Fuelling a revolution in ceramics?

12th November 2015

Dave Proudlock, writing in The Sentinel, suggests that the ceramics industry could fire a new industrial revolution for Stoke. But – while we may be biased – this revolution has already started. Manufacturers are leading the way with innovative approaches to energy efficiency, while BBC2’s “Great Pottery Throw Down” might just boost enthusiasm and support for the craft…

A recent report forecasts that the increasingly-diversified global ceramics market is set to grow to $500 billion by 2020. As the report outlines, this growth is being fuelled by the commitment of the ceramics industry to innovation. Ceramics production is always about combining two seemingly conflicting poles: art and technology. As Dave Proudlock suggests in his article, greater collaboration between ceramics manufacturers and universities could really support the industry in terms of blending innovative technology with innovative design.

One of the main challenges for the ceramics industry has always been that production is an energy-intensive process. As The Sentinel article makes clear, it is inventive research into the use of sustainable and renewable sources of energy that will help the industry to grow. But, in fact, the technologies used in ceramics production to minimise energy use are already highly advanced. As Dave notes, “the likes of steelite, Churchill and Wade are critical in ensuring that research and development is focused on providing pottery manufacturers with a cutting edge”. And, as we’ve pointed out before, we’re keen to emphasise the importance of reducing energy consumption.

But it’s not just technological advances that are fuelling this ceramics revolution. Enter BBC2’s new series The Great Pottery Throw Down. Everyone knows the effect that the Great British Bake-Off had on baking – not just in terms of giving the hospitality industry a boost but also encouraging people’s interest in baking. If the Great Pottery Thrown Down can do the same for ceramics, then there really will be a new industrial revolution on the horizon.

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