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The Bright side of Indian Ceramic Industry

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Flavour Granito manufactures technically advanced vitrified tiles with a wide range of décor options for home and commercial applications. The highly competitive ceramic market in India demands introduction of new technologies for manufacturing newer designs and high quality products. The Company’s Managing Director, Dharmendra Rupala answers a few questions from Buildotech.

India is one of the largest tiles market in the world. Tiles production in India is much higher than in many countries.

In FY16, Indian tiles industry volumes were estimated at 763m sqmt making it the third largest producer and consumer of tiles in the world. The value of the ceramic tile market size is INR 260 billion.

During CY08-16, Indian tile production showed a CAGR of 9.5% as compared to the global growth rate of 5.5%. It also overtook China’s 8.1% and Brazil’s 4.4%.

Increasing domestic demand, rising incomes, urbanization, greater awareness and visibility of new and innovative products – especially PGVT/ DGVT tiles and the massive construction industry were the drivers for growth.

The growth prospects of the ceramic tiles market in India for the next 2-3 years…

Despite the slowdown in the real estate sector, the Indian tile Industry is expected to continue its growth trajectory – the reason being, it’s competitiveness in the International markets in terms of designs, innovations, product quality, product variety, pricing and volumes.

Several industry leaders and experts expect double digit growth over the next 2-3 years. At Flavour Granito LLP, we have already made massive investments in R&D, Design, Manufacturing Capacities, Technology and Marketing to cash in on the growth opportunities.

The Indian consumer is maturing and is aware of the latest global trends, is selective in the choice of products, design and finish – and Flavour Granito is adequately equipped to satisfy the Indian consumer. Our international business is also expected to grow from our current 30% of production to over 50% in the next 3-5 years.

What are the current trends in ceramic tiles in terms of design, finish, colour and size?

We closely monitor customer preferences, domestic and global trends, technology updates and product life cycles. With a strong market feedback mechanism, we are able to fairly gauge and predict product preferences and create inventories accordingly.

Customers – both household and the construction industry are increasingly levitating towards Italian marble design, stone finishes and Homogenous Color Body Tiles. While designers, architects and the discerning customers prefer Matt finish tiles, the bulk still go for the glossy finish.

Flavour Granito has a highly talented and skilled design team who produce highly detailed replicas of natural stone, marble and wood textures with mind-boggling and intricate detailing. In addition, our Hi-Definition, Micropixel, Nano Technology printing technology renders these designs on to the tiles maintaining its original integrity of color and detail.

What are the new technologies in tiles manufacturing and laying? What are the innovations?

Tile manufacturing is a rapidly changing and developing industry. From the humble beginnings of the 10-inchx10-inch tiles, we have evolved to the large format slab tiles of 8×4 feet. From drab monochrome tiles, we have exploded into a extra-wide spectrum of designs, colors, finishes, textures, thicknesses and sizes to give the customers a million permutations and combinations.

While most tile manufacturers use coal-gas-based kilns to fire the tiles, we have invested in the latest, natural gas-fired kilns which are not only eco-friendlier as compared to the coal-gas-based kilns, but also produce tiles that are superior in terms of glaze and uniformity of surface finish. Coal-gas causes high discoloration of the tile whereas natural gas maintains the whiteness of the material, which maintains the integrity of color and design.

We are the first to install the 220- meter kiln, the largest in the industry, it can support significantly higher production capacities.

Another new technology that we have adopted is, of course, the Hi-Definition, Micro-pixel, Nano-technology printing which gives you superb detailing and “Random” printing of designs to give you exquisite tiles that are different from each other i.e. each tile is unique in design.

Another technological input that we use at Flavour Granito is the latest version of automatic, ceramic press. This award-winning press has been nominated for the innovative machine category. It produces tiles of uniform thickness, density and weight.

Apart from these, we have developed a mind-boggling range of “Rollers” to manufacture tiles with a variety of natural textures that mimic the “real thing”

The tiles are available in 600 x 600 mm , 800 x 800 mm , 600x1200mm and 1000x1000mm sizes. These sizes form the bulk of the market.

What are the special features of your company’s products?

The young management team at the helm are well travelled, and technologically well versed and progressive in its approach.

As mentioned earlier, our R&D and Design department, based on global trends and market preferences, create exquisitely fine and detailed designs of natural marble, stone, wood, etc. and also create appropriate Rollers for the desired, texture and finish. Several samples are made and the designs fine-tuned to bring out the final product.

Because of our state-of-the-art press, the technical uniformity in terms of thickness, density and weight of our products are maintained. There is less deviation, breakage and rejection.

Our future plans include aggressive domestic penetration ranging from metro cities to tier-II and III cities, increasing our market share through our channel partners and our professional sales & marketing team, enhancing our corporate sales, international sales and creating a formidable brand equity. We have recently been joined by Swaminathan Anand who heads our Marketing & Sales as Vice-President, and is best known and respected in the industry for his acumen for channel development, brand building and all- India sales.

How do we ensure quality? Is awareness about tile maintenance good enough among the users?

With a robust QA/QC in place which includes random checks of every batch of tiles that we produce, our products go through several checks for color intensity and shade variations, uniformity of glaze and reflectiveness, thickness, density, weight, scratch resistance, stain resistance, pressure test, etc.

In India, there is a huge gap when it comes to information and awareness about tile laying and tile maintenance. The good news is that, Flavour Granito has already planned a series of online campaigns including videos to educate masons, designers and architects about various techniques in tile laying, cutting, matching and maintenance.

How do the Associations keep a check on low cost and low-quality tiles coming into India from outside?

The tile industry association is actively engaged in promoting and creating awareness about India’s leadership position in the tile market. The threat of cheap, sub-standard imported product will always be there, however, the architect and interior designer community are very much aware of the dangers of using such products.

However, the momentum needs to be consistently and aggressively scaled up so that the Indian ceramic tiles should attain the status of the “first choice” globally.

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