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June 7th, 2012

Ceramics and glass business news of the week

Published on June 7th, 2012 | By: pwray@ceramics.org

Here’s what we are hearing:

Harper chosen by Allomet for advanced rotary furnace for unique metal powder processing

Harper International, a world leader in thermal processing solutions for advanced materials, has been selected by Allomet Corp. for the design of a new continuous rotary furnace for the production of specialty composite metal powders. The system is engineered to drive increased throughput of Allomet’s material by many multiples over previous batch systems, significantly improving their operations via increased productivity, shorter delivery lead-times, and reduced production costs. Allomet made their selection after several process evaluation sessions at Harper’s Technology Research Center, where Harper’s experts supported the fine tuning of their carburization process. The results yielded an optimized system design, and will provide an increase in output efficiency that supports Allomet’s continuing production volume growth while minimizing new capital investment. Allomet recognized Harper’s expertise in thermal process development across a range of material industries, and Harper’s knowledge in this area was a key factor for its selection as a partner. The new furnace is designed to accommodate the use of argon, hydrogen and methane atmospheres, either in combination or singularly. Harper’s expertise encompasses systems up to 3,000°C in a variety of high purity and specialty atmosphere environments.

Applied Ceramics names industry veteran Boris Lipkin VP of business development; wins Croatian award

Applied Ceramics Inc., a worldwide leading fabricator and supplier of custom-made ceramics, quartz, silicon and sapphire components for the semiconductor processing equipment industry, announced that it has named Boris Lipkin vice president of business development. “With a proven track record in the semiconductor industry coupled with his extensive business acumen, Mr. Lipkin brings a symbolic quality of strategic business development to Applied Ceramics,” says Matt Sertic, company president. Lipkin has served as operating partner at Vantage Point Capital Partners, president and CEO at Therma-Wave Inc. and senior vice president of ASML Holding NV. Lipkin has an electro-mechanical engineering degree from the Polytechnic Institute in Kharkov, Ukraine. The company also announced that it has officially been awarded the annual Ron Brown Award from the Croatian government for its outstanding contribution to the development of economic cooperation between Croatia and the US. Ron Brown served as Secretary of Commerce under the Clinton Administration. He was a figure of global prominence and was a true advocate for American business both at home and overseas. Abroad, he spread enthusiasm and opportunities to markets for American products. Tragically, his mission was interrupted in 1996 when he fell victim to a plane crash in Croatia. Applied Ceramics Croatia opened in 2005 in the city of Sisak. It has steadily increased its output of finished products under ISO standards.

2012 Carnegie Science Awards honor PPG glass scientists

Scientists from PPG Industries received the Advanced Manufacturing Award at the 2012 Carnegie Science Awards for work on the development of Solarban R100 glass. Adam Polcyn, Andrew Wagner, and Paul Medwick helped engineer the neutral-reflective, solar control, low-emissivity glass to provide better solar control performance than other neutral-reflective, low-e architectural glasses. Introduced in 2010, Solarban R100 glass has a solar heat gain coefficient of 0.23 and visible light transmittance of 42 percent. The resulting light-to-solar gain ratio of 1.79 is as much as 29 percent greater than the LSG ratios of competing glasses. The ability of Solarban R100 glass to transmit light and block solar heat, while it meets the aesthetic demand for neutral-reflective glass, helps reduce the need for interior artificial light, heating and cooling, which together account for nearly 60 percent of energy consumption in US commercial buildings. Glenn Miner, PPG director, construction, flat glass, says the number of architects and designers requesting samples is higher for Solarban R100 glass than for any new architectural glass product in the company’s history. He added that the technology behind the glass was the most impressive aspect of the product. Regarding the award, Miner explains. “[The three] created a new way to sputter nanolayers of coating on a glass substrate, which enabled them to eliminate the visibility issues inherent in the coating materials while still achieving superior performance and manufacturability. As an award presented by scientists to scientists, it is an inspiring acknowledgement of the talented, creative and innovative people PPG has working to make its architectural glass products better every day.”

Asylum Research appoints Spectra Research Corp. as its exclusive Canadian distributor

As part of its ongoing expansion, Asylum Research, a technology leader in scanning probe and atomic force microscopy, announced today that it has appointed Spectra Research Corp. as its exclusive distributor in Canada. SRC has served nanotechnology and surface science markets in Canada since 1993. They offer sales, service and technical support across the country. Founded in 1999, Asylum Research an employee-owned company dedicated to innovative instrumentation for nanoscience and nanotechnology, with over 300 years combined AFM/SPM experience among its staff. Its instruments are used for a variety of nanoscience applications in material science, physics, polymers, chemistry, biomaterials and bioscience, including single molecule mechanical experiments on DNA, protein unfolding and polymer elasticity, as well as force measurements for biomaterials, chemical sensing, polymers, colloidal forces, adhesion and more.

