Large Format Tiles and Porcelain Slabs Handling and Cutting Tools
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DISCOVER ALL TILING TOOLS AND ACCESSORIES
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Brevetti Montolit Spa designs, manufactures and sells worldwide professional large format tiles tools for porcelain slabs cutting, handling, drilling and finishing.
Dealing with porcelain slabs means dealing with porcelain panels ranging from 120cm (47’’) to over 360cm (141’’) in size. This is the reason why it is necessary for tilers to use professional large format tiles handling and cutting tools that ensure the best performances, and safety as well as security.
These “giant” tiles have been available on international markets since 2008, and from that moment on, their production volumes have continuously increased. Some countries in particular have adopted porcelain slabs very quickly, and today large porcelain panels represent a very important percentage of their domestic market.
Nowadays, large-format tiles are well known as Gauged Porcelain Tile Panels (GPTP) and Gauged Porcelain Tiles (GPT). The difference is that Gauged Porcelain Tiles measure 1×1 meter or smaller; Gauged Porcelain Tile Panels measure more than 1×1 meter.
Montolit porcelain panels handling and cutting tools
Handling Gauged Porcelain Slabs follows the same technical principles as dealing with small-medium sized tiles, however specific porcelain slab cutting tools and handling procedures are required.
The tools used for large format porcelain slabs can be subdivided into 4 main categories, according to the processing phases:
- Cutting tools
- Handling tools
- Drilling tools
- Finishing tools
1. Large format porcelain tiles cutting tools
The cutting of giant tiles is based on the same incision and splitting method that is commonly used for standard-sized tiles so that the cut can be made with a manual tile cutter or with an electric tile saw and a diamond blade.
In the specific case of large sized tiles, these machines are designed to allow the installer to make cuts faster and with maximum accuracy. In order to make a precise cut and to avoid unwanted cracks, it is vital that the ceramic or porcelain panels are positioned on an extremely rigid, straight and stable surface.
The recommended products for cutting large format porcelain panels are:
- Modular work table, robust and easy to carry
- Flash Line manual modular tile cutter, with a patented system without suction cups
- Moto Flash Line, motorized version of the Flash Line manual tile cutter
- Specific diamond blades for thin and delicate large format tiles
2. Thin Porcelain tiles handling and laying tools
Moving thin porcelain tiles is one of the most delicate phases of the laying process due to their thicknesses. In fact, thin porcelain slabs have different thicknesses, ranging from 3mm (0.12’’) to 20mm (0.78’’) and their length can reach up to 360 cm (141’’) today. For this reason, thin large format porcelain tiles can bend or twist, and they are particularly fragile near the corners.
The porcelain tiles are usually transported horizontally, or in wooden A-frame cases. Once the products arrive at the installation site, a special forklift is needed to extract the box from the truck and place it in the work area.
In order to avoid breakage or damage during the handling phase, from the storage area to the work site, Brevetti Montolit spa has created a series of specific porcelain tile slabs handling tools and accessories such as:
- Plastic corner protectors for large format tiles with different heights.
- Manual adjustable handling systems equipped with professional large tile suction cups (Ø 20cm – 8”) with safety vacuum gauges to maintain the seal even in extreme situations (it will show any loss of adhesion with the tile instantaneously).
- Mechanical wheeled systems capable of easily handling slabs weighing up to 260 kg (570 lbs), and a maximum height of 2.5 m (98’’).
- Trolleys / Trolleys for moving large format porcelain tile slabs in the installation site
3. Thin slabs drilling tools
The drilling of thin slabs, especially for the very thin ones, is another delicate phase of a tiler’s work. Thin porcelain slabs need, more and more often, to be drilled in different points with round and/or square holes.
Often these holes are at close range in the case of faucets, shower stalls or cooking hobs.
To avoid any kind of inconvenience during the drilling phase, Montolit has developed a series of specific diamond core bits and milling bits for porcelain panels. These bits have reduced thickness and thanks to specific diamond grit sizes, and a particularly studied shape, they reduce vibrations to a minimum level.
The main product lines for the drilling of large format tiles are:
- Specific dry diamond core bits to drill holes on giant slabs
- Diamond drills to make medium to large holes in large format tiles, to be used on angle grinders
- Diamond core bits to make small holes on large format slabs, to be used on angle grinder, universal drill and cordless drill
Discover more about Montolit Tiles Drill Bits.
4. Finishing tools for large format porcelain panels
More and more often it is required by designers and architects to create specific couplings between large format slabs. For this reason, it is necessary that the sides of the tile undergo specific processes such as beveling or 45-degree cutting.
Performing these works manually by using a simple angle grinder is a long process with non-constant results due to the length of the plate.
Montolit has developed a specific tool able to provide you contact performances along the whole porcelain tile slab.
Discover more about Montolit Tiles Finishing Tools.
Tips about porcelain slabs cutting tools
How to avoid unexpected cracks on thin porcelain panels while using porcelain slabs cutting tools?
Training and care are the key factors to avoid unexpected cracks on thin or thick porcelain slabs. Large format porcelain tiles are not standard large tiles. Because of the size and of the thickness, the Gauged Porcelain Tiles need a specific care and a specific training to be properly installed.
Montolit porcelain slabs cutting tools are designed in order to be simple to use and to minimize the risk of cracking the porcelain panels. There are many key factors involved in the proper cutting and handling process.
A good, strong, stable and extremely flat surface is the first point to take in consideration to avoid issues. Second, it is important to avoid handling the porcelain slabs manually and to use professional porcelain slabs handling tools equipped with high quality tile suction cups.
Suction cups for slabs need to have a good vacuum capability along with a good quality rubber. If the Porcelain tile suction cup is made of poor-quality rubber, the rubber will leave marks on the porcelain panel surface. To remove such kind of marks will be complex and expensive and not always possible. So, when it is time to buy a manual lifting tool, we recommend to focus your attention on the quality of the structure and of the rubber itself.
Is it better to cut the porcelain panels manually on the job site or to send them to a specialized workshop equipped with a big CNC?
It depends. If your goal is to create a perfect countertop with a lot of exposed cuts, CNC is the best solution. However, the CNC process is very expensive and time consuming because the porcelain panel needs to be sent to the marble and granite workshop. Manual tools used directly on the job site are the perfect solution when you are installing GPTs without the need to obtain too complex shapes inside the pcs, like for example complex holes, etc. Nowadays large cutting tools are becoming more and more functional and tilers are able to do most of the thin or thick porcelain tiles installations directly on the job site.
The world of large format tiles and porcelain slabs cutting tools is quickly evolving and we expect to upgrade our tools according to the characteristics of new porcelain slabs that ceramics factories are launching on the market.
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