“Our core competence has always been to buy, transform and sell raw materials to produce finished or semi-finished products mainly for the ceramics industry,” points out Manager Cinzia Cappi. “Another focus is on the dry milling of raw materials for the production of ceramic bodies.”
Over the years, C.B.C. has added more and more services to its portfolio to strengthen its market position. Today, C.B.C. is the Italian market leader in terms of whiteners for the ceramics industry, which are produced by C.B.C. but sold to the market under the ReMix brand.
The company was founded in 1985 by Angelo Cappi, the father of C.B.C.’s current Manager. “At that time, my father could already rely on his vast expertise,” says Ms. Cappi. “He acquired a company and started producing ceramic bodies made from dry paste. We bought the raw material, milled it and produced paste. At first, we offered red paste. Later on, due to research and development, we added white paste. This has been extremely important for the company’s further development. Today, whiteners are our key products; they are sold to all different producers of ceramics and are unique on the market.”
Today, C.B.C. is synonymous with a group of four different companies operating under one roof. In 1999, C.B.C. founded I.MA.F. spa, a specialist for the dry milling of raw materials for the production of ceramic glazes, engobes, ceramic plates, quartzite and rubber.
“When my father founded I.MA.F., he proved his fundamental market knowledge,” stresses Ms. Cappi. “He anticipated market developments because he knew that that there would come a time when tiles bigger than 3 m would be in high demand – and he was right. He decided to concentrate on the milling of feldspar, which is a central raw material for the production of ceramic tiles. Today, ceramic tiles of large formats are in high demand and quite fashionable.”
With ReMix Srl, established in 2010, another high-performing company became part of the C.B.C. group. It concentrates on the process of wet milling and the marketing of products such as whiteners for ceramic bodies.
“ReMix is the perfect partner for the distribution of innovative whiteners,” says Ms. Cappi. “Our whitener is an absolutely unique and outstanding product. Many competitors have tried to copy it, but so far, no one has been successful. Our whitener can easily replace zirconium silicate. As there are no radioactive substances involved and due to its stable price, it is a perfect alternative to zirconium silicate. Introduced in 2009, the whitener has been extraordinary successful in Italy and abroad.”
I.Z. Srl represents the fourth company of the group, focusing on the production of zeolites and its derivates used in the animal care and agricultural sectors. “Zeolite, a hydrated aluminosilicate, is used in all different areas from cat litter to animal food,” explains Ms. Cappi. “Thanks to I.Z., we have access to new markets and distribution channels such as supermarkets and retailers, which is not so easy. Many certifications and quality controls are compulsory in this sector. We broadened our markets and benefit greatly from this new distribution channel.”
I.Z. has the certification ISO 9001:2008 for the production of technological adjuvants for zootechnics, an authorization from the European Commission and FAMI-QS for the commercialization of technological additives, binders, anticaking and coagulants.
As the company operates in a completely different market, it stands for itself and acts independently from the rest of the group. C.B.C. has a workforce of 60 employees and turnover of 50 million EUR. 80% of it is made up by the ceramics industry; the glass and rubber industries account for the remaining 20%. Its headquarters is based in Fiorano, the ceramic district of Modena, where all business processes are supervised and organized.
At the same time, each of the company’s four production sites has offices itself. C.B.C.’s products are sold all over the world. “We mainly distribute directly,” states Ms. Cappi. “In Asia, for example in Thailand and India, we rely on agents. Europe is our key market today and probably will be in the future. But even in Asia, we can see consistently increasing demand. Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia, the Phlippines and India are highly interesting countries. Currently, some of our experienced technicians are there to present our products. We are convinced of Asia’s great market potential. It will not take too long, and step by step we are going to approach these promising new markets.”
C.B.C. benefits a lot from its excellent market reputation. So far, presentations at fairs and exhibitions have not been part of its marketing strategy. But considering the fact that the company clearly focuses on international expansion, this will possibly change in the near future.
“Fairs are always huge investments,” says Ms. Cappi. “This is the reason why we participated only in close cooperation with partner companies in the past. This year, for the first time, we were at the Tecnargilla in Rimini, and we are happy that our products got very positive feedback. We can see that fairs are ideal platforms for presenting innovative products to a larger public and contacting new customers. Speaking of innovation, we are currently developing a series of new products with great potential. Hopefully, in a few years, we will be ready to launch them. It is very important to constantly analyze the market and to keep up a certain flexibility. At the moment, experts are talking a lot about digitalization, for example in terms of glazing. The decoration of tiles has already been digitalized. Currently, we are working on digital technologies to be well prepared for this new development. We want to be able to react quickly if necessary. So far, we have had prototypes only, but we look to the future with confidence. As we are working strictly on research and development, we are sure that we will continue presenting market-oriented products to satisfy the latest customer needs.”