Casting the Mold: Production of Crush Molds
Q & A with Nolan Johnson – Fireclay Tile's Glass Factory Manager
What’s the overarching approach of the glass factory?
NJ - In the crush factory we are constantly striving towards being a leader in the sustainable tile industry. We use as much recycled material in our glass tile production as possible, in an effort to reduce the amount of waste going to our local landfills.
Fireclay's glass tile is made out of 100% recycled content. What about the molds they're made from? Are they recycled material as well?
NJ - The process begins when we receive recycled window and solar tubing glass from our local vendors. We “crush” that recycled glass into a fine, medium and large frit. The next step is making the tile molds. Our molds are made out of pulverized recycled clay tile and other recycled components mixed together and placed in a casting form. After being in the form for 12 hours, the molds go into the kiln for another 12 hours to cure.
Once the molds have cured, what’s next?
NJ - The molds are brought to the factory floor where they’re filled with glass frit. Color is added to the glass frit by mixing in a powdered pigment to get the desired color. Next up is selecting the size of tile to make. The glass and pigment mixture is then poured into the molds and lightly shaken to create a nice even distribution of material. Once the molds are filled with pigment and glass mixture, it’s time to start loading them on the belt kiln. Each mold runs through the belt kiln for about an hour at 1630 degrees fahrenheit. The tiles are then moved to a cooling rack for about 30 minutes. After cooling, the order is matted or sheeted and ready to ship.
For more information about Crush, download the .pdf of Fireclay's Crush 100% Recycled Glass Tile Brochure.