Raw materials are the most crucial part of making quality bricks. Consistent, high quality raw materials combined with sound processes normally result in good quality fired ware. Unfortunately, in the real world, raw materials vary in quality and consistency. Variations in raw materials such as particle size, fired color, carbon content, and shrinkage are routinely measured during exploration, mining, stockpiling, and production. Another characteristic of raw materials that is critical and should be measured and monitored is the level of soluble sulfates present in the raw materials used to make brick.
Measuring results is key to be able to understand how your production is going and if you should make any changes in your supply chain. In today's ceramic market, new tools to measure different parameters appear every year, making it barely impossible to be able to catch up with all of them. However, we have found several that we think might be relevant and a bit more unknown. So this month is all about tools!
In today’s economic climate and with manufacturers desire to ensure strong sales whilst optimizing profits what options are open to help reduce costs in production?
One could probably summize that the “easiest” options available to reduce costs could be raw materials, production, drying and firing and reducing losses - in fact it could be argued that all of these options go hand in hand.
In a competitive market like we have in ceramics in the last years, globalized, with common solutions to the standard production issues, differentiation in costs is the only way to remain competitive. So, how much could we save?
Reducing production costs has always been an important topic for ceramic manufacturers. There are many ways to reduce costs, but it is not always so easy to do so when you want to achieve high quality results. We can give you a few tips to reduce your manufacturing costs without affecting the final product. This month we will go over cost reduction in both decorative tile and brick and roof tile production, so don’t miss our blog posts!
Decorative ceramics are characterized by fast firing cycles with values below 30 minutes in some countries. Of course this is not the standard value, but it gives an idea of how well adapted these kilns are to fast firing. At the same time, being one of the main polluting points in decorative ceramics manufacturing process, lots of efforts have been dedicated in order to reduce CO2 emissions, as well as some other highly pollutants (NOx, HCl, HF, heavy metals, Sox, VOCs, among others).
The next challenge in the horizon will be automation, though a lot of improvements have been done in order to bring self-regulation and high optimization of the full firing process.
Throughout the centuries of brick and tile making the manufacturing, drying and the firing of the products has continued to evolve to ensure demand, styles and supply are met. However although manufacturing and drying are based on a small number of routes which continue to evolve the firing process has probably seen the most changes over this time frame.
This month we will talk about kilns. From their importance during the manufacturing process of both bricks and tiles, to new kilns and trends we can find nowadays. We have asked some questions to our ceramics experts and here is what they have told us.
Decoration in ceramics has experienced a number of changes in the last decades. We have seen some hand-made decoration replaced by automated systems when higher production rates were demanded. Flat screens evolved to automated rotating screens, allowing higher production rates and better application results. With an intermediate solution based on gravure silicon rollers, most of the factories today are using inkjet technology.
Last week we were lucky enough to visit one of the most important ceramic events in Spain, Cevisama, where we could foresee what the future of ceramics will look like. During 5 days, manufacturers exhibit their products, where large sizes and high definition printing continue to reign. So, what are the main trends we could see there?