Europeans need new business models for the ceramic technology of the future - ceramitec 2018 the best show of the sector

ECTS

Energy-efficiency, digitization and diversification are the magic words for European manufacturers of heavy clay technology to be successful on the markets of the future. This became clear during the recent ECTS meeting on April 9,2018 at ceramitec in Munich.

“Everybody can build stones, we build houses”, said Dr. Jürgen Blumm of Netzsch Gerätebau GmbH and member of ECTS. “What we need is a vision and a plan to see and use the potential of ceramics as a versatile material of the future”. According to him it would be essential for the sector to put today’s real customer requirements into focus by targeting them through a holistic approach. Energy-efficiency in production, cost-saving and effective processes also through digitization will be the key to the customer’s heart. It is vital for the sector to innovate steadily and to widen and improve its traditional business models.

Industry hopes for good after-fair business
Although this year’s ceramitec has given the sector a push, the business situation of the industry was fair to middling during the past years. In a survey carried out among the group members, most of the companies stated that this year would be fairly good compared to the stiff situation they had suffered due to the low numbers of projects in the past. Business is currently mainly run by spare parts and services to older plants. “The market is not booming, but we cannot complain”, said Luca Caramelli of Bongioanni Maccine SpA. For many companies, Europe is one of the most major sales markets. In long-term, they see good opportunities again in Northern Africa and in the Middle East, these markets however being difficult and almost down due to current political and economic difficulties. A big question mark is pending over 2019. Company representatives felt great uncertainties regarding the future of the sector. Everybody is waiting for the markets to lastingly come and customers to invest again in new projects. Meanwhile diversification helps them to earn money and to step into new businesses.

Stiff trade fair situation hurts all
What is not helping the tormented sector, is the current situation in the trade show field with Technargilla being also be held in the autumn of this year in Rimini. “Two trade shows targeting at the same exhibitors and visitors in one year is not at all good for the industry. It is a situation that hurts all of us, not only in terms of costs and visitor’s numbers”, stated Miquel Moix, chairman of ECTS and Manager at Beralmar Tecnologic S.A, thus reflecting the opinion of many of the ECTS members.

For the first time, new companies from the fine and technical ceramics technology area attended the ECTS meeting. ECTS plans to offer also them a truly home for mutual exchange and discussion. In 2018, ECTS members will target Mexico with organizing a symposium in Monterrey, the biggest ceramic area in the country just before the US Clemson Brick Forum on October.