Ceramics and glass business news of the weekPublished on November 22nd, 2012 | By: Peter Wray
Here is what we are hearing:
PPG Industries announced that PFG Fiber Glass (Kunshan) Co.—its joint venture in Kunshan, China, with Nan Ya Plastics Corp.—started a fourth furnace. With 38,000 metric tons of annual capacity, the additional furnace will serve the expanding Asian electronics industries. “This furnace features innovative, state-of-the-art technology,” says Terry Fry, PPG general manager of global electronics and the company’s regional fiber glass business. “The technological advancements of its manufacturing operation enable us to maximize process efficiency while saving energy and reducing emissions.” C.F. Lee, general manager of PFG Fiber Glass (Kunshan) Co., says, “The printed circuit board industry continues to grow in Asia. Nan Ya built a vertically integrated production campus in Kunshan that included resin, copper foil, glass fabrics, copper-clad laminates and printed circuit boards. With this expansion, we will continue to support the demands of our business at this location as well as the larger electronics industry.” PFG Fiber Glass was founded in 2001 as an evenly-held joint venture of PPG Industries and Nan Ya Plastics Corp. With four furnaces, annual capacity of the operation in Kunshan is 144,000 metric tons of electronic-grade glass yarn and reinforcement-grade glass fiber. The companies also jointly own PFG Fiber Glass Corp. in Taiwan, which has three furnaces with approximate production capacity of 90,000 metric tons of mostly electronic-grade glass yarn.
(GizMag) Over the past couple of years, the number of consumer 3D printers hitting the market has multiplied like … well, like plastic chess pieces churned out by a 3D printer. For its latest unit, Solidoodle has upped the build area to 8 x 8 x 8 inches (20 x 20 x 20 cm), which is two extra inches over the printable dimensions of the Solidoodle 2. This more than doubles the build volume from 216 in3 (3,540 cm3) for the Solidoodle 2 to 512 in3 (8,390 cm3) for the new Solidoodle 3. Apart from the size, the Solidoodle 3 is pretty much identical to the second generation Solidoodle. It uses 1.75 mm plastic filament and prints at a layer height of 0.3 mm as standard, with the ability to decrease the layer height to 0.1 mm for printing of high-resolution parts. Its heated build platform allows the creation of large objects without bottom warping and it accepts 3D files in STL format.
Fluid Metering Inc. of Syosset, N.Y. has rolled-out its new, expanded website. FMI is a major manufacturer of precision valveless dispensers and metering P]pumps for laboratory, process and production applications, as well as applications for OEM medical and analytical instrumentation. The new website includes detailed descriptions, animations and videos of FMI’s unique CeramPump valveless piston pump design. Also featured are an expanded list of news releases, typical applications, current catalogs and technical manuals, all available for easy download. Online tools, including “Select-a-Pump,” “ROI Payback Calculator,” and “Live Chat,” provide a simple, user-friendly experience for selecting the best pump for new applications. The web site also includes links to additional FMI information and video content hosted on popular social media sites (Facebook, Twitter, YouTube), as well as a link to “Google Translate” for instant language translation of FMI’s entire web site. For over 50 years, FMI has provided precision metering solutions from 2 uL per dispense up to 4 L/min. continuous metering, and is certified as compliant with ISO 9001 quality standards.
(Bloomberg Renewable Energy World) India, planning $1.4 billion of solar-thermal power stations, expects half of the projects to be delayed and some to be scrapped as US supplies stall and dust-clouds diffuse the radiation required to drive generation. Of the 500 megawatts of projects due to be completed in February and May, only a third of that capacity may be ready on time, said Tarun Kapoor, joint secretary at the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy. Three of the 10 ventures are unlikely to be built, he said in an interview in New Delhi. The delays are a blow to General Electric Co., Siemens AG and Areva SA, which have acquired stakes in solar-thermal equipment makers since 2009 on the expectation the technology could compete with coal- and gas-fired power. Solar-thermal plants, which focus sunlight on liquids to produce steam and drive turbines, can store energy, allowing electricity to be delivered around the clock. Developers have delayed five plants, or 320 megawatts of capacity, because they’ve been unable to get heat-transfer fluid from the only two US suppliers, according to Kapoor, who said those suppliers are backed up with orders. Companies such as Lanco Infratech Ltd. have also reported high dust levels in the desert areas where many plants are built. The dust particles scatter the sun’s rays, reducing the direct solar radiation that can reach a plant’s receptors.
