On 18th September, in the presence of Her Royal Highness Princess Anne, a new production line at the British Ceramic Tile plant, located in Heathfield, Newton Abbot, Devon, was inaugurated.
The location of the plant is certainly no chance occurrence: not far from this site lie extensive deposits of white clay, which makes up a considerable percentage of the double-fire bodies the plant uses to make wall tiles. This latest line will allow British Ceramic Tile to double its output capacity and extend the product range to incorporate larger sizes.
Sacmi Imola S.C. was a key partner in this project, contributing to expansion via the supply of three PH3020 hydraulic presses, two twin-channel EBS235/33.6 driers and 2 twin-channel FBS260/90.3 kilns able to meet the factory’s entire ‘biscuit’ requirements. Also included was the installation of the entire spray-dried material storing/batching system and a system to control connections between the new PH 3020 presses, the two existing PH1000s and the four horizontal dryer channels: these connections were made in such a way as to maximise flexibility and simultaneously reduce size change-over times. Installation of a third PH1000 is now nearing completion : this will boost output volumes for the 150 x 150 size that is used extensively on the British market.
This key investment, as stated in the opening speech made by Dr. Konrad Goess-Sarau, company chairman, aims to set the industrial standard both locally and nationally. The owner’s aim is to demonstrate that, through proper investment in modern technology, even in a country like the UK where the economic focus is on the tertiary sector, a manufacturing company can still make a great ‘real economy’ product and do so competitively.
Another key strongpoint for the company is its vicinity to the market: to this end a huge effort has also been made to improve end-of-line logistics and so ensure orders are dealt with extremely fast, thus giving the company an unbeatable advantage over importers of products not made in the UK.
Current market conditions appear to show this approach to be the right one: the pound’s weakening against the Euro and the heightened production efficiency generated by the new investment will make British Ceramic Tile a winner when it comes to competing with products imported from countries with a long history of doing business on British markets (e.g. Spain, Portugal and Turkey).