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[Image above] Opening day of Ceramics Expo saw hundreds of attendees talking with exhibitors. Credit: ACerS

Ceramics Expo 2019, featuring a new two-day format, officially kicked off on Tuesday with a discussion and overview of the advanced ceramic and glass industry, including threats to the global advanced ceramics supply chain. Director of technical content and communications and ACerS Bulletin editor Eileen De Guire delivered an engaging keynote address explaining the importance of the ceramics and glass industry in today’s increasingly technological society.

“Why are ceramic materials so impactful?” De Guire asks. It is because, like superheroes, ceramics are materials we can turn to when nothing else does the job.

She gave examples of how several Bulletin issues have highlighted ceramics’ impact in industries essential to our daily lives, including automobiles (2017), smartphones (2018), and aircrafts (2019). De Guire then revealed that ACerS staff would continue these daily-life impact highlights in the December issue, with an investigation of ceramics and glass used in houses.

Ceramics are here to save the day! Credit: ACerS

Following her keynote, De Guire moderated a panel featuring experts from ceramic and glass manufacturing to discuss the future of materials and the challenges they present. The panelists further elaborated on just how technical the ceramics industry has become—“it’s not your grandma’s potteries or dishes,” as CoorsTek chief commercial officer Patricia “Patty” Mishic says.

“Grow them up outside of the mainstream.” Willard Cutler, division vice president and commercial technology director of Corning, explains the importance of supporting innovation by startups, a sentiment echoed by the other panelists. Credit: ACerS

Yet the panelists also warned how certain conditions currently affecting the global advanced ceramics supply chain (such as the tariff war between the United States and China) could cause challenges in the short term, a topic that American Elements chairman and CEO Michael Silver discussed in his following talk (which expanded on many points he gave during a recent interview with CNN).

“The U.S. unfortunately did not do so well.” American Elements chairman and CEO Michael Silver started his talk of the global advanced ceramics supply chain all the way at the beginning, by explaining how plate tectonic shifts left some countries more blessed with deposits of rare earth minerals than others. Credit: ACerS

Other conference speakers at Ceramics Expo discussed challenges and successes in managing ceramic organizations, how to manufacture different types of ceramics, and the application of ceramics in various fields, including thermal management and energy storage.

Back at the expo, manufacturers showed off their latest products and technologies. At the ACerS booth, dozens of attendees stopped by to pick up one of the flexible (foam) smartphones.

“Official day one” at Ceramics Expo proved to be a success, judging from the crowds at the conference and the expo. Find out how day two went in CTT this Friday!

ACerS director of technical content and communications Eileen De Guire (left) moderates a panel with business leaders Irma Lockridge (CoorsTek chief people and systems officer) and Mike Alexander (Allied Minerals technology manager) that examined the keys to success and remaining at the forefront of development. Credit: ACerS
A perfectly flexible (foam) smartphone, with a screen that never breaks! Credit: ACerS
It’s not often you get four past and current ACerS presidents together in one place! From left to right, Sylvia Johnson (current), Stephen Freiman (1998–1999), Mrityunjay “Jay” Singh (2015–2016), and Michael “Mike” Alexander (2017–2018). Credit: ACerS
Demonstrations of the latest equipment and processes were abundant on the show floor. Credit: ACerS