Rethinking the future through innovation

The world around us is constantly changing. And so is Imerys.
ITC Atlanta

 

Our focus at Imerys is to drive innovation for our customers, and support progress and economic growth, while minimizing negative impacts wherever we operate.

Through innovation we act as an agent of change: unlocking the potential of minerals and materials science for our customers and helping to position them – and us – to adapt, grow and thrive in the markets of tomorrow. 

We use our market leading expertise, our rich history of innovation and our partnerships with external talent to create the sustainable mineral solutions and materials technologies of the future.

1. Putting innovation at the heart of our business

Specialty minerals and advanced materials are essential to the products we use everyday, to our homes, our businesses and our economies – from toothpaste to bathroom tiles and electric vehicles to the food we eat.

But growing demand for these essential resources puts pressure on natural systems.

As the world leader in mineral-based specialty solutions, we have a responsibility to extract and transform minerals sustainably over the long term to meet society’s needs. 

Continuous research and innovation allows us to develop game changing products, processes and technologies to help our customers address the major environmental and societal challenges facing the world.

Whether it’s supporting sustainable mobile energy or sustainable construction, developing alternative packaging or more sustainable food production, or designing longer-lasting solutions to reduce materials consumption across a range of industries, we’re continually advancing our product portfolio with sustainability in mind.

This creates exciting new business opportunities to deliver benefits to our customers, communities and other stakeholders that will help sustain them over the long term.

With nearly 2,500 patents, over 30 registered industrial models and approximately 4,000 trademarks, we have a rich history of driving innovation in the markets we serve.

Anticipating and responding to our customers’ changing needs and helping them develop more sustainable products and services for their end-users is central to our approach to innovation.

Innovation at Imerys isn’t just about using natural or hybrid minerals and advanced materials to develop new products and applications – it’s about extending their life cycle and finding new ways to create value and sustainable business outcomes for our customers. By developing new enabling technologies and multi-product platforms, or processing novel engineered materials using temperature and pressure, we’re helping to redefine the future of minerals.

Our global innovation activities are organised around our end markets, enabling us to better understand local dynamics, react faster to regional opportunities, and work more closely with customers on the ground to meet their needs.

And by collaborating with external partners who share our ambitions, we’re able to create even greater value by improving our innovation reach and accelerating time to market for new solutions.

​​Putting innovation at the heart of our business means working with partners across the value chain to bring together expertise in mineral applications and materials science to discover as yet unknown solutions.

This includes partnering with the top universities focused on materials science and other leading academic institutions around the world.

We play a key role in global research programmes, including on enhanced minerals and engineered particles, low emission mobile energy, advanced refractories, sustainable construction and geothermal wells.

Driving innovation also means collaborating with start-ups developing new technologies that complement our own research and development activities. We have a strong appetite for strategic acquisitions of early-stage companies developing disruptive new minerals capabilities to help meet new customer needs.

Innovation at Imerys is borderless. This means bringing together the diverse skills and collective experience of over 350 talented science and technology professionals through an interconnected network of seven technology centres around the world. It means enabling our people to share expertise, resources and best practice across the Group and collaborate effectively.

​​We have a vital role to play in tackling some of the major challenges facing the world. We’re at the forefront of our industry’s response to the issues associated with urbanization, changing demographics, and climate change. 

We understand that these are complex challenges, often requiring delicate trade-offs and nuanced solutions. There are no easy answers and we cannot address these issues alone.

We’re using our application knowledge, technical expertise and material science know-how to anticipate and help shape more sustainable solutions for future generations.

By investing in innovation we’re creating a more technology-enabled, science-based business, and rethinking our position in the value chain and the role we can play in more sustainable solutions. Sustainability is a catalyst for fundamental change in our industry and the key lever for innovation at Imerys. We’re committed to using our minerals and materials expertise to develop more sustainable and environmentally friendly processes that require less energy and create fewer emissions to meet the future needs of our customers and our planet.

Investing in the future through innovation is key to retaining and improving our industry leading position, responding to the evolving needs of a changing world, and, ultimately, being a more sustainable business over the long term.

ICT Lyon
Scientists in our ITC in Lyon
ICT Lyon
Scientists in our ITC in Lyon
ICT Lyon
Scientists in our ITC in Lyon

2. Leading our industry’s response to global challenges

 

Urbanization and sustainable construction 

Imerys is uniquely positioned to help the construction industry build leaner, smarter and faster, while ensuring ever-stricter safety and energy efficiency standards are met. We are continually developing innovative, robust and cost-effective solutions and products that support sustainable construction, reduce carbon emissions and minimize the construction industry’s environmental footprint on the natural world. Examples include:

3D printer for building construction

Minerals help speed up 3D Construction Printing process

3D printing technology is increasingly popular in the construction industry, as its use in layering concrete has both environmental and societal benefits.

Stairs

Construction

Our minerals are used in a huge range of construction applications, such as solar panels, dry mortars and plasters, adhesives and sealants, to ceramic sanitaryware, flooring, paint, tiles, pipes and window frames.

Population growth and wellbeing

Changes in global demographics and pressures on food supply are driving some of the biggest environmental and social challenges facing the world. We are playing a key role in creating natural solutions to tackle some of the pressing healthcare and food sustainability challenges. Examples include:

Hand holding a test tube

When minerals enable advanced filtration for biopharma needs

Specially treated diatomite, high-purity filter aids (HPFA) are used for solid/liquid separation in biotechnology and pharmaceutical applications.

Mosquito

Imagine a world without malaria

Minerals enable life-saving mosquito control.

Climate change and environmental stewardship

We are committed to leading our industry’s response to the environmental crisis the world is facing. We have implemented an ambitious, innovative and systematic Group-wide program to reduce the environmental footprint of our operations and to develop sustainable, environmentally friendly and low carbon solutions for our customers to meet the needs of future generations. Examples include:

Lightweighting vehicules is a key way to reduce CO2 emissions. Discover how replacing metal parts with mineral-infused plastic parts is a sustainable solution, while maintaining high safety standards.

Pulling their weight: how minerals contribute to lightweighting vehicles

Cars are getting lighter – reducing CO2 emissions, while maintaining high safety standards, thanks to mineral-infused plastic parts.

Hand holding a recyclable cup

Tackling the war on plastic waste with mineral-based formulations

Platy minerals and barrier formulations offer an alternative to single-use plastic in food and drink packaging.

Perlite in cosmetic products

Engineering a natural alternative to plastic beads in cosmetic products

The mineral perlite is an effective replacement for microbeads in scrubs and shower gels – not only for its exfoliating performance, but for reducing plastic pollution in oceans.

Resource optimization and the circular economy

Population growth and insatiable consumerism are testing the limits of current consumption models and placing increased pressure on the world’s finite natural resources. Our technical know-how, diverse skills and appetite to innovate puts us in a strong position to embrace circular economy models and create market-driven products in responsible and sustainable ways. Examples include:

Houses in Argentina

Transforming perlite waste residue into construction bricks

50 houses in Argentina have already been constructed with a new type of bricks made with 90% perlite residue - this is a perfect illustration of applying circular economy to the mineral industry.

Banner Product range-ImerLoop F with Pioneer logo

ImerLoop™ F

Imerloop F is our new range of recovered mineral solutions, containing Post Industrial Recycled Mineral (PIRM), with comparable properties and better CO2 footprint vs virgin minerals. This circular solution has been developed in collaboration with pulp, paper and board industry partners and optimized for filler applications.

Articles you might be interested in

Engineers oversaw the construction site skyscraper
Business news

Showcasing the many innovations of calcium aluminates

Representing only 0.1% of global cement usage, calcium aluminate specialty binders are true enablers in the world of construction, allowing builders to save time, boost productivity and leverage many innovations and sustainable options.

Read more
Construction worker control pouring concrete pump
Product story

Showcasing the real science behind sustainable concrete and construction

The future of construction is sustainable. That future is what Imerys scientists recently exhibited at the Calcined Clays for Sustainable Concrete event in Lausanne, Switzerland with their white paper on low CO2 binder acceleration technology.

Read more
Chris Parr received an award at the UNITCER in Chicago
Business news

UNITCER: leading refractories event promotes sustainability, innovation and a rewarding career path

Imerys exhibited and presented at this week’s UNITCER, a key technical conference for the refractory industry. Experts from the Group discussed new products, sustainability and how to support young professionals in the industry.

Read more
Picture of MIT
Business news

Shaping the future through innovation: Imerys renews partnership with MIT

As it seeks to take on the challenges and opportunities of the future, Imerys needs partners in innovation with whom it can fully leverage the latest emerging and transformative research.

Read more