Equipment such as Kilns that can be used on all types of tiles is being upgraded by maximizing their investment dollars.
Mainland and Hong Kong suppliers are maximizing their investment dollars by also upgrading equipment such as kilns that they can use on all types of tiles.
$6.2 million will be spent by Sunny Ceramics Co. Ltd of the mainland million to build a new kiln that will boost production capacity 25 percent by May this year.
Foshan Xinghui has already poured $37 million into the establishment of five kilns and a 150,000sqm factory. The company is improving its kilning capability to ensure quality exceeds international standards. For instance, it keeps the tile size defect error rate at no more than Â±0.2mm and the water absorption rate at below 0.8 percent.
Yima Ceramics Co. Ltd, meanwhile, will add three new productionlines to boost capacity this year. The mainland company's tiles undergo four-time roller printing that keeps the water absorption rate between 0.1 and 0.2 percent.
Computerized controls to monitor the temperature levels of their kilns are being used by more makers in Hong Kong . Maxtech International Ltd said this helps tiles retain their shape.
Ideal Home considers kilning one of the most critical steps in tile production. The company makes porcelain tiles, a variation of traditional ceramic models that require a kilning temperature of 1,200 C. This is 100 degrees higher than the kilning temperature of ceramic tiles.
Mainland suppliers generally source ceramic tile-making machinery domestically. All large makers and about half of the midsize companies there, however, import presses mainly from Italy.
Zibo Gold Card Ceramics Co. Ltd will be importing presses from Europe in the first half of the year. These will be housed in the company's new wall tile manufacturing line that is expected to increase capacity by 30 percent.
Mainland-made presses currently have a maximum pressure of 7,000 tons. Suppliers in this report said this amount of pressure is not enough to produce tiles with the hardness level common in high-end models.
Most small and some midsize suppliers have to make do with local equipment as they are unable to shoulder the additional cost of importing presses . This is typically used in the manufacture of low-end and midrange ceramic tiles.