Marc McPherson, our head of natural stone here at BuildDirect had so many adventures in Turkey that I’m here to help to tell the story – and with movin’ pictures! So, we’re going to take a look at some footage of how your tile is made, taken live by Marc at our factory.
Here’s Marc’s explanation of each stage in travertine tile manufacturing.
The Splitting Machine
The ‘splitting machine’ literally splits the stone into specified thicknesses. The raw materials come from the quarries in rough cut tile sizes in 3cm thickness.
This machine splits them in half to create 2 tiles from the one 3cm piece. This is basically the starting point in production from the factory’s stand point.
The Honing Machine
This is the honing machine. The filled tile is put on the line and goes through here. You can see along the top there are a number of motors. Take a look:
Each one of these has an attachment within the machine that has finer and finer grit abrasives attached to it. as it passes over each, the surface becomes smoother and smoother. for polished material it is run through the machine again with even finer and finer grit abrasives.
The Fill Machine
The tile is put through the machine at one end. Then there are 5 vats full of cement. It is a mixture of cement and cut tile dust for color. it passes under each of the 5 vats to ensure all surface holes are completely filled. Watch the video:
And this is the second half of the fill process. This is the same machine but placement of machines didn’t allow me to do it all at once. Take a look.
These are the last two vats. At the end you see that a worker removes the excess cement with his hand from the surface and with a chisel type instrument almost like a putty knife to remove from edges.
Cutting Travertine Tile To Size
After all the other stuff has happened, this machine cuts the travertine tile to size. A guy on one end feeds it through to cut it square. On the other side, it goes into another machine to cut to size. Take a look:
Notice the 2 blades for accurate dimensions. He then takes and crates it to be taken to finishing line, where they run the honed, filled and cut tiles through this machine.
At the beginning of the finishing process, a water nozzle and brushes to loosen dirt. They then go in the tunnel for more washing. Once they come out, they are vacuumed of excess water. The guy at the end then does the selection process for coloration and quality. They do this job in 2 hour stints to help avoid the eyes getting tired. At the end you will see the pallets being filled with like tiles as the selections are set aside.
Some travertine products are shrink wrapped before they’re shipped. Here’s how they do it:
For some products which are known as ‘tumbled travertine’, a tumbling machine is used. Basically they put the raw cut tiles into this vat with a load of other stones in it. They turn it on and it vibrates like crazy, basically softening all the edges as they are bouncing off the other stones. Take a look:
When the tumbling process is done, the effect on the stone is that slightly aged look that a lot of people really like.
And there you have it – a brief tour of the travertine tile factory with a look-in to how your tile is made.