable actual blending of batches of ceramic raw materials to take place immediately at the time of use. This is more efficient than the traditional approach of mixing and maintaining mass quantities for use over extended periods.

The measurement accuracy of the Micro Motion Coriolis flowmeters reportedly allows Euroelettra to consistently monitor and control density and flow rate of components being blended. Euroeletta adds this new technique is likely to revolutionize the production of colored ceramics, which previously had been based on craft rather than science, especially when implemented by firms that had been using the traditional approach.

In one of the first production installations, at a manufacturer of floor and wall tiles, the flowmeter-aided benefits included:

  • Savings in production space required, since mixing tanks are not required when the blending is done, and now are only needed

  • Electricity and water consumption is reduced due to elimination of the requirement for continuous agitation, as well as

  • Production repeatability and consistency have reached an unheard of

Conventional production of colored ceramics involved preparation and blending of the base suspension or slip, and the color, in quantities of tens of tons at a time. Repeated color analysis and color addition ensured that once the color had reached the desired level, enough material was available for a reasonable production quantity to be modeled and fired, achieving a consistent result.

Traditionally,material that was deposited on the tank walls and associated pipework. High quality products required dedicated tanks to avoid impurity carry-over from previous batches.

Euroelettra adds itMotion T-Series flowmeter, which provides both mass flow and density measurements. This introduced the possibility of blending the color and the slip in exact mass proportions, achieving consistent color hue, even though the actual blended volume is small.

The diagnostics available in the Multi-Variable Digital (MVD) core processor of the flowmeter, accessible via a Modbus connection, enables the blending system to identify any build-up of material in the straight measuring tube of the Micro Motion Coriolis flowmeter. This ability to signal when cleaning is required has increased equipment availability by around 50%, and improves efficiency. Cleaning is relatively straightforward, when needed, because of the straight tube design of the flowmeter. The resulting homogeneity of the material supplied has led to a reduction of typical production rejects by over 90% compared to previous skid blending system trials.

Future benefits will follow. Traceability of the process parameters used to achieve each blend enables further production batches to be scheduled as needed, with good color consistency between batches– which both improves productivity and increases customer satisfaction. Several manual production operations have been eliminated, releasing the people for other work. The production efficiency has been increased by 50%, impacting the whole company, enabling an overall increase of 10% in efficiency.

Control Engineering Daily News Desk
Jim Montague, news editor

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