Featured sessions

International leaders of the ceramic tile industry will debate strategic issues to be faced by the sector in the near future.

Michele Dondi

Head researcher at the Institute of Science and Technology for Ceramics (ISTEC-CNR Faenza, Italy)

The purpose of this contribution is to draw a critical picture of the situation of the ceramic tile industry, which must face the challenge of converting to a low carbon economy, from the point of view of the management of raw materials and the circular economy, discussing criticalities and providing scenarios for product innovation. The actions put in place to improve sustainability of ceramic tiles (pollution prevention, environmental labels, best available technologies, industrial technology roadmap, standard on sustainability) are briefly reviewed to highlight how resource efficiency is involved. The pitfalls along the path to a low-carbon economy are outlined through Life Cycle Assessment results: hotspot diagnosis and remediation proposals. The role of resource efficiency in sustainability practices is critically discussed with regards to logistics, waste valorization, technological value of raw materials, critical raw materials and hazardous substances, and the circularity of the ceramic tile industry.

The panel debate seeks to analyse the case of new industrial groups owned by (industrial or financial) investment funds.

Do they have greater resources for growth, innovation, …? Are they more professionalised and more formalised organisations? Can their presence in other industrial sectors benefit the ceramic sector? What other benefits do they contribute to the social fabric of the areas where they establish themselves?

The advantages and disadvantages in regard to agility in strategic decision-making and in customer and supplier relationship management will also be addressed, drawing upon the wide-ranging experience of panel members in businesses with different types of ownership.

The following panel members have confirmed their participation:

Giorgio Severi

Managing Director of SITI B&T Iberica and Internationl Business Director of SITI B&T Group

Fernando Tomás

Inkjet Product Global Director (Spain)

José Luis Lanuza

Head of the Ceramic Tile Division of Victoria PLC (Spain)

Pascual Parra

CCO Altadia Group (Spain)

The opening panel debate, the Globalization of the Ceramic Tile Industry, has been held at Qualicer since 2014. International leaders of the ceramic tile manufacturing industry debate strategic issues to be faced by the sector in the near future. They’ll also discuss about commercial and industrial policies that make industrial investment feasible in different geographical areas. The panel will analyse the main technological and business innovations in the ceramic tile sector from the perspective of making investment decisions

The following panel members have confirmed their participation:

Eric Astrachan

Eric Astrachan Executive Director of the TCNA (USA)

Giovanni Savorani

President of Cofindustria Ceramica (Italy)

Vicente Nomdedeu

Spanish Ceramic Tile Manufacturers’ Association (ASCER) (Spain)

Fully electrifying the ceramic tile and slab manufacturing process, accompanied by process redesign to improve energy efficiency and reduce total energy consumption, can be key to completely suppressing the use of natural gas and meeting European decarbonisation targets. It is a tremendously ambitious proposal that will moreover reduce the risks and volatility in supply costs owing to current tensions in international energy markets.

Maintaining the sector’s competitiveness requires innovative companies and technologies not just for ceramic production, but also for generating and supplying energy. Renewable electricity generation has already far exceeded the necessary level of efficiency, and it is possible right now to transform that intermittent capability into Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs) with steady supplies that are able to meet 24/7 ceramic production demands. The Valencia Region currently has 7000 MW renewable energy generation pending licensing and a significant part thereof could be installed within a few months. The session will set out the current state of this technological proposal and will analyse the need for infrastructures and market instruments to ensure stable supplies of renewable electric power.

Gustavo Mallol

Director of the Ceramic Industry Research Association (AICE)

Jose Vicente Tomás

General Director of Kerajet

Javier Martínez-Mingote

Operations Manager at Levantina Group

Joaquín Longares

Business Delegate Eastern Region, Valencia Region and Murcia at Iberdrola (Spain)

Current gas price peaks have made even more urgent the need to find renewable energy sources for the ceramic production process. It is not just a question of decarbonization but also of short-term economic viability and of ensurance of stable energy supplies in Europe.  This will be beneficial in the medium and long term for the entire international industry regardless of the more or less restrictive environmental regulations that apply to them. It will be a quality issue.

In this scenario leading firms and entrepeneurs are necessary to open a path for the industry in its constant process of innovation and quality improvement.  This is undoubtedly the case of the Iris Ceramica Group, that in the 1980s was key for the natural gas network to develop in the Italian ceramic district located between Modena and Reggio Emilia. The Iris Ceramica Group has already announced the construction of the world’s first ceramic factory with green hydrogen and its start-up is scheduled for the current year 2022. In this session, Mrs. Federica Minozzi, Iris Ceramica Group CEO, will illustrate the status of the project and its future prospects.

Federica Minozzi

CEO of Iris Group

Digital printing on flat ceramics is a relatively rare technique in the art market for digital prints that, for example, Artsy.net defines as artistic prints created with a computer on paper, canvas, or vinyl, or in which Saatchiart.com only considers fine art paper, photo paper, and canvas as substrates. But the development of digital printing on ceramics has added a new substrate of great quality and, for example, in 2019, Ceramic Place, a work by Damià Díaz, was exhibited at the National Museum of the Ajuda Palace in Lisbon in the Mostra Espanha biennial show. This session will present the artist’s experience in ideating, producing, and exhibiting Ceramic Place and will explore this technique’s potential in the art market, as well as the opportunities for collaboration between artists and the different industry stakeholders and public institutions responsible for artistic and historic heritage and public and private exhibition spaces, for creating and exhibiting works with this technique.

Fernando Palomo

Strategic and Management Consultant specialized in the ceramic sector

Margarida Botto

Senior Technician at Direcção-Geral de Património Cultural (Portugal)

Damià Díaz

Spanish artist participating in the Mostra Espanha biennial show 2019 in Portugal

Millán García-Tola

Global H2 Director, Iberdrola (Spain)

As for the the ceramic tile producers and industry equipments manufacturers initiatives, the main decarbonization options seem to be either electrification or green H2.  In this session these initiatives will be addressed in perspective by André Faaij, energy expert not linked to ceramics, and an overview of the main challenges for the European energy intensive industry to meet the requirements of the decarbonization considering the energy system, the international interconnection of new and retrofitted industrial processes and the wider changes required in the energy infrastructures and other technological options will be considered.

André P.C Faaij

Director of Science TNO Unit “Energy Transition” & Distinguished Professor at the University of Groningen (The Netherlands)

This slip resistance masterclass is for executives who want to fulfil consumer expectations of sustainable slip resistance and enduring aesthetics with simple maintenance. Regulators require safe pedestrian surfaces and can’t rely on potentially misleading representations. Do you know your tiles slip resistance life cycle performance? Open your eyes with some live scientific demonstrations. Learn how to gain a responsible competitive advantage based on EN 16165.

Richard Bowman

Principal of Intertile Research Pty Ltd (Australia)

Stephen Thorpe

Health and Safety Consultant specialising in slips, trips and falls (United Kingdom)

Marcel Engels

Project Manager at Forschungsinstitut für Glas (Germany)

Gonzalo Silva

Deputy Director of AICE and Head of the Product and Construction Area (Spain)

  Invited lecturer   Panel debate