This is how Giovanni Savorani, chairman of Confindustria Ceramica, assesses the situation on the Italian ceramics market. Unfortunately, with a view to the entire European brick industry, one can only agree with this finding. On the one hand, the demand for building ceramic products is very high due to the still lively construction activity. 2021 was an excellent year for most brick manufacturers. This trend has continued into the first half of this year. On the other hand, the brick industry is facing a tightening supply situation for its production. There are the supply chain problems triggered by the pandemic. Meanwhile, the weather has joined in and, just one example, has affected inland shipping in Central Europe. There are the massive price increases for gas and electricity as a result of the war in Ukraine. Then there is the uncertainty about whether and how much gas will be available in the winter and next year and whether the kilns will have to be shut down. The situation is serious and solutions are not in sight.
An important step towards this would be to consistently get rid of fossil and imported energy sources. A technically mature process for microwave firing would contribute to this. It is therefore pleasant that a technical article in this issue is devoted to the particular problem of “thermal runaway” in microwave firing.
It is also good news that this autumn, after two years, important industry information and networking events are taking place again. In Germany, these are the seminar of the Institute for Brick Research in Essen on 13 and 14 September and the brick course in Würzburg on 29 and 30 November. On an international level, the Clemson Brick Forum in the USA from 25 to 27 September and Tecna, the newly launched successor to Tecnargilla, in Italy from 27 to 30 September will open their doors again.
Discussing problems together, finding solutions and implementing them - that is what such events make possible and that is why it is so important that they take place again. Because we never achieve more against each other than together with each other. We should not forget that, especially now.
I wish you an entertaining and informative read.