Worldwide ceramics markets are increasingly diversified, poised to represent significant size as every segment continues to grow. Ceramics covers a broad range of sectors within the building industry. Ceramics sub-sectors are being impacted by the need for the availability of raw materials and the high costs of energy. As solar energy becomes available, competitive, and affordable by 2016, this is set to create vast market shifts in the ceramics markets.
The cost structures of energy-intensive ceramics producers are impacted by increasing fuel prices. The ceramics manufacturing process needs efficient energy. High energy costs for manufacturing is changing markets, hindering the competitiveness of ceramics producers without access to cheap fuels. The price of energy has risen. Ceramics sectors substantially mirror the change in the price of crude oil. Energy costs account for a measurable share of operating costs.
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Ceramic segments include roof tiles, floor tiles, bricks, sanitary pottery, ceramic insulation, glass, cement, and refactory clay bricks. There are many different types of ceramic tiles including refractory tiles, technical tiles, ornamental tiles, roofing tiles, and tiles made into stands.
The ceramics sector is faced with a number of competitiveness challenges, many of which have been fuelled by globalization. Increased environmental regulation continues to be an issue. The increase in the number of comparative low-cost ceramics products being imported from emerging economies is a sign that in some sectors, particularly in the ceramic tableware sub-sector, the local competitive advantage on the basis of cost is diminishing.
Major global players are emerging in many ceramics subsectors, especially in wall and floor tile manufacturing.
A key competitiveness factor for the ceramics sector is increased environmental regulation and control. The relatively high energy-intensity of ceramics production, brought about by the need to heat kilns up to 2000°C, makes the reduction of carbon dioxide emissions challenging.
The technologies and techniques used in ceramics production to minimize energy use by kilns are already advanced. Major short-term future increases in efficiency are unlikely.
According to Susan Eustis, lead author of the WinterGreen Research team that prepared the study, “The effects of globalization on the ceramics industry include potential economic benefit for market participants who are able to expand globally. Globalization of the ceramics sector has encouraged specialization in many markets. Within the EU, vendors have become world leaders in producing value added ceramics products, many of which are manufactured by flexible and innovative SMEs.
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Globalization opportunities have encouraged firms to extend their activities to an international arena. A systematic review through the framework profile of the ceramics sector was undertaken, covering the regulatory conditions, the framework conditions, and the conditions. The review was based on a literature survey and interviews with market participants and users.”
Consideration of ceramics market forecasts indicates that markets at $296.2 billion will reach $502.8 billion by 2020. Growth comes as every industry achieves efficiency in manufacturing process and renewable energy efficiency. The vendors in the ceramics industry have to invest in high-quality production processes, logistics systems that guarantee fast delivery and the development of innovative products in order to keep market share.
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