1. Revolutionary new materials?
In 2018, rock slabs set off a small upsurge in the ceramic industry.
At present, domestic ceramic companies mainly operate rock slabs by setting up imported brick platforms; second, domestic companies produce themselves, but such companies are rare, and there are only a handful of them. Others are foreign brands that are represented by trading companies and ceramic tile processing companies. , Using the advantages of leading processing technology to nugget the rock slab market; there are also ceramic companies in the exhibition hall to display several rock slab samples or finished furniture products to increase brand influence.
Although there are a considerable number of companies in the ceramic industry claiming to launch rock slabs, there is still no unified and standard definition of what is rock slab.
A senior person in the ceramic industry believes that the rock slab is a new concept evolved on the basis of ceramic thin plates and ceramic slabs. It not only has large specifications in common with ceramic thin plates and ceramic slabs, but also forms in product expression. The obvious distinction is the result of ceramic slab companies breaking new ground and subdividing categories.
Some people in the industry believe that slabs and rock slabs overlap in concept. "The rock slab must be a big slab, but the big slab is not necessarily a rock slab." At the same time, domestic ceramic companies have produced rock slabs in the past year, but they were still named after "big slabs" at first, and they were not renamed until the second half of this year Slate has aggressively entered the application field of kitchen panels, and the reason for the name change is that in the cabinet and furniture industries, slate is a common vocabulary, which is more conducive to the promotion and application of enterprises.
▲Slate enters the application field of kitchen board.
The English name of the rock slab is Sintered Stone, which translates as sintered dense stone. Its main characteristics are sintered dense and derived from stone. The raw materials for production are mainly quartz, feldspar, and oxides that provide color. It is fired to form product characteristics such as high density and heavy weight. It is superior to ceramic tiles in terms of physical properties such as wear resistance and bending resistance.
In the interpretation of most ceramic enterprises, slate is regarded as "a new revolutionary material". The rock slab is made of natural raw materials and clay through a special process, combined with the most advanced production technology in the world, and belongs to a new category of building materials to some extent.
A person from a ceramic brand stated in public that as a new material, rock slabs should be more environmentally friendly and cost-effective than the original material in terms of ease of use and processing, or application.
In addition, the use of slate is more as an application material, which is widely used in cross-border fields such as furniture panels and cabinet customization. Industry insiders pointed out that the current competition in the ceramic tile industry is fierce. If slate is only used as a decorative material, the scope of use and market prospects will be greatly limited. If it is also used as an application material, it will be processed into exquisite countertops, tables, chairs, and cabinet doors. , The market prospects will be promising.
From the perspective of production equipment, craftsmanship and product appearance, slate and ceramic tiles have similarities, but the internal physical properties are quite different. The main characteristics of rock slabs are large, light and thin. Compared with ceramic tiles, they are more resistant to fire, high temperature, stain resistance, corrosion resistance and zero permeability-rock slabs are formed at high temperature, with Mohs hardness reaching level 6, scratch resistance and abrasion resistance. Extremely superior, coupled with rich and delicate stone texture, makes the cross-border application of rock slabs in cabinets and furniture panels prominent and durable.
▲Verify the physical properties of the rock slab by knife cutting.
The biggest difference between rock slab and big slab is the whole body. "Since it is called a rock slab, it must conform to the characteristics of rock products. The surface of the product and the blank must be exactly the same. No matter how polished and cut, the blank should be consistent with the surface. Because the requirements for the blank are higher, it also leads to the slab. The production cost is higher and the added value is higher."
Based on many superior physical properties and product characteristics, rock slabs can be widely used in various indoor and outdoor flat spaces, commercial spaces, and cabinet countertops or bathroom spaces that require high health and safety… And for this reason, in some of the main rock In the propaganda context of the board company, it is clearly mentioned that "Slate is not a ceramic tile, we are not a ceramic company."
2. European rock slabs have entered China for more than 5 years
According to many industry insiders, the concept of slate was first proposed by Spanish companies. The original intention of this concept was to get rid of the category of ceramic tiles, and to enhance the added value of the product with the brand-new technological name of "slate". Later, enterprises followed suit and named the product as slate. A person in charge of a rock slab company in Foshan said frankly: "In the beginning, our products were called slabs, but in order to meet market needs, we have changed our name to slabs."
Although industry professionals unanimously believe that "rock slab is a brand new material", in the international trade product code, slate has not yet been independently coded. At present, slate still appears as a ceramic sheet. In the process of entering the furniture field, many furniture factories still classify rock slabs as ceramics based on customs codes.
Although the development of domestic rock slabs has just begun, it has been relatively mature for use in developed countries such as Europe and the United States. Especially at the 2016 Inter Milan Furniture Fair, Italian and Spanish brands have launched slate home furnishing products, leading the latest development trend of the industry. According to people in the cabinet industry, rock slabs are standard for imported cabinets. In the international market, rock slabs are widely used as surface materials for countertops, new houses and secondary renovations. However, in the domestic market, high price positioning and high processing requirements have led to insufficient development momentum for rock slabs. However, because of this, the development potential of slate in the domestic market is huge.
In fact, rock slabs have been used in domestic furniture, cabinets, whole house customization and other industries and fields as early as a few years ago. The rock slab products of foreign companies such as La Mina in Italy and Desais in Spain have entered the Chinese market. It has been more than five years.
