Interview with Prof.Dr.Farhad Golestanifard

 | Post date: 2018/05/6 | 

Interview with Paolo Zannini

Interview with PAOLO ZANNINI

University of Modena- Chemical Science Department, Italy, and President of the Italian Ceramic Society

                                                              

Q. What is your general assessment of the traditional ceramic industry in Iran?

A. I was well aware, coming to Teheran, of the importance of Iranian Ceramic Industry, that brought Iran at the 4th world place as Tile Producer, and soon at the 3rd place, according to the installed production potential. I often have reports about Iran from Italian machineries producers, exporting to Iran, through their Technicians, when coming back to Italy.

Q. Can you give us an insight of the direction Iranian industries in the future?

A.The global market of Ceramic Tiles had an impressive change in the latest years, related to many factors, like the increasing quality of life in many countries and the relative ask for better houses/home, the possibilities to obtain new clays and other raw materials from many new suppliers, the development of technologies, like Ink Jetting of decorations and glazes, that allow producers of not-traditional countries to obtain tiles at very high level of quality, etc.

Iran, due to the economic and technical capabilities was able to well propose itself in the global market, and I think that in the next future its development will be still increasing, may be not in a double-digit way, like the previous years, but continuously. In this way very soon it will be necessary a further increase of quality and of selling policies, to afford theneed to increase the exports.

Q. Have the new technologies been utilized properly?

A. The skills and potentialities of the Iranian Ceramic Tile Factories Manpower, for what I can hear, will have to increase soon, to be able to have quickly all the advantages offered by the technology developments.

During my stay at the ICTS-2014 I had a very good impression of the knowledge level of the Students and PhDs I could meet, but the level of competencies and ceramic culture that are at the productive units seems to not be exactly the same. To be able to obtain all the best from a new technology it is not enough to have a good contact with the foreign supplier, but it is very necessary to build around the country a real “Ceramic Culture”, able to help to analyze the production problems, and to solve them by the propter actions. Without this step, the production will be always a repetition of things that someone else invented…

Q. Did you find any elements of creation done by Iranian industries?

A. I do not have enough knowledge of the Iranian products, so that I can express a real opinion.

I have to remark, nevertheless, that the new technologies, if properly integrated by an “original” Ceramic Culture, like I was telling in the previous answer, can quite easily bring to original and very good results.In this context, of course, it will be very important the application of new professional, able to link the world of art, design and architecture to the technological one, able to transfer new aesthetical concepts into technological instructions for the machineries in the plant.

Q. Iranian Ceramic Society is ready to make arrangements with overseas institutions to make a better future for national ceramic industries as well as graduated students. What kind of agreement do you suggest we could make?

A. This is, of course, a very good beginning ! May be a good starting point could be the exchange of Students and Professors, so that the mutual knowledge can increase, understanding where are the critical points. Then, in Italy like in Spain or in Turkey, there are many experiences about Technological Centers or institutions able to represent a good linking point among Academia and Industry

Q. Do you think your institution have anything to offer on this?

A. Obviously the University of Modena has, among its duties, also the one to favor the exchange of people, when the proper Charts are signed, The same, surely, for the Universities in Spain and in Turkey…

The Italian Ceramic Society could act as coordinating point of cultural activities, like Conferences, Meetings, publication of manual and technical books. Also the possibility to organize Schools and Courses can be considered, as it is a traditional activity of ICerS ( … yes: we have the same acronym, like for Iranian Ceramic Society and Italian Ceramic Society !).

Q. The university-industry relation has been a long standing issue in Iran. In traditional ceramic industry, there is almost no relation on the researches. We would like to have your opinion on the issue.

A. The relationship among University and Industry is difficult in whatever country ( may be only Spain could, in previous years,  organize a good interaction … ). This is due to the fact that the Industries expect for a quick, private answer on applied researches, while the nature of the academic research is more devoted to base-research, to be eventually shared among many partners. Moreover there is a practical career-problem linked to the research in the traditional ceramic field: the career of the Scientists is more and more influenced by the type of publication, article etc. that is presented to the community, and they are very important some appreciation parameters, like Impact Factor figure, Citation Index etc., that, unfortunately, are not so well represented within the Magazines and Journals referring to Traditional Ceramic. In this way a young Scientist is scarcely interested in applying himself in this field.

I don’t see, nowadays, an easy solution to this problem: the only possibility that I can figure is to increase the PhD grants given by the industry, to let the Scientists and the Technicians co work, increasing the mutual knowledge. This means, for the Industries, to invest in a long term research, not looking for the immediate result.


