Here is what we are hearing:

Unifrax celebrates 70 years of success with Fiberfrax product line

Unifrax, a leading global producer of high temperature fiber products is celebrating a milestone year in 2012 as it observes the 70th anniversary of its well-known Fiberfrax product line. In 1942, J. Charles McMullen was a research scientist for The Carborundum Co. Fibers Division, later known as Unifrax, when he invented a revolutionary ceramic fiber that was trademarked under the Fiberfrax name. Today, the spirit of innovation continues at Unifrax where over 50 Fiberfrax product forms, as well as Insulfrax and Isofrax soluble fiber products are backed by experienced Unifrax application engineers, customer service team and extensive distributor. “The success of the Fiberfrax product line during the past 70 years is due to the shared expertise, dedication and support of our customers, distributors and employees,” says Unifrax president, David E. Brooks. “We are committed to continuingthe tradition of high quality, innovative products and service that are an integral part of the Fiberfrax brand.”

CoorsTek acquires ANCeram GmbH & Co. KG Technical Ceramics

CoorsTek (Golden, Colo.) has purchased ANCeram GmbH & Co. KG of Bindlach, Germany. Known primarily for its extended range of specialty aluminum nitrides, ANCeram manufactures ceramic substrates, insulators, and structural components for the aerospace, laser, railway, marine, and automotive industries. Established in 1988, the early focus for ANCeram was on creating a superior alternative for environmentally challenging beryllium oxide. Working with several European universities and independent research centers, ANCeram developed their own environmentally friendly aluminum nitride ceramic. In addition to their broad AlN experience, the company offers silicon nitrides, aluminas, copper-to-ceramic brazing capabilities, ceramic-to-metal bonding, and ceramic metallization. Products include components for insulators, coolers, diodes, heat exchangers, power electronics, high-temperature crucibles and boats, and other multimaterial components.

Carbo Ceramics to construct manufacturing plant and create 70 new jobs

Carbo Ceramics Inc. will begin construction on a state-of-the-art ceramic manufacturing plant in Millen, Ga., announced Gary Kolstad, president and CEO. Having received its air quality permit from the State of Georgia, Carbo should commence construction on the first production line by the end of 2012 and operations could begin near the end of 2013. Initial staffing for the plant should create 70 new jobs in Jenkins County. The project will bring up to 300 construction jobs to the area during assembly of the plant. The manufacturing plant will be situated on 450 acres and conveniently located for product distribution by truck or rail. In addition to the distribution flexibility, the site has the ability to expand to four production lines. Ceramic proppant is used in hydraulic fracturing to make oil and gas wells produce better and recover more oil and gas.

Morgan Thermal Ceramics offers refractory monolithic material for high temperature applications

Morgan Thermal Ceramics announces the availability of its high-strength, low-cement range of refractory monolithic lining materials ideal for demanding, high temperature applications in the metals, incineration, power generation and minerals processing markets. The full range of products includes Tri-Mor Morflo low cement castable and Tri-Mor Higun low cement gunning materials. They offer excellent resistance to chemical attack and abrasion, combining the traditional high performance qualities of high fired brick with the ease of installation of a refractory castable. These advanced materials are ideal for use in forge furnaces, rotary kilns, rotary hearths, pusher furnaces, skid kid pipe protections and troughs for molten copper. The availability of the full range of products offers significant benefits, as walls and floors can be lined with the Morflo castable material, while roofs can be gunned with the complementary Higun material.

Sasol expands ultrahigh purity aluminas capacity

Sasol Ltd.’s Olefins & Surfactants Division (headquarters in Hamburg, Germany) announced it will expand in a first step its capacity to produce ultrahigh purity aluminas by at least 3,000 metric tons per year. Construction will begin immediately at Brunsbuettel, the company’s Germany manufacturing site on a process to supply Sasol North America’s Ceralox alumina production facility in Tucson, Arizona with ultrahigh purity alumina precursor. Sasol Olefins & Surfactants, a provider of ultrahigh purity alumina materials for sapphire and other applications for more than 20 years, will then convert the Brunsbuettel alumina precursor into tailored products for customer specific applications. Of particular focus to Sasol are the increasing raw material requirements of single crystal sapphire producers due to rapidly growing LED applications.

