Ceradyne announced the opening of a new factory in Tianjin, China. Ceradyne Tianjin Advanced Materials will produce high-purity ceramic crucibles for the forming of large polysilicon ingots for use in the manufacturing of photovoltaic silicon solar cells.

According to a company press release, this is the company’s second high-purity ceramic crucible manufacturing facility in China.

Bruce Lockhart, Ceradyne’s vice president responsible for the company’s solar energy efforts, said, “This is a very exciting event for Ceradyne and particularly for Ceradyne Thermo Materials. It was only three and a half years ago that we opened the first crucible factory in Tianjin for the development and manufacture of high-technology ceramic crucibles to meet our Chinese customers’ requirements.”

Tianjin has a good transportation and educational infrastructure. Consequently, there are a number of high-tech and industrial development projects going on in the city’s “Binhai New Area,” which includes the Tianjin Airport Economic Area where Ceradyne has built a plant on a 13.7-acre plot. (It has been reported recently that, for the first time, Binhua’s GDP exceeds that of the more familiar Pudong area of Shanghai.)

Ceradyne’s scope extends well beyond solar components. In an interview filmed in 2009, Ceradyne’s founder and CEO Joel Moskowitz discussed the company’s strategy to expand into non-armor areas such as specialty crucibles for preparing solar-grade polysilicon.

“Next year they may call us a solar company and in five years maybe they will call us an aluminum company” he says.

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