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September 21st, 2012

Ceramics and glass business news of the week

Published on September 21st, 2012 | By: pwray@ceramics.org

Here is what we are hearing:

BASF building production plant for specialty zeolites in Ludwigshafen, Germany

(MaterialsViews) BASF is investing in the construction of a production plant for specialty zeolites at its Ludwigshafen headquarters in Germany. The plant is expected to start up operations in the first quarter of 2014, significantly increasing BASF’s production capacity for specialty zeolites. Among other applications, the specialty zeolites produced by BASF’s Chemical Catalysts business are used as key raw materials in the diesel automotive emissions catalysts produced by the company’s Mobile Emissions Catalysts business. Increasingly stringent automotive emissions regulations such as the US 2010 standard and the upcoming EURO 6 standard are leading to rising demand for advanced exhaust-gas treatment catalysts, such as those produced at BASF’s emissions catalysts production sites in Huntsville, Alabama, USA; Nienburg, Germany; and Shanghai, China. “This investment allows us to backward integrate our production processes for leading-edge exhaust-gas treatment systems,” says Hans-Peter Neumann, BASF Senior Vice President, Process Catalysts and Technologies. In addition to automotive emissions solutions, the new specialty zeolite plant will support applications in the chemical, petrochemical and refining sectors. BASF currently produces specialty zeolites at its operating site in Seneca, South Carolina, USA, where production capacity is also being expanded.

Modernization of Europe’s biggest glass wool furnace in Orange

A large-scale modernization program at Isover’s glass wool plant in Orange (France) was completed this year. Over €20 million was invested in rebuilding the furnace from scratch and modernizing the related machinery and equipment. The new furnace’s power supply was completely overhauled, allowing its power to be increased and its energy consumption to be cut. Its capacity was not extended. Significant work was also carried out on production lines.

New ‘Agile’ cell improves zeta potential measurements, saves money

Reduce your consumable cost by nearly 70 percent with the new Horiba “Agile” zeta potential cells. Electrode fouling and surface degradation are well-known issues that limit the lifetime of zeta potential electrodes, thereby increasing measurement costs. By using an advanced graphite material with a high surface area and uniform composition, Horiba has developed an electrode assembly that is resistant to fouling, easy to clean, and does not suffer from surface degradation. This cell has been dubbed the Agile cell, Advanced Graphite Improved Lifetime Electrode. A typical lab performing zeta potential measurements with the Agile cell can expect a two-thirds reduction in consumables spending compared to traditional precious metal electrodes. The cell is available exclusively for use with the Horiba SZ-100 nanoparticle analyzer. The SZ-100 can be used for studies investigating optimum pH, salt, and surfactant concentration for formulation or processing of nanoparticles, emulsions, colloids or polymers. In addition, the SZ-100 determines particle size by dynamic light scattering. Thus, the instrument is useful for new product formulation and as an easy-to-use QC tool where the surface characteristics of particles such as titanium dioxide, alumina and zinc oxide are critical.

Owens Corning expands glass reinforcement production capability

Owens Corning announced that its new furnace in its Tlaxcala, Mexico, glass reinforcements facility is operational. This is the latest step the company has taken to increase its global capacity to produce composite material.The Tlaxcala plant expansion will support increased manufacturing of Owens Corning’s corrosion-resistant Advantex glass and will initially produce assembled roving and dry-use chopped strands. The new furnace more than doubles production capacity at the facility.

US contractors see 1 percent rise in materials costs

(International Construction) The input prices for materials used by contractors in the US rose +1 percent year-on-year to August, according to the Associated General Contractors of America. The steepest price rises compared to a year ago were for gypsum products and architectural coatings. There have been rises of the order of +2.0 percent for concrete products, while lumber and insulating materials were up +6.9 percent and +7.1 percent respectively. Meanwhile, contractors have seen prices fall for several groups of materials, including asphalt roofing materials and various metallic construction products.

Saint-Gobain Ceramic Materials launches Combat AX15 hot-pressed solid hBN for manufacturing

A leading manufacturer of hexagonal boron nitride, Saint-Gobain Ceramic Materials has added a new product AX15 to its Combat family of high-purity hot-pressed boron nitride products. Combat AX products, hot-pressed 99.7+ percent purity hexagonal boron nitride (hBN), exhibit exceptionally high thermal shock resistance, electrical insulation over 1,800°C, and high thermal conductivity. The most popular product in the family, AX05, with its highest density and strength has been the material of choice for years in kiln furniture and furnace construction. The newest addition, AX15, with its uniquely open porosity, permits flow of process gases where outgassing is required, making it particularly suitable for direct contact, high-temperature environments such as crucibles, plates, setters, supports and muffles for aluminum nitride, silicon nitride and SiAlON ceramic sintering. Like all other Combat hot-pressed products, AX family of boron nitride products can be easily machined into intricate shapes with tight tolerances using standard machining tools.

Sigma-Aldrich elects Michael Marberry as director

The board of directors of Sigma-Aldrich Corp. has elected Michael Marberry as a director of the company. Marberry is president and CEO of J.M. Huber Corp., a diversified, multinational supplier of engineered materials, natural resources and technology-based services to customers spanning many industries from paper and energy to plastics and construction. In announcing Marberry’s election to the board, Rakesh Sachdev, president and CEO of Sigma-Aldrich, said, “His broad background and international experience in leading a successful global company and in expanding into applied chemical and industrial markets will help Sigma-Aldrich in strategic efforts to enhance its leadership position in life science and high technology.”

Union Process introduces S-400 attritor

Union Process Inc., known globally as a manufacturer of particle size reduction and dispersing equipment as well as related services for a broad range of research and industrial applications, has built an S-400 batch, wet-grinding attritor for a customer in the roofing industry. The S-400 represents the largest batch attritor ever built by the 66-year-old company. Batch Attritors have the advantage of grinding material up to ten times faster than traditional ball mills. They are simple to operate, energy efficient and do not require premixing. The largest ever batch Attritor has a new frame design utilizing a pivoting drive cantilever which allows for easy removal of the agitator shaft for maintenance and cleaning. The Attritor features a 400 HP TEFC inverter duty motor with a heavy-duty variable frequency drive controller. The large tank accommodates 12,000 lbs. of through-hardened carbon steel grinding media.


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