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Markets: From snapping diamond wire to handling sludge

ICDS_logo(July 2008) „XXI. Century Challenges“ was the title of the Second International Congress on Dimension Stones (ICDS), held in parallel to the Marmortec fair in Carara 2008. Last held three years ago in Brazil, the event was organised by IMM Carrara in cooperation with the Brazilian trade organisation Abirochas.

We shall be printing some of the contributions in digest format. Full articles can be viewed in the proceedings of „ICDS – XXI. Century Challenges“ available for 150 €. Webpage of the congress with program .

Snapping of diamond wires or cables used in quarry operations was the topic of the talk given by Italian researchers. With the help of high-speed cameras and computer simulation they were able to demonstrate the process on a loose cable. Parts of the cable can be jettisonned at several times the speed of sound and can even prove deadly for workers when a cable snaps. The study examines safety measures and makes recommendations for improvement.

The search for new prospection was the topic of a Finnish contribution. The State owned Geological Survey examined potential sites in respect of material and possible conflicts with other users. Already 11 new quarries took up operations as a result of this procedure.

Researchers from Spanisch Galicia developed a method to assertain the quality of stone within a quarry or block mathematically. The method dubbed fuzzy-kringing and named after the South African geotechnician Daniel Krige, enables a prognosis of quality changes within a pimary-block of stone or a quarry. To date calculations were based on the assumption of homogeniety throughout a block, which is never the case.

Italian scientists reported surface treatment by means of a water-jet in place of flaming. As it happens, this method produces a similar rustic surface at much lower cost. Costs can be reduced even further by using several nozzles symultaniously. Also very thin slabs can be used implementing this method.

In a Brazilian project seemingly useless blocks were sawed with the help of a computer data-base turning unwanted veins into a virtue of design ideas.

Spanish researchers reported on new water-based resins.

Recycling of waste material generated during processing was the theme of several talks. Brazilians presented the possibility to put marble sludge to good use in the paper producing industry. It was explained that abrasion from the stone industry can be put to use when producing bricks as it reduces energy costs and improves quality of the brick. During discussion it came to light that in Sardinia the ceramic industry – natural stone industry’s arch-rival – was using stone abrasion in its own production. It was also mentioned that sludge is added to fertilizer in the U.S.A. and that it was used to build dams in Taiwan.

Further contributors came from Turkey, Portugal, Belgium, Slovakia, Slovenia, Croatia, Great Britain, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Egypt and the U.S.A.