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Glass Tile Breaking Machine
Creating this machine for Interstyle Ceramic and Glass Ltd in Burnaby revolutionized the way they broke off their glass tiles and prepared them for kiln firing.
I like automation because it makes such a huge improvement in the workplace.
One of the best success stories for Milroy Engineering Ltd. (MEL) occurred in 2002, when Interstyle Ceramic and Glass Ltd. of Burnaby asked MEL if they could automate the breaking of scored glass blanks in preparation for kiln firing. Figure 1 shows samples of the beautiful glass tiles that Interstyle makes using this process.
Prior to the automation of the process, the small tile squares were broken out of large scored glass blanks using a manual breaking process. Twelve-inch square glass blanks were scored in a checkerboard pattern, and then broken into strips using industry-standard running pliers. Then the strips were broken into individual tiles in an arbor press as shown in Figure 3. Finally, the individual tiles were arranged on a ceramic tray for kiln firing.
MEL developed a Breaker machine (Figure 4) into which the scored glass strips are loaded at the top of a ramp. The machine advances the strips through a breaking mechanism that snaps off the individual tiles without chipping the edges, and deposits the tiles on a tray, neatly spaced and ready for the kiln. The machines proved to be a huge labor-saver for Interstyle. Combined with other automation developed by MEL, the factory has tripled its output without increasing staff. The automation was key to maintaining global competitiveness in the tile industry.
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