As building owners and managers seek ways to make their facilities more energy efficient, thereby lowering the costs of heating and cooling, the use of smart glass—which has properties that can be varied to suit changing ambient conditions and the needs of users and occupants—is expected to climb. Smart glass applications rely on four main technologies: liquid crystal, electrochromic, suspended particle, and thermochromic materials. According to a recent report from Pike Research, a part of Navigant’s Energy Practice, demand for smart glass, which will be 110,000 square meters in 2012, will reach nearly 3.1 million square meters in 2020. The annual value of the worldwide market will grow from $84 million today to nearly $700 million in 2020, the study concludes. “While significant barriers stand in the way of the broader adoption of smart glass—chief among them reliability and price—the market potential for smart glass is high,” says senior research analyst Eric Bloom. “As long-term performance is proven, prices decline, and substantial returns on investment are demonstrated, designers, engineers, and building managers will find expanding applications for these innovative materials.”
Nokia Siemens Networks is working with Ballard Power Systems Inc. to develop mobile networks that can continue to operate during power blackouts. Japanese operator NTT Docomo has evaluated the Nokia Siemens Networks Flexi Multiradio base station site offering with integrated fuel cell backup for potential commercial deployment. The solution has been installed at a Docomo R&D Center test site in Japan’s Yokosuka Research Park. “Mobile networks can be vital when a natural disaster strikes, and power outages make other forms of communication difficult,” says Mark Donaldson, head of energy solutions for mobile broadband networks at Nokia Siemens Networks. “Integrating fuel cells with our base stations can significantly increase the resilience of the mobile networks we provide.” Backup power solutions based on fuel cell technology deliver a number of advantages over conventional batteries and diesel generators. These include higher reliability across a wide range of operating conditions, lower maintenance costs, longer operating life as well as reduced size, weight, installation footprint, noise signature and environmental impact. The fuel cell weight and size are significantly less in comparison to existing lead acid batteries that are typically used in many base stations to provide backup power for extended outages. The base station and fuel cell combination developed by Nokia Siemens Networks with Ballard can provide 4.5 kW of power for approximately 40 hours on a single tank of fuel.
3M announced that on Nov. 15, 2012, it received clearance from the Austrian Federal Competition Authority with respect to its previously announced tender offer for all issued and outstanding shares of common stock of Ceradyne Inc. at a price of $35.00 per share. The Federal Trade Commission previously granted early termination of the required waiting period under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act of 1976, as amended, on Oct. 15, 2012, and 3M received clearance from the German Federal Cartel Office on Oct. 30, 2012. With the receipt of the above clearances, the condition of the offer with respect to clearance under applicable antitrust and competition laws has been completely satisfied. The offer remains subject to the satisfaction of certain other conditions. The offer is scheduled to expire at 5:00 P.M. (New York City time) on Tuesday, Nov. 27, 2012, unless the offer is extended.
Rubicon Technology Inc., a leading provider of sapphire substrates and products to the LED, RFIC, semiconductor and optical industries, announced today that it has been selected as a Deloitte Technology Fast 500 award winner for 2012. The Deloitte’s 2012 Technology Fast 500 is an annual ranking of the fastest growing technology, media, telecommunications, life sciences and clean technology companies in North America. Deloitte Technology Fast 500 award winners for 2012 were determined based on percentage fiscal year revenue growth from 2007 to 2011. In order to be eligible for Technology Fast 500 recognition, companies must own proprietary intellectual property or technology that is sold to customers in products that contribute to a majority of the company’s operating revenues. As a vertically integrated supplier, Rubicon perfected the process to grow large sapphire crystals from raw materials in custom-built, proprietary furnaces replicating the organic sapphire creation process found in nature. As a result, Rubicon has been able to scale the growth of bulk crystal from 30 kg to 85 kg to 200 kg without compromising high quality or high yield. Rubicon’s intellectual property and innovations from raw materials and crystal growth through the wafer finishing process enable efficiencies that ultimately translate into savings for Rubicon customers. To date, Rubicon has shipped more than 340,000 six-inch polished wafers to the LED and SoS markets.
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