Interview with Michele Dondi

Interview with Michele Dondi

CNR-ISTEC Faenza and Vice-President of the Italian Ceramic Society

Q. What is your general assessment of the traditional ceramic industry in Iran?

A. I’m visiting Iran for the first time. I didn’t know about the Iranian ceramic industries before, apart they turned to be the fourth power in ceramic tile manufacturing in the world. From the ICTS conference and exhibition I had the impression of a big potential in terms of both human capital and production capacity.

Q. Can you give us an insight of the direction Iranian industries in the future?

A. All the tile-making industries, wherever they are, will have to face both short-time and long-time challanges.The Iranian industries have to decide, in the next years, whether to focus essentially on the growing domestic market or to enhance export and fight for contestable foreign markets. The domestic option is easier, but it implies to fit the technological development and products quality on national standards. Exportation is undoubtedly a harder pathway, but it forces the companies to a continuous technological upgrading, making them more competitive and open to innovation. In the long run, tile-making industries have to demonstrate their economic and environmental sustainability. In a future where, under any expectation, the access to energy and water sources will be increasingly harder and more expensive, ‘green’ technologies with a lower energy and water consumption will be a strong competitive factor.

Q. Have the new technologies been utilized properly?

A. I think that the new technologies are made available for the Iranian ceramic industries. It seems to be just a matter of financial support. Whether they are (or will be) utilized at best of their potential depends on the industry targets in terms of quality standards and manufacturing costs. If the domestic market does not demand high standards and ifthe tile-makers’ profit margin is satisfactory, there will be no need to stress the use of new technologies.

Q. Did you find any elements of creation done by Iranian industries?

A. I didn’t know any Iranian brand or product type in the field of traditional ceramics before coming to Iran. Nevertheless,during my visit I’veperceivedsome expectations to get ceramic processes and/or novel products developed in Iran. Due to the strong dependence of the Iranian ceramic industries on foreign technology providers,it seems at me a long pathway. First, it is necessary to build up the context by strengthening the R&D capacity of companies and by improving the industry-academia liaison.

Q. Iranian Ceramic Society is ready to make arrangements with overseas institutions to make a better future for national ceramic industries as well as graduated students. What kind of agreement do you suggest we could make?

A.The Iranian Ceramic Society was recently admitted, with the support of the Italian Ceramic Society, as associated member of the European Ceramic Society. This is a first important step: whether it will be just a formal relationship or will turn into a profitable chance, it depends a lot on the active role that the Iranian members will play in this context. For instance, the ECerS working group dedicated to industrial ceramics (coordinated by Italy, Spain, Turkey and Germany) can be the arm to organize special events for the traditional ceramic industry. Secondly, the Iranian Ceramic Society may agree with correspondent societies about specific activities targeted to training and/or ceramic manufacturing.

Q. Do you think your institution have anything to offer on this?

A.The Italian Ceramic Society is available to cooperate with the Iranian Ceramic Society in the organization of events (e.g., workshop on ceramic technology) and schools (e.g., training courses for industry technicians) with the involvement of third parties necessary for the success of the initiative. As a matter of fact, the Italian Ceramic Society can play essentially a management role (experts, teachers, technology consultants, etc have to be found ad hoc for any kind of event or school). From this standpoint, an active role may be played also by Italian research institutions, like CNR-ISTEC Faenza (which I’m part) University of Modena and Reggio Emilia, and Centro Ceramico Bologna:on one side providing experts and teachers and on the other side offering collaboration in R&D projects.

Q. The university-industry relation has been a long standing issue in Iran. In traditional ceramic industry, there is almost no relation on the researches. We would like to have your opinion on the issue.

A.I’m afraid it is a widespread issue with the traditional ceramic industry. I heard about the Iranian programme to foster academic reaserchers spending some time into the industry and abroad: it sounds a good start, but it should be within an overall strategy to improve industry-academia relationships. Nevertheless, there are several examples how different countries are tackling this problem. Spain has a long-term strategy based on graduated and PhD enrolled by the industry: who was formed by an institution is likely to keep a good relationship with it during his/her working life. Turkey has set up an industry-funded PhD programme and the government is financing industrial laboratories (which must employ PhD and graduates). Brazil has launched the large-scale “Science without Borders” programme by which foreign visiting researchers are paid to work on industry-oriented projects and many students can spent one year abroad. In Italy, a network is being built up around the ceramic district, involving universities, research centres and companies.