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March 29th, 2012

Ceramics and glass business news of the week

Published on March 29th, 2012 | By: pwray@ceramics.org

Structure of “ENE-FARM home energy SOFC cogeneration unit jointly developed by Kyocera and consortium of other Japanese companies. Credit: Kyocera.

Here’s what we are hearing:

Kyocera presents comprehensive home energy management system

(FuelCellToday) Technology group and solar energy pioneer Kyocera has developed a new energy solution for the generation and storage of solar energy and heat. The concept combines photovoltaics with a Li-ion battery, as well as a solid oxide fuel cell and an intelligent energy management system. In a home, solar power produced by PV panels on the roof can be stored by means of a Li-ion battery. A cogeneration fuel cell is also installed in the home to produce electricity and heat from natural gas. The electricity can be stored in the battery whereas the heat is used directly for hot water and to support space heating. The EMS individually regulates the energy flows between the energy producers, energy users and the national power grid. At peak consumption periods, the EMS ensures stored power is used before grid power.

GreenCell Inc. new joint venture solidifies their spot in the automotive advanced ceramics sensor market

GreenCell Inc., which has recently signed a joint venture with General Automotive Co., a North American provider of parts, accessories and advanced technology for the automotive industry, is rolling out their new ceramic seal system for automotive oxygen sensors. The automotive parts industry, which reaches into the billions of dollars, has one of the most critical needs for advanced ceramics. The high heat stresses on brakes, sensors and engine parts can be greatly improved by composite ceramics, some of which are already used in the industry today. Companies like GreenCell, Ceradyne, 3M and CTS Corp all have technologies aimed at improving the life of these critical parts and lower overall costs associated with manufacturing. GreenCell is engaged in a joint venture with SenCer Inc. to develop, commercialize and market SenCer’s UltraTemp™ ceramic composite materials for home and transportation applications.

Alternative energy companies find success using Union Process attritors

Union Process Inc., known globally as a manufacturer of size reduction and dispersing equipment for a broad range of industrial applications, has produced a dry grinding batch-type attritor that will be used to mill nanosize particles of various materials for renewable/alternative energy or green energy sources. The energy-efficient 30SD attritor is explosion-proof, and has a gross tank volume of 53 gallons. The attritor options include a process control timer system, as well as an integrated process temperature control warning and shutoff system. The mill is powered by a 40 HP, TEFC, inverter duty motor and uses a 460V/3HP/60Hz, variable frequency drive. Arno Szegvari, president of Union Process, noted, “We have seen a significant increase in the use of our Attritors in emerging green technologies including lithium ion batteries and other forms of alternative energy. We are excited to have our equipment and processes continue to play a role in developing better and better technologies for the world.”

H.C. Starck continues on profitable growth track; introducing new products in Asia, and securing raw material supply

H.C. Starck, a manufacturers of refractory metals and technical ceramics, had its sales grow by 28% to €883.2 million Euros from €689.3 million in 2010. Also operating profit grew significantly compared to the year before. “We want to further develop our fast-growing, unique recycling activities. We are the global technology leader when it comes to recycling refractory metals. With a current rate of around 50%, recycling is a vital pillar in our materials sourcings,” says Andreas Meier, chair of the H.C. Starck executive board. The company will invest in the development of high-quality tungsten products in China and a joint venture in Minamata, Japan, for the development and manufacture of cathode materials for high-performance lithium-ion batteries. In addition, the company has resolved one of its most important core strategic issues by securing the long-term supply of conflict-free raw materials.

Take your lab to the next level with hands-on training from Brookfield

Brookfield, an expert in viscosity measurement and control, offers two hands-on courses that equip users of Brookfield instruments with the knowledge to get the most out of their viscosity test methods. These one-day training sessions are presented in easy- to-understand terms that give attendees the working know-how to verify and improve upon the data required for meaningful R&D and successful QC testing. The courses are offered at Brookfield’s headquarters in Middleboro, Mass., and at major metropolitan areas across the United States.

Elcan Industries moves to a new facility

Virto/Elcan Industries, has greatly increased capabilities by moving to a new facility in Tuckahoe, N.Y. The new location has three-times more capacity than the previous location and meets the higher demand for toll processing and testing customer’s products. With a larger facility Virto/Elcan can provide expanded services to big and small clients. The new facility also enables Virto/Elcan Industries to provide higher quality customer support for both Virto and Minox screening machine technologies. The new facility holds more parts inventory allowing for faster shipping.

Harper awarded multiple contracts for ultra-high-temperature furnaces

Harper International has been awarded several projects for ultra-high-temperature continuous furnace systems. One system, rated at 2,800°C, is to be installed at FISIPE in Portugal funded through EUCARBON, a project of European Union 7th Framework Program granted to INEGI the Institute of Mechanical Engineering and Industrial Management in Porto. The system will be used for the development of high modulus carbon fiber, primarily used in applications requiring high rigidity. Harper was selected for the contract due to its track record of delivering the most advanced carbon fiber thermal processing systems available, especially in the UHT market.


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