If you are a crockery fan… the Curiosity Of Ceramic Manufacturing must have knocked your mind many times.
At least my mind triggered it so many times that I decided to visit the ceramic industry to investigate Ceramic Mugs Manufacturing Steps. Moreover, you will be amazed to know that I found the process so interesting that I managed to visit four to five industries. To investigate different ceramic mug machines and their procedures.
Actually, my morning like yours starts with a perfect mug of coffee, definitely, I don’t like to switch the taste of my traditional coffee. But I love to drink in an as different and as delicate mug as possible. And ceramic mugs are my favorite in the race as they keep my hot drinks hotter for longer and don’t mess with the taste either.
Yes, I have a huge collection of mugs and cups that vary from all occasions to all drinks. Like I love my Cocktail in Copper Mugs, my Beer in Wooden Mugs and for travel I prefer Starbucks travel tumblers. But ceramic has a different bonding with me and my coffee. So I am writing this article for such assorted ceramic lovers, who want to appreciate the art of making ceramic at any level either personal or commercial. Without wasting much time let’s jump towards the steps involved in turning some raw clay to this immensely beautiful masterpiece, your perfect Ceramic Mug.
Ceramic Mug Manufacturing Step
If you are a ceramic lover and already aware of the terms like
- Handle Application
- Detailing or cleaning
- Glaze Addition
- Kiln Firing
- Additional Decoration
Step One Of The Procedure (Milling)
As I already told you that the manufacturing of a ceramic mug in an industry or a studio is very much alike. The only difference is the bulk production and for bulk, the production they are using ceramic machines to deal with the trouble. The very first thing which happens in the manufacturing process is the refining and preparation of raw material.
Definitely, without raw material, your ceramic mug is never going to come in being. So for raw material instead of hand as to be used in the studio, in the industry a big machine or a big grinder is used where your clay is dealt with properly. Furthermore, it is crushed into very fine particles to create a very fine flawless ceramic mug or any other ceramic crockery.
Once it is crushed properly then it is mixed with other essential materials like water and feldspar. After that, it is mixed properly for a long duration of up to 15 to 16 hours. From there onwards, the raw material of your ceramic mug is transferred into the molding tube. And from here the clay rolls are cut into Clay portions that are further used for Mug production.
Second Step Of The Procedure (Molding)
The next step of the procedure is called molding. Yes, there are different kinds of molds in the industries. But mostly I have observed that in industrial manufacturing of ceramic mugs the producers are using Single-time Usable disposable molds. Those are used for once and after the mug without a handle is ready. Then bring out the mug from that Single-time-use mold and move on to the further procedure for pouring clay and shaping it into the mug form.
The prepared clay is pushed to the mug mold to set it into the desired shape. and after the shape is achieved from outside and inside the mold is removed with hand. Yes, of course before removing the mold they ensure that the mug is semi-dry.
Step Three The Handle Fixing
In step 3 you can see that a good amount of mugs are ready and out of the mold in comparatively a short span of time as in manual making. Now as you can see after the first procedure 2nd and 3rd steps required handwork. It was mostly handwork instead of machine work because once the clay was ready it was poured into the molds with the help of hands.
After that, the pressing and shaping thing was done by a ceramic machine but again removing the mold was again something manual. Now When the mug is out from the mold the next thing is to attach a perfectly shaped nice handle onto the mug body. so it can get that perfect and solid grip that can give you the ultimate hold of your blessed mug of coffee.
All the handles are shaped out of a mold in the same way as the mugs are cast out of the mold. But joining them is a manual task as both these pieces are joined together, I mean the mugs and the handle are joined together with the help of a slip. Actually works as a glue and it attracts the mug handle and the mug.
Slip is a mixture of clay and water but it is quite runny as compared to the clay which is poured into the mold. Once Slip is applied on the handle, the handle is attached to the mug and the clay play mug is ready.
Crafting To Perfection
When the ceramic mugs are being made in the industry even then the perfection and detailing are done manually by hand. Each and every mug is observed from all sides and is detailed into a flawless and neat mug removing all the unwanted attachments. The detailing part helps well in giving perfect finish to the mug.
Now, this is the time to add the perfect glaze which is actually the trademark of our shiny ceramic mugs. Yes, this part is again done by hand even in the industry. I was wondering if the ceramic machines only help in the bulk milling or kneading of clay. After that Pours clay into the mold other than that the most of work is done by hand even in the industry.
Yes, the grace addition is done manually with hands making sure that no part is left unattended. The glaze can be added in different ways, I have observed a few pouring single color glaze on the whole mug. Sometimes some producers add a variety by pouring different colors inside and coating a different color outside this makes it look different. Even in a few industries, I saw that they were experimenting with the double coating outside. Whereas the inside coating was different altogether.
Once the glaze of the paint is applied to the clay mugs they are again set aside for almost 12 hours, while the clay properly observes the paint and the paint gets dry.
Firing In The Kiln
Now again comes the time when the machine work began, when the mugs are ready with glaze or paint applied to them. They all are joined together on a big conveyer in multiple rows and they are moved forward towards their final destination in the oven. Where they are baked at a high temperature of 2200 degrees Fahrenheit. Here they are baked to that perfection which enhances the glaze applied on the mugs and adds durability and strength to your mug.
Different Ideas And Printings
Now you might be thinking that if all the mugs are glazed what about those different patterns and images printed on the mugs. Sometimes you might have observed some mugs with special logos and designs. Yes, this is definitely not induced on your mug while they were in the oven.
They are applied after the baking is done, there are multiple things that can be done with your mugs. After they are properly baked further printing or designing is required those are glazed into plain white color.
Afterward, sublimation printing with the help of sublimation inks is done. Sometimes the logos are printed with the help of a stamp but in modern industries. Sublimation printing and sublimation ink is the idea that is mostly used even in some small setups.
Small Setup Of Mug Sublimation
Customized mugs have a different class and value. But I have observed some small setups where these customized mugs are being made and sell with good profits. especially the mug with the pictures of consumer choice. Such setups don’t have a big infrastructure but a small setup where they are producing a limited number of mugs. Printing their choice of images and creative designs with the help of sublimation printers and sublimation inks.
In this article, I have shared with you the manufacturing procedure of a ceramic mug, which I observed in one industry. Definitely I found few changes and differences but those differences were not so big that they can altogether change the formation. The main change or difference which is observed in various industries was the mold. In a few industries, I observed they were using a single-time mold.
That is sort of disposable and discarded after the mug is cast but in few industries, I observed that they were using two-piece or four-piece mold which was reusable. But in such mugs, the sending was being done after the mug was ready.
I would definitely like to share all those different molds with you in some other article. But here I believe if you will read this article you can observe and you can understand the basic procedure which actually helped the industrialists to make their mugs perfect. Moreover, if you have ever observed a procedure of mug making in the studio you will notice that there is not much difference. Yes in a few places the manufacturers are getting help from the machine but in most of the places, the work is being done with hand to achieve perfection.