Portobello begins producing in the US with SACMI

Portobello begins producing in the US with SACMI

From sales branch to manufacturing facility. New plant in Baxter (Tennessee) to focus on the US market’s most in-demand large sizes and trims and expected to be up and running by mid-2023.

Based in Brazil, in Santa Catarina State, Portobello Group was founded in Tijucas in 1979. For more than 10 years it has been Latin America’s leading ceramic producer, exporting to 60 countries. The Group has now set itself the goal of establishing a production facility on the strategic US market. Hence the inauguration of a complete SACMI line for medium-large sizes and trims. Once up and running, plant output is expected to be in the order of 8- 9 million square meters per year.

From Italy to the Baxter plateau (Tennessee)

This is the most ambitious project in Portobello’s history. It aims to establish in the USA what will be the Group's second largest facility, localizing production of all those sizes with the highest added value that are most in demand on the American market. And that project gets under way with the 630 tons of machinery already shipped by SACMI-Italiansped.
“Portobello America combines cutting-edge technology and logistics to create a unique range of solutions tailored to the US market”, states Portobello. The new plant in Baxter - previously the Group’s sales headquarters for the State of Tennessee - will be fully operational by mid-2023.

The project

From body preparation to pressing and firing, SACMI has supplied Portobello America with all the key machines for the new plant. The various stages of the investment (the first PH presses left Italy for the States a few weeks ago) all target the same goal: to create an ultra-modern production plant at the Baxter site to match Portobello's growth ambitions in North America.
  • Body preparation. On this front, SACMI has supplied Portobello with an MMC modular mill and an ATM spray dryer. Among the most performing solutions in the range, they minimize water and energy consumption.
  • Forming. The bulk of the order consists of high-tonnage SACMI PH presses to cover all the product range. All these solutions feature CRS, the exclusive SACMI rapid mold changeover system that has revolutionized the speed and ease with which medium-high tonnage press molds can be replaced.
  • Kiln and dryer. Alongside the E7P 7-tier dryer, the line features a FMA Maestro modulated air-gas kiln. Equipped with the SACMI SPR heat recovery system, it delivers state-of-the-art quality and control accuracy while ensuring low consumption and emissions.


In addition to the new line for medium and medium-large formats, Portobello features a trim line equipped with SACMI PH presses. This investment aims to respond to the needs of the American market, where trims are in huge demand.
Like its larger counterpart, the trim line has a dedicated kiln, the FMA Maestro, again equipped with latest-generation heat recovery systems.

Sustainability first

SACMI hasn’t only supplied hi-tech drying and firing solutions that consume less and better. It’s also provided Portobello America with filters to reduce in-factory dust levels and cut chimney emissions. These systems are designed to comply with Tennessee’s strict atmospheric emissions standards (in this case, dedicated filters abate fluoride levels).
SACMI has also supplied a complete system that purifies the waste water from the various departments. Featuring a filter press and settling tanks, it produces clean water that can then be fed directly back into the mix.

Finishing and quality control

BMR, the SACMI company specializing in ceramic surface cutting, grinding, lapping and polishing solutions, has provided a full complement of end-of-line machines. Featuring 4.0-oriented camera inspection, these accurately monitor both product and machine status.
Yet the Baxter project doesn’t stop there: it’ll also see the installation of SACMI HERE, the line supervisor specifically designed for the ceramic industry that meticulously monitors performance and production flows.
Following major investments in the main Brazil headquarters (i.e. the 2020 flagship project for large decorated slabs that focused on design, practicality and environmental sustainability), this 180 million dollar project now takes the Portobello-SACMI partnership to new heights.

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