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Some recent new developments:
Kyocera America, Inc. was recognized by Raytheon Space and Airborne Systems (SAS) for Supplier Excellence in 2012, representing the company’s second consecutive 3-Star Supplier Excellence award. This honor acknowledges Kyocera’s performance in overall quality, on-time delivery, customer satisfaction, and total business and financial health. The Supplier Excellence selection process is undertaken annually by SAS to determine those most exceptional suppliers who display consistent support for Raytheon’s critical Mission Assurance. Evaluation of supplier performance includes objective data as well as input from the Raytheon buyers and Material Program managers who deal with the suppliers regularly. The winning suppliers in 2012 represented less than one percent of Raytheon SAS’ supply base.
PPG Industries’ fiber glass business is featuring industry-standard products, updates on glass operations and composition research, and information on technology currently in development during JEC Europe 2013 in Paris, March 12-14. The company is featuring its Chopvantage HP 3610 chopped fiber glass, an industry standard for hydrolysis-resistant polyamides in long-life coolant systems, is the first to have all of its ingredients approved for the positive list of the Commission Regulation (EU) 10/2011. PPG is is also displaying its The portfolio of Innofiber specialty glass composition fibers that have been updated. Finally, the company will be presenting information information on recent upgrades and reinvestment in technology and equipment for the constructions of L.E.X. and Texo texturized yarns have enabled PPG to continue offering these products to customers worldwide.
Asahi Glass Co. has made an investment totaling $2.1 million in Triton Microtechnologies Inc., which owns cutting-edge via-fill technology for interposer substrate, to enable next-generation semiconductor packaging products using ultra-thin glass. By combining its unique technologies on ultra-thin glass and micro-hole drilling process with Triton Microtechnologies’ via-fill technology, AGC will contribute to the acceleration of next-generation semiconductor packaging development using glass. Next-generation high density semiconductor packaging is a promising solution for smaller and higher-function mobile devices, and the key to this advancement is interposer technologies that interconnect the Si chip and the printed circuit board. AGC has developed carrier glass technology that enables its customers to handle ultrathin glass at their sites and micro-hole drilling technology to manufacture ultrathin glass interposers. For the commercialization of ultrathin glass interposers, the via-fill technology has been needed and this investment will help AGC to put its innovative product into practical use. Triton Microtechnologies owns a proprietary via-hole filling technology for micro-holes with a high aspect ratio. This technology uses a copper paste to fill holes, which allows a highly productive and efficient continuous processing. By using a copper paste with the same coefficient of thermal expansion as glass, this method can also help increase the quality of electrodes.
Bosch Thermotechnology is pushing ahead the market launch of future-proof energy systems. This fuel cell-based system facilitates the decentralised generation of power and heat for new and modernised one and two-family homes. It is based on a ceramic solid oxide fuel cell, operating at high temperatures of 700°C. This results in an electrical efficiency of 45 percent. As a member of the ene.field project, Bosch Thermotechnology will install some 70 of these power-generating heating systems for demonstration purposes in Germany, United Kingdom, the Netherlands, and France starting 2014 in order to pave the way for the market launch. Aisin Seiki supplies the power-generating module, based on the appliance already launched in Japan. Bosch Thermotechnology integrates it into an overall system in accordance with the respective requirements of the individual European heating technology markets. The ene.field project is the largest European demonstration programme for fuel cell-based solutions facilitating the decentralised generation of power and heat for residential buildings. Industrial companies, research partners and utilities cooperate in the project to promote these micro-CHP plants.
