New milestone for RAK Ceramics
, September 24, 2012
By Mridula Bhattacharya
RAK Ceramics, the world’s largest ceramic tiles producer and Ras Al Khaimah’s flagship industrial manufacturer, recently reached a major milestone by becoming the first ceramics firm in the region to produce one billion sq m of tiles.
“No other ceramics manufacturer in the world has achieved such a production figure in such a short period of time since the inception of the company,” says Abdulla Mahmood, the company’s general manager for marketing and corporate communications.
“The achievement further confirms the company’s continuous record of success over the past two decades. RAK Ceramics is today recognised as an innovator and a game changer, having raised the bar to unmatched levels when it comes to design, production, promotion and an unparalleled distribution network,” he says.
RAK Ceramics is a $1 billion global conglomerate that offers a comprehensive product portfolio comprising over 8,000 designs in ceramic tiles, Gres Porcellanato and several models in bathware.
From humble beginnings in Ras Al Khaimah producing 5,000 sq m of tiles per day, the operation in the emirate today comprises 10 production facilities capable of producing 227,000 sq m of tiles daily and more than 8,500 pieces of bathware. The UAE manufacturing facilities are spread over an area of 2.5 million sq m and employ about 8,000 people from over 20 countries.
Additional production comes from its ventures overseas. The company launched its first overseas plant in Bangladesh in 2000, with an output of 10,000 sq m of tiles per day. This was followed by facilities in China (2003), Sudan (2004), Iran (2005) and India (2006), pushing its total daily capacity to in excess of 360,000 sq m and 12,000 pieces of bathware. For the last three years, RAK Ceramics has maintained its status as the world’s largest manufacturer of tiles with a global output of 117 million sq m per annum.
In tandem with this growth, it has seen its products supplied to projects worldwide and earned the distinction of being the largest imported brand in many European countries. The company attained the distinction of having supplied half-a-billion tiles worldwide barely six years ago in 2006, and the 750-million-milestone came up two years later.
Abdallah Massaad, CEO of RAK Ceramics, says: “Today RAK Ceramics is recognised as a world-class brand renowned for its quality and innovative products. The company has been a pioneer in the ceramics field with its advanced production facilities, R&D and innovation that has enabled it to tap into new tiles segments that were unheard of before by offering innovative products.”
The company offers over 8,000 exquisitely designed models to cater to every market across the globe. “We have employed a team of talented in-house tile designers who are continuously working on various R & D programmes to launch innovative products. In addition, RAK Ceramics has partnered with top design houses in Europe and consultants from Italy, Spain, France and UK to ensure the latest European trends are infused in our tile designs. These partnerships are crucial and help us in conceptualising and implementing new product designs and effects as Italian and Spanish designs are greatly in demand worldwide,” says Massaad.
RAK Ceramics’ phenomenal success has been an inspiration to not only the UAE manufacturing industry but the entire Middle East industry. “We have been the catalyst to major industrial growth in Ras Al Khaimah as its success led to other industries setting up their base in the emirate,” says Massaad.
He, however, emphasises that the production record has not been achieved at the expense of quality saying the finest raw materials are used while standards frequently exceed internationally recognised norms.
Cutting-edge technology such as revolutionary digital cutting machines has helped maintain high standards for such high outputs. “Technology has seen RAK Ceramics take the industry to a whole new level of competitiveness and excellence with customers spoilt for choice with the widest range of designs from the sublime to the outrageously imaginative,” Massaad says.
He points out that digital printing technology enables designs that are more complex and exquisite than ever before. “This has created exceptional demand for designs and effects that are closer to natural elements such as marble and stone, and the technology is perfect for creating these effects because of its ability to deliver high-definition print quality, while maintaining print consistency by avoiding shade variations, and printing on any surface,” he says.
RAK Ceramics has pioneered the introduction of coloured glazed tiles, luminous tiles, antimicrobial tiles and eco-friendly products such as RAK Slim, Wood Art Collection, Stone Art Collection and Orion Collection using the latest Nanopix digital printing technology.
Its extensive distribution network spans more than 160 countries. A founding member of the Emirates Green Building Council, it offers a complete solution with its diversification into tile adhesives and grouts in a joint-venture with the US’ Laticrete International under the Laticrete RAK banner. It also has a joint venture with Germany-based Kludi to manufacture a range of taps, faucets and other accessories for sanitaryware products under the brand name Kludi RAK and RAK Porcelain tableware range of products targeted at the high-end hospitality industry. All these subsidiaries contribute to the RAK Ceramics brand by offering a complete value-added service to clients, Massad concludes.
* The above report appears in Gulf Industry magazine, our sister publication