7th ECTS Symposium: "Mechanization in Traditional Indian Clay Brick & Tile Industry"

VDMA India

The German Engineering Federation, VDMA India organized the 7th ECTS symposium on “Mechanization in Traditional Indian Clay Brick and Tile Industry” in the Hotel Starottel in Ahmedabad on 2nd March 2020. Five companies from different parts of Europe, from Germany, Spain, Italy, Turkey and the Netherlands presented technical solutions for production of high-quality bricks and tiles to the local industry in Gujarat and other neighboring states in the western region.

ECTS stands for European Ceramic Technology Suppliers. It is a working group of European suppliers and a unique network of European suppliers of machinery, materials and engineering services for the production of ceramics and related technologies like heavy clay, fine ceramics, technical ceramics or powder metallurgy. Currently 25 member companies concentrate the state of the art in ceramics technology and provide all products and services along the process chain. By our estimates, a total of around 4.500 employees in Europe generate a yearly turnover of 850 Million Euros.
 
India has always been a focal point for ECTS activities with market investigation activities dating back to the very beginning of the working group ten years ago.
 
The Heavy Clay industry in India offers a big market. It is estimated that 200 billion bricks are manufactured every year. The estimated market size of the brick industry is Euro 17.5 billion. Indian brick industry mainly produces solid bricks, which has the potential to be replaced by more resource efficient bricks such as perforated bricks, hollow blocks and fly-ash bricks.
 
The challenges which the Indian brick and tile manufacturers are facing are manifold. Environmental issues and the strict stand of the government against the depletion of top soil are major concerns. Another factor affecting the industry is the increasing cost of labor as a consequence of government schemes which offer 100 days work in a year to one member of rural families with a minimum wage. Further, the prices of bricks are not increasing in proportion to the rising costs of transport, raw material, labor, etc. This event served as a platform to discuss demands and challenges local brick makers are facing.
 
In 2014, European Ceramic Technology Suppliers (ECTS) organized a seminar on “Toward an Energy Efficient Production of High Quality Bricks & Tiles in India” for the heavy clay industry of the eastern and north eastern part of India in Kolkata. The ECTS delegation consisting of around 13 members had participated in the Seminar. This seminar drew over 120 brick and tile makers primarily from West Bengal, Jharkhand and neighboring states in eastern and north eastern region.

In 2017 & 2018, similar symposia were organized in Madurai and Hyderabad, respectively. The seminars attracted over 250 people together from the local heavy clay industry in Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Kerala, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh and other neighboring states in southern India. Also last year the symposium was organized in Agartala. ECTS members from different parts of Europe, again presented technical solutions for production of high-quality bricks and tiles to the local industry in Tripura, Assam and other neighboring states in north east India. The symposium again received an overwhelming response again.

The visit to Ahmedabad is the seventh visit of an ECTS delegation to India in a row. 5 companies from different parts of Europe, from Germany, Spain, Italy, Turkey and the Netherlands will present technical solutions for production of high-quality bricks and tiles to the local industry. The symposium received participation of over 70 brick and tile manufacturers in Gujarat and other neighboring states in western India. In fact we had guests also present from Bengal.
 
The symposium started off with a welcome address from Mr. Ajmal Fawad, Deputy Manager, VDMA India. The Chief Guest, Mr. Devendra N. Prajapati, President, All India Brick & Tile Manufacturing Federation & Gujarat Brick Manufacturing Federation discussed the challenges faced by the industry in the region. Amongst us, Mr. Ashoke Tewari, Vice President, All India Brick & Tile Manufacturing Federation was also present. Later Mr. Miquel Moix, Chairman, ECTS in his keynote address welcomed the local brick manufacturers and explained the importance of mechanization in the current challenges faced by the local brick makers in India.

The program was divided into 4 presentations on different topics made by the respective participating companies. The companies along with the topics of their presentations are as follows:
 

  • Ar-san Makina, Turkey: Your solution partner for clay bricks and clay blocks
  • Beralmar Technologic, Spain: European Technology made in India at affordable price
  • De Boer Machines, Netherlands / Damle India: Solid soft-mud bricks – An ideal facing material for India’s future buildings
  • Maschinenfabrik Gaustuv Eirich, Germany: Intensive material preparation technology for ceramic applications – From dry mixing to suspending

During the breaks the interested brick makers had sufficient opportunity to interact with the ECTS members. The symposium concluded with a B2B session which provided a good interaction and networking opportunity for both the members and speakers at the event.