Capaccioli then and now

Clay Technology magazine
26 Oct 2018

Fjorela Spaho profiles Capaccioli, Italy, a supplier of machinery and complete plants for the heavy clay industry.

Set up in the 1950s as a small family business, Capaccioli has become an international company, expanding into worldwide markets.

Since the beginning, the mission of the company has been to design, develop and create technological, innovative and customised solutions for the brick and tile manufacturing industry. This has focused on the continuous improvement of quality, safety, energy efficiency and environmentally friendly production.

Thanks to experienced technical staff, the company is able to produce turnkey plants for the manufacture of ceramic and hollow bricks, thermal blocks, roof and terracotta tiles and other ceramic products.

Recently, the company extended its reach, supplying machinery and complete plants to intenational locations including Turkey, Libya and North Africa. It posed quite a challenge as Capaccioli designs, manufactures, and tests before delivering its equipment, in-house.

Historically, the core business of the company has been the design and manufacture of automation technologies for the brick industry. In this context, Capaccioli has grown along with the technical capabilities, so today is able to create custom, technical solutions for advance automation in the brick industry.

The full range of Capaccioli manufacturing equipment includes clay preparation, extrusion and cutting lines, dryers, kilns, burners, automation and materials-handling solutions, as well as in modern numeric control machine tools, and test and laboratory units.

Drying fast

In 2016 Capaccioli improved the standard drying process with its new dryer for clay products, Condor, which reduces the drying cycle while maintaining clay quality. A great success for the company, Condor recently obtained the grant of Industrial Invention Patent.

The Condor has a range of one-to-four dryer tunnels with variable lengths up to 4m, with automatic return line and handling, as well as transmission system. Its consumption stands at 8-10kwh/tonne, which can facilitate electricity savings of 20% and a carbon saving of 15%. It can process 300-1,200 tonnes of product per day, and is suitable for products with holes of more than 30%. Therefore, the dryer can help make products lighter, for numurous advantages.

The maximum density that the dryer can process is 1,000 tonnes/moisture content, with a drying time of 45 minutes to three hours. The company says that the machine is a simple construction, and enables robotic unloading in a concentrated area. It also allows for a flexible shift pattern of eight or 24 hours, depending on the user.

In 2016, the company successfully completed the construction of three Condor dryers in Turkey, each capable of 750 tonnes per day of hollow blocks and load-bearing blocks. More Condor units are under construction in other countries.

The complete new design, with original technical solutions, has produced favourable results – ultra-fast drying cycle, high product quality and low heat consumption.

New endeavours

In the 1990s, Capaccioli studied soft-mud technology, an old method of forming bricks by adding water to the clay and then pressing the mud into a mould box. Shaped bricks are easily removed by adding sand or water into the mould before the brick forming. The soft-mud process produces either a sand- or water-struck finish in a non-uniform texture, which gives the brick a handmade or antique appearance.   

After several years of research, Capaccioli developed its own patented technology called EASYMUD, which is characterised by high and fully automated production of simulated hand-moulded bricks.

EASYMUD technology is an automatic system that can be used to produce floor pavers, face covering bricks, tiles and special pieces in soft mud with the handmade characteristic, using several surface finishing, such as sand and hand smooth treatment. This technology includes a completely automatic cycle for piece forming, mould treatment and material loading and unloading.

The specific technical features of EASYMUD plants are:

Production/hour – 4,000 pieces

Production/hour – 8,000 pieces

Production/hour – 12,000 pieces and multiples

Floor pavers and special pieces

Closed mould and use of sand

Open mould with no sand

Closed mould

The advantages of the automatic EASYMUD are fast product switch without production halt, automatic moulding and de-moulding, low investment cost, and capacity of up to 30 million pieces per year.

Recently, in collaboration with the University of Pavia, Italy, and Associazione nazionale degli industriali dei laterizi – the Association of the Italian brick producers –the company contributed to the INSYSME project – a new constructive solution in the field of anti-seismic materials, which could have a major impact on the construction industry. The project aims to develop systems for masonry enclosures to be used for façades, envelopes and internal partitions. The enclosures can play a structural role in the seismic behaviour of buildings. The company helped validate prototypes to measure the technical feasibility of the project.

Fjorela Spaho is the sales and marketing assistant for Capaccioli.