Ceramitec 2024 - Good atmosphere and good discussions in Munich

The organisers of ceramitec 2024 consider the four days of the trade fair, which took place in Munich from 9 to 12 April, a success.

466 exhibitors from 36 countries presented their products and services in three halls. Compared to ceramitec 2022, these figures represent a significant increase (2022: 340 exhibitors from 32 countries). The number of visitors was also noticeably higher than at previous events. More than 13,000 visitors came to the exhibition halls, around 30 per cent more than in 2022.

The response from abroad was again very high this year. Collin Davis, Executive Director at Messe München, is delighted: “With an international share of 57 per cent of visitors and 65 per cent of exhibitors, ceramitec has impressively confirmed its relevance for the entire ceramics industry. We have seen the topics that move the industry here, from digitalisation to zero emissions, decarbonisation and resource efficiency as well as new applications for ceramic solutions - at the stands, but also in our conference programme.“

Heavy clay exhibitors satisfied

The suppliers and plant and machinery manufacturers for the heavy clay industry were represented in large numbers. Despite the gloomy outlook for the brick and tile industry in Central Europe, the mood was good among both the visiting manufacturers and the exhibitors. Non-European visitors were even more optimistic. This group in particular showed the most interest in investing. According to discussions with exhibitors and trade fair visitors, it was not just about individual machines. The construction of entire brick factories was apparently discussed. German brick manufacturers were also on site informing themselves about innovations and taking a look at new machines and instruments.

The Lingl stand was very busy. The Krumbach-based company had reorganised itself just a few days previously and presented itself under its new company name LINGL  SOLEAD. The new shareholder Herrmann Frentzen has provided information about the current situation and plans for the future (see the interview on page 6f).

Greek machine and plant manufacturer Sabo S.A. celebrated the company‘s 40th anniversary at its stand on Wednesday, 10 April. The founder Dimitris Kiliaris, together with his two daughters, now managing the company, welcomed the guests. They gave an insight into the company‘s history and thanked some of their most loyal and important customers with prizes.

The company‘s 40th anniversary was also a topic at the Thermoplan stand. Christian Nether reported on the company‘s current developments.Thermoplan is currently in the process of broadening its sales and product range and positioning itself as a full-service provider. His son Michael Nether presented the newly developed ‚Bluebox‘ roof tile testing system. German and international roof tile manufacturers showed interest in the project. More details on Thermoplan‘s future and the Bluebox in one of the upcoming issues of ZI.

A product innovation was also on show at Rotho‘s booth, a new dry goods carrier. The PrO rack weighs less and allows more ventilation, which should contribute to more efficient drying (see the Rotho article on p. 48).

Visitors also flocked to the KERAMISCHER OFENBAU stand. The big crowd-puller was the first electric tunnel kiln for sanitary ceramics, which the company had put into operation for the Roca Group at its Laufen plant in Austria (cf. ZI 1/2024). Many heavy clay ceramists also enquired about the tunnel kiln and its applicability for brick production.

Overall, the exhibitors were largely satisfied with the trade fair and the number of visitors. The opportunity to make direct contact with existing and potential new customers, as well as to exchange ideas with the industry, was particularly emphasized.

“For us, ceramitec is an ideal opportunity not only to make direct contact with our loyal customer base,“ said Cora Alten, Marketing & Communications, KERAMISCHER OFENBAU. There were also many opportunities to meet with new partners and to explain innovative technologies in the company portfolio to interested parties from the ceramics industry in more detail in personal discussions.

Giorgos Koukas, Commercial Director, Sabo, was satisfied with the number of visitors, their quality and the atmosphere: “For our company, ceramitec is an important communication channel with our customers and our industry.“

Klaus Oberpichler, Division Manager, Franz Banke GmbH, also praised the 2024 trade fair: “The highlight of this year‘s ceramitec was the very positive response from our customers and visitors. ceramitec is highly appreciated and, from our point of view, a pleasure to visit. The mood among our visitors was generally positive and cautiously optimistic. And we look back on this year‘s ceramitec with the same positive mood.“

The European Ceramic Technology Suppliers (ECTS) consortium was also satisfied. Consultant Stephan Oehme said: “After the event in 2022, which was still affected by coronavirus, ceramitec 2024 is back with a vengeance.The ongoing energy transition and the contribution that suppliers to the heavy clay industry can make were at the centre of many good discussions.“


Well-attended lecture programme at the heavy clay forum

The presentations at the heavy clay forum also attracted a lot of interest. The five lectures organised by the ZI editorial team in cooperation with the ceramitec organisers were also well attended and accompanied by questions and specialist interest.

On Tuesday, 9 April, Dr.-Ing. Elske Linss from the Materials Research and Testing Institute at the Bauhaus University Weimar (MFPA) discussed the question of whether the circular economy could be an opportunity for the brick and tile industry. She followed an overview of the current situation regarding the reuse and recycling of bricks with information on the life cycle of bricks. She then presented the current state of research and approaches as well as corresponding research projects at the MFPA and discussed the challenges for the future.

Two lectures took place on Wednesday, 10 April. Dr (PhD) Fritz Mödinger presented various measures with which the ecological footprint of a brick factory in Morocco could be reduced. In addition to the use of alternative fuels, he also discussed the use of alternative pore-forming agents and his experience with the use of photovoltaic systems.

Dr Anne Tretau, MFPA, discussed optimised drying processes using microwaves in her presentation. She presented the technical feasibility of microwave drying using brick blanks. She also discussed the results of research projects at the MFPA, followed by a discussion of the ongoing process control project.

On Thursday, 11 April, there were two presentations from the Institute for Brick and Tile Research in Essen (IZF). Denny Mathew Alex, M. Sc., collaborator at the IZF, presented a process model for simulating the temperature profile of bricks and roof tiles in the tunnel kiln. The model enables the temperature profiles of the product, the gas and the kiln car in the tunnel kiln to be created. This makes it possible to analyse the effectiveness of energy improvement measures in a tunnel kiln and to make well-founded decisions as an operator.

The last lecture was given by Dipl.-Ing. Eckhard Rimpel, Deputy Director of the IZF. He discussed various approaches to improving the energy efficiency of existing plants, efficient new plants and alternative fuels. These included internal atmosphere circulation in the tunnel kiln and the use of hydrogen and methane as fuels.


Conclusion and next date

Almost all of the exhibitors we talked to will return to ceramitec. The trade fair remains very important as an industry meeting point and interface with customers. However, there were a few requests and suggestions for the next trade fair.

The most important request concerned the date of the event. The trade fair dates should take into account important public holidays beyond the Christian calendar. In 2024, many customers and visitors from Muslim countries, important markets for heavy clay ceramic suppliers, were missing because the trade fair period overlapped with the end of Ramadan and Eid.

Many also wanted the heavy clay ceramics to be positioned closer to the trade fair entrance in future in order to reach more visitors. Hall A4 in the middle of the exhibition grounds was difficult for visitors to reach.

Messe München’s decision to change ceramitec from a three-year to a two-year cycle was met with a mixed response from exhibitors. Some welcomed this, pointing to an increased density of innovation in the ceramics sector. Others were skeptical as to whether the costly participation in the trade fair every two years would be worthwhile.

We will see how well the new rhythm will be accepted in two years’ time, from March 24 to 26, 2026, at the exhibition grounds in Munich.


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