Ceramics 2013 to Showcase Revolutionary Technology

Visitors to Ceramics 2013 will be able to learn more about revolutionary technology that could cut energy costs for the industry by up to 30 per cent. 

The technology could help UK producers reduce carbon emissions at the same time as increasing profits and employment – and experts believe there could also be benefits for sectors that use advanced ceramics, such as healthcare. 

Materials technology business Ceram has finished building the kiln at its Stoke-on-Trent headquarters after winning about £2 million from the Government’s Regional Growth Fund last year. 

Previous research and laboratory trials found ways of reducing the temperature at which ceramics need to be fired. Now Ceram’s Low Energy Firing Project team has built a 25-metre-long (80 feet) commercial-scale kiln to develop the technology further. 

Ceram is among the sponsors of Ceramics 2013 to be held on September 26. The event brings together companies from across the industry and its supply chain. 

Dr David Pearmain, project manager at Ceram, said: “The potential of this work is really exciting. We think we can reduce firing times as well as temperatures, so there could be very, very significant advantages for the sector.  

“If the commercial-scale project is successful, it will help UK firms compete in the international market place – which has to be good news for jobs.” 

Initial testing is already underway, and the first commercial-scale results should be available before the end of the year. 

Dr Pearmain said: “We’ve invested a significant amount of our own money in the Low Energy Firing Project. The kiln we have designed is unique, and we believe there are potential spin-offs for other industries. 

“Making ceramics is really energy intensive, and the sector is under a lot of pressure to cut consumption because of costs and environmental regulations. 

“We’re very hopeful that the Low Energy Firing Project will help ceramics firms do exactly that.” 

Ceram specialises in materials development, innovation, resource efficiency and testing across a range of sectors including medical devices, construction, ceramics and pharmaceuticals. 

Ceramics 2013 is the latest in an annual series of events organised by industry leaders for the industry. The event is organised by a steering committee consisting of representatives from the British Ceramic Confederation, North Staffordshire Chamber of Commerce, Dudson, Endeka Ceramics, Ceram, Emma Bridgewater, Wade, Valentine Clays and Stoke-on-Trent City Council, the event is part funded by the European Regional Development Fund and industry sponsorship. This year has seen a change of venue, to the new CoRE exhibition centre, Stoke-on-Trent, and the introduction of live demonstrations for the first time.

The event will feature a Made in the UK design theme and a keynote speech by well known British designer Wayne Hemingway. 

Ends 

For media enquiries contact Nigel Howle by telephone on 07762043436 or email, nigehowle@o2.co.uk  

Notes to Editors: 

From designer makers to large manufacturers, the British ceramics industry is renowned the world over.  Ceramics 2013 is a major industry event bringing together ceramics companies and their suppliers to both celebrate and market the industry and showcase its future as a design-led, iconic British success story.  

UK Ceramic Industry Key Facts 

  • The ceramics industry has sales, including supply chain, of £2 billion with more than 20,000 people are employed in the industry and its suppliers
  • Total export sales value more than £500 million. 
  • The sector includes bricks, wall and floor tiles, clay roof tiles, tableware, sanitaryware, technical ceramics, refractories and materials suppliers 

About Ceram 

Ceram is an independent, international materials technology company that operates in a wide variety of sectors around the world. 

Headquartered in Staffordshire, UK, and with approved laboratories around the world, Ceram solves product and process challenges across a range of materials to help clients improve performance, comply with regulations and manage resource efficiency in order to gain a competitive advantage and increase profitability. 

Experts from Ceram are happy to comment on relevant issues including innovation and sustainability. 

About the Regional Growth Fund 

The Government’s Regional Growth Fund (RGF) is a £2.6 billion fund operating across England from 2011 to 2016. It supports projects and programmes that lever private sector investment to create economic growth and sustainable employment. 

The first three rounds will generate over £13 billion of private sector investment and create or safeguard over 500,000 jobs. 

The fourth round of RGF will make a further £350 million available in the pot and bidding has now closed. 

For more information please go to:

www.gov.uk/understanding-the-regional-growth-fund