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Delivering the ‘ingredients’ for ceramics innovation

Inside Sibelco’s Tile Technical Centre

In Northern Italy, our application engineers spend their days pushing the boundaries of material innovation in the field of tile manufacture.

Sibelco’s Tile Technical Centre in Maranello is dedicated to developing new products and solutions to accommodate market trends and meet exacting customer standards – whether it’s for super-whiteness, large format tiles, or greater cost efficiency. Skilled in material science, ceramic production processes, and frits and glazes, Sibelco collaborates with universities, ceramic machinery suppliers and customers to test and assess material properties, and develop solutions for the market.

It’s a careful balance of minerals analysis and experimentation – a process Vincenzo Torre, VP of Sibelco’s global Tiles, Engobes and Engineered Stone business likes to compare with being a pastry chef: “We’re relied upon to provide the highest quality ingredients for our customers and then to test the ‘recipes’ to create the finest ceramics products. Sometimes customers want a better consistency, sometimes it’s whiter colour or a silkier glaze, so we’re constantly trialling new mineral mixes and manufacturing methods.”

The Maranello Tile Centre is part of Sibelco’s Technology and Innovation (T&I) Global Centres Network and home to a variety of cutting-edge technologies; both for analysis (X-Ray Fluorescence, dilatometers, heating and stereo microscopes, and others) and for application testing (a brand new laboratory roller kiln, tile presses and a variety of mills etc.).

This means that a variety of mineral properties and behaviours can be tested on site, including but not limited to; rheology, sintering, bending strength and melting points, while application experiments and quality control tests can also be undertaken.

Vincenzo Torre says the range of capabilities at the facility are critical to supporting customers’ growth ambitions: “Customers often tell us that as little as a 1% increase in production is enough to bring in over a million euros extra per year. This is why the Maranello Tile Centre is so important. We can help them to discover and implement the marginal improvements that lead to higher yields – better performing materials, new mixes, stronger products – and add great value to their businesses”.

To find out more about Sibelco’s high performance range of materials for ceramics, see our Ceramics Product Tool.

Sibelco. Material solutions ∼ Advancing life.