Here’s what we’re hearing from press releases, news stories, blogs, etc..

Morgan Technical Ceramics’ ceramic end effectors set to become component of choice for handling 450mm semiconductor wafers

Increased consumer demand for more memory storage has led to recent advances in the semiconductor industry and semiconductor manufacturers are now investing heavily in the next generation 450mm wafers. Pilot lines are being built worldwide and key to their success is the ability to produce chips in an efficient and economical way. Ceramic semiconductor wafer handlers from Morgan Technical Ceramics will be a critical component, enabling manufacturers to improve productivity and yield. …  [The ] ceramic features excellent mechanical and chemical properties capable of withstanding the harsh and corrosive environments found in the etching process. It has exceptional structural strength and stiffness compared to alternative materials such as aluminum. As a result, larger, thinner wafer handlers can be made, which allows wafers to be stacked closer together for greater productivity. For example, the company’s 99.5% alumina is a strong material that will support the heavier, larger diameter wafers and is only one millimetre at its thinnest part.

Kyocera files suit against Eastman Kodak Company for patent infringement in inkjet printers

Kyocera Corporation filed a complaint against Eastman Kodak Company in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California for infringement of one of Kyocera’s patents for inkjet recording head structure. The complaint alleges that the head component of Kodak inkjet printers infringes U.S. Patent No. 7,097,286, which is Kyocera’s intellectual property. This patent resulted from the Kyocera Group’s research and development efforts and more than 50 years of innovation in the field of advanced ceramics. The suit seeks as-yet undetermined monetary damages, as well as an injunction against Kodak to cease manufacturing and sales of products that infringe said patent.

Chinese shale gas developments herald major US industrial export opportunities

Because of the US’s leading position as a shale gas producer, American companies possess most of the specialized expertise used in the process of fracking, which entails pumping millions of gallons of water mixed with chemicals and other materials at extreme pressures thousands of feet underground through horizontally drilled wells in order to fracture shale rock formations and release the natural gas held within them.  … Houston, Texas-based CARBO Ceramics and French multinational Saint-Gobain are two large suppliers of ceramic proppants with major manufacturing operations in the US. Both companies are trying to increase capacity in anticipation of more fracking projects, but at the same time are facing pricing pressures from several China-based manufacturers of ceramic proppants, said one US-based distributor who declined to be named.