Kaye Alexander visits the Porcelanosa floor tiles factory in Spain
Factory location Villareal, Spain
Telephone 0800 915 4000
Easy sea access, local expertise, a traditional skills base and proximity to glaze producers has meant that 80 per cent of Spanish tile manufacturers are located within the triangle formed by the Castilian towns of Alcora, Ouda and Villareal.
The latter is where tile producer Porcelanosa founded its first factory in 1973. Oranges are the area’s other mainstay, and Porcelanosa’s on-site groves provide gifts for their most valued customers.
A member of industry body Tile of Spain, the Porcelanosa Group has diversified into kitchen and bathroom furniture and is made up of eight divisions, all located on a site which houses over 500,000m2 of production and warehousing facilities.
The factory complex is a mini town, with its own company showroom, staff and guest restaurant and water-recycling plants. It also has an underground network of conveyor belts to deliver tiles to the massive ‘Centro Logistico’. This logistical and storage building has 90,000 pallet-spaces, capable of holding a total of seven million square metres of tiling. All orders are also processed here. Quality control, testing, research and design development are all done on-site.
Porcelain accounts for 80 per cent of the floor-tile collection – a fact that reflects the current market-trend. With a water absorption rate of less than 0.5 per cent, porcelain tiles are more frost resistant than ceramic tiles, and thus better suited to exterior work. The tiles can be glazed and, with their through-body colour, are extremely hardwearing.
The Porcelanosa Group is a family-owned business and employs more than 4,000 people, some of whom can be seen cycling round the factory complex (inside and outside) on their blue company-issue bicycles. The riders make an interesting contrast to the robots that move the stock between production stages, which operate in designated yellow lanes.