Alternatives to ceramic clay by Guerra:
Main problems

Ceramic clay is one of the most widely used materials in the manufacture of construction products, such as tiles, bricks, roof tiles and many others.

However, due to the war conflict between Ukraine and Russia, many companies have sought alternatives to this material due to the rising price of the product, since Ukrainian clay has been a benchmark in recent years. In fact, Ukraine is the main supplier of clay for the Spanish ceramic sector, accounting for close to 70% of the total.

This entails not only the task of searching for a material that brings together characteristics approximating the Ukrainian, but also redefining and controlling the critical variables of the business processes that may be affected by the change.

In this article, we will explain some of the main problems encountered in trying to find an alternative to Ukrainian ceramic clay for the duration of the war and how a tool like MESbook can help you cushion the impact of this situation. Don't miss it!


Why is Ukrainian clay no longer used for ceramics?

Ukrainian clay is an important raw material for the production of ceramics. However, due to the ongoing war in Ukraine, the supply of this clay has been seriously disrupted, although it is not as talked about as gas.

As a result, many ceramic manufacturers have been looking for alternatives to this material, since the Ukrainian stock is estimated to be at a low level. This, which may seem to be a common difficulty in any sector, has a particular condition for the ceramics industry.

For many years the main companies have adapted their processes to Ukrainian clay, so that each of the actions that have a place in the production, face possible mismatches that enter fully into the final quality of the product.

Replacing it with another raw material would mean redefining, in many cases, a good part of the manufacturing process, which could significantly delay production and increase costs if measures are not taken and obtaining it elsewhere, as is already being done, is not simple.

For example, the new raw material may have certain different characteristics (such as moisture level, consistency, density...) that are critical for pressing.

And that is where a tool like MESbook comes into play, since we will be able to follow the variables of our processes and have the exact constancy of how it affects the business. By monitoring the production chain in real time, we will be able to know the degree of quality we are achieving so that we can modify it in order to ensure that the final result continues to have a place in the market.

How can an MES system help with raw material variation?

MES systems are essential for tracking and controlling the variation of raw materials. The data collected by the system can be analyzed to identify supply problems, track price variations of a raw material or assess the impact of a supply disruption.

In addition, MES systems can alert operators if a raw material is being used in an unsafe range or if waste is being produced. Therefore, investing in our software helps to monitor any anomalies in the production chain when introducing a new agent, such as the Ukrainian clay alternative.

Medium-term ceramic clay forecasts

In the medium term, the situation is not expected to improve significantly. As most of the mines are located in conflict zones, it is unlikely that they will be reopened in the near future.

Even if some mines were to recover their activity immediately, the cost of transportation would be extremely high due to the risks associated with trying to get the material through active military zones.

As a result, the price of ceramic clay is expected to continue to increase and supply will remain tight. This will make it increasingly difficult for builders to use this material in their projects and could lead to a significant increase in the cost of building new structures.

Therefore, making an investment in software such as ours seems a perfect solution so that this situation does not lead to a decrease in the quality of our product.

If you want to contact Mesbook without obligation, we are experts in MES solutions for the tile industry.

Marta Cejudo

Product Manager at MESbook

Marta Cejudo

Industrial organization engineer with 4 years of experience in real-time factory management as KAM.

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