Coop. Ceramica d’Imola expands in the large-size tile segment
When Cooperativa Ceramica d’Imola started up its new Continua+ line on 21 August 2017, this marked the completion of the first step in a 40 million euro investment project approved by the Imola-based group for the three-year period 2017-2019. Along with the Continua+ line, the company also started up a new 140-metre Eko kiln which will serve both the new line and the conventional pressing line. The finishing department has also been entirely refurbished.
The new plant joins the two Continua lines (the first version of the Sacmi technology) coupled with PH10000 presses that have been in operation since 2011 and 2014. These lines are used for the production of unglazed tiles in a maximum size of 120x120 cm for the Imola and Leonardo brands but had reached saturation and were insufficient to meet a market demand that has really taken off in recent years.
“We are not entering the large-size porcelain tile segment as a follower,” explained Chairman Stefano Bolognesi. This latest investment fulfils the need to raise production capacity in the large size segment and to adopt innovative pressing technology alongside traditional technology in order to further increase product size. The new line will produce tiles of 60x120 cm size upwards for the Imola and Faenza brands as well as large-size panels and slabs such as the 120x260 cm presented at Cersaie.
“Market demand is certainly shifting towards sizes of 120 cm and larger”, explained Stefano Bolognesi. “However, demand is fairly segmented and ranges from 60x120 cm (in my opinion the central size) to 120x120 cm and higher, including large panels and slabs more than two or three metres in length. The increasing demand for customisation is also forcing the ceramic industry to abandon its standardised approach and to develop proposals tailored to both the design world and the residential segment. At the same time, the specialist distribution market – at least in Europe – is no longer prepared to pay warehousing costs but at the same time demands an immediate response. So yes, our reference market is changing, but the Italian ceramic tile industry is also demonstrating an ability to keep pace with the changes while exploiting both existing and latent demand. This is not a point of arrival but a work in progress”.
- Read the complete interview published on Ceramic World Review 124/2017