Spotlight: The tile industry in 1990 and the first Coverings

A roller kiln at Keraben Ceramica’s production facility in Castellon, Spain.
In the months leading up to Coverings 2014, we’re celebrating our 25th Anniversary by looking back at the change and progress that the industry has experienced over those years. To start off this special series of posts, we are taking you back to 1990, the year of the first Coverings.
Through the end of the 1970’s, tile production still employed manual techniques that had been practiced for centuries. Following a series of important tile innovations introduced throughout the 1980’s, 1990 was the beginning of a new era for the industry.
According to tile expert Ryan Fasan, the introduction of roller kilns and mono-cottura (the capability of single-firing in wall tile) in the mid-80s was instrumental to the sea change in the industry. “The energy costs of the kiln were the largest in tile production and (mono-cottura) effectively decreased the embodied energy by about 35%,” said Fasan. He went on to say that the much higher speed of the roller kilns also helped decrease energy usage and costs by “decreasing firing times from about 16-hour averages to between 30-60 minutes.”
In 1990, Coverings came along at just the right time to capitalize on the newly minted modern age of tile production and represent a revamped industry that was ready to expand. And all of this was just the beginning. Look out for our next post in January as we jump forward to 1993.