Orbite Aluminae Inc. is pleased to announce its participation in the Miami Bauxite & Alumina, Hong Kong Mines and Money, and Roth Capital conferences. On Feb 4, 2013, Orbite announced it signed an exclusive worldwide collaborative agreement with Veolia for the remediation of red mud using the Orbite proprietary processes. Veolia is the largest environmental solutions company in the world. Specific milestones were established within the agreement for the construction of a first red mud remediation plant expected to begin in 2014. These milestones include selecting the site, determining the optimal operating capacity, and concluding negotiations on the ownership and funding structure. Veolia will be the operator of the plant and intends to construct red mud remediation plants worldwide. Red mud is the caustic waste by-product of smelter-grade alumina production from bauxite ores using the industry standard Bayer process. To date there has been no commercially viable remediation technology, resulting in the disposal of red mud using vast stockpiles, or in some cases even using ocean-disposal, thus creating a long-term liability for alumina producers. There is currently an estimated 3 billion tons of red mud held in stockpiles worldwide. With over 100 million new tons produced each year by the industry, at this rate red mud stockpiles are expected to reach 4 billion tons by the end of the decade. The Orbite proprietary processes, which generate no wastes or tailings, are the only commercially viable and eco-friendly technology for remediating red mud.
Valveless, ceramic pumps from Fluid Metering Inc. provide the solution for metering high viscosity grease at low pressure for precision lubrication of industrial robot gearboxes. To maximize productivity and eliminate downtime, industrial robots require continual lubrication. The PDS-100 Programmable Dispensing System utilizes FMI’s unique valveless pumping design to accurately deliver gearbox lubricating grease, independent of viscosity. More importantly, it accomplishes this at pressures low enough to prevent any seal damage to the gearbox. The pump is available in both single- and dual-channel configurations and is easily integrated with industrial process controllers. Dispense and metering rates range from a few microliters per dispense up to 768 ml per minute continuous metering. FMI’s valveless, ceramic pumps have only one moving part in contact with the fluid. The sapphire-hard internal components and valveless design of FMI pumps eliminate accuracy drift typical of pumping systems that rely on valves, diaphragms, peristaltic tubing, and pressurized feed lines for fluid delivery.
Morgan Technical Ceramics announces its range of piezo ceramic Air In Line (AIL) sensors, ideal for use in medical equipment, including infusion pumps, enteral feeding pumps, and dialysis equipment. The sensors are available as either a standard or custom-manufactured model to suit specific OEM needs, the AIL sensor can be adapted to suit tube diameter, tube holding and clamping method, additional sensing features, mounting arrangement, or interface with a disposable cassette. MTC’s standard AIL sensor includes a bubble detector for a 4-5 millimeter tube, designed to minimize the footprint with a short flexi circuit for easy connection via a standard zero insertion force connector. The sensor can be mounted in any orientation and is designed to be dry-coupled to PVC or silicone tubing. AIL sensors can be customized to meet specific OEM requirements for housing geometry, color, mounting arrangement, electrical terminations, tube diameter, adaptation to specific tubing, and any special functional features. The sensors are available in a variety of forms, from bare-tuned piezo ceramic discs or plates, to a fully functional packaged sensor.
A rerun worth watching: SOFC battery charger liberates electronic devices from the tyranny of the grid. Credit: CES.
When the Consumer Electronics Show was going on in Las Vegas last month, Peter picked up on a company that aims to set us free from the power cords that recharge the cell phones, laptops, tablets, and other power-hungry electronics we happily lug around. The aptly named company, Lilliputian Systems, showcased its portable SOFC device—Nectar—that provides up to two weeks of grid-free juice.
The little power device was a big winner at CES and brought several sweet awards home from the show, according to a company press release. They include the CES Innovations Award for Engineering & Design in the Portable Power category, Popular Science Product of the Future Award (one of 15 selected), and the Gotta be Mobile Best of CES Award (one of twelve selected). (Keep in mind, thousands of new products are launched at CES.)
“Nectar is the only solution that truly addresses the challenge of keeping today’s mobile devices powered,” says Mouli Ramani, the company’s vice president of business development. I wish he had said the device addresses the challenge of keeping mobile devices … mobile.
The YSZ-electrolyte SOFC is fueled with small butane canisters that are easily replaced. The company has a nice white paper (pdf) on how the technology works, for those of you who like to get under the hood. The company says it expects to start shipping the devices in summer or fall of this year. Preorders are being accepted online through Brookstone. There is some evidence that the company is gearing up—a hiring spree is underway, with seven jobs posted on LinkedIn in the last two weeks, and more postings that are up to a month old.
