Archive for Brazil
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British’s Mantec Technical Ceramics, owner of the Bullers brand, has introduced high temperature Bullers Process Control Discs. Important in all ceramic manufacturing, when it comes to technical ceramics, ferrites, MLCCs, refractories, grinding wheels, compacts and powder injected components then ensuring a uniform and controlled ‘heat work’ profile is absolutely critical. Manufactured to ISO 9001:2008 quality standards, the BPCD-HT discs are for firing/sintering temperatures between 1200°C and 1550°C. and the BPCD-VHT, cover the range from 1500°C up to 1770°. Accurate and reliable pyrometry is guaranteed because the ceramic discs (unlike thermocouples, for instance) experience the same thermal effects as the payload. For any particular point in any zone, measuring the disc shrinkage after firing/sintering will tell the user exactly what quantity of heat from all sources has been absorbed through the kiln, furnace or oven cycle.
3M announced that on November 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 “Offer”). The US 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 October 15, 2012, and 3M received clearance from the German Federal Cartel Office on October 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, November 27, 2012, unless the Offer is extended.
Plibrico Company, LLC announced the introduction of Plico—Plibrico’s international brand of monolithic refractory materials. Effective immediately, Plico products will be available to customers throughout all parts of the world. Plico refractory materials are produced from the highest-quality raw materials, and subject to Plibrico’s strict quality control and extensive testing procedures. They are available directly from Plibrico, or through its global network of distributors, contractors and exporters.
Rolls-Royce announced that construction will begin on a new advanced manufacturing facility at its manufacturing campus in Prince George County (Virginia). The aerospace firm is investing $136 million to develop an Advanced Airfoil Machining Facility, which will create 140 new, highly skilled jobs. The new plant will be located alongside the company’s rotatives manufacturing facility on the 1,000-acre Rolls-Royce Crosspointe campus and represents the second advanced manufacturing plant that will be built on the property. The site work on the plant could start in a matter of weeks, with construction slated for early next year and perhaps even before the end of year. Construction would continue through 2013 with an opening expected in 2014. The 90,000-square-foot facility will produce turbine blades and nozzle guide vanes for Rolls-Royce engines, including the Trent 900, Trent 1000 and Trent XWB engines. These advanced aero engines are used on some of the most sophisticated aircraft in the world, including the Boeing 787 Dreamliner, Airbus A380 and Airbus A350.
Ferro Corporation announced on Nov. 13, 2012, that James F. Kirsch has stepped down as president and CEO. Peter T. Thomas, operating vice president of polymer and ceramic engineered materials, has been named interim president and CEO. The board of directors has engaged a third-party search firm to assist in the search for a permanent successor to Kirsch and will consider both internal and external candidates. William B. Lawrence, a member of Ferro’s board of directors, is serving as acting chairman of the board. Interim president and CEO, Peter Thomas, has more than 30 years of experience in the chemicals and materials manufacturing industries and has a track record at Ferro of enhancing value through cost reductions and improved leverage on existing capital. He also has led successful growth initiatives at Ferro, including the development of the pigmented inks business for digital tile printing.
Brazil continues to be an important market for Ancora Group, an international provider of plant and machinery for the end-of-line stage of ceramic production. The company has secured a number of major orders in the country, most recently during the exhibition Tecnargilla held in September in Rimini. Two complete lapping and squaring lines, one for 600×600 mm and the other for sizes from 300×300 mm to 1000×1000 mm, were sold to the Portobello ceramic company located in the state of Santa Caterina and will begin operating in February 2013. These orders follow on from a recent delivery of a lapping machine. In October the engineers from Ancora do Brasil started up a second score-and-snap and squaring line for the production of long listels. Portobello was also one of the first Brazilian companies to adopt Ancora’s new energy-saving dryer, immediately noting the cost reductions of up to 40% and the quality of the end result.
