Here’s what we are hearing (mostly via press releases and trade publication reports):
Lucifer Furnaces Inc. recently delivered a single chamber bench model box furnace to Power Plant Services, an ISO 9001certified provider of parts and repairs for the power generation and steel mill industries. Model RD7-KHE24 is part of the Red Devil Series of furnaces built with economy, energy efficiency and ease of use in mind. The 12″H x 14″W x 24″L heating chamber is lined with 4.5″ of multilayer firebrick and mineral wool insulation. Heating elements on the side walls provide 7 KW of power capable of heating to 2,200°F. Heating element coils are equally spaced and fully supported in easy-to-replace element holders to provide uniform heat and long life. A digital time proportioning temperature controller and all other instrumentation are mounted in a separate control panel on the side of the furnace away from the heat and loading of the chamber.
TEAM by Sacmi is organising TEAM Day 2012, which will provide interesting presentations covering a broad range of advanced ceramics topics and the related technology. The event will take place in direct connection with the Ceramitec fair in Munich, Germany, on May 21, 2012 (the day before Ceramitec opens). Participation is free and participants will additionally receive a voucher for free access to the Ceramitec fair. The TEAM Day program includes high-quality papers regarding ceramic powder synthesis, various new and relevant advanced ceramic applications (Si3N4, batteries, diesel particulate filters), as well as an overview of opportunities and challenges of emerging advanced ceramics technologies in Europe. These will be presented by top authors from industry and university. TEAM Day also includes generous time for information exchange, discussion and networking. TEAM by Sacmi, an alliance of the Sacmi group companies Laeis (Luxembourg), Riedhammer, Sama and Alpha Ceramics (all Germany), offers cutting edge technology for all steps of advanced ceramics production. Invitation, detailed program and registration form can be downloaded from the TEAM by Sacmi website or from the websites of the organizing companies
Despite the impact of a significant rise in energy costs during last year, materials producer Heidelberg Cement reported healthy preliminary full-year 2011 sales volumes and operating income. The company said revenues rose 9.7% year-on-year to €12.9 billion in 2011, while operating income was up 3% to €1.5 billion. The results reflected continued growth in Heidelberg’s emerging markets and an on-going recovery in its business in North America and Europe. A cost-saving drive also contributed to the increase in operating income. Western and Northern Europe – the company’s largest business division in terms of revenue – reported a 13.3% year-on-year increase in sales to €4.3 billion, supported by mild weather conditions at the beginning and at the end of the year that led to an extended construction season. In contrast, North American revenues barely grew at all, with the division reporting a 0.1% year-on-year increase to €3 billion after a slow start in 2011 due to adverse weather conditions in the first half. Meanwhile, full-year Asia Pacific revenues stood at €2.9 billion, up 13.4% year-on-year thanks to strong economic growth in the region fuelling construction activity.
Pierre-André de Chalendar, chair and CCEO of Saint-Gobain, says, “Against a backdrop of volatility in 2011, with the recovery picking up pace in the first half but slowing in the second, Saint-Gobain continued to expand and develop during the year. We were able to curb the impact of soaring raw material and energy costs by increasing our sales prices, and as a result, delivered another sharp rise in earnings for the year. The economic outlook for 2012 is still uncertain. However, providing the economic and financial crisis does not escalate, trading should remain satisfactory on our principal markets. Thanks to our attractive strategic positioning and strong balance sheet, we are confident of our performance going forward. We are therefore targeting moderate organic growth, driven mainly by the increase in sales prices needed to offset the rise in raw material and energy costs, while operating income and profitability should prove resilient. In 2012, we will again demonstrate our strong ability to adapt to changes in our markets, while continuing to develop our main strategic priorities (high-growth countries and energy efficiency markets) amid strict financial discipline.”
FuelCell Energy announced a memorandum of understanding to form a German-based joint venture with Fraunhofer IKTS (Institute for Ceramic Technologies and Systems) to develop the market in Europe for stationary power plants. Additionally, Fraunhofer IKTS will contribute certain assets and their expertise in fuel cells and materials science to the joint venture. The joint venture will target the European market for baseload distributed generation from a location in Germany. There are a number of existing incentives in Europe for stationary fuel cell power plants operating on either clean natural gas or renewable biogas. In Germany for example, a feed-in tariff is promoting adoption of combined heat and power power generation as the German government is targeting 25 percent of electricity generation to include CHP by 2020, up from the current level of 15 percent. Additional incentives are available that are specific to fuel cell power generation.
An environmentally friendly plasticizer for “green” manufacturing is now being offered by the Tape Casting Warehouse Division of Richard E. Mistler, Inc. The plasticizer is a polyoxyethlene based material which is non-hazardous to humans and the environment. It has been evaluated by the manufacturer to be a direct substitute for commonly used phthalate-base plasticizers in PVB tape casting systems. The plasticizer is designated as PYCAL 94 and is available for purchase either online at www.drblade.com or by calling 800-641-1034.
The representative of Ceramaterials on the West Coast of the United States will be Marty Keylon. Keylon is well known in the heat treating industry on the West Coast and his current product line includes Beavermatic (new furnaces), North American Cronite (furnace fixturing) and now Ceramaterials. Ceramaterials is an international supplier of graphite and ceramic Insulation, carbon composites, machined graphite, ceramics and moly products mainly for vacuum furnace applications. Ceramaterials president Jerry Weinstein says “Marty brings a wealth of experience and expertise to our key market areas and has already brought in some great new accounts. We look forward to a long and prosperous relation with Marty.” Ceramaterials has warehouse facilities in New York, New Jersey, Kentucky and soon California to expedite delivery of materials.
Sauereisen, a leader in the manufacture of specialty cements and corrosion resistant materials for construction, was awarded a 2011 Pittsburgh Business Ethics Award by the Society of Financial Services Professionals, the David Berg Center for Ethics and Leadership at the University of Pittsburgh and the Pittsburgh Rotary. Sauereisen won in the small business category and was presented the award at the groups’ 11th Annual Luncheon on February 8, 2012.The award is given to honor U.S. companies that demonstrate a firm commitment to ethical practices in their everyday operations, policies and in response to crises and challenges. Companies nominated were evaluated on criteria including: demonstration of executive commitment to business ethics, clear communication of ethical standards to employees, consistently high quality of products and services, and a commitment to community and charitable involvement. Sauereisen and the other two winning Pittsburgh companies will go on to compete at the national level.