If you missed the video from CES, I’ve patched it in again. It’s pretty cool.
Here is what we are hearing:
Malvern Instruments conducted its global launch of an exciting addition to its Zetasizer family, bringing unique protein measurement and novel microrheology capabilities to this established and market-leading range of dynamic light scattering systems. The new high-specification Zetasizer Nano ZSP delivers enhanced sensitivity and comes with advanced software that drives the two new measurement types. Like other systems in the range, the Zetasizer Nano ZSP is a single, compact unit. It shares the simplicity and ease of use that have made Zetasizer Nano systems a firm favorite in industry and academia for almost a decade. Where the Zetasizer Nano ZSP stands apart, however, is in its unique performance specifications for both size and zeta potential measurement. One of the most significant applications is the measurement of the zeta potential.
With the opening of a new Technology Centre in Singapore, Michelman continues to increase its commitment and investment in the Asia Pacific region. The Centre is strategically designed to allow for fast, efficient development of new water-based coatings and surface modifying additives formulated specifically for the Asia Pacific markets. The Centre is designed architecturally to allow for collaboration between Michelman chemists and application specialists, customers, visiting scientists, local think tanks, universities, and others involved in the research and product development process. Michelman has also installed a new 400 kg pilot batch reactor and state-of-the-art testing equipment at the Centre that are used to help customers accelerate the concept-to-commercialization cycle. Michelman has built, equipped and staffed the facility to serve customers of its paper and flexible packaging coatings, as well as its surface modifiers and additives for paint and coatings. Michelman is a global developer of water-based barrier and functional coatings for flexible film packaging, paperboard and corrugated cartons; and water-based surface modifiers, additives and polymers for numerous industries including wood care, industrial coatings, inks, fibers, composites and construction products.
Xaar announced the launch of the first commercially available Xaar 1001 GS12-based tile printers at Tecnargilla 2012. The Xaar 1001 GS12, which joins the company’s Xaar 1001 GS6, was designed to meet specific ceramics sector requirements. Many of the major manufacturers of tile decoration equipment have chosen to develop new machines using Xaar’s latest printhead because it delivers considerable quality and production performance benefits. Intesa-Sacmi, KERAjet, Projecta SiTi B&T, and TecnoFerrari will present the first printers to feature the Xaar 1001 GS12 at this year’s show.
In a press conference on Sept. 21, 2012, Honda president and CEO, Takanobu Ito, says Honda has been developing a household SOFC cogeneration system in collaboration with NGK Spark Plug. The technology will be tested in a demonstration house featuring Honda’s Smart Home System. The SHS is expected to be introduced to the marketplace in 2015.
Morgan Ceramics will be showcasing a broad range of products at the Investment Casting Institute’s 59th Annual Technical Conference and Equipment Expo, Oct. 7-10, 2012, at the Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center, Nashville, Tenn. Highlighting how it works with other businesses within the Morgan Crucible group to provide complete thermal management solutions, the booth will feature products from Morgan Thermal Ceramics, Morgan Technical Ceramics, and Morgan Molten Metal Systems. MTC will be promoting its successful development of a Superwool mold wrap product as an alternative to refractory ceramic fiber high temperature insulation. MTC Certech will be showcasing its full line of injection-molded ceramics engineered for investment casting, including equiax, DS and single crystal, airfoil and IGT cores, and aircraft and general hardware cores. Products on display from MTC Bolt will include rollers, thermocouple tubes, and other components for thermal processing applications, including those made of alumina, Alsint 997, Mullite, Pythagoras Silicon carbide, and Halsic. MorganMMS will be highlighting an extensive range of crucibles and foundry products. On display will be the new Z2 Syncarb crucible, which offers significant advantages in energy efficiency including higher thermal conductivity.
