Celebrating Ceramics in the UK
Ceramics UK will showcase the latest in high-tech British ceramic manufacturing.
Taking place July 10-11 at the Telford International Centre in Shropshire, England, Ceramics UK will be held just 40 miles from Stoke-on-Trent, the traditional heartland of UK ceramics. Today, the city is seeing a reenergized ceramic manufacturing sector, attracting government support, significant investment, enhanced skills training, the establishment of the Ceramic Valley Enterprise Zone and plans for an International Institute for Ceramics.
The list of confirmed exhibitors for Ceramics UK is growing daily, and visitor registration is now open; more than 3,000 attendees are expected from across the world. The free-to-attend event will be co-located with The Advanced Materials Show, which brings together OEMs, materials developers and manufacturers, and the entire research, development, and manufacturing supply chain to showcase the latest in high-performance materials technology for a range of applications.
“These are tremendously exciting times for British ceramic manufacturing,” said Adam Moore, managing director of Ceramics UK. “The ramping up of production expansion plans, increased R&D expenditure and the unveiling of new projects in the first half of the year coincide with Brexit. We will find ourselves at a crossroads, a place full of promise, at exactly the moment Ceramics UK takes place. We expect a dynamic meeting of minds, technology exchange and commercial deals that together will provide the building blocks for the future success of all strands of this key manufacturing industry.”
Design, manufacturing and supplier groups are supporting the latest initiatives affecting the UK ceramic economy. The British Ceramic Confederation, which represents a large part of the industry and is a supporter of Ceramics UK, has said that it wants to see its members grab a much bigger share of the global market. Indeed, last year’s paper on the subject saw the policy group confirming a stated aim of securing 15% year-on-year growth, marking a significant but achievable step change. By 2022, this increase would uplift the sector to £4 billion (approximately $5.2 billion) in sales and £1.5 billion (~ $2 billion) of gross value added (GVA) for the UK economy each year.
When considering the UK ceramic industry, many people across the world immediately think of the bone china, porcelain, vitrified tableware, earthenware, stoneware, brick, tile and insulators for which it is rightly famous. In recent decades, however, technical ceramics have made a tremendous impact and continue to increase exponentially in terms of sales and applications. In this sector, two British groups feature among the world’s leading producers, one with a turnover in excess of £1 billion (~ $1.32 billion) and the other with sales now approaching £500 million (~ $660 million). In addition, three other leading global manufacturers have production units located in the UK.
As happened with the birth of new technical ceramics (e.g., sialons in the 1970s), leading British research in this area continues to take place in advanced technology centers and world-renowned university departments. Advanced manufacturing industries, such as space, motorsport, automotive, civil and military aerospace, heat treatment, e-mobility, medical, electrical/electronics, energy storage, communications, defense, rail, renewables, oil and gas, and nuclear, represent highly receptive markets for technical ceramics. Interest from these end users is expected to be high.
Event organizers expect that Ceramics UK will see around 200 international exhibitors, including 3M, Rauschert, IPS Ceramics, CDS Group, Nanoe, Lucideon and Nanmac, among many others. Scores of high-level conference speakers, cross-disciplinary sponsors, and both governmental and non-governmental support will also feature.
The Ceramics UK Conference will also be free to attend and will take place in two dedicated areas adjacent to the exhibit space. In order to accommodate the substantial content base and address the distinct needs of different delegate groups, five separate tracks will run in concurrent sessions throughout the two days. The conference will cover the following themes: R&D in advanced materials; new applications areas for advanced materials; opportunities for the British ceramic market; British technical ceramic innovation and growing application areas; and Brexit, featuring the latest regulatory information impacting the supply chain, as well as what comes next.
“From the very moment we made the announcement about Ceramics UK, we have been massively encouraged by the enthusiasm, willingness to participate and genuine feeling of shared goals coming from all areas of the ceramic community and, indeed, beyond,” said Moore. “An expert-led advisory panel has already been established and features leading names from organizations such as Imperial College, Lithoz, Innovate UK, Ceramic Applications, UCL, and Ceramic Industry. This demonstrates the importance immediately being attached to Ceramics UK by industry, academia, government, NGOs and the media. Their support is invaluable, and I’m sure will lead to a highly successful event next July in Telford.”
Location, Location, Location
Telford is just down the road from Ironbridge Gorge, the birthplace of the industrial revolution. The town is situated in a central location, and international travel hubs are not far away. Transit times from airports include 20 min from Birmingham, 90 min from Manchester and 3 hrs from London Heathrow. In addition, Telford is 40 miles from Stoke-on-Trent and the Potteries.
In addition to hospitality and networking events scheduled to take place on the floor of the exhibition itself, it is expected that many Ceramics UK visitors, particularly those from the international community, will want to take advantage of the location by looking in on Thomas Telford’s Iron Bridge, the Jackfield Tile Museum, the Coalport China Museum, Coalbrookdale and, naturally, the hub of ceramic manufacturing in the UK, the city of Stoke-on-Trent and the surrounding area.
For additional information, visit www.ceramics-uk.com.