Clemson, SC, Aug. 12, 2014 -- International trade and standards for ceramic tile were the focus of discussions as delegates from 15 countries met in Clemson to develop new standards.
Decisions made during the meetings are expected to influence the global tile business at a time when the U.S. industry is bouncing back after years of increasing imports and offshore production.
Delegates considered several crucial questions about technologically advanced ceramic tiles that experts see as the future of construction--some tiles fight smog by breaking down nitrogen oxides (NOx) and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) to produce a cleaner atmosphere, others hinder microorganism growth to create an antiseptic environment.
The agenda also included discussions of what standards ought to be met for a tile to be labeled as "sustainable," potentially affecting tax incentives for green construction and certification for using sustainable materials.
Water absorption testing, rectified tile tolerances, performance standards for "thin tile," and myriad other technical topics were also covered in the three-day meeting of the International Standards Organization (ISO) Technical Committee 189, the standards body that presides over international standards for ceramic tile and tile installation materials.
Proposals and standards developed by ISO, such as those discussed in Clemson, are voted on by 28 participating countries, Sanders said, with at least 75 percent required to adopt it.
Attending were delegates from Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Colombia, Germany, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Norway, Spain, Turkey, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
"These meetings are a boost to the industry and get decision-makers together talking about standards that are relevant to where the industry is going," said Eric Astrachan, executive director of the Tile Council of North America and head of the U.S. delegation.
Ceramic tiles are tested for the industry in the Bishop Materials Laboratory and the TCNA Product Performance Testing Laboratory in a facility in the Clemson Research Park that is shared by the National Brick Research Center and the Tile Council, through a joint industry-university partnership.