Brazil’s heavy clay sector developing

The acceleration of the construction sector is motivating Brazil’s clay brick and tile industry to grow and improve. This goal brings together all the companies in the sector, even micro and small enterprises, regardless of their location or market. The Brazilian ceramist wants to make better products, more products, save energy, respect the environment and avoid any kind of waste.

One of the main missions of the Brazilian heavy clay segment is to offer quality products as a way of leveraging its competitiveness and ensuring its space in the country’s construction industry. Our sector is the main supplier of materials for walls and roofing for both residential and commercial use. The standardization of products (bricks, blocks, tiles and ceramic pipes) is one of the greatest challenges for most of the sector to continue being competitive against the competition of alternative products, usually manufactured by large multinational companies.

    The figures impressively show the huge importance of heavy clay and building ceramics for the Brazilian construction industry: Today, ceramic products are used for more than 90% of masonry work and roofing in the country. The segment represents 4.8% of the construction industry and generates approximately 300 000 direct and 900 000 indirect jobs. According to the Brazilian Geography and Statistics Institute (Instituto Brasileiro de Geografia e Estatística – IBGE) commissioned by the Brazilian Government, the sector has 6 903 companies, with an annual turnover of more than 18 bill. Reals (around € 5.7 bill). Monthly, more than 4 bill. units of masonry and structural blocks are produced, as well as 1.3 bill. roofing tiles.

As the official representative of the sector in Brazil, Anicer has launched initiatives to boost the development of the ceramics industry. Recently, the Association presented the results for the Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) for Ceramic Products – masonry bricks and roofing tiles – and its comparison with the equivalent concrete-made products. This novel study in the construction industry, which was developed by the Canadian company Quantis, identifies every environmental interference of a product, from its production until final disposal and is therefore capable of showing the consumers which products are the most environment-friendly. The LCA for roofing tiles proved that each m2 of ceramic roof requires 70% less water than concrete tiles, and because they are around 15 to 20% lighter and have to be transported over shorter distances, they issue 70% less equivalent CO2 into the atmosphere. Moreover, they consume 57% less energy than their competitors. The study performed with ceramic blocks indicated that this material has less impact on the climate changes and in the depletion of non-renewable resources. The emission of greenhouse gases for 1 m2 wall built with ceramic blocks is approximately 50% lower than 1 m2 wall made with concrete and 1/3 of the gases issued by using concrete walls cast on site.

To reduce the losses in the productive process, the emission of pollutants and exploit clay in a sustainable manner, Anicer offers its associates consultancy in Energy Efficiency (EE). Technicians measure the electrical energy consumption of the machines and transformers and the energy efficiency of kilns and dryers. Based on the measurement results, a diagnosis is developed with proposals to reduce losses and improve the efficiency.

The qualification of the companies in the PSQ is one of Anicer‘s flagship projects, with the objective of anchoring quality awareness throughout the sector and improving its image with the public. Focused on the continuous qualification and development processes, a growing number of brickworks and roofing tile factories have entered the Quality Sectoral Programs, which are part of the Brazilian Quality Program (PSQ) and Productivity in the Habitat (PBQP-H) in the Ministry of Cities, an action of the Federal Government and private initiative towards technical compliance of construction materials and stimulus to the professional and managerial development.

In a partnership with the Brazilian Small Enterprise Assistance Service – SEBRAE, Anicer has just launched its new project with the objective of promoting sustainability in the heavy clay industries throughout the country. The project “Cerâmica Sustentável é + Vida” intends to reach 600 micro and small industries in the sector on five important fronts: Qualification in the PSQ/PBQP-H, Business Management, Technological Innovation, Energy Efficiency and Environmental Licensing, which enables the incorporation and treatment solid residues in productive processes.

As well as manufacturing a naturally efficient and eco-friendly material, the Heavy Clay Industry is aware of the environmental issues. The clay extraction areas are recultivated and the industries use renewable biomasses in its kilns, consuming what is disposed of by the forestry industries, such as packaging, furniture, wood, wood waste, agroindustry residues, among others. Therefore, they help conserve the environment, and in 10 years, the companies that have carbon credit projects have avoided issuing the equivalent of 11 mill. CO2 tonnes into the atmosphere.

Cesar Gonçalves

Businessman and President of the

Ceramic Industry National Association

(Associação Nacional da Indstria Cerâmica) – Anicer


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