Alternating Satellite and Fickert heads: the right combination to obtain the best quality in polishing Lappato

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Today in ceramic the number of Fickert heads is predominant and represents almost all the heads that equip the end-of-line machines, even if our new satellite heads are used more and more.


At PREMIER, we compared the trajectory of the Fickert tools and the satellites on the tiles. To do this, we placed a satellite head and a Fickert in motion and pressed them against a ceramic slab until they left their mark.

We got the very interesting result you see in the photos below.

Foto A: impronta di una testa Fickert

Foto B: impronta di una testa Satellite

The mark left by the Fickert head (photo A) and consequently the trajectory described by the tools is made up of concentric circles, while the satellite head leaves curved marks, positioned radially from the center of rotation of the head.


We therefore had the idea to mount  Fickert heads and Satellite heads alternatively on a lapping line and the result was excellent as any machining marks left by Fickert heads, instead of being highlighted due to the passage of the tools of the subsequent heads, are canceled by the passage of satellites that describe a completely different trajectory and perpendicular to the concentric circles described by the Fickerts.


Furthermore, this alternation of sign has a benefic effect on the behavior of the tool because it helps to keep it always revived and with the cut always clean and open, this is especially noticeable in the Fockert that, working in a low speed system, have the tendency to “Close” reducing its cutting capacity.

Foto C: disegno delle traiettorie descritte dagli utensili Fickert (verde) e satellite (arancio)

In the drawing above the result of the intersection of the trajectories of the Fickert and Satellite tools is well represented and we clearly see that the intersection between the two trajectories is perpendicular, so, any grooves, are smoothed by the passage of the following head’s tools.


We then applied this intuition at our LAB and verified that the result obtained is really excellent, as confirmed by Miguel Gimenez, director of the LAB: “The quality of the gloss obtained by alternating Fickert and satellite heads is superior to the best possible obtainable with a traditional line that uses only Fickert heads. Today, after many days of work, the quality is constant and superior. Furthermore, with this solution the problem of the progress mark is eliminated, that web of micro-signs that treacherously appears only in certain conditions of reflected light and that suggests the trajectory of tool processing on the tile, a defect so disliked from who laps. The alternation of Fickert and Satellites heads also allows us to obtain a higher productivity of the line “.

Miguel Gimenez

In conclusion, by comparing the footprints of the Fickert and Satellite tools, we realized that, by alternating Fickert and Satellites heads on the finishing line, any machining marks are eliminated, as the trajectories described by the tools are perpendicular between each other.

This guarantees a better surface finish and, therefore, a higher gloss, a better wear of the Fickert tools and finally allows us to obtain a higher productivity.

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