Heraeus continues on record course in 2011

The Hanau-based Heraeus precious metals and technology Group in 2011 once again surpassed the previous year’s record results, tallying the most successful year in the company’s history. This was announced by the Heraeus Holding GmbH Board of Management at a press conference on annual results held in Frankfurt on May 10. With product revenues of EUR4.8 billion, Heraeus surpassed the previous year’s level by 19 percent. Operating results (EBIT) also increased by 23 percent to reach a total of €489 million. Precious metals trading revenue reached €21.3 billion, topping the €20 billion threshold for the first time. This represents an increase of 19 percent over the previous year’s level. The outlook for 2012 is good, too.

Babcock and Wilcox executives see bright prospects in coal power plants despite natural gas competition

Via the Akron Beacon Journal —Prolonged low natural gas prices in the United States likely will hurt some of Babcock & Wilcox’s coal power plant-related business, the company’s top executives said Thursday. But any impact that reduces coal power plant usage in the U.S. can be minimized in part because B&W expects to gain business through its technology and services that make coal-fired plants environmentally cleaner, they said in an earnings conference call with industry analysts. In addition, B&W sees strong demand for coal-fired plants elsewhere in the world, particularly Asia, where natural gas prices are not as low as in the United States, they said.

New Harper webinar series: Designing for energy efficiency in thermal processing

Harper International is proud to present new webinars from our seasoned experts focused on maximizing the production economics of your thermal processing system. In our multi-part series, you will get access to the know-how of Harper’s industry-leading experts, with decades of experience in thermal processing for a variety of advanced materials and expertise in helping customers grow their thermal processing lines successfully. The first webinar will be June 5, 2012, at 11 a.m. (Eastern Time). The webinar will be led by Robert Blackmon, vice president of integrated systems, and Doug Armstrong, process technology engineer. This webinar will explore how to optimize high temperature processes; considering efficiency early during development of advanced material processes; reuse of furnace outputs to drive down utilities costs; batch vs. continuous processing; pragmatic retrofits to apply to existing systems; and carbon fiber as a case study example.

Harrop increases toll firing capacity at Columbus facility

Harrop Industries has recently commissioned two new electrically-heated elevator kilns in its toll firing facility in Columbus, Oh, to fulfill the ongoing demand from our clients. Harrop now operates 17 electric and gas-fired periodic kilns and ovens with temperature capabilities up to 1,700°C and atmosphere control. With the wide variety of equipment available, Harrop can tailor a solution to meet our clients’ needs in both product development and supplemental production. Founded in 1919, Harrop has been and continues to be a leader in custom designed industrial kilns for the ceramics industry. Our breadth of knowledge in thermal processing equipment has also allowed us to supply custom heat treating systems in other industries as well. Our focus is to build relationships with our clients and provide a system that is custom designed for their process.

Union Process introduces DMQX bead mill

Union Process, Inc., known globally as a leading manufacturer of size reduction and dispersing equipment for a broad range of industrial applications, has launched the DMQX horizontal bead milling system. The DMQX mill features an enhanced disc/rod design that significantly improves grinding efficiency. The new design dramatically increases milling effectiveness resulting in shorter milling time and lower shaft speeds. The result is less wear on seal faces and other wear parts, which in turn results in significant cost savings. The unique design of the mill allows for a fast and efficient solution for producing materials in the single micron and even nanometer range, all with the cost-effective advantages of circulation grinding. Union Process is the inventor and developer of attritor technology, and manufactures wet and dry grinding mills as well as horizontal bead mills.

Remtec expands DBC substrate capabilities, provides fast prototyping and delivery of low/medium volume DBC substrates

Remtec, a leading manufacturer of substrates and packages with Plated Copper On Thick Film, has significantly expanded its activity in the design and fabrication of DBC ceramic products for military and commercial applications in small to medium production volumes with fast prototyping and economic pricing. This capability is supported by close cooperation with Rogers Corp. to provide Remtec with its standard Curamik brand mastercards. Remtec facilitates fast turnaround by keeping an extensive stock of the most commonly used 5.5″ x 7.5″ alumina and aluminum nitride DBC configurations ready for production. Remtec utilizes the well-known quality of Curamik DBC substrates coupled with high quality Remtec plating typical of its PCTF products. Remtec offers its customers versatile surface finish options such as selective gold, gold tin plating, and ENEPIG. These processes along with various solder mask options allow for high reliability, low cost solutions suitable for any assembly technique.