The manufacturing process for terracotta façades
Terracotta is an original, traditional and protective material that's warm in colour, solid without being too hard and weighty without being too heavy. It provides industrial consistency, but also allows for variations in colour and for limited editions. It offers cost effective installation, versatility, high-quality insulation and chemical neutrality, all while remaining eco-friendly thanks to its unlimited reserves. Learn more about the process of making Terreal terracotta façade products by taking a deeper look at our production plants..
Proven expertise in raw materials control
The most remarkable feature of Terreal rainscreen cladding and bricks is the finesse of their outer edge, which is the result of using one of the most high-quality raw materials. The manufacturing process involves milling, crushing the material even more finely. The result is a raw material that is very soft to the touch, delicate and with a fine grain.
Terreal has proven expertise in raw materials control. The uniformity of the mixtures is checked as soon as they're extracted from the quarry, using samples which are analysed in the laboratory to check grain size, composition and so on. Once in the plant, the clay is analysed again, and its moisture content and stability are also examined in order to ensure the uniformity of the mixture. In turn, this guarantees the material and its physico-chemical properties.
After being extruded, the product undergoes numerous dimensional tests, at all processing stations, using lasers, visual checks, cameras and gauges. Semi-finished and finished products are also sampled, making it possible to constantly monitor compliance with the specifications in terms of mechanical strength, sagging, squaring defects after sawing, compliance with the colour range and the terracotta's overall quality of appearance.
Terreal's terracotta façade plants have opened their doors and created a video so that you can discover the various steps involved in making a terracotta façade. David Rechatin, architect at REC Architecture, Anne-Françoise Jumeau, architect at Périphériques Architecture and, finally, Benoit Faucher, Façade Market Manager, explain the manufacturing process for terracotta façade products.
From the ground to an architectural façade
As an architect, what makes choosing a façade material so important?
Being an architect means being held responsible for a project by customers and passers-by, but also in ensuring that a building stands the test of time. Terracotta enables us to succeed across all of these areas. It's interesting to work with manufacturer to come up with and create the products that we want to see.
On the industrial side of things, what are the main steps in manufacturing a terracotta façade?
The terracotta industry has evolved significantly over the last 50 years. We now have high-performance equipment available which gives us greater control over the strategic phases of our process. I'm referring to extrusion, a very important phase, as this is where we give the product its shape.
The second essential phase is firing the product at over 1000°C. This will give it its chemical stability, its durability, colour and its strength
Why choose terracotta for a façade?
Currently, we have the technical means to offer even more solutions to our customers in terms of shape, colour and geometry. This industry is able to respond favourably to most customisation requests, which generates collaborative work between the manufacturer, the architect and the other stakeholders in the project.
In terms of creativity, we want a new product that is developed to suit the building it will be used in. Architects really can get creative with the façade. It's an area where we're relatively free to come up with ideas. This allows for a new creative expression where people come to see the façade because it's surprising, it's new, it's beautiful.
How would you describe your collaboration with Terreal?
There's genuine trust between us and Terreal. We gave them our drawings, they gave us their materials, we researched together, developed... data and instructions were going back and forth between us. There was trust from start to finish.
And to finish off?
Terracotta is a living material. That's what we're passionate about at Terreal. We do everything we can to bring this material to life and ensure that it's exactly what our customers need for the best possible future.
Quality is always a priority
The industrial organisation is largely focused on flexibility and performance with automated cutting and drilling lines. While these industrial performances are partly due to continuous human and financial investments, the concern for quality and the inter-departmental organisation is also an important factor of profitability and progress. Real cooperation is carried out between marketing, the factory, the customer service department and the research and development centre.
Discover our terracotta façade solutions
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