The importance of the granite sector in the Galician economy is fundamental. The Galician granite industry is the 2nd largest in Europe (after Italy) and the 5th in the world, ahead of powers such as Belgium, Portugal and Germany.
Within this context, the DIAMANTE Project means an opportunity for Galicia to improve the competitive situation of the natural stone production sector following years of relocation to countries with lower labour costs. This is thanks to an innovative control system developed for granite block multiwire cutting machines. Specifically, DIAMANTE is pursuing the development of a solution that will be able to analyse the situation regarding the cutting process via the implementation of state-of-the-art sensorization and control systems in accordance with the Industry 4.0 paradigm.
The purpose of DIAMANTE is to improve the main factors affecting the process which, in this case, mean the consumption of diamond wire (the main perishable cost factor) and the costs attached to multiwire machines in stoppages owing to breakdown and unforeseen faults. By way of an example, a company that may have monthly production figures of around 45,000 m2 of laminated granite loses around €150,000 for every day of stoppage. In terms of the cost of the diamond wire, this can end up accounting for around €40-50,000/month.
Therefore, DIAMANTE is putting forward a solution based on the Industry 4.0 paradigm, which enables there to be greater control over all cutting machine parameters. This in turn will mean an improvement in production and a reduction in waste that will transform the process into something more environmentally friendly, with an increase in added value regarding the product and an improvement in production costs.
During the second year of the project (December 2018 – September 2019), courses of action were taken for sensorization and control of the cutting wire. These actions focused on the installation of colorimetric sensors and artificial vision cameras, together with modifications to the cutting wire, in order to facilitate its detection.
With the installation of these sensors and the relevant modifications to the wire, the aim is to control different major points both to be able to properly control the stone and to ensure proper functioning of the wire, enabling key parameters to be measured and transmitted such as rotation, speed and wear on the wire.
Measuring wear on the wire enables its lifespan to be calculated and preventive maintenance carried out, and also enables information to be transmitted when wear on the wire becomes incompatible with its continuation in the cutting process, at which point it needs to be changed. Additionally, controlling other cutting parameters until such time as they can no longer be measured – such as correct wire rotation during the cutting process to ensure that the wire becomes uniformly worn and any possible sliding or strain-related problems are controlled – enables this lifespan to be increased and the wire cutting improved. This prevents marks from appearing on the stone during the cutting process, which means this would otherwise need to be repaired before being sold.
To attain the aforementioned objectives, companies in Galicia from the DIAMANTE consortium cover the entire value chain of activities included in the project and make up a multidisciplinary group with the complementary know-how needed to properly set it in motion, namely:
A leading company in the project, this firm is an international reference point in the manufacture of industrial stone cutting machines, and its equipment obtains the best possible cutting wire performance. Special mention should be made of the fact that NODOSAFER has a proven track record in R&D projects related to its products.
Engineering that focuses on the integration of technologies in the field of automation, industrial software, robotics, artificial vision and state-of-the-art sensorization, and which has taken a qualitative leap in recent years in terms of R&D initiatives.
This is a company that develops diamond cutting wire for the natural stone sector, with a proven track record in R&D projects related to its products. It is well-established on the world market, with a large volume of exports.
This company is an end user and end recipient of technology developed at DIAMANTE, the 5th in terms of added value within the sector in Galicia. It will be providing its experience in the transformation of granite and will be putting solutions into practice within a real environment, in order to ensure pre-industrial validation.
The consortium will count on the support of the AIMEN Technology Centre in order to promote innovative activity within companies, reinforce their international leadership capacity and complement project developments. This centre has a proven track record in artificial vision, monitoring, industrial control and state-of-the-art data treatment activities.