Tile and bathroomware manufacturer, Ceramic Industries, has recently fired up production for the first time at the second phase of the Gryphon factory. New cutting-edge machinery includes two of the largest presses in the country, enabling the plant to produce tiles in the large formats the South African market has begun to demand.

The company spent R530 million in developing the first phase last year, which their CEO, Lance Foxcroft, believes was necessary for the company to continue to lead the industry and service their market. Lance says the company planned the second phase at Gryphon after identifying a trend for large-format tiles internationally.

“It’s a trend that’s beginning to show itself in the South African market too. Customers are first exposed to the sophisticated look of these tiles in hospitality settings like hotels, restaurants and malls. Now they’re seeing the possibilities for this high-end, designer look in their own homes and don’t have to resort to expensive imports,” says Lance.

Large-format tiles offer a contemporary aesthetic that presents a clean, uninterrupted look, thanks to fewer grouting lines, allowing customers to create open spaces that are striking and modern. The near-seamless layout has made it easier and more affordable for South Africans to recreate the look of luxury stone slabs. Whether it’s Carrara marble or fine-grained timber reproductions, the local market will have access to finishes that were previously out of reach thanks to the superior printing quality that Gryphon’s second-phase equipment can turn out.

The Creadigit printer at the factory, which was supplied by Italian manufacturer, System, features seven bars for colour and special-effect printing. It is able to recreate stone and wood finishes as well as novel designs in minute detail thanks to the 400 dpi resolution that it offers. Transparent, glossy, matt and even reactive inks that produce special textures and raised details, can be used by the printer.

Two brand-new PH6500 presses from leading technology supplier SACMI are also located at the factory. Weighing 154 tons each, they’re the largest presses in the Ceramic Industries group and are able to produce the large-format tiles that were previously only available as imports.

An increasing number of designers and end-users are beginning to choose rectangular tiles over the more traditional square tiles for the visual interest they create with their long lines and layout configuration options. In addition to the large 800 x 800mm square format, the new phase at Gryphon will provide customers with a choice of 600 x 1 200mm and 450 x 900mm rectangular tiles in a range of designs.

For more information, contact Ceramic Industries on Tel: +27 (16) 930 3600 or via www.ceramic.co.za.