Published on June 21st, 2013 | By: Peter Wray0
Ceramics and glass business news of the weekPublished on June 21st, 2013 | By: Peter Wray
At Bloomberg’s June 17 Next Big Thing Summit, Corning’s Waguih Ishak, a vice president for Corning West Technology Center, discussed Willow Glass. Willow Glass is an ultra-slim flexible glass, which could revolutionize the shape and form of next-generation consumer electronic technologies. According to a report by BusinessInsider, Ishak stated that the glass would be available for devices by the end of 2013 or early 2014. Tech blogger Robert Scoble joined Ishak on stage during the presentation and advocate the use of Willow Glass in future wrist-watch devices, according to the report. “If I’m Tim Cook at Apple, I’d be looking at that for a watch with a flexible surface, a display with touch-sensor applications,” Scoble is quoted as saying. Rumors of an iWatch device from Apple has been doing the rounds over the last several months. These were mainly fueled by a Nick Bilton of The New York Times reported in February. And this iWatch patent published by the USPTO.
Corning Inc. and View Inc., today announced a strategic development agreement to leverage their combined capabilities to advance View’s market-leading dynamic glass. Corning is leading a financial investment in View as part of a Series E round of funding to support the development of dynamic glass technologies for exterior architectural applications. Jeffrey W. Evenson, Corning’s senior vice president and operations chief of staff, will serve on View’s board of directors. Representing a major innovation in architectural windows, View Dynamic Glass intelligently regulates the amount of heat and glare that enters a building. Dynamic glass automatically transitions between clear and variable tint in response to environmental conditions and user preferences. In a typical commercial installation, annual HVAC and lighting energy consumption is reduced by 20 percent while HVAC peak load is reduced by 25 percent. “While dynamic glass has been in development for decades, we believe View’s unique approach will finally bring this technology into the mainstream. We believe the precise surface attainable through our fusion glass process, combined with View’s leading expertise in dynamic glass technology will help us develop an innovative glass that can make dynamic windows a bigger part of exterior architectural applications.” says Martin J. Curran, executive vice president and innovation officer for Corning. Since the first large-scale commercialization of dynamic glass in 2012, View has been shipping dynamic glass from its manufacturing operations in Olive Branch, Miss., at a rapidly accelerating pace. This new infusion of funding and collaboration with Corning will help the company further scale its operations to meet accelerating demand, as well as continue to develop and advance dynamic glass technology.
Lilliputian Systems Inc., a developer of portable power products for consumer electronics, announced today that Nectar, a revolutionary portable power system, won first place in the Mobile Consumer Electronics Accessories category at the 2013 CTIA E-Tech Awards. As an E-Tech award candidate, Nectar was judged on innovation, functionality, technological importance, implementation, and overall “wow” factor. The judging panel for the awards categories consisted of highly-respected industry experts, reporters and analysts. “It is such an honor for Nectar to take first place in this category at the E-Tech Awards,” said Mouli Ramani, Vice President of Business Development at Lilliputian Systems. “We believe that Nectar will become an essential mobile accessory, one that fully addresses the challenge of keeping today’s mobile devices powered. We’re so thrilled to see that the E-Tech Awards judges think that as well.” The system is a compact, lightweight, and highly portable solid oxide fuel cell device that powers and charges virtually any of the billions of consumer electronic devices—smart phones, tablets, mp3 players, eReaders, Bluetooth headsets, digital cameras, etc.—that comply with the USB power standard. This revolutionary product has the capacity to keep consumer electronic devices humming for 2+ weeks by inserting a single Nectar Pod power cartridge into the mobile power system.
Sentient Science, a software and sensor company, has officially opened an advanced manufacturing, material genome and cutting-edge computational testing laboratory in Buffalo. Over the past two years, with the help of the University of Buffalo, Sentient has built an 8,000-processor, cloud-oriented infrastructure to serve the world’s largest material genome and advance manufacturing companies. Now, in Western New York, we are pleased to be open for business. Our model is ready-to-scale and serves two purposes: one, to provide the tools for companies to build their own DigitalClone models for on-site testing of machinery and equipment; and two, to reuse these models in order to lower the cost of ownership of these assets in the aftermarket. Special thanks to Sentient’s brilliant team of scientists and researchers led by Dr. Nathan Bolander, as well as to our private company and U.S. government funders and our OEM partners. We are happy to be in Western New York, and look forward to making significant efficiency and accuracy improvements across the advanced manufacturing industry.
