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April 26th, 2013

Ceramics and glass business news of the week

Published on April 26th, 2013 | By: Eileen De Guire

Corning announces increased quarterly dividend and new $2 B share repurchase program

The Corning Inc. Board of Directors approved an increase in the company’s quarterly common stock dividend. Corning’s second quarter dividend will rise to $0.10 per share of common stock held, versus $0.09 per share previously. Corning previously increased its dividend payment to $0.09 per share from $0.075 in October 2012. It is the third dividend increase in the past 18 months. Additionally, the board authorized a share repurchase program to acquire up to $2 billion of the company’s common stock from time to time through open market or private transactions. “We believe the future for Corning is very bright. Our business results are improving, and we have seen two consecutive quarters of year-over-year core profitability improvements. In the display industry, we have stabilized our market share, moderated price declines and we are reestablishing positive momentum in the business. And, we are seeing positive signs of earnings growth across all our other businesses,” Wendell P. Weeks, chairman, chief executive officer and president, says.

In a brutal solar market, Sweden’s Midsummer looks to optical discs for solar

(GigaOm) A Swedish startup is introducing a new approach to making next-gen thin film solar panels, using techniques from optical disc manufacturing. However, the solar manufacturing sector is facing a brutal year in 2013 and as solar manufacturers continue to suffer losses, it could be a difficult time to launch a new production technique. Midsummer, based in Jarfalla, Sweden, has developed equipment and processes to make thin film solar panels, using the material copper indium gallium (di)selenide, or CIGS. Midsummer’s approach is to produce individual CIGS thin film cells on a stainless steel substrate. The cells are “punched out” of the stainless roll before deposition. “We wanted to produce many small thin film solar cells and then later on put them together in a module,” says CEO Sven Lindström. This approach draws on optical disc manufacturing techniques, treating each individual CIGS cells in much the same was a CD or DVD would be created. It certainly marks a departure from current thin film semiconductor deposition, which tends to be employed in a continuous process, either onto a glass substrate or a roll of stainless steel.

Saint-Gobain wins top Cleantech award

Saint-Gobain received the “European Cleantech Corporation of the Year” award at the 9th European Cleantech Forum in Bilbao, Spain, organized by Cleantech Group, a global network that brings together investors, start-ups and industrial groups in the area of green technology. This award singles out a company for its significant action to promote innovation in green technology and environmentally friendly products and services. Saint-Gobain was selected for its sustainable habitat strategy, for continuing its strategic investments in 2012, and NOVA External Venturing’s contribution to speeding up innovation. Tasked with identifying start-ups and encouraging partnerships with Saint-Gobain Activities, NOVA’s international team promotes a culture of innovation that embraces the world outside Saint-Gobain. “We were struck by Saint-Gobain’s consistent approach to cleantech innovation, underpinning its sustainable habitat vision, as shown by the gradual growth in new products as a percentage of its sales. In 2012, despite a tough economic context, its commitment to sustainability, innovation and energy efficiency prevailed, with notably the acquisitions of Celotex and Sage Electrochromics, and the running of the 4th NOVA Innovation Competition,” explains Richard Youngman, managing director for Cleantech Group in Europe.

New report: Global cement market to 2017

Research and Markets’ new report, “Global Cement Market to 2017: Market Size, Growth and Forecasts in Nearly 80 Countries” is a comprehensive package that enables readers the critical perspectives to be able to evaluate the world market for cement. The package provides the market size, growth, and forecasts at the global level as well as for each of the following countries: Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Belgium, Bolivia, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, China, Colombia, Czech Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, Estonia, Ethiopia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Iran, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lebanon, Lithuania, Macedonia, Malaysia, Mexico, Moldova, Mongolia, Morocco, Nepal, Netherlands, Nigeria, Norway, Oman, Pakistan, Panama, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Romania, Russia, Senegal, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Sweden, Thailand, Turkey, Ukraine, United Kingdom, United States, Uruguay and Vietnam. The market data covers the years 2006-2017

Cemex, Columbia U., and CCNY sign research agreement on alternative fuels research

Cemex announced a collaboration agreement with the Earth Engineering Center (EEC) at Columbia University and City College of New York in which EEC will conduct a year-long study of the life cycle effects of using alternative fuels in cement manufacturing. This study will result in a better understanding of the role that alternative fuels play in society and the environment. “This collaboration with EEC underscores the urgency of searching for alternative fuels given the continuing rise of oil prices and the increase of waste in landfills,” says Luis Farias, Cemex’s senior vice president of energy and sustainability. “The alternative fuel strategy has already enabled Cemex to avoid the emission of approximately 2.5 million tons of CO2 into the atmosphere per year.” Led by Nickolas Themelis and Marco Castaldi, from Columbia University and the City College of New York, respectively, the study will focus on waste combustion technologies implemented in Cemex kilns in the United States and Mexico. “The study is of great interest to the EEC because cement production is the largest materials-based high-temperature process worldwide, therefore, cement kilns present a great potential to reduce the amount of wastes in landfills,” explains Themelis. “This study provides EEC with the opportunity to develop a knowledge position similar to that EEC has attained in the global waste-to-energy technology and industry.” Cemex is on track to achieve its target of a 35 percent alternative fuel substitution rate in cement production by 2015.

Schott provides optical glasses with the lowest tolerances for refractive index and Abbe number

Schott is now the first manufacturer to offer special optical glasses of the tolerance level 0.5. The maximum deviation from the nominal values listed in the datasheet is only ± 0.0001 with the refractive index nd and ± 0.1 percent with the Abbe number νd with this new level of quality. This means Schott has the narrowest optical tolerances available in the market. Glasses of the tolerance level 0.5 are particularly well-suited for use in high-precision lenses. To achieve the best possible resolution, several lenses must be precisely in tune with each other. The narrow optical position of the glasses helps to improve the quality of the lenses used in inspection systems in industry or microscopy. In response to the growing demand, Schott now offers the following preferred fine annealed and prepared glass types in the tolerance level 0.5 from stock: N-BK7 and N-BK7HT, N-KZFS4 and N-KZFS4HT, N-KZFS5, N-KZFS8, N-PK51 and N-FK51A. Other glasses of the tolerance level 0.5 are available upon request. Schott is able to achieve these extremely narrow tolerances by closely controlling the melting and annealing processes with the help of state-of-the art techniques used in glass manufacturing. Then, these glass products are measured extremely precisely and further referenced inside a V-block refractometer at Schott.

GE Aviation to build new production facility

(Business Courier) David Joyce, CEO of Evendale-based GE Aviation, said last week the company will make an announcement in the next 60 to 90 days about a ceramic matrix composites production site.
Joyce, who was meeting with reporters after parent company General Electric Co.’s first quarter earnings were reported, didn’t share any additional details about the production site. Ceramic matrix composites, or CMCs, are expected to play an increasing role in new jet engines from GE Aviation. Ceramic matrix composites combine the heat resistance of ceramics with the strength of metal. GE Aviation recently tested an engine core that achieved the highest combination temperatures ever recorded inside the compressor and the turbine, a core made of lightweight and heat-resistant CMCs. The hotter the engine can get, the more efficiently the engine can run, which could result in improved fuel efficiency of as much as 25 percent.


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