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April 5th, 2013

Ceramics and glass business news of the week

Published on April 5th, 2013 | By: Eileen De Guire

Leco to manufacture accredited reference materials under guidelines of A2LA accreditation program

Leco Corp. has received accreditation for reference materials under the A2LA Accreditation Program for Reference Material Producers, in compliance with the International Standards Organization (ISO). The program sets forth criteria for the production of reference materials and certified reference materials based on the quality standards outlined in ISO Guide 34:2009. Leco will begin manufacturing new consumables immediately using the accreditation guidelines, and customers will soon be able to purchase these materials with the added confidence that they have met international standards for quality. Accreditation for Leco’s analytical testing labs has been renewed as well, certifying that chemical testing performed by the company’s testing labs meets the requirements of ISO Standard 17025 as well as applicable ASTM standards.

Solar thermal startup eSolar still out there and raising $30M

(GigaOm) Last year was a pretty quiet year for solar thermal startup eSolar, which makes solar plant gear that converts the sun’s heat into electricity (unlike solar panels, which convert sunlight into electricity). But perhaps the company is about to try to kick it up a notch. According to a filing, the company is raising a $30 million round, and has closed on close to $13 million of that round. Founded in 2007 and incubated in Bill Gross’ Idealabs, eSolar has already raised a lot of money over its lifetime. It’s raised at least $170 million from a combination of Indian telecom and solar company ACME group, power company NRG Energy, Oak Investment Partners, Quercus Trust, Google.org, and GE. To its credit, the company built one of the first solar thermal power plants in the US in Lancaster, Calif. That project was small, at 5 MW, and a pilot, but is still in operation. However, commercial scale versions of these projects are on the hundreds of megawatts level like the one BrightSource is building near Las Vegas called Ivanpah. Over the past year, it’s been hard for solar thermal technology to compete with solar panels because solar panels have gotten so incredibly cheap. Solar thermal can be more cost competitive if it’s built on a massive scale like BrightSource’s Ivanpah, but many power developers are opting to use solar panels instead of solar thermal tech these days.

PPG introduces new moderately reflective, emerald green glass with spectral selectivity in any climate zone

PPG Industries has introduced Vistacool Atlantica glass, a moderately reflective glass that combines high visible light transmittance (VLT) and good solar control performance in an emerald-green aesthetic.
In a standard 1-inch insulating glass unit (IGU) with clear glass, Vistacool Atlantica glass has VLT of 47 percent, higher than any product in its category, along with a solar heat gain coefficient (SHGC) of 0.35. The resulting light-to-solar gain (LSG) ratio of 1.32 enables Vistacool Atlantica glass to achieve DOE standards for spectral selectivity and moderate levels of exterior reflectivity to enhance building aesthetics. The versatility of Vistacool Atlantica glass offers architects and building owners a range of alternatives for achieving aesthetic and performance requirements in any climate zone. For example, in addition to being paired with conventional clear glass in an IGU, Vistacool Atlantica glass may be combined with sputter-coated Solarban 70XL solar control, low-e glass to provide SHGCs as low as 0.23 and a winter nighttime U-value of 0.28. Or, when united with Sungate 500 glass, a hard-coat, passive low-e glass, in an IGU, Vistacool Atlantica glass delivers a SHGC of 0.31, along with the ability to be fabricated in larger sizes.

Kyocera announces enhanced, unified display division

Kyocera Industrial Ceramics Corp. (KICC) introduced Kyocera Display Division, a new business unit combining the strengths of Kyocera Display America Inc. (the former Optrex America Inc.) and KICC’s LCD Division. The merger results from global parent Kyocera Corp.’s previously announced intent to transfer its LCD-related business operations to Kyocera Display Corporation (KYD) in Japan and consolidate KYD’s regional sales subsidiaries into other local Kyocera Group subsidiaries. The merger is effective April 1, 2013, creating the new Kyocera Display Division. This integration optimizes the strengths of both organizations and will facilitate the expansion of Kyocera’s North American liquid crystal display and touch-panel businesses. The combined enterprise will streamline operations for greater efficiency while positioning Kyocera for continued success. Customers will benefit from a unified sales force offering superior customer service and a broad line of display products and solutions for the automotive, industrial, medical, and consumer markets.

