The Future of Ceramics - The event programme Modena, 11-12 November


Economic scenarios, market potential and the new technological prospects for digital factories will take centre stage at the International Business Forum to be held on 11 and 12 November in Forum Monzani.

What new scenarios can we expect for the world ceramic industry?

What are the prospects in the main international markets?

How will our factories and our market approach change in the age of digitalisation?

These are the questions that will be discussed during the International Business Forum “The Future of Ceramics”, the event organised by Acimac and Italian Exhibition Group - Tecnargilla in collaboration with the magazine Ceramic World Review to be held in Forum Monzani in Modena on 11 and 12 November.

Around forty Italian and international speakers will take part in the two-day Forum aimed at disseminating knowledge and skills through networking and relationship building. Both days’ events are open to all ceramic industry professionals (admission is free of charge with online registration on the website More than 300 Italian and international ceramic industry guests are expected to attend. The various sessions of The Future of Ceramics will cover a wide range of topics catering for many different professional figures, from management and sales personnel through to technicians and product managers.

The opening remarks will be given by Acimac chairman Paolo Sassi, Italian Exhibition Group’s Italian show director Patrizia Cecchi, and Acimac general manager Paolo Gambuli.

Monday 11 November: a focus on ceramic tile markets with outstanding keynote speakers

The event will begin at 9.00 am on Monday 11 November with a session devoted to the development of world ceramic tile markets.

Luca Baraldi, head of the Acimac research department, will open the proceedings with a general overview of the trends and prospects for “World production, consumption, imports and exports of ceramic tiles”, focusing on major developments both in mature industries and in emerging new areas.

The next topic of discussion will be the trends in the US flooring market with a talk by Joseph Lundgren (JLConsulting, USA) entitled “The US market: who is going to win?”. In a market dominated by increasingly fierce competition between ceramic tile and new vinyl materials, Lundgren will also explain how the raising of tariffs on tile imports from China (64 million sq.m in 2018) may create new opportunities for expanding market share not just for local producers but also for the biggest exporter countries, particularly Mexico, Italy, Spain and Brazil.

China, India, Africa, the Middle East and Turkey will take the spotlight in the subsequent roundtable discussion devoted entirely to an analysis of the changes underway in the ceramic industry in Asia and in the emerging region of sub-Saharan Africa.

The participants will be Ye Yongkai, Vice President of New Pearl Ceramics, a leading Chinese tile producer with an annual output of around 200 million sq.m; Prem Narayan Trivedi, a member of the board of the Indian Council of Ceramic Tiles & Sanitaryware; Shakti Mohanty (West Africa Ceramics, Nigeria); Mohammad Roshanfekr, Chairman of the Iranian Ceramic Producers’ Syndicate; and Ilter Yurtbay, Chairman of the Turkish Ceramic Tile Manufacturers’ Association Serkap.

The morning session’s keynote speaker will be Christophe Callon, CEO of Decoceram and Marketing & Purchasing Director for the Tiles & Flooring division of the Saint Gobain Building Distribution Group, Europe’s largest building materials merchant. In his talk entitled “Trends of Distribution in Tiles & Flooring”, Callon will illustrate how the specialised floor and wall coverings distribution system is adapting to new patterns of consumption, which in turn are driven by factors such as digitalisation, economic trends, urbanisation, demographics and the shortage of skilled labour. Starting out from the results in the European countries where SGBD is the market leader, the French manager will analyse the breakdown of the flooring market between ceramic and non-ceramic materials and identify the competitive levers that the ceramic industry can exploit in its future strategies: segmentation, brands and logistics.

The task of wrapping up the morning’s talks and steering the focus of discussion back to domestic issues will fall to the chairmen of the three Italian ceramic industry associations. Giovanni Savorani (Confindustria Ceramica), Paolo Sassi (Acimac) and Claudio Casolari (Ceramicolor) will discuss the so-called “Italian system”, its competitive advantages and its ability to continue to represent an international role model today.

Monday 11 November: The “Digital” Future of Ceramics

On the afternoon of Monday 11 November, The Future of Ceramics will become The “Digital” Future of Ceramics with a focus on one of the most topical issues not just for the ceramic sector but for the manufacturing industry as a whole.

Digitalisation of the Italian industrial fabric and future policies for the Industry 4.0 plan will be discussed by Marco Calabrò, a director at the Italian Ministry for Economic Development, and Andrea Bianchi, director of Industrial Policies of Confindustria.

Next up, Maurizio Brioschi (Head of Digital Enterprise Division, Cefriel) and Luciano Sottile (General Manager, Machinery division of Goglio Spa) will explore the theme of digitalisation starting out from the impact on the human resources involved in the present and future processes of business transformation.  

