SEI, Italy

S.E.I, Italy

The beginnings – a passion for research and technological innovation S.E.I. srl was founded in the late ‘80s by Mr. Andrea Corsi, an expert designer of automation systems and machinery for stone processing who had always been nurturing the dream of setting up a company entirely devoted to scientific research and technological innovation.

The vision that lies at the heart of the company is the belief that all problems which inhibit the growth of the stone industry can be solved through the development of still unexplored technological solutions.

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S.E.I. outlined a new approach to the longstanding issues in the field, launching a series of original devices which marked a clean break with the past. The first S.E.I. inventions even exceeded the expectations of their users, improving productivity and keeping production costs down at their factories.

Stone processors dealing in marble, breccia and onyx had to accept that a large part of the material would break from the initial stages of working. Even though some of them had already realized that synthetic resins represented an excellent means for the reinforcement and restoration of faulty slabs, nobody could treat their materials with resin on an industrial scale. The use of synthetic resins was far from easy indeed, because these chemical products had to be poured onto thoroughly dry slabs and it could take over 48 hours for them to set and harden.

Over the course of the years the “S.E.I. Resin Lines” have been continuously updated, eventually becoming high-technology plants available in more than 90 models which differ in terms of layout configuration, overall dimensions, equipment, level of automation and productive capacity.

The best method to explain the workings of any Resin Line is to introduce its workstations one by one, following chronological order of the various operations which make up the processes of restoring, strengthening and enhancing of the stone.

The right approach to the study of Resin Treatment is to learn the distinction between two groups of materials: those which need to be treated on both sides that is to say mesh backed and resin coated and those which only need to be treated on the surface. However, this differentiation is not necessarily a rigid one because the definition between the two groups is not always clear cut. Indeed, the only practical criteria to distinguish is on inspection of the blocks. When a block is fragile and presents numerous cracks it will be cut into slabs which will need to be mesh reinforced and resin treated, while if the block is sound it will produce fairly strong slabs which will only need to be resin coated.

The processing of materials in the first group follows this scheme:

Loading of the slabs to be mesh backed and resin coated – The raw slabs are loaded on the Resin Line.
Drying of the slabs – The slabs are stored in a drying chamber before a mesh backing is carried out.
Fibreglass mesh attaching – A sheet of fibreglass mesh is stuck to back of the slabs through the application of some resin.
Hardening or “Polymerization” of the resin – The slabs are stored in an oven aimed at accelerating the hardening of the resin which has been applied to attach the fibreglass.
Unloading of the mesh backed slabs or turning over and immediate repositioning - The mesh backed slabs can be either unloaded or overturned and repositioned on the Resin Line, to be resin coated without breaks.
Reloading of the mesh backed slabs (if not repositioned automatically).
Drying of the slabs (if necessary).
Surface cleaning – The stone surface must be cleaned of dust and dirt before resin application.
Resin application – A layer of resin is applied to the surface of the slabs.
Impregnation under-vacuum – To increase the resin penetration into porosity and fissures the slabs can be impregnated under-vacuum.
Finishing touches (application of a second layer of resin or even a third layer in the case of badly cracked material) – The repair of seriously cracked slabs involves a repeated number of retouches.
Hardening of the resin – The slabs are stored in an oven for resin polymerization.
Unloading – The treatment is completed and the slabs are unloaded from the Resin Line.

The treatment of materials in the second group consists of eight steps:

Loading of the slabs
Drying of the slabs
Surface cleaning
Resin application
Impregnation under-vacuum
Finishing touches
Hardening of the resin

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