MLC Ceramic Machinery, based just north of Alcobaça in the Oeste region of Portugal, reports continuing healthy demand for its range of ceramic production machinery. In particular, the company’s export business has been strongly boosted by its international marketing efforts and complements a long-standing and notably strong market presence in its home market.
A number of projects have been completed, or are nearing completion, in the UK, France, Norway, Brazil, Turkey and Mexico. In the UK, where the major tableware groups continue to invest in new equipment, MLC Ceramic Machinery has been particularly active. The first half of the year saw new contracts gained at Churchill China, Denby Pottery, Steelite International, and Portmeirion Group. Added to these equipment contracts are successes with some of Europe’s foremost porcelain makers, including Figgjo, Pillivuyt, and Porcelaines de La Fabrique.
Lying behind recent successes such as these has been an emphasis on strong design and development, continued technological innovation, competitive pricing, excellent build quality and, crucially, first-rate customer service.
“I thought it was important to reinforce this point,” commented Ian Martin, Factory Manager at Portmeirion Group. “The commissioning engineers that came over to us recently from Portugal were a credit to MLC Ceramic Machinery – not only are they hard working and professional, but they are also passionate about the company and its products. With such diligence, and the professional way that MLC dealt with unexpected issues, it is a credit to everyone involved in the project. I look forward to continuing our journey with MLC in the years to come.”
In Portugal itself, MLC Ceramic Machinery has continued to work with famous fine stoneware manufacturer Grestel, including the new Ecogres factory, and is the main equipment supplier for this turnkey-build factory. Ecogres ceramic tableware is made from 90% recycled materials, with a new clay body, and embodies an eco-friendly approach to manufacture. The Grestel projects have proved to be so prestigious, already picking up environmental awards, that a group of around 15 international journalists toured the facilities to see how the modernisation and energy efficiency programmes were paying dividends.
Steve Lunt, MLC Area Sales Manager, commented: “Already in 2023, we have secured export contracts worth in excess of €1.5 million, with more in the pipeline. All of us at MLC Ceramic Machinery are proud to be working with these leading household names in the ceramic tableware field. There’s nothing quite like a repeat order to give you confidence that you’re on the right track, and I’m delighted to say that we’re working on a few of those at the moment.
“Serious planning is underway for an extension to our manufacturing facility, and we have increased our sales agent network and are adding to our workforce. We’ll have more to say about all this at the Ceramitec exhibition next year, where we have committed to a 30% increase in stand size.”
MLC Ceramic Machinery designs, manufactures, installs, and services all major pieces of production machinery required by ceramic tableware, dinnerware, hotelware, general pottery and decorative art pottery companies. The range comprises preparation, forming, drying, glazing, finishing and ware storage and transfer systems.