▲Slate furniture products exhibited by Desais Spain for the first time at the 2015 Inter Milan Furniture Fair.
In the early stage of European Slate entering the Chinese market, considering the limitations of the consumer market, it would be very difficult to enter the decoration market through conventional sales channels. Therefore, it actively cooperated with the Chinese cabinet and furniture industry to broaden the Application areas.
But at that time, domestic ceramic companies did not notice that rock slabs have been applied in cross-border fields, nor did they know that rock slabs have a large market demand in cabinets, furniture and other fields. It was only in the last two years that domestic ceramics companies began to pay attention to the cross-border applications of rock slabs. It’s only when I learned that foreign slab companies have been cultivating in other industries and fields for more than five years.
"The reason why European companies can seize market opportunities ahead of domestic companies is that, in addition to their keen market sense and high-precision processing technology, their products are better than domestic products in terms of quality, design and overall performance." According to the report, some domestic large-slab manufacturing companies will purchase imported large-slab forming equipment, but in the selection of subsequent equipment, they will choose domestically produced equipment. For this reason, the continuity of the entire production line is poor, which affects the quality and quality of the product itself. Texture.
In the process of solving the pain points in the application of rock slabs, Spanish and Italian companies have also conducted a lot of exploration and gradually matured. From the perspective of the material itself, the specifications and thickness of European rock slabs are already very rich, and the texture and flatness of the products are very prominent. For example, the thickness of the rock slabs of foreign companies can be as thin as 3mm, which can be directly used as wallpaper.
At the same time, the flatness of the product surface is required by the slab-making of rock slabs. "If the flatness is not high, the water ripples are obvious, after the furniture is made, the light or light reflection will easily cause visual dizziness for users."
▲Slate slabs have stricter requirements on products.
3. The prospect of entering the home panel is broad and there are many obstacles
The market space of slate is very broad. In the past, quartz stone, artificial stone, granite, and marble flooded the cabinet market, but after the advent of slate, it has a direct impact on them. From the perspective of product characteristics, rock slabs are very competitive-artificial stone and quartz stone contain resin, marble and granite are radioactive, and are inferior to rock slabs in terms of environmental protection and health. At the same time, the texture of rock slabs is artificially created, rich and diverse. The advantage determines that the rock slab can go farther and farther on the road of "slabization" and firmly occupy a place.
However, as far as the current situation is concerned, the development of rock slabs in the domestic market has just started. The sales situation of some ceramic companies that have launched rock slabs is not optimistic. The reasons are high production costs, immature processing and application systems, and the market is still under cultivation. And the boot phase. In the actual application process, the price of rock slabs is more than 1,000 yuan per square meter. They are acceptable in the market for cabinet panels, but they are significantly higher when used as decorative materials.
Although there are many obstacles, the market trend is irreversible, and it needs to go through a gradual development process. After the innovation and promotion of the industry, the rock board will usher in a real period of rise around 2020.
At the same time, the main reason for the high production cost of rock slabs is the high cost of production equipment and raw materials. With the gradual localization of equipment and raw materials, as well as the accumulation of production experience and the maturity of production processes, the production cost and sales of rock slabs Prices will also be reduced simultaneously.
As a "weapon" in the industry that breaks the application boundary and advances from decorative materials to applied materials, the key to the development of rock slabs lies in design, processing and application. But in fact, the processing of rock slabs has been criticized in China. Due to the late start of domestic rock slabs, the supporting processing system has been significantly behind, and it is difficult to support the cross-border development of rock slabs.
"The difficulty of processing large slabs mainly lies in the processing of product edges and corners and the processing of joints between different angles and planes during the paving process." An industry insider pointed out that many ceramic tile processing factories he has contacted apply to the processing of rock slabs. Very unfamiliar, even if a good rock slab is provided, it cannot be processed to achieve a beautiful use effect.
At present, the current development situation of the industry is that the processing of rock slabs mostly adopts the processing system of ceramic tiles and is sold through tile dealers. This model is difficult to adapt to the development needs of rock slabs, causing the promotion of rock slabs to be very slow. However, in the process of exploration, the company gradually realized that for rock slabs to achieve greater development, they must be backed by cross-border thinking and a powerful processing system.
Since 2018, large slab/rock slab processing supporting companies have continued to appear at major domestic exhibitions. Although their equipment is not as precise and complete as Europe, it has been proved that the development process of large slabs is gradually accelerating. On the other hand, more companies have begun to develop in-depth cooperation with processing supporting enterprises in the stone industry to explore the application direction of rock slabs.
▲The cabinet board surface application of rock board.
Judging from the recent promotion and application of rock slabs in the industry, it is mainly to seek cooperation opportunities with cross-border fields such as furniture, cabinets, and whole-house customization. The rock slabs are used as furniture materials and processed into cabinets, wardrobes, tables and chairs.
After more than 30 years of rapid development, China’s ceramic construction industry is in a new period of transformation, and the market capacity has stabilized at around 400 billion yuan. If rock slabs can cut into the furniture panel field in large quantities, it will undoubtedly be great news for the ceramic tile industry. It will further expand the market capacity of the ceramic tile industry, and will also provide more companies with direction and space to break through difficulties.
▲Stainless steel bathroom cabinet panel application of Yanban.