The environmental degradation and corrosion of materials is inevitable and affects most aspects of life. In industrial settings, this inescapable fact has very significant financial, safety and environmental implications. “The Handbook of Environmental Degradation of Materials” explains how to measure, analyse, and control environmental degradation for a wide range of industrial materials including metals, polymers, ceramics, concrete, wood and textiles exposed to environmental factors such as weather, seawater, and fire. Divided into sections which deal with analysis, types of degradation, protection and surface engineering respectively, the reader is introduced to the wide variety of environmental effects and what can be done to control them. The expert contributors to this book provide a wealth of insider knowledge and engineering knowhow, complementing their explanations and advice with Case Studies from areas such as pipelines, tankers, packaging and chemical processing equipment ensures that the reader understands the practical measures that can be put in place to save money, lives and the environment
• Asahi Glass Co. has decided to shut down AGC Glass North America’s Kingsport Plant in Tennessee in order to improve the profitability of its photovoltaic cover glass operations. This plant closure will cut down more than 30 percent of the group’s manufacturing capacity for PV cover glass.
• RHI, a world market leader in refractories, has built one of the largest fusion plants for magnesia raw materials for more than €75 million in Norway. In this fusion plant, magnesia obtained from sea water is converted to fused magnesia; with a capacity of approximately 85,000 tons per year, the plant is one of the largest worldwide.
• Grob Glass reports massive drop in orders and is therefore forced to close its operative business by end of September 2012, since an ordinary business cannot be maintained under these circumstances. The company, specialised in the construction of glass furnaces and dismantling of existing lines, had been founded in 1982 by Alfred Grob.
• On Oct. 31, 2012, Verallia inaugurated its third furnace in Mendoza’s plant in Argentina. This is the most important industrial investment made in 2012 by a private company. This third furnace, mainly dedicated to the production of still and sparkling wine bottles, required an investment of $70 million. Its construction began in March 2011 and was completed during the second quarter of this year.
• The NSG Group is to close architectural float lines at plants in Sweden and Italy. It will close a float line in Halmstad, Sweden, by the end of March 2013. It will also close a float line in Porto Marghera, Venice, Italy; that furnace is currently in a state of hot-hold, and will shut down in January 2013.
• The Brazilian Ministry of Development, Industry and Foreign Trade will grant a $220 million credit to Fanavid SA to build a glass factory in Cuba, Hipolito Rocha announced.
• Cookson Group plans to split into two new listed companies on Dec. 19, 2012, with the current Chairman Jeff Harris, and CEO Nick Salmon, retiring at the same time. Following a strategic review, the board of Cookson has decided to split its businesses into two separate listed companies in what it is calling a “demerger.” Its Performance Material division will form a specialty chemicals company called Alent, while the Cookson Group, consisting principally its Engineered Ceramics division, will be renamed Vesuvius.
Scientists, engineers and even business people in the field of ceramics like to describe ceramics as an “enabling” material. What we typically mean is that often ceramic materials serve as a platform for other materials or must be combined or used in some way with other materials, thereby enabling the production of an end-use product or application.
This concept of ceramics being an enabler is, of course, true. But, it wasn’t until yesterday when I attended the Glass Problems Conference in Cincinnati, Ohio, and saw the numerous presentations and exhibitors from the refractories field, that it struck me that there is one division of ceramics that often is required to enable other ceramics (and glass): refractory ceramics.
Without the rugged refractory materials used to line high-temperature ovens, kilns, glass furnaces, etc., most ceramics could not be carefully sintered, glass couldn’t be melted properly and cement clinker could not be formed. So, arguably, even the best tinkerers and makers of advanced ceramics and high-tech glasses would be nowhere without our refractory compatriots, and they seldom get the recognition they deserve.