Cement manufacturer Lafarge Cement Zimbabwe has announced plans to invest $200million within the next 10 years towards setting up new cement manufacturing plant. Lafarge MD Jonathan Shoniwa told Businessdigest at the company’s launch event for the “building better cities” branding campaign recently the new investment will add one million [metric] tons of cement to the company’s annual production from the current 450,000 tons per year. “In terms of numbers I think the indications are that if we are to [build] a million-ton plant the money that we will be looking at is somewhere in the region of $200 million, so its quite a big investment of between $180million and $200million,” says Shoniwa. He said the move would also increase market share significantly from current levels of 38 percent. In the current year, Lafarge is targeting a market share of 40 percent on account of its strong brand and expects to continue to benefit from the continued growth in demand for cement. In 2012, the local demand grew 10 percent and is on course for a target 5 percent growth.
According to estimation statistics published by China Cement Association, China’s cement market is expected to grow by about 6 percent in 2013, slightly better than the 5.74 percent growth of 2012. Single-digit growth of the cement market indicates that the industry is entering a stable development phase. At present, the priority is to solve the problem of excessive production capacity and to promote the green development of the industry. “The new type of urbanization and the huge market of infrastructure construction is a lasting source of demands for raw material commodities like cement and steel”, says Kong Xiangzhong, executive vice chairman and secretary general of China Cement Association. Kong estimates that the market’s demand for cement would grow for at least another 10 years, and the so-called turning point of cement market demand was not yet to come. The China’s cement industry prosperity index report shows that after the initial seasonal adjustment, cement output across China grew by 10.8 percent in the first quarter. Statistics provided by Digital Cement show that the growth of market demand in the first quarter was 8.2 percent. Based on the normal progress of projects under construction within the knowledge of China Cement Association, the size of new projects in 2013 is estimated at about 120 million tons. Based on this calculation, new cement production capacity in 2013 will be increased by about 7.5 percent, whereas growth of the market demand is about 6 percent; the pressure of over production capacity is by no means reduced.
QWave Fund, a new, global venture capital fund focused on physics and material sciences, today announced its first round of investments, which include a total of $7 million to Estonia-based Clifton, Indiana-based Nano-Meta Technologies Inc., and North Carolina-based Centice. This round of investments marks the initial delivery on QWave’s mission to further the commercialization of the scientific innovation of the future. Launched in December 2012, QWave is the first fund focused exclusively on companies developing next-generation technologies based on material sciences and physics. Historically underserved by the VC community, these fields have recently seen a number of breakthroughs in areas such as quantum information processing, metamaterials and nanophotonics, and graphene and carbon nanotubes that will have the ability to solve real-world problems in industries such as IT, security, energy, medicine, and aerospace. QWave is backed by a team of PhDs around the world in nuclear physics and computer science, as well as engineers and scientists with proven entrepreneurial track records in business development and operational success. The fund’s scientific advisory board includes professors and scientists from Harvard, Purdue and quantum centers around the world, including Canada, Russia and Singapore. Founded by a team of professors of electrical and computer engineering from Purdue, Nano-Meta Technologies is creating technology that will significantly advance the fields of optical and quantum computing as well as enable new generation of devices for powerful super-resolution imaging, sensing, energy conversion, and biomedical applications through the development of nano-scale optical components and novel materials. Clifton has created a new class of high-voltage semiconductors used by power electronics manufacturers in Europe, Asia and America in industries ranging from mining to space technology. The company’s proprietary liquid phase epitaxy (LPE) process adds unique high voltage capability to GaAs at a low cost. Centice is pioneering chemical verification and identification using Raman spectroscopy and computational sensor technology.
Owens Corning, a global producer of glass fiber reinforcements for composite systems and residential and commercial building materials, has announced a $130 million investment in North America to expand its global glass non-wovens business. The new facility will house a state-of-the-art manufacturing line, coating capability, and research and development activities, with future expansion options. According to Owens Corning Group President Arnaud Genis, “There is a limited supply of glass non-woven products serving the global building materials market today. As projections for long term growth are optimistic, our customers have been eagerly waiting for Owens Corning to offer more of our unique products and solutions to support and accelerate their growth. This new investment further leverages our integrated position as a glass fiber and glass non-woven supplier, and will complement existing non-woven facilities in North America and Europe to ensure we remain the global leader in glass non-woven technology.” The North American facility will use Owens Corning glass fibers supplied from existing facilities and will specialize in high quality glass non-woven applications including wall covering, ceiling and flooring, specialty insulation, gypsum, and automotive products. The location of the new facility has been narrowed to several states, with the final determination based on the proximity to customers, availability of talent, infrastructure and natural resources, and a favorable business environment.
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