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Innovative technologies can make Herend Porcelain Manufactory even more competitive in the global luxury goods market
18 November 2020
Last modified: 24 November 2020
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Herend Porcelain Manufactory Ltd is the owner of a nearly 200-year-old traditional Hungarian luxury brand, but in addition to its commitment to traditional values, its dedication to continuous renewal, development and innovation makes it stand out in the global porcelain manufacturing industry. To this end, it has been cooperating with a number of domestic research centres, such as the University of Pannonia in raw material research, the University of Debrecen in 3D imaging or, more recently, the Centre for Energy Research in a joint R&D project.

The goal of these partnerships is always the same: to develop products and be more competitive and, ultimately, to be more successful in the export market.

The portfolio of Herend Porcelain Manufactory comprises unique handmade and hand-painted porcelains boasting with over 16,000 white shapes and 4000 different painted patterns. Nearly 75% of the ceramics is produced for export. Although the products are handmade, innovation is not at all excluded from the company’s production technology or raw material research. In fact, the manufactory is particularly keen on RDI to continuously improve its products, competitive edge and export position.

As CEO Attila Simon explains: “The global luxury market is characterised by cut-throat competition, so you really have to stand out from the crowd to stay in the game in the medium and long term. We strive to make products that can continuously satisfy even the most sophisticated needs of international customers. For this, it is essential to do research and come up with innovative technologies.”

In a recent collaborative R&D project with the Centre for Energy Research, the manufactory managed to identify a number of specific fields of research including the development of tank coatings that inhibit the formation of microorganic contaminants or the examination of the tissue and pore structure of plastic and plaster molds. The joint project gave priority to the exploration of sources of contamination in a factory setting. The Centre for Energy Research performed a chemical analysis of the wear of tools getting into direct contact with main porcelain components. The special analysis of the structural materials and alloys helps to identify contamination from corrosion and other traces of the wear of the metallic tools used in production, which threatens the quality of porcelain. Nearly 150 spectra in the production process were assessed by the research group. Attila Simon pointed out: “We use various pieces of equipment for green ware production, primarily for raw materials production and burning. Naturally, such equipment is also subject to tear and wear but only to an extent that is invisible to the naked eye. The analysis, however, made these processes visible enabling us to optimise the amortisation of the relevant production technology and arrange for replacements, where necessary. As a result, our final products represent a quality that is incomparably higher than that of our competitors.

Dr. István Szabó, Vice-President of the National Research, Development and Innovation (NRDI) Office found it exemplary that the manufactory relied on the capacities of domestic universities and research institutes to create exportable innovations. “I am convinced that the Herend Porcelain Manufactory is on the right track, because there is a huge untapped potential in such value-creating collaborative partnerships. Universities and research institutions already have the expertise, free capacity and research infrastructure for near-market scientific results that an average domestic SME, or even a larger company, could not afford to maintain profitably. The funding schemes and services of the NRDI Office encourage the present and future members of the innovation ecosystem to expand their RDI activity to the widest possible extent,” the vice-president explained. “Herendi” has a very strong position with no real competitors in the international market of unique hand-painted luxury porcelains. However, potential customers can spend their money on many other things, so Herendi Porcelain Manufactory is, in fact, in competition with all companies that offer internationally recognized luxury goods. This is a highly competitive sector, and it is very difficult to stay in the game. However, the manufactory’s ambitions are confirmed by the fact that it has been invited to become a member of Comité Colbert. Among the nearly 100 members of the French luxury association, Herendi Porcelain Manufactory is the only one from Hungary. As another confirmation of the efforts of the past decade, in 2019 the Budapest Stock Exchange ranked the company among the top 50 most successful Hungarian companies.

HEREND, 18 November 2020

Updated: 24 November 2020
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