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Porcelain production is the emblematic activity of Limoges and found favourable factors in the regional environment for its establishment and development: raw material (kaolin); many streams for the development of bodies; wood for firing; and plentiful labour.
The international reputation of porcelain has, alongside traditional factories, helped the development of suppliers of raw materials and equipment manufacturers : dmc2 France (colouring agents and enamels); Degussa-Hüls group; KPCL (Kaolin and Ceramic Bodies of Limousin); Imétal group; Elmeceram; Ceric Thermic; Matthey-Beyrand (Cookson-Matthey) – and of ceramic sanitary-ware producers. Technological transfers from ceramic centres came into existence as a result of innovatory businesses such as M.I.L. Crystal (design, manufacture and marketing of orthopaedic and surgical implants); B.A.T. Graphics (manufacture of ceramic anilox for printing); and SOREVI (vacuum coverings).

Key figures
There are 62 establishments with more than 10 salaried employees totalling 2,700 jobs, which is 5.8% of the salaried workforce in Limousin.    

  • Turnover of the porcelain sector (1998): 750 million francs (export: 44%)    
  • Value-added level: 54% (France: 41%).

    Main establishments    

  • Bernardaud: Limoges – Oradour-sur-Glane / Porcelain / 390 salaried employees    
  • Allia: Limoges / Ceramic sanitary-ware / 260 salaried employees    
  • Haviland: Limoges / Porcelain / 240 salaried employees    
  • Jacob Delafon: Brive-la-Gaillarde / Ceramic sanitary-ware / 165 salaried employees    
  • Raynaud: Limoges / Porcelain / 100 salaried employees    
  • Royal-Limoges: Limoges / Porcelain / 93 salaried employees

    Training – Research
    Limoges is the leading centre of independent research in industrial ceramics and surface treatments:    

  • the Centre for Technology Transfert in Ceramics (CTTC): applied research    
  • the Ceramic and Enamel Arts Research Centre (CRAFT)    
  • the National School of Decorative Arts of Limoges – Aubusson (ENAD)    
  • the National Higher School of Industrial Ceramics (ENSCI): the only school in France which awards a diploma of ceramist-engineer. It provides a base for 4 research teams and has signed agreements with many foreign universities    
  • the National Higher Engineering School of Limoges (ENSIL): surface and material treatment speciality    
  • the Science Faculty – ceramic materials and surface treatments; material science; engineering concerned with advanced techniques for the development of materials    
  • the Heterogeneous Materials Study Group (GEMH): a mixed research department    
  • the Ceramic Techniques and Surface Treatments Department (SPCTS): an associated department of the CNRS

    Professional regional organisations    

  • the National Committee for the Growth of Limoges Porcelain (CNEPL)    
  • the Adrien Dubouché National Museum of Porcelain