The 2008 meeting of Qualicer in Castellon, Spain, brought together more than 600 experts from 25 countries February 10-13, “with the aim to find formulas that would enable ceramics to gain competitiveness against other industrial coverings,” say organizers.

Australian scientist Richard Bowman led opening day conferences by providing a highly “enlightening retrospective, demonstrating that there are still challenges to be overcome in the ceramic industry, such as quality training for tile fixers,” say organizers.

Also speaking on opening day was Alfredo González, president of the Spanish Association of Frit, Glaze, and Ceramic Color Manufacturers (ANFECC) on internationalization as a competitive advantage.

Another panel, directed by Mila Paya and José Castellano, served to determine future lines of action, which may entail innovation for the industrial ceramic tile sector, taking into account three types of innovation: aesthetic innovation, technical innovation, and marketing innovation.

The second day of QUALICER saw a panel debate chaired by Javier Portolés highlighting the extremely creative moment currently materializing in the habitat world. Attendees were able to participate directly in “breaking up” the paradigm, through the ingenious contributions of the inventor Pep Torres, urging the audience to break up (in the most literal sense of the word) a tile that represented a mould. And finally, there was a panel debate directed by the North American expert Scott Carothers, which analyzed the North American ceramic tile market, a market with great potential and future.

Of note was the presentation by engineer Rajesh Nath on the Indian market and the vast possibilities it offers to the ceramic sector. Nath furnished the keys to the economy of this Asian power that is growing at an annual rate of 6%, and in the near future is expected to become the world’s fourth-largest economic power.

Domingo García Marzá, professor at Universitat Jaume I, an expert on social responsibility issues, laid out his vision of the new context in which companies move at the present time, with credibility and reputation become indispensable elements for building confidence.

Well-known industry veteran Patti Fasan provided an analysis of ceramic’s place, and put forward a number of constructive approaches to raise the market share of ceramics in the floor and wall coverings sector.

The last of the QUALICER 2008 invited lectures, chaired by Bruno Broseta, Director General of Industry, and delivered by Javier Mira and Gonzalo Silva of the Instituto de Tecnología Cerámica of Castellón, provided an interesting review of innovations that became milestones and have led to a new way of understanding ceramics.

For more information on Qualicer, visit www.qualicer.org.