Beyond Function The Allure of Ceramic Creations

Team Chemical Market

17 Apr 2024
Ceramic Tiles

Ceramic Tiles (Courtesy: YouTube)


From their humble beginnings in ancient civilizations to their contemporary manifestations shaped by cutting-edge technology, Ceramics define spaces with style and functionality. From the intricate patterns on the floors of palaces to the sleek elegance of modern architecture, these stand as a symbol of the enduring legacy of craftsmanship and innovation.  A major portion of the Ceramic production today goes into the making of floor and wall tiles. Below is a short description of the manufacturing process.

Ceramic tile manufacturing

Modern Ceramic tile manufacturing comprises several meticulous steps from Raw material preparation to Packaging.
Ceramic Tile Manufacturing

Ceramic Tile Manufacturing (Courtesy: YouTube)

Raw material preparation: Clay minerals, feldspar, and silica among others are mined, crushed, and finely ground into a powder ensuring quality and consistency.

Batch mixing: The powdered raw materials are mixed with water in precise proportions, to form a plastic clay-like mass.

Shaping: The clay mass is shaped using one of three methods depending on the desired end product:-

Extrusion - Material is forced through a dye to create tiles of uniform thickness.
Pressing -  The Clay mass is pressed into molds at high pressure to form tiles with intricate designs or textures.
Molding  - The mixture is pressed into molds either manually or by machines to obtain irregular shapes or relief patterns on the surface.

Drying:  The excess moisture is removed either by drying in ambient air or passing the material through drying chambers to expedite the process.

Glazing: A thin layer of glass-forming material is applied to the dried tile surface either by dipping, spraying, or brushing. Glazing not only enhances aesthetic appeal but also protects against stains and abrasion. Depending upon the end product, some of the materials  used at  this stage are :  

Silicon Dioxide -  Glass forming agent.
Metal oxides - For example iron oxide ( for red, brown, and yellow colors)
Opacifiers - Example Tin oxide, titanium dioxide. These create opaque or semi-opaque glazes.
Stabilizers -  To achieve specific surface effects.

Firing:  Glazed tiles are fired in kilns at high temperatures typically 1000 to 1200 deg C. The process vitrifies the clay, making the tiles waterproof and durable.

Finishing: Certain decorative tiles undergo additional finishing processes such as polishing to enhance shine and smoothness.

Packaging: Finished tiles are carefully packaged into cardboard boxes, labeled, and made ready for despatch.

Quality checks are conducted at various stages, to ensure the final product meets specifications.  The manufacturing of the tiles may seem quite simple. However, the precise mix of Ceramic materials and process parameters play a vital role in the result of the end product.

Tile Market Scenario

The above illustration depicts the major companies involved in the organized sector, which constitutes 50% of the total market share. In terms of value, it is dominated by about 16 organized players.  Manufacturing is concentrated in   Morbi near Rajkot in Gujarat  (the largest tile manufacturing cluster in the world). It accounts for 80% of the total production in India with about 800 factories.  Estimated at Rs 30,000 Crores per annum, constituting  7% of the globalproduction, the key export markets include the Middle East and Europe.

Other Ceramic Products

The above figure shows the use of ceramics in various segments. Sanitaryware, tableware, and Technical Ceramics constitute the balance of the Ceramic production.
  • Sanitaryware - Categorized into 4 segments, basic, standard, premium, and luxury, the organized sector has a share of 10%, 25%, 100%, and 100% respectively. Major players are Cera, Hindware, Johnson, Neycer, Toto, and Kohler.
  • Tableware - Primarily  in the unorganized sector.
  • Technical Ceramics - Ceramics have excellent electrical insulation properties and offer thermal stability. Hence they are used in Electrical Insulators, capacitors, and resistors. They also find applications in automotive catalytic converters, spark plugs, and the lining of furnaces and reactors. It is at a nascent stage in India for electronic applications.

Future Outlook

With  India poised to grow at a CAGR of 7 %, the government has prioritized " Housing for All "  and  "Swacch Bharat" schemes. The Tile and Sanitaryware segments are set to grow at a CAGR of 8%. This will give rise to more clusters akin to Morbi. Furthermore,  demand is expected to rise in the renewable energy sector for dielectric materials in high-energy storage capacitors.

New Technologies

To maintain competitiveness, the ceramic industry is embracing new technologies. Some of the Ceramic industry trends on this subject  are given below :
  • Nano Technology - Renders tiles dirt and bacteria-resistant. Suitable for applications such as floor tiles in hospitals, food processing plants, and laboratories.
  • 3-D Printing -  Utilized for wall and outdoor cladding, emerging as a statement of style.
  • Large-size tiles -  Enhances productivity and reduces cost.

Other Issues

There are several issues facing the ceramic industry, the most notable among them are:
  • Rising raw material costs.
  • Cheap Imports from China.
  • High fuel costs and lack of reliable power supply
  • Environmental issues related to air and water pollution and solid waste disposal.
  • Lack of skilled manpower. Workers are vulnerable to occupational health hazards and are prone to developing silicosis in their working lives.


The History of Ceramics dates back to many centuries. Tiles and ceramics have long been essential elements in architectural and interior design. With advancements in technology and manufacturing processes, the range of available styles, colors, and textures has expanded exponentially, allowing designers and homeowners alike to tailor spaces to their unique preferences. With their excellent thermal stability, mechanical robustness, and chemical inertness, ceramics will find their use in future technologies yet to be discovered.


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