CoorsTek acquires Tulsa Machine Works & Manufacturing

CoorsTek Inc., one of the world’s largest technical ceramics manufacturer supplying critical components to high-technology markets, today officially announced the acquisition of Oklahoma-based Tulsa Machine Works & Manufacturing (TMW), a quick-turn crankshaft and industrial cranks manufacturer. Established in 1950, TMW focuses on the needs of oil and gas companies with a specialization in oilfield pump crankshafts. Seeking to become the primary manufacturer for this segment of the industry, the company recently invested $3 million in an Austrian crankshaft mill for larger crankshafts (up to 260 inches long) and purchased an additional 15 acres for expansion of their current facility. “TMW serves the oilfield market with precision, fast-turn crankshafts so their customers remain operating at capacity,” states Hank Prey, vice president of CoorsTek. “CoorsTek and our customers expect to benefit from their 60+ years of machining expertise and industry knowledge.”

Washington Mills: Milling to fine and sub-micron powders

Washington Mills, a producer of abrasives and fused mineral products, now offers custom milling services for companies looking to grind small batches of materials to fine and sub-micron particle sizes. Washington Mills’ pilot crushing and grading plant has the unique ability to mill small batches of material in both coarse and fine sizes. The finer sizes can be milled either wet or dry and can be milled as fine as 40 microns and finer and sub-micron. Depending on the size required, we can mill as little as one pound or as much as 10,000 pounds. Washington Mills has the ability to mill your unique material or our standard products such as alumina-zirconia, boron carbide, brown fused alumina, emery, fused silica, iron pyrite, magnesium oxide, fused mullite, pink aluminum oxide, silicon carbide, fused spinel, white fused alumina, and fused zirconia.

Keramika 2013: Promoting Indonesia’s ceramic industry growth locally and overseas

Following the success of 2012, Keramika 2013 returns for the second year, April 18-21, 2013, at the Jakarta Convention Centre. It is well poised to promote Indonesia’s growing ceramic industry locally and overseas. According to the Indonesian Ceramic Industry Association (ASAKI), Indonesia’s ceramic industry is expected to grow 15-20 percent this year. Supported by Indonesia’s growing economy, current strong domestic consumption of ceramic products and the rapid growth in the local property and construction sectors, the demand for quality ceramic products such as flooring, wall tiles, roof tiles and sanitary wares is on the rise. Since 2011, the local ceramic industry has been experiencing a 10-15 percent year-on-year growth in domestic demand. The consumption of ceramic products in Indonesia is also on the rise, about 8-10 percent increase in consumption per capita per year from 2011. Indonesia is already one of the world’s top producers of ceramics, ranked 6th among the top 30 manufacturing countries in 2012 and one of the top 10 countries in terms of ceramic consumption since 2010. The total value of imports and exports in 2012 was 20 trillion rupiah and it is expected to hit 30 trillion rupiah in 2013. Keramika is the only dedicated ceramics event in Southeast Asia.

Northern Frac Proppants signs sand supply agreement with Carbo Ceramics

Northern Frac Proppants LLC (NFP) announced a multi-year agreement to supply Northern White frac sand to Carbo’s new processing plant in western Wisconsin. Houston-based NFP is building a 145-acre sand mine and processing plant adjacent to Carbo’s sand processing and resin-coating plant in Marshfield, Wis. NFP President Jeff Alston says, “NFP is excited to work with Carbo, the world’s leading supplier of ceramic proppants and other products for fracturing oil and gas wells, to supply high-quality Northern White frac sand from our first sand mine and processing facility in Bluff View, Wis. The majority of domestic oil and gas drilling and development use frac sand and ceramic and resin coated proppants for hydraulic fracturing to increase productivity of new and existing natural gas and oil wells.” Northern Frac Proppants has more than 1,800 acres of proven high-quality sand reserves, where the geologic resource yields the highest grade and most favorable particle size distribution for the specific frac sand products needed for oil and liquids-rich production.


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