A novel machine for pressure casting teapots is set to be the
first of many successes for a research and development project led by Ceram, the
internationally renowned centre for materials testing, research and analysis,
based in Stoke-on-Trent, UK.
The innovative machine, which is soon to undergo extensive
production trials, has been developed as part of the FLEXIFORM Project. The project is funded by the European
Commission and involves nine partners from five countries. The objective of FLEXIFORM is to develop
and prove a new technology for pressure casting of ceramic tableware and
sanitaryware shapes requiring multi-part moulds.
The four part mould assembly was produced by engineering
company VJ Goodall Ltd from a novel mould material developed by another of the
project’s partners Portec AG. This
exciting new mould material has a high compressive strength and dimension
stability making it ideal for CNC machining directly from a CAD drawing.
Proving trials have been completed in Germany on a pressure
casting machine designed specially for the FLEXIFORM project by equipment
Commenting on its future development Graham Small, the
project manager at Ceram explained; “The machine will now undergo several months
of production trials at Dudson Limited in Stoke-on-Trent, and from there it will
be transferred to Sweden where a more complex coffee pot shape will be produced
by another project partner iitala.
Industrial trials to produce WC shapes using a mould of the same material
are scheduled to commence in a French sanitaryware factory later in