The afternoon session will be introduced by Franco Stefani, who will offer a firsthand account of the long history of digitalisation in the ceramic sector. 


Forum Monzani, Modena


11th November 2019

08.30 am
09.00 am
Paolo Sassi (Chairman of Acimac) and Patrizia Cecchi (Director BU Italian Exhibitions, IEG)
09.15 am
Paolo Gambuli, ACIMAC General Manager
09.30 am
World production, consumption, imports and exports of ceramic tiles: trends and prospects
Luca Baraldi (Acimac/MECS)
10.10 am
The US market: Who is going to win?
Joseph Lundgren (Joseph Lundgren Consulting, USA)
10.30 am
What future for Asia and Africa amid new challenges and opportunities?
Panel Debate with key figures from the local ceramic industry
  • Mr. Ye Yongkai, Vice President New Pearl Ceramics (China)
  • Mr. Prem Narayan Trivedi, Director of Indian Council of Ceramic Tiles & Sanitaryware (India)
  • Mr. Patrick Oaikhinan, Epina Technologies (Nigeria)
  • Mr. Mohammad Roshanfekr, CEO of Iranian Ceramic Producers’ Syndicate (Iran)
  • Mr. Ilter Yurtbay, Chairman of Serkap, Turkish Ceramic Tile Association (Turkey)
11.45 am
Trends of Distribution in Tiles & Flooring
Christophe CALLON (Purchasing and Marketing Manager SAINT GOBAIN BUILDING DISTRIBUTION - Tiles & Flooring. CEO Decoceram)
12.15 pm
Is Italy still a model?
ROUND TABLE with the Chairmen of the Italian Ceramic Industry Associations
  • Giovanni Savorani, Chairman of Confindustria Ceramica
  • Claudio Casolari, Chairman of Ceramicolor
  • Paolo Sassi, Chairman of Acimac
01.00 pm
Networking Lunch
02.30 pm
02.30 pm
A long History of digitalization
Franco Stefani, Presidente System Ceramics
03.00 pm
Italian Government policies for the future of the Industry 4.0 plan
Ilaria Vesentini (Il Sole 24 Ore) interviews:
  • Marco Calabrò (Italian Ministry of Economic Development)
  • Andrea Bianchi (Confindustria’s Director for Industrial Policies)
03.45 pm
Digital humanism explained by
  • Maurizio Brioschi (Head of Digital Enterprise Division CEFRIEL)
  • Luciano Sottile (General Manager Machine Division Goglio Spa)
04.45 pm
Question time and conclusions


Forum Monzani, Modena

Programme 12th November 2019
- 11th Acimac Annual Meeting “Digital Evolution” -

08.30 am
09.00 am
Paolo Gambuli (Acimac General Manager)
Towards complete digitalisation of ceramic companies
09.15 am
PRIME, Digital Industrial Design
Cristian Mattioli (System Ceramics)
09.30 am
The road to plant digitalisation
Paolo Gatti (Sacmi)
09.45 am
The BMR digital line and logistics 4.0
Marco Sichi (BMR)
10.00 am
Digital Synergies
Stefano Guidarini (Proteo Engineering)
10.15 am
The digital factory by LB: improving the efficiency of machine and plant interactions in the PLUS and STAR solutions
Giuseppe Cavani, Stefano Puccini (LB)
10.30 am
Software for the factory 4.0: the experience of FLORIM with COMPASS10
Fabrizio Arnaldi (Plannet) and Maurizio Mambelli (Florim)
10.45 am
Suppliers and users exchange views
Digitalisation in intralogistics and warehouses: new solutions for creating value
11.45 am
Intralogistics 4.0, the added value of modern ceramics
Giuseppe Miselli (Sacmi) and Stefano Cudicio (Toyota Material Handling Italia)
12.00 pm
Picking management and optimisation
Paolo Cometto, Franco Angelotti (Movetro/Intermac)
12.15 pm
Intralogistics: innovative technologies for use in new management models
Paolo Serpagli, Miki Ferrari (Weflex)
12.30 pm
Suppliers and users exchange views
01.00 pm
Networking Lunch
The new frontiers of digital decoration of ceramic surfaces
02.35 pm
Decoration: the innovation of digital technology from System Ceramics
Paolo Casarini (System Ceramics)
02.50 pm
The need for production flexibility and consistent quality. The response from Sicer: supplier or partner?
Sergio Marcaccioli (Sicer)
03.05 pm
Synchronisation of the digital decoration process
Roberto Scala, Davide Medici (Sacmi)
03.20 pm
Je pense donc Je suis digital
Claudio Casolari (Metco)
03.35 pm
Suppliers and users exchange views
04.35 pm
Question time and conclusions