Here’s what we are hearing:
Ceradyne Inc. nnounced that it has acquired a minority interest with an option to acquire all of Tempe, Arizona-based Graphite Machining Services and Innovations. GMSI has developed a proprietary method of applying a chemical vapor deposited silicon carbide ceramic coating on precision machined graphite shapes. The resultant product is used in the manufacture of Light Emitting Diodes for the rapidly growing solid state lighting market. GMSI’s expertise and technology have been focused on the precision machining of ultra-high-quality graphite shapes since its founding in 1984. The demand for state-of-the-art components for use in the Metal Organic Chemical Vapor Deposition process in the manufacturing of LEDs has led to GMSI’s shift in technology and manufacturing capacity to serve the LED and other semiconductor markets. David Reed, president of Ceradyne’s North American Operations, says GMSI “fits very well with our diversification strategy, coupled with our interest in building out Ceradyne’s advanced technical ceramics portfolio. Furthermore, the market for efficient, environmentally friendly LED lighting systems is expected to grow very rapidly over the next ten years.”
Plibrico Co. is pleased to announce the appointment of E.J. Bartells Co. to Plibrico’s exclusive network of refractory contractors. Headquartered in Renton, Wa., E.J. Bartells is a premier provider of refractory products and installation services. It will be the exclusive Plibrico PliPartner for the states of Washington, Oregon, Colorado and Alaska. “Bartells brings decades of refractory material and installation expertise to our network of exclusive partners,” states James Eckert, president of Plibrico. “Its range of experience, from small furnace repair to multimillion dollar refinery turnarounds, will be a valuable addition to our organization. The synergy created from this partnership will benefit many of our customers in the Pacific Northwest.” Plibrico Company LLC is a leading manufacturer and installer of superior aluminosilicate and high alumina monolithic refractories used in a variety of demanding thermal applications.
AVX Corp., a leading manufacturer of advanced passive components and interconnect solutions, has announced that major automotive supplier Robert Bosch GmbH has joined the AVX “Solutions for Hope” Project. “We are very pleased to have Bosch, one of the world’s premier electronics suppliers to the automotive sector participate in our project,” says Peter Collis, vice president of AVX tantalum products. The project, established in July 2011, works with leading OEMs such as Motorola Solutions, Intel, and HP to deliver a “closed-pipe” process for delivering conflict-free tantalum material from the Democratic Republic of Congo in accordance with the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development’s due diligence guidelines and incorporating the independently-validated Electronic Industry Code of Conduct and the Global e-Sustainability initiative conflict-free smelter program. It remains the only project to exclusively use EICC/GeSI-validated conflict-free smelters for processing tantalum ore into capacitor-grade materials. AVX is the first in its industry to validate a closed tantalum pipe process, assuring all products contain only conflict-free tantalum in accordance with the principles of the Dodd-Frank legislation and the current OECD guidelines.
Plug Power Inc., a leader in providing clean, reliable energy solutions, has reported its financial results for the second quarter of 2012. Net loss for the second quarter of 2012 was $6.5 million, or $0.17 per share on a basic and diluted basis. This compares with a net loss of $6.8 million, or $0.41 per share, for the second quarter of 2011. Total revenue for the second quarter of 2012 was $7.7 million, comprised of $7.2 million for product and service revenue and $0.5 million for research and development (R&D) contract revenue. This compares to total revenue of $4.3 million in the second quarter of 2011, which was comprised of $2.6 million for product and service revenue, $1.5 million for R&D contract revenue, and $0.2 million for licensed technology revenue. The quarter’s GenDrive orders included units for Lowe’s, Sysco, Walmart and Mercedes Benz, representing approximately $6.5 million in orders. The order for Mercedes was received in early April 2012, and all 72 of the GenDrive units were installed and operational by early July. This is the quickest cycle time to date between receiving an order and deployment at a site requiring a new hydrogen fueling station.
