LIFE of water is man life - Minimize the water footprint of the impactful H2O waste in the cutting cycle of natural stone blocks
The main objective of the ‘LIFE of water is man life’ project is to drastically reduce water consumption during the cutting of natural stone, and in particular during the cutting process of pietra serena (a type of sandstone). The project will demonstrate a new cutting tool, equipped with small micronising nozzles that inject the pressurised water exactly into the contact area between the blade teeth and the sandstone. Two positive effects are expected: the required cooling of the metallic blade and the removal of the abraded powders in a form of dense slurry.
Due to the blade’s higher resistance to wear, the pietra serena abraded particles will be smaller in size, which will make them easier to recycle in other manufacturing processes related to the pietra serena sandstone, such as in the formulation of sealants and adhesives for pietra serena installation. Thus, the new process aims to save water and to produce recyclable powders, as well as improving working conditions by reducing the amount of sprayed water and avoiding the creation of local micro-climates due to the high moisture content.
Expected results: The main expected result of the project is to demonstrate the feasibility of extracting large blocks of stone and marble with a technique that drastically reduces the use of water. This will be achieved through the operation of a pilot plant that will serve as a basis for the subsequent transformation of all the company’s cutting equipment, and as an example for other companies that want to replicate the system. The project will result in the reduction of water consumption by about 550 litres per cut block (the company processes 2 000 blocks/year) and of water usage from the current average of 20 000 litres to less than 4 000 litres. Moreover, the use of reduced section blades with a width of 8 mm will improve the efficiency of the use of raw materials (37 cuts per block rather than 35) and reduce the generation of waste (0.55 m3 compared to the current 0.68 m3 per block). The new process will also allow for the recovery of waste (powders) which is suitable for use in sealants, adhesives, inert decorating material, ceramic tiles and sintering additives. The estimated reuse of abraded powders after compression is 100%.
Contact person: Stefano Cangioli