Mixing, grinding, and homogenizing raw materials with water, then drying to form the ideal product base
Body preparation is a fundamental phase where our raw materials are prepared to form the tile body, the essential structure of the tile. Much like creating a specific batter for varying types of cakes, every tile collection relies on a distinct, accurately measured mixture of raw materials to attain the desired properties and aesthetics.
Initially, the chosen materials are crushed and milled to a finely textured powder. Subsequently, water is incorporated to produce a “slip,” a semi-liquid mixture, which is carefully stored underground to maintain its properties until it’s required for the next step in the process.
The slip is then introduced to the spray dryer, a crucial apparatus in transforming the material into a form suitable for shaping. Notably, Portobello America operates the largest spray dryer in America, and second largest in world, reflecting our capacity for substantial production scale. Within the spray dryer, the slip is heated, and its water content is meticulously reduced to approximately 6.5%, transforming it into a powdery mixture known as “body slip.” This material, now primed for shaping, becomes the standard base for any format, ensuring consistency across all tiles produced in the subsequent phases.