Important milestones of Morbi tiles industry

Morbi these days is very much in news for its ceramic tile industry. With leaps and bounds, the perimeter of the Morbi tiles industry has now crossed 89 kilometers!

This info-graphic will give you highlights of what happened to Morbi tiles industry so far!
Roller kilns
Initially the roller kilns were used for tile manufacturing. It was foundation of Morbi Tiles industry
Bigger formats & polished tiles
Chinese kilns were imported with capacity to produce bigger tile formats (605x605mm) with polishing option
PNG Gas line
Former CM Narendra Modi inaugurated continuous gas pipe line by GSPC
Ink-jet printing
It changed the economy from grass-root level
Porcelain slabs
Bigger formats with thin body became possible. Thanks to technical collaboration with Italian companies
Below is the explanation & later change that happened due to each event above:
Late Sri Mahadevbhai Prajapati (of Argil Ceramic) was one of the pioneers in this industry. He started using tunnel kilns long back. The true hike in production capacities came with roller kilns. They use it even today in each tile factory. Some companies (like Bhabha Exports) facilitated the import of 2nd hand roller kilns. The government’s second-hand capital goods scheme worked as an incentive to upgrade.
After 2000 China focused on big tile formats to cover the developing economies. Morbi factories started visiting China and placed orders for Chinese made kilns to be able to make big formats (at that time 600x600mm was considered a big format!). This move revolutionized the Morbi tile industry. Many new factories started between 2000 to 2010.
Till 2006 the industry was not equipped with a continuous gas supply. They were using Indonesian coal. It had short supply, black market, and heat consistency issues. During 2006 state government inaugurated the continuous supply of PNG (Pipelined Natural Gas). This was a milestone in the growth of the local tile industry.
Another revolution came in 2011 when ink-jet printing came into the picture. Varmora (Solaris) and Motto were the first two factories to bring this technology to Morbi. During the same time, Asian Tiles (AGL) also started commercial production with this technology. Soon it became evident that there is no option but to upgrade! All existing groups ordered ink-jet machines. New projects offered digitally printed tiles from day one.

Digital printing brought down production costs. The main reason there is no need to maintain stock of each design. The production can they can do as per order. The earlier design used to be a USP for major brands. Now since making any design became so easy, the factories started to focus on quality as a USP. Improved quality gave global acceptance to Indian tiles.
There were some limitations with the roller kiln and press method they used so far:
i) Thickness can’t reduce below a certain limit.
ii) Can’t increase tile size beyond some limit.
iii) Pressing has certain limits too.
During 2015 Qutone launched a ranged of porcelain slabs (under brand name iMarble). Followed by Nexion, Lioli and 10 different groups. Porcelain slabs are next-generation thin tiles in bigger formats (e.g 120 x 240 cm or bigger). The production process is different compared to traditional tiles. This new production technology will become the norm in the coming years. Due to its granular control over the production process.

Stalwarts of modern Morbi tile industry

We respect all who shaped the industry so far… Girishbhai Pethapara, Karshanbhai Adroja, Ramjibhai Detroja, Veljibhai Ughareja, and many others. We would like to introduce the game-changers who given a new direction to peers.
Bharat Aghara: If a major Italian tile brand decides to make a joint venture
in India it can’t be small news. Simpolo Group & Emil Ceramica declared 50:50 JV to set up a modern tile manufacturing factory. They named it Nexion. It changed the perception of the Morbi tiles industry. Lead by Mr. Bharat Aghara the JV fueled the faith of other international brands.

Soon Panaria Ceramica, Groppo Armonie, Grupo Halcon, and many others followed the trail. These days factories from the region OEM for major international brands.
Manoj Agrawal: Qutone ceramic announced to set up a porcelain slab
factory in 2015. At that time slab was new even for the industry experts, hence there was NO awareness among customers.

It was the progressive management of Mr. Manoj Agrawal who, after the initial hiccup, carved out the market for porcelain slabs in India. Thanks to him, there are now more than 10 factories that came up to make large porcelain slabs in Morbi.
Hiren Varmora: Grad from QMUL & University of Miami, he joined his family business in the year 2011. Within 2 years he started exploring new markets for his company.

Beginning from Taiwan then South Korea followed by Brazil & Mexico. All these markets were never on the radar of any local tile company. So he showed new markets to his peers.

Apart from these, there are many who shaped the modern tile industry with new processes. Either by innovation in products or by developing new markets.