Ceramic tiles are popular as floor and wall coverings, particularly in the kitchen and bathroom, because they do not absorb liquid. They are also used in many other applications, from the outer shell of the space shuttle to beautiful tile mosaics. Ceramic tiles are known for being fire resistant, durable and hard wearing, and are available in a number of different shapes and sizes. Let’s take a look at the manufacturing process used to make the humble ceramic tile.
How are ceramic tiles made?
The first step to making ceramic tiles is to mine and then refine the raw materials used in the production. These can include sand, clay, talc, calcite, dolomite and feldspar. The raw materials are then added to a mixer in specific proportions. Water and ceramic pallets are also added to this and it is mixed to form a slurry. This slurry is then placed into a machine called an atomizer to dry the powder. This is then poured into the tile molds and it is pressed with a machine to create a solid, but still fragile, tile. This is then dried to remove most of the remaining moisture. The tiles then receive their glazing, color and/or design. The last stage of the process is firing the tiles in the kiln. This essentially “cooks” and removes all moisture from the tile. The tiles are then inspected and packed for shipping to the distributor.
Did you know?
Some tile manufacturers do not use an atomizer. Instead, they create a mixture with much less water and grind the mixture to create the fine texture necessary to make a tile.
The following is a video that shows tiles being made: