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March 8th, 2013

Ceramics and glass business news of the week

Published on March 8th, 2013 | By: Eileen De Guire

Here is what we are hearing:

Lynas reports first rare earths from Malaysia facility

Lynas Corp. is pleased to confirm that the Lynas Advanced Material Plant in Malaysia (LAMP) has produced its first Rare Earths products for customers. Lynas announced on Jan. 7, 2013, the successful commissioning of the cracking and leaching rare earth extraction units at the LAMP. The recovery rates from the cracking units continue to be high, in excess of 90 percent of the contained rare earth oxides (REO). Following commissioning of the cracking and leaching circuits, the company has been working through early stage production issues that are typical for any start up of a new plant. Our focus is on increasing throughput and optimizing use of equipment. These issues have not materially impacted on the overall production ramp-up schedule. The company’s target for the Phase 1 nameplate production capacity of 11,000 tons per annum of REO remains Q2 2013.

North America advanced structural ceramics market to hit $4.4B by 2016, with bioceramics leading the way

A report from Companiesandmarkets.com says that the North American market for technical and advanced structural ceramics was $3.2 billion in 2010 and $3.4 billion in 2011. The report predicts this value will increase to $4.4 billion in 2016, a compound annual growth rate of 5.1 percent between 2011 and 2016. Bioceramics, the largest segment constituting 64 percent of the 2011 total technical and advanced ceramics market, should continue to hold that much of the market over the next five years. The advanced armor and military market is expected to show slower growth than in the recent past due to the gradual US disengagement from Iraq and Afghanistan. The qualitative and quantitative judgments in this report represent a valuable contribution to the knowledge of leading companies in advanced and structural ceramic materials, components, processing techniques, applications and markets. Though emphasis is on company expertise and their market niche, direction is given in each structural ceramic application category and their respective properties, processing technologies, and properties. The increasing global nature of the advanced and structural ceramic market is evidenced through the companies discussed and their subsidiaries.

Global cement demand to see +4.9% growth

(KLH International Construction) Worldwide demand for cement is expected to grow at +4.9 percent per year up to 2017, according to new forecasts from research company CW Group. Global production volume increased +4.1 percent last year—a greater rise than expected—for a total of 3.73 billion tons. According to CW Group, the forecast increases over the next four years will see global per capita cement consumption grow from 448 kg/person in 2009, to 539 kg/person in 2012 and 645 kg/person by 2017. In terms of use, CW says the historic peak was in 2009, with global cement production (excluding China) running at 68.1 percent of the theoretical maximum. It added that when China is included, the recovery trend strengthened in 2012 to 77.2 percent after hitting bottom of 75.6 percent in 2010. “With an abundance of new projects in growth markets, we do caution as we see supply outpacing demand in some markets,” explains Claudia Stefanoiu, senior analyst with CW Group’s European Analytics Team. North America is projected to show one of the strongest growth trends.

Cerame-Unie strengthens its expertise with three new team members:

The European ceramic industry further strengthens its representation in Brussels. Newly appointed Construction and Sustainability Manager Nuno Pargana encountered his first kiln early as a child of a Portuguese ceramic decorator. After having worked for Reuters in Poland and finishing his dissertation on the LCA of thermal insulation materials, Nuno now augments Cerame-Unie’s technical expertise and handles everything concerning construction policy and sustainability for the ceramic industry. Among the eight sectors represented by Cerame-Unie, Nuno will be responsible for the clay pipe and the sanitaryware markets. To increase the industry’s visibility, the Austrian Benjamin Wilhelm got promoted to communications manager, who until recently coordinated the genesis of the remark-able Ceramic Roadmap to 2050. The team will be further strengthened by the arrival of Anne-Sophie Gerst, detached by the French association FFTB. Anne-Sophie explored the cement industry in parallel to her studies. Specialized in European affairs and energy issues, she will now work particularly on ETS and environment with Directors Adolfo Aiello and Astrid Volckaert. Director General Renaud Batier is certain “the ceramic industry’s voice will be heard loud and clear in 2013.”

U.S. Silica posts record earnings and revenue for the quarter and the year; revenue increased 50% in 2012

Bryan A. Shinn, president and chief executive officer of U.S. Silica Holdings Inc., says “2012 was truly exceptional for U.S. Silica, starting with our successful initial public offering at the beginning of the year and concluding with record financial results for the full twelve months. Our success is due largely to the power of our business model, our strong customer relationships and the drive and determination of our talented group of employees.” Shinn continues, “Looking ahead, we have strategically positioned ourselves well in all of our major markets to provide a strong platform for sustained growth and increased profitability in 2013.” Revenue totaled $441.9 million compared with $295.6 million in 2011, driven primarily by strength in the oil and gas proppants segment. Overall sales volumes increased to 7.2 million tons or 14% above the prior year sales volume of 6.3 million tons. Contribution margin totaled $193.7 million compared with $120.6 million in 2011. Adjusted EBITDA was $150.6 million or 34.0% of revenue compared with $93.6 million or 31.7% of revenue in 2011. Net income was $79.2 million or $1.50 per basic and diluted share compared with $30.3 million or $0.61 per basic and diluted share for the full year 2011.

SRI’s Norman Winarsky to discuss secrets to successful innovation at SXSW March 9

SRI Ventures VP Norman Winarsky sits down with TechCrunch’s Anthony Ha to discuss SRI’s spin out philosophy and process, our current and future projects, and the contemporary ecosystem of innovation from incubators to research institutes. From the creation of the first computer mouse to the development of Siri, SRI International has been propelling tech innovation for over half a century. The nonprofit research institute is responsible for advancements across any number of fields, from media to medicine, education to economics, ARPANET to modern AI. SRI has created and launched more than 40 Ventures, with a total market capitalization exceeding $20 billion, and hundreds of high value licenses for their IP. Behind this effort is a process of research, development, deployment and commercialization for ventures and licenses that brings to bear its own innovative practices. In this conversation, TechCrunch’s Anthony Ha sits down with Winarsky to discuss SRI’s spin out philosophy and process, their current and future projects, and the contemporary ecosystem of innovation from incubators to research institutes.

Schott’s wood stove design challenge to promote clean burning

Schott North America Inc. is sponsoring a wood stove design challenge to promote clean-burning wood stoves. In addition to its sponsorship, the company will offer expertise in glass-ceramics to the challenge’s finalists in hopes of finding new innovations in home heating as well as raising awareness about clean-burning wood stoves Wood stoves have been heating homes for hundreds of years, but not the way today’s high-tech, clean-burning stoves do. Modern woodstoves have seen major upgrades that have made them efficient, cost-effective, and environmentally friendly, and new innovations are uncovered every day to make them more sustainable. That’s why Schott, supplier of Robax, a glass-ceramic for environmentally friendly woodstoves and fireplaces, is partnering with and sponsoring the design challenge, which seeks out next-generation stove designs and draws attention to clean-burning wood stoves. As part of its sponsorship, Schott will make available its expertise in glass-ceramic materials to the 14 challenge finalists, whose stoves will be tested and judged on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., in Nov. 2013. The Wood Stove Design Challenge seeks to promote next-generation stove designs, build a community of innovators, and showcase stove innovation to the public. Few consumers, homebuilders, and politicians are aware of the technological advancements in wood stoves that have turned such units into highly efficient heating units.

Refractron exhibiting at Interwire 2013

Refractron Technologies Corp. is proud to announce that it will be exhibiting at INTERWIRE 2013 at booth 870, from April 23-25 in Atlanta, Georgia. As the largest and longest-running wire and cable marketplace in the Americas, the international trade event draws speakers, attendees, and exhibiting companies from over 50 different countries and spans dozens of industries. Wire Association International, the organizer of the event, is a worldwide society for wire and cable industry professionals. This year, Refractron will be promoting its Izory tetragonally toughened zirconia drawing cones, guides and eyelets. Izory is ideal for applications like wire drawing that require tough, wear and corrosion resistant products. Izory products can be used in a variety of industries including oil and gas, chemical processing, and food service. That means that Interwire is going to be the perfect place to display our products!


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