El Periódico Mediterráneo interviews Luis Hernández Sanchis, chairman and managing director of Grespania, SA.
El Mediterraneo: What kind of production does Grespania currently generate? Can you describe it in terms of quantities (annual production) and type?
Luis Hernández Sanchis: «Grespania has a widely diversified production that meets all of the needs of the ceramic market. We manufacture tiles for covering walls in white paste in a wide range of sizes, colours and designs, as well as porcelain stoneware flooring. We also produce technical porcelain (full body) with different finishes and surfaces and thicknesses suitable for any type of flooring, demanding from a technical point of view, such as commercial areas, transport infrastructures and public areas in general. Our range also includes mosaics and bathroom furniture.
Our Product Engineering Department lends any type of service concerning the use of our products and, in particular, technical applications such as the installation of ventilated façades and raised floors, and also provides tiles with a surface treatment which makes them self-cleaning and bactericidal».
EM: What were your objectives when you started marketing Laminam, and what were the results?
LHS: «Three years ago we realised the prospects that the new manufacturing technology of large tiles and reduced thickness opened for the ceramic market, and we decided to include these products in our market, so we established an agreement with Laminam SpA to manufacture our designs.
Since then, the road travelled has not been easy because in the ceramic construction and distribution this product was hardly known, so we had to carry out an extensive work for its promotion and dissemination. Apart from the use of appropriate elements of promotion, we developed numerous courses with architects, installers of tiles and professionals in general, to spread the decorative qualities, applications, handling and installation of this type of product.
The result was satisfactory and, although there is still much to do, we believe it is time to start manufacturing it in our plants».
EM: How did you come to the decision to adopt the System Lamina technology to directly produce the large slabs?
LHS: «We believe that the System technology, innovative and provided with a high degree of automation, is highly efficient and productive for the manufacture of this type of products and, in particular, for very thin ones (less than 3.5 mm), which we consider very important.
On the other hand, it was also a logical conclusion of the marketing stage that we have developed so far, since the System technology is that used in the manufacture of the products we are selling».
EM: Your choice is distinguished by an exhaustive search of flexibility in production. Which other formats will you produce with GEA?
LHS: «Actually, the new technology gives considerable flexibility to the manufacturing process and, although our production will be based on the sizes 100×300 cm and 120×360 cm, we also consider the production of other formats derived from these by subdivision.
In addition, it will allow us to manufacture different thicknesses, such as the 3 mm, 6 mm and even the 10 mm».
EM: To which geographic markets and segments is the new production addressed?
LHS: «Grespania, S.A. exports over 70% of its production, with a high distribution of sales among numerous markets. The new product marketed under the brand Coverlam is aimed at a wide range of countries, although our first impression is that the best reception is from European markets, including Spain, North American and some South-East Asia».
EM: In you one senses a vocation for innovation and quality; what is your policy with respect to environmental protection and, now, energy saving?
LHS: «In Grespania, environmental protection has been a priority from the beginning. Back in 1986 we built our second production centre for the manufacture of coating tiles characterised by zero residues. It was an integral plant which included the grinding and fragmentation of raw materials and that recycled 100% of industrial waste, without discharging anything to the outside. Many of the recycling concepts of this plant were subsequently adopted by other companies in the Spanish ceramic sector.
As for energy saving, our plants are installed with co-generation with significant self-consumption of electrical energy generated by us. In addition, we have been pioneers and unique in industrial water purification by reverse osmosis technology and, currently, in our industrial plants we have a high degree of waste purification and recycling. Our company is certified according to ISO14001 and our products are protected by the Environmental Product Declaration (EPD)».
Project by Grespania
Project by Grespania