Another area where refractories certainly fail to get the love they deserve is in metalmaking. Modern steelmaking and aluminum production, for example, require sophisticated refractory linings for ladles, troughs, hearths, casters, etc. Unfortunately, the general public has no idea about the critical role that refractories play in these industries (and I am fairly certain that 99.5 percent of the population, I am sure, would be unable to use the words “refractory” or “refractories” in a sentence).
In a certain sense, the area of refractories is the “blue collar” division of the ceramics field, because these materials often perform the same functions day in and day out. But, even the blue collar description often rubs refractory scientists and engineers the wrong way because it fails to acknowledge that the technology and applications are still evolving and still being challenged by such things as the changing demands for energy efficiency and high-purity advanced metals, ceramics and glass.
Given this general lack of appreciation, it’s no wonder that those in the refractories community—researchers, engineers, manufacturers and representatives of consuming industries—stick together and are a pretty tight-knit group.
And, an international group it is, too. Whereas decades ago the centers of gravity for refractory research and production was the United States, other regions, such as South America (particularly Brazil) and Asian (particularly China and India) have surged and established their own research and manufacturing centers of excellence.
Every two years, the refractories R&D world comes together in a grand meeting called UNITECR, which stands for the Unified International Technical Conference on Refractories. UNITECR describes itself as the “biennial international conference that contributes to the progress and exchange of industrial knowledge and technologies concerning refractories.”
For anyone involved in materials development, engineering or production of refractories, UNITECR is a don’t-miss event. Besides academics, people from a wide range of industries—think petrochemicals, glass, cement, mineral processing and metalmaking—get a chance for cross fertilization, networking and sharing of cutting edge R&D. The next UNITECR meeting will be held in Canada and doesn’t occur for another year (Sept. 10-13, 2013, in Victoria, British Columbus), but the deadline for the Call For Papers (pdf) abstracts is Oct. 15, 2012.
Organizers are looking for papers on the following topics:
Organizers are aiming only for around 200 presentations, so if you work in the refractories field and have any interest in presenting, act quickly. From the submitted abstracts, the UNITECR’13 Technical Program Committee will make its final selection based on technical content, as well as the date and order in which abstracts are received. Applicants will be notified if they are selected by Dec. 21, 2012.
(Note: the most recent Ceramic Tech Today email—May 15, 2012—accidentally contained an older link that directs readers to this page. For readers who want to go to P. Carlo Ratto’s most recent “News from the glass and refractory worlds, please click here.)
• According to reports, Asahi Glass is considering expanding a factory it has just started building in Brazil, in order to double the facility’s planned output of automotive glass.
• A silicon metal smelter will be setup in Abu Dhabi’s newest industrial zone KIZAD, which will supply high grade silicon to aluminium smelters in the region. The plant operated by Al Braik Investments is estimated to cost around Dh638 million.
• Montreal-based Rio Tinto Alcan hopes to seal the sale of four alumina plants by the end of September; at the end of March, Rio Tinto had received a binding offer from private equity group HIG for its three specialty alumina plants in France and one in Germany and would respond to the offer after consulting unions.
• Kerneos, a world leader in calcium aluminates, is pleased to announce that it has acquired a 54% stake in the capital of the Greek company Elmin, the leading European exporter of monohydrate bauxite.
Here is what we are hearing:
Coca-Cola celebrates Earth Day with a ceremonial “green ribbon-cutting” to unveil the installation of five natural gas hydrogen fuel-cell servers at its beverage production facility in American Canyon, Calif. The Coca-Cola Company is a foundation partner with Bloom Energy, a California-based firm that is pioneering fuel cells that can generate electricity from a variety of energy sources, including natural gas. The company has also deployed stationary fuel cells that provide electricity at facilities in Elmsford, N.Y., East Hartford, Conn., and Dinuba, Calif. Additionally, Coca-Cola converted its forklift fleet to hydrogen power at its production and distribution center in San Leandro, California.
