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Advanced Imaging Magazine

Updated: January 12th, 2011 09:49 AM CDT

Setting Mosaic Tiles

New automated system should produce greater variety of tiles while cutting production costs
Prof. Dr. Aytul Ercil
Figure 1: These tile designs illustrate some of the intricate patterns possible with mosaics.
Figure 2: The design software can implement any picture out of mosaics, as seen in this example.
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By Prof. Dr. Aytul Ercil
Machine Vision and Automation AG

The “Automatic Mosaic Setting Machine” is a patent-pending vision-controlled robotic system that facilitates and accelerates mosaic tile setting and automates the whole process from editing a reference image to tile setting.

Mosaic has been used in decoration of indoor and outdoor locations since antiquity. The pieces forming the mosaic can be in regular geometric shapes or shapeless as well as round shaped like pebbles. Mosaic pictures or decorations can be used in flooring, walls and ceilings for purposes of architectural decoration.

Production and use of marble has been increasing steadily. In parallel to this, production of marble tiles of size 30.5x30.5x1 cm has reached large quantities. During this production, losses of 30-60 percent occur because of structural properties of natural stones. Some of these can be rated as second- or third-quality tiles whereas the remaining part becomes waste because of cracks and fractures. These waste tiles can be used to make marble mosaics. Because of this process small marble pieces can be used. This reduces environmental pollution.

Current day mosaic art is focused on materials of glass and marble and has attained a commercial dimension. Glass mosaic applications are mostly found in exterior coatings of buildings and pools, whereas marble mosaic applications are mostly made for decorating indoor floors and walls. Most colors can be obtained from natural stones. For rare colors such as blue, ceramic tiles are used.

With the development of technology, the sizing of natural stones can be made serially by machines, whereas placing them according to a pattern is made manually which is very labor-intensive. This reduces the efficiency and increases the cost limiting the production. Some sample tiles are shown in Figure 1.

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