Newsletter 105 - June 2016
Approximate reading time: 5 minutes

Success stories


Success stories

Starting with the next July/August instalment of the BERALMAR Newsletter, we will begin a series of articles on what we call “success stories”.

We consider certain actions by BERALMAR to constitute success stories when they bring us great pride and deserve to be shared, either because they stood out in some way or represented a great technical challenge.

We would not like you to think, however, that actions not shared in this series of articles were a negative experience. Rather, the majority of actions are either average in difficulty level, or are so repetitive (the umpteenth kiln, the zillionth combustion installation, etc.) that even though everything may have gone perfectly, they are of less interest to our readers.

Nevertheless, because BERALMAR is particularly daring when it comes to accepting challenges and is always willing to innovate in the field of combustion – and is highly valued by clients thanks to our technicians’ ability to identify problems in the productive processes – we have accumulated a large number of success stories over the years that we would like to share in this series of articles, which will begin with the next instalment of our bimonthly newsletter.

We hope they will be of interest to our readers


On 3 June, the general director of BERALMAR, Ramón Sarió, gave a presentation at the Barcelona School of Management of the University of Pompeu Fabra before an audience of students from, in large part, Mexico and Colombia. The students are taking part in an international Management course in Barcelona.

The presentation focused on BERALMAR as an example of a company that has internationalized its sales over a relatively short period. Ramón Sarió explained the process of identification of markets, the keys to defining organization in the sales department and the network of sales agents, and action plans for each type of market. BERALMAR’s methodology may be applicable to other entrepreneurial projects to some degree depending on the characteristics of each sector. But there is one universal factor: When embarking on this adventure, a good product or service is imperative.

Recall that until 2000, BERALMAR concentrated 70% of its sales in the Spanish market, while in 2010 exports already made up over 90% of turnover. Currently, there are BERALMAR teams in 55 markets


All organizations have certain individuals without whom it would be impossible to understand their trajectory and strengths. At BERALMAR, one of these individuals is Manual Martínez, who joined the organization in 1966, just two years after it was founded. With literally a lifetime of experience in the ceramics industry, Manolo – as we know him – is not only the most experienced technologist at BERALMAR, but most likely the most valued in Spain  

BERALMAR NEWSLETTER: “50 years at BERALMAR” rolls right off the tongue. What was the company like when you started in 1966?

MANUEL MARTÍNEZ: Well, we were a group of four or five people that manufactured fuel-oil injectors for Hoffmann kilns in Spain, in a small workshop in Terrassa. I started at the workshop and didn’t see a ceramics plant until about two or three years later, when I started my training as a technologist. This consisted in month-long stages in, mostly, two ceramics plants in Sant Cugat (Barcelona) that no longer exist, SUCERAM and ALMAR. There I learned about the entire manufacturing process in detail, from clay preparation and moulding to drying and firing, both in Hoffmann kilns (the majority, back then) and tunnel kilns. Back then people weren’t in such a rush. It would be unthinkable to have such long training nowadays. But it went very well for me. I learned a lot and became trapped in the world of ceramics forever.

B.N.: Thanks to your superiors as well.

M.M.: Of course. I must say that when the world of ceramics traps you, it never lets you go.

B.N.: You’ve witnessed major technological evolution first hand. In what areas of the manufacturing process do you think the next innovations will happen?

M.M.: Mostly in the field of automation, I think. When I started firing, we took measurements by observing the colour of the fire. Nowadays, I use my mobile to connect to our clients’ drying and firing controls. I can change the settings on a kiln in Mexico from a café at a hotel in Malaysia just with a device that fits in my pocket. Automatic controls in the production process let us manage all the aspects and settings of the process from a given point of control. I think that the big change that has yet to arrive, however, is that in the future the very control systems should be able to make the right decisions on their own. I can also imagine the use of renewable energy sources, like photovoltaic energy, in the drying process. It’s more difficult to foresee changes in the firing process, but I’m sure they too will come.

B.N.: Malaysia, Mexico... ceramics has taken you all around the world.

M.M.: BERALMAR has been selling all over the world for many years, but it’s true that I’ve had to travel even more due to the housing crisis in Spain these past 10 years. I’ve been in South America, India, all of the North Africa, Latin America, the United States, Russia, the Balkans, etc. I’ve seen every kind of technology and different ceramics cultures; but when I walk into a ceramics plant, in any country, we understand each other even if I can’t speak the language. And when you say you’re from Barcelona, it opens a lot of doors. It’s like a business card. Though I always make it clear that I’m Real Madrid fan, make no mistake...

B.N.: Hahaha... I don’t know if we can print that... So, what do you think about the crisis in Spain? It seems like there may be a light at the end of a tunnel.

M.M.: It’s a shame because the crisis has wiped out dozens of factories, many belonging to people I consider friends. We’ve never seen a crisis like this before. The factories that have resisted the most are the smallest ones, generally. It seems like now they’re starting to consider investing again, there seems to be more confidence. I have personally received more inquiries from our clients this year than during the past five years together.

B.N.: And what do you think the future of BERALMAR will be like?

M.M.: I think that BERALMAR is a very brave company. It has done a great job opening markets all over the world, even before the crisis began in Spain. We have a very good staff and technical team. The company is also very good at adapting to the various technological levels required by the markets. BERALMAR has a great future ahead of it.

B.N.: Does this great future include Manolo Martínez?

M.M.: Like I said, when the world of ceramics traps you, it’s forever. Now that nobody’s listening, I’ll admit that I really like my job. I don’t work: I enjoy my work. I enjoy walking into a ceramics plant, talking to clients, discussing solutions with other technologists. And I feel very young. I can’t imagine staying at home any time soon, even though I do have my hobbies, friends and family.

B.N.: So you’ve still got plenty of steam left in you.

M.M.: As long as I enjoy my work and interacting with clients, I’ll have steam left. I also enjoy innovating, testing improvements in our equipment. Right now I’m very busy with an innovation project for a combustion chamber...

B.N.: ...maybe we’ll be able to talk about it in our Newsletter soon!

M.M.: There’s no doubt about it. When I get down to innovating I always come up with something.

Beralmar, 50 years with you!
BERALMAR TECNOLOGIC S.A · Avda. Valles 304 · Terrassa, B 08220 · Spain
+34 937 312 200