Rubicon Technology Inc., a leading provider of sapphire substrates and products to the LED, semiconductor, and optical industries, announced a ground-breaking project, dubbed Large-Area Net-shape Crystal Extraction (LANCE), developed to produce large-form sapphire windows of optical quality for military sensing applications. The project is supported by a grant from the Air Force Research Laboratory, with a total value of $4.7 million over three years. Production will be scaled to meet the current and future requirements of the Air Force, beginning with intermediate sizes and progressing to windows as large as 36 x 18 x 0.8 inches. These sapphire windows will meet a variety of needs in both government and private sector applications. Existing growth technologies that produce large-area sapphire crystals are incapable of generating the thickness required for demanding defense applications. Rubicon’s new technological platform will grow panels approximately two-inches-thick, which can be cut into multiple windows of varying thickness to meet the needs of the industry. The platform developed through the LANCE project is distinct from Rubicon’s ES2 crystal growth technology, which will remain the platform for Rubicon’s C-plane sapphire used in the LED industry and R-plane sapphire for silicon-on-sapphire RFIC applications.
PPG Industries has introduced Sungate 600 glass, a multifunctional, low-emissivity glass that can enhance the insulating performance of buildings in a variety of climates and applications. In moderate climates, where heat gain is desired, the low-e glass can function as a traditional high-performing, passive glass. The coating of Sungate 600 glass reduces heat loss and provides a U-value of 0.33 while maintaining ample levels of heat and visible light transmittance. For colder climate zones, where even higher insulating values are desired, the coating of Sungate 600 glass can face the building interior and can yield a 20 percent net gain in U-value without the need for triple-glazing. When paired with a tinted or reflective glass from Sungate 600 glass can improve U-values by up to 30 percent when the coating is placed on the No. 3 surface of a 1-inch insulating glass unit.
Jiangxi Rare Metals Tungsten Group Holding Co., one of China’s largest tungsten mine operators, and H.C. Starck, one of the world’s leading manufacturers of technology metals, celebrated the groundbreaking ceremony for their tungsten joint venture in Ganzhou City, Jiangxi Province, China. Starting in late 2013, this plant will be producing tungsten metal powders and carbides exclusively for the Chinese market. Along with representatives of the two joint venture partners, more than 500 guests from politics and business including representatives of the Jiangxi Provincial Government and the city of Ganzhou attended the groundbreaking ceremony. “This joint venture is our largest project to date in China and the core of our growth strategy in Asia,” said Andreas Meier, president and CEO of the H.C. Starck. “We will primarily supply the products of our joint venture to the hard metal manufacturers for the automotive and engineering industries as well as to suppliers for the mining and energy industry in China.”
Here’s what we are hearing:
Trek Inc., a designer and manufacturer of high-voltage amplifiers and electrostatic voltmeters has established a strategic partnership with M4 Sciences LLC which leverages technical strengths from both companies to provide high-productivity ultraprecision machining technology for use in aerospace, automotive, commercial, consumer, industrial, medical, military/defense, optics and space applications. M4 Sciences, W. Lafayette, Ind., is a designer and developer of advanced technologies for ultraprecision machining. M4 Sciences is commercializing a range of devices based on their innovative patent-pending modulation assisted machining technology. MAM is a productivity-enhancing cutting/drilling technology which controls chip formation, improves cutting fluid effectiveness, removes the need for peck cycles, and increases process stability and feed rates. It can be used in a wide range of metals/alloys such as aluminum, cast iron, cobalt-chrome, copper, stainless steel, steel, tantalum and titanium. Trek partnered with M4 Sciences to design and develop high-voltage amplifiers that meet the demanding specifications involved in driving their patented piezo-based machining tools.
Ultra Electronics, AMI recently delivered 45 of its Roamio D245XR fuel cells for use by the U.S. military in unmanned aerial systems. The contract award for this delivery is valued at more than $2 million. The Roamio D245XR is the most advanced power technology available today, providing unparalleled long duration flight of more than eight hours in small UAS platforms. The delivery is the latest in a series of multiunit manufacturing runs of small propane-fueled solid oxide fuel cell technology. AMI continues to follow its manufacturing plan that has successful deliveries to the Army, including 30 units to the Rapid Equipping Force, 15 units to the Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center and 10 units to the Communications-Electronics Research, Development and Engineering Center. All branches of the military have tested AMI fuel cells. The ROAMIO D245XR weighs significantly less than a traditional battery pack or other power source, reducing the overall weight burden of putting advanced UAS payloads and flight duration capabilities into small squads and making it possible for the system to be operated by only one or two warfighters.
