A new technique for reinforcing fragile marble blocks was recently employed at the facilities of Henraux in Quercerta, near Carrara, Italy. And by using a relatively cost-effective reinforcement technique on medium-range materials, it is hoped that an entire new collection of stone materials will become commercially viable in the near future.
In utilizing this patented technique, a semi-solid reinforcement product from Tenax S.p.A. of Verona, Italy, is sprayed on the exterior of the blocks by hand, allowing stone producers to reinforce marble blocks without the need for an extensive block-processing line. The Tenax product, which is named Resinlock, is applied using a sprayer that is powered by pressurized piston pumps from Wagnercolora of Milan, Italy, and this system is also used to automatically mix the reinforcement with the hardnener.
Four sides of the blocks are treated, and the block then cures for 24 hours (48 hours in colder weather). Because the mixing is automatic, the overall application process is convenient and quick, as the system can apply 1 kilogram of reinforcement product per minute. On average, it takes 30 to 60 minutes to treat an entire block, depending on its size.
The treatment of the blocks offers reinforcement without high penetration, and after curing, the blocks can then be processed on a gangsaw. According to Tenax, this system is suited for marble blocks with a moderate level of fracturing, whereas blocks with heavy fracturing would be treated with a less viscous, more “liquid” reinforcement product with greater penetration.
Because the equipment is relatively inexpensive, this process is intended for marble varieties in the medium price range, as opposed to high-end exotic materials, which are generally processed using more automated techniques. Marble varieties targeted for this reinforcement technique include Botticino, Rosso Verona, Giallo Reale and Bianco Perlino, among others.