(Business News Americas) Investments in Brazil’s steel sector should reach 21bn reais (US $11.2 billion) in 2012-15 or about 4% of the 597bn reais earmarked for the entire industrial sector in the period, according to a study on investment prospects carried out by national development bank BNDES. The figure is 34% lower than what was invested in the sector in 2007-10, according to the study. The steel industry is facing a period of great uncertainty, with significant excess capacity in the world and little prospect of increased demand in the short term. As a result, steelmakers have postponed planned investments. In addition, China’s pace of growth has slowed down and the rising costs of major raw materials used in the sector have greatly reduced steelmakers’ profit margins. To reduce production costs and ease pressure on margins sector companies have been increasing vertical integration and diversifying their activities, BNDES said.
3M ESPE’s Scotchbond Universal Adhesive offers a unique versatility designed to simplify the overall dental bonding procedure. With Scotchbond Universal adhesive, dentists can experience a single-bottle solution for a variety of application methods, delivering high and consistent bond strength compared with other leading adhesives. Combining total-etch and self-etch properties, Scotchbond Universal adhesive can be used on all surfaces, including enamel, dentine, glass ceramic, zirconia, alumina, metals and composites - without additional primer.
Executives from Rubicon Technology Inc., a leading provider of sapphire substrates and products to the LED, RFIC, semiconductor, and optical industries, spoke about the “Move to Larger Diameter Sapphire Substrates” at the Strategies in Light 2012 in Santa Clara, Calif., In order to support mass adoption of solid state lighting, a shift to larger diameter sapphire substrate size must occur. Manufacturing efficiencies and cost reductions inherent in the large diameter platform set the stage for scaling up of the entire LED supply chain to meet the growing demand for LED chips. The representation reviewed why a large diameter wafer is essential to driving down costs and increasing yields to support aggressive cost targets of SSL, and addressed trends that are on the horizon.
Commemorating Earth Day 2012, RAK Ceramics, the world’s ceramic tiles & bathware manufacturing company, organized a tree planting ceremony at its manufacturing facility on April 22nd 2012 as part of its commitment to spread awareness on environmental sustainability and pledging to support a greener planet. During the ceremony, Abdallah Massaad (deputy CEO, RAK Ceramics) planted the first sapling to commemorate Earth Day 2012, which was further followed by RAK Ceramics employees by planting 500 trees. Additional 1,500 trees will be planted during the course of the year. Since 2010, RAK Ceramics has planted 5,000 trees across its manufacturing vicinity and the company commits to plant more than 7,000 trees by the end of year 2012.
A market report released October 2011 provides an overview of the development of the total market and the individual segments. Includes market forecasts for all product segments and regions for the upcoming three years, based on our econometric models. It considers awareness of market position and development during the last two years, in comparison with major competitors and with respect to total market, regional markets, product groups and segments.
BMR, a world leader in end-of-line technologies for ceramic tile production based in Scandiano, Italy, has supplied a second polishing line to the Algerian company C.Gres of Oran. The line, which features the innovative oscillating roller calibrator, joins the Algerian company’s existing equipment supplied by BMR, consisting of a squaring machine, a polishing line and a squaring line, as well as a dry score-and-snap system with a small size rectification machine. The new line marks a major step forward in terms of technology and quality for C.Gres, currently Algeria’s only porcelain tile producer, which in the space of 3 years has completely renovated its plants and adopted all-Italian BMR technology.
Microcertec says it will attend the SMT/HYBRID/PACKAGING exhibition in Nüremberg, Germany, dedicated to electronic components, equipment and process.Microcertec will have on display its ceramic components for the microelectronics industry — electrical insulators, alumina and AlN substrates, heat sinks and solderable and bondable submounts. The 3D interconnect devices will also be highlighted that allows customers to integrate sensors and chips in a ceramic package with electrical functions. Also, the company will exhibit a range of new products and capabilities: customized ceramic-to-metal and glass-to-metal brazed assemblies like hermetic feedthroughs and connectors, microelectronic packages and viewports with optical filters.