Rubicon Technology Inc., a leading provider of sapphire substrates and products to the LED, semiconductor and optical industries, today announced that the United States Patent and Trademark Office has allowed Rubicon’s patent application entitled, “Intelligent Machines and Process for Production of Monocrystalline Products with Goniometer Continual Feedback.” The patent covers Rubicon’s equipment and process developed to perform in-situ orientation of its sapphire crystals within the various fabrication tools used by the company. Rubicon’s customers in the LED, SoS/RFIC and optical markets all have specific and distinct requirements for the crystal planar orientation of the sapphire products used in their applications. The new patented orientation technology provides greater precision in sapphire planar orientation and eliminates time-consuming steps by performing the orientation at the fabrication tool. These resulting efficiencies will ultimately translate into savings for Rubicon customers.
Resco Products, Inc. (Pittsburgh, Pa.), announced that president and chief executive officer Bill Brown has informed the Board of Directors of his decision to retire after 14 years with the company. The Board of Directors has elected John Midea, former president and chief operating officer at Ennis Traffic Safety Solutions, to succeed Brown as chief executive officer. Brown will remain a member of Resco’s Board of Directors. Midea earned his MBA from Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management and held various senior leadership positions at The Valspar Corporation and Georgia-Pacific Corporation. Midea graduated from the US Naval Academy in 1987 and was selected for the Naval Nuclear program upon graduation and served for six years as a submarine officer.
Defense contractor Lockheed Martin has won a $3 million contract to integrate solar panels into Cleveland-developed fuel cells for the Marines. Lockheed and Cleveland-based Technology Management Inc. have been developing and marketing portable fuel cells to the military for more than two years. TMI’s cells can generate electricity from the diesel-like fuel mix the military uses for its vehicles and generators. The military is looking for alternatives to the noisy diesel generators it uses to power computers and other electronic devices in war zones. In 1994, the Army estimated that fuel can make up 70 percent of the material (by weight) brought to war. Fuel has been a logistical problem in Iraq and Afghanistan, requiring the military to use delivery convoys that have become targets of insurgent groups.
Army Corps of Engineers, through its Engineering and Support Center, Huntsville, has issued a Multiple-Award Task Order RFP for $7 billion in total contract capacity to procure reliable, locally generated, renewable and alternative energy through power purchase agreements. The $7 billion capacity would be expended for the purchase of energy over a period of 30 years or less from renewable energy plants that are constructed and operated by contractors using private sector financing. ”We believe the Federal Renewable and Alternative Energy contract will provide the Army with an important means to achieve its goal of one gigawatt of renewable energy projects by 2025, “says Secretary of the Army John M. McHugh.
A line of optical polishing pitch that is made from all-natural wood resin, rather than petroleum byproducts, and can precisely match the optics being polished is available from Meller Optics Inc. of Providence, R.I. Gugolz polishing pitch from Meller is made from all-natural wood resin, instead of petroleum byproducts, and comes in five grades, from very-soft to very-hard with melting points from 52°C to 87°C. Allowing users to exactly match pitch hardness to the optics being polished, this pitch is ideal for blocking, lapping, and polishing virtually any optical substrate material.
Los Angeles-based American Elements, which supplies rare earths, neodymium, lithium, indium and other green technology elemental materials to the US military and national labs and 40 percent of the Fortune 50, including GE, Honeywell, GM and Boeing, urged Senate democrats to pass the National Strategic and Critical Minerals Production Act. The House of Representatives has already passed the bill. The law fast-tracks new critical metal mines by setting timeframes for reviews, challenges and the filing of lawsuits. It presently takes an average 40 years to site a new metal mine in the US today. ”It is time environmentalists who object to this law appreciate the whole supply chain to building the energy efficient non-polluting America we all hope for our children. They cannot both oppose critical mineral mining and demand the government build a green technology future. The two approaches are mutually exclusive”, says Michael Silver, CEO of American Elements.