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EUROPE'S PRINCIPAL CERAMICS INDUSTRY SUPPLIERS MEET IN BARCELONA
The latest biannual meeting of the ECTS (European Ceramic Technology Suppliers) Group was held in Barcelona on 13 June.
You may remember that the ECTS brings together the leading European suppliers for the ceramics industry and that the group's main objectives are basically the defence of common interests, dissemination of market information and the promotion of improved mutual understanding and cooperation between members. The ECTS currently has about twenty members.
One of the purposes of the travelling meetings is to encourage familiarity with each of the member companies. So the Barcelona meeting finished with a visit to BERALMAR's facilities in Terrassa. The next ECTS meeting will be held in November.
SERBIAN CERAMIST CONVENTION
The 5th Serbian Ceramicists' Congress, at which BERALMAR was a contributor, was held between 11 and 14 June at Tara Mountain in the east of the country.
The sessions were very full and crowded with over 30 presentations from ceramicists, technology suppliers and other professionals and more than 200 accredited attendees.
The Congress was opened by the president of the Association of Ceramicists, Mr. Vladimir Denić, who warned of some negative trends seen since the previous Congress, such as increases in fuel prices, reductions in real prices for ceramic products, unfair competition and delays in technology with respect to other markets.
For its part, BERALMAR made a presentation at the suggestion of the Congress organisers, on “Modern technologies for the use of solid fuels in the ceramics industry”. The presentation was based on the savings on energy bills which can be achieved by using solid fuels in a country where, as in the whole of Europe, the prices of natural gas and fuel oil have more than doubled in a short time, and on BERALMAR's technologies for the use of solid fuels in both the kiln and the dryer.
BERALMAR is the supplier with the greatest experience in the use of solid fuels in the market, so we hope the presentation was of interest to attendees.
The time in Tara also had its leisure side with a trip on the Šarganska Osmica train, a historic narrow-gauge mountain railway which has been a tourist attraction since 1999. From the train you can look out over the spectacular landscape of the Tara National Park and its surroundings.
We would like to take the opportunity to thank the organisers of the 5th Congress and particularly Mr. Vladimir Denić for their efforts in organisation and the opportunity given to BERALMAR to contribute to the success of the event.
CONCLUSIONS FROM THE 37th HISPALYT CONFERENCE
Spain also hosted the 37th Hispalyt (Spanish National Association of Fired Clay Brick and Tile Manufacturers) Conference held in Córdoba from 29 to 31 May. This Hispalyt Conference was marked by the significant construction downturn in Spain.
In this regard, Hispalyt made a series of observations, from which we highlight just a few:
- As a consequence of the reduction in house building, sales of ceramic products have fallen by 50% since November 2007.
- Contractual conditions with natural gas and electricity suppliers anticipate some fixed costs which are not recoverable in the case of production shutdowns.
- As a consequence of this, Hispalyt recommends matching production to market demand. This implies production shutdowns of between 3 and 6 months. They warn that other types of behaviour put the viability of many ceramics companies and thousands of jobs at risk.
For our part, we in BERALMAR would like to offer our two pennies worth on the current situation by proposing the following measures:
1. Improving the quality of products beyond that demanded by the Building Technical Code and broadening the product offering to include a wider range of materials. A smaller quantity can be manufactured, but with higher added value.
2. Improving energy efficiency. The use of more economical fuels, such as solid fuels, for both drying and firing and improvements in specific consumption of the plant is a very important aspect in the current context.
3. Offering solutions in construction systems and being capable as a sector of demonstrating to the market the energy efficiency of buildings built using ceramic materials.
4. Developing new materials which reduce installation cost and time and which compete with alternative construction materials.
5. Investing in emerging markets. The Spanish ceramics industry has adequate know-how and capital and has solidly shown its entrepreneurial capability over the last few decades to be able to act on the saying “the world does not end at the Spanish frontier”.
By putting into practice the measures they believe appropriate, the industry will always find a friend and colleague in BERALMAR.
News and Accomplishments
NEW SOLID-FUEL FIRING FACILITY IN MALAYSIA
BERALMAR has just commissioned a new PROMATIC model firing installation using pet coke at the KILANG BATU BATA HAP KEE ceramics plant in Malaysia.
Each day 400 tonnes of ceramic blocks are fired in this kiln. Pre-heating by fuel oil.
This is now the fifth installation of this type BERALMAR has installed in this Southeast Asian country.
COMMISSIONING OF A NEW TUNNEL KILN IN MOROCCO
BERALMAR has just commissioned a new tunnel kiln for BRIQUETERIE DIMABRIQ in Nador (Morocco)
This is a 140 metre long FORNTHERMIC model kiln for 4.50 metre wide wagons for a minimum production of 400 tonnes/day.
The kiln is fitted with GT/99 model fuel oil burners for pre-heating and a MICROMATIC installation for firing with micronised pet coke. All the installed equipment is controlled by the MICROBER automatic control system.
During production startup the new installation surprised everyone as it was possible to load the material from the first wagon perfectly fired onto the lorry, a rare event at the commissioning stage in Morocco.