A fortune in fly ash? Neumann Systems digs for rare earths in power plant waste

(Colorado Springs Gazette) Outside the Ray Nixon Power Plant south of Colorado Springs sits 3.3 million tons of coal ash, the remnant of three decades of coal-fired power generation. Nationwide, 20 percent of that residue, called fly ash, is recycled into concrete, but the 80,000 to 100,000 tons of fly ash produced each year by Colorado Springs Utilities’ two coal power plants doesn’t consistently meet construction industry standards. So, it collects in a landfill that grows by hundreds of tons every day. David Neumann, CEO of Neumann Systems Group in Colorado Springs, sees that ash as a gold mine. Well, not literally a gold mine, but a source of equally valuable rare earth elements such as neodymium, yttrium and europium. Those and other rare earths are vital ingredients in high-tech devices such as cellphones, advanced batteries, wind turbines and solar panels. Chinese mines have a near-monopoly on rare earth production, but Neumann believes he can extract the same materials from fly ash at competitive prices.

Company looks at production methods for nanoparticles

(The Engineer) A Nottingham (UK)-based company is aiming to drive a step change in the volume and efficiency of industrial nanoparticle production. With the help of a raft of new funding, Promethean Particles will also investigate how to produce exotic particles that have so far proved too costly to make commercially. The company is the lead partner in the €9.7m (£7.8m) EU SHYMAN project (Sustainable Hydrothermal Manufacturing of Nanomaterials) and has also recently attracted £500,000 in private investment. “Nano has not made as big an impact as it should have done, says Prof. Ed Lester, technical director at Promethean. “But the reasons for this are that the production methods are still developing and people are trying to use not-so-good particles in the final product and they just aren’t performing, and that’s why we’re not seeing the quantum leap people predicted.’ The company’s reactor technology uses a process known as continuous hydrothermal synthesis to produce inorganic nanoparticles suspended in water as an aqueous dispersion. As the particles flow out of the reactor they are in dispersion and are never handled as dry powders, thus avoiding agglomeration. Also, many dry technologies use plasmas or high-temperature flames to burn out organics, so they tend to be quite energy intensive.

Cree technology breakthrough enables 50 amp silicon carbide power devices, bringing efficiency and cost savings to a broader range of high-power applications

In a breakthrough that redefines performance and energy efficiency in high-power applications, Cree Inc. announces a new family of 50A silicon carbide devices, including the industry’s first 1700V Z-FET SiC MOSFET. These new 50A SiC devices, which also include a 1200V Z-FET SiC MOSFET and three Z-Rec SiC Schottky diodes, will enable a new generation of power systems with record-setting energy efficiency and lower cost of ownership than with conventional technologies. The new devices, available in die form, are designed for high-power modules for applications such as solar power inverters, uninterruptible power supply equipment and motor drives. These higher-rated SiC devices continue a long history of Cree SiC technology innovation firsts, including the industry’s first 1200V SiC MOSFET and the first production 1200V and 1700V SiC Schottky diodes.

Cornell Dubilier expands ultracapacitor, hybrid device families

(EE Times) Cornell Dubilier Electronics Inc. has released Type CDLC, CarbonCap Double Layer Capacitors, and Type CDHC hybrid ultracapacitors. Cornell Dubilier’s lineup of large cell cylindrical ultracapacitors spans 1200 to 3000 farads; snap-in style ultracapacitors from 100 to 600 farads; and higher energy hybrid capacitors from 220 to 1000 farads. CDHC Hybrid Capacitors are half ultracapacitor and half lithium ion battery. These hybrid capacitors store more than twice the energy of typical ultracapacitors and have high cycle life capability compared to batteries, according to the company. Hybrid capacitors have more power than lithium ion batteries, but less energy storage. By comparison, ultracapacitors have a cycle life capability of a million cycles or more, batteries have a cycle life of around 1000 cycles and hybrid capacitors, more than 20,000 cycles. While the ultracapacitors have a usual working voltage range of 1.3 to 2.7 V, hybrid capacitors operate from 1.0 to 2.3 V. The higher energy of hybrid capacitors makes them especially suitable for use in LED lighting and emergency pulse applications, e.g. operation of electric doors and windows. The large ultracapacitors handle back-up and pulse power applications such as grid stabilization. They also excel in transportation applications like automotive subsystems, rail system power and utility vehicles. They provide extended power allowing critical information and functions to remain available during dips, sags, and outages in the main power source. These cells can relieve batteries of burst power functions, thereby reducing costs and maximizing space and energy efficiency. Units with axial cylindrical design enables low ESR and high peak currents with an electrostatic storage capability that can cycle a million charges and discharges without performance degradation. Type CDLC can work in parallel with batteries for applications that require both a constant power discharge for continual function and a pulse power for peak loads. The CDLC delivers the peak power thus reducing the peak current from the battery and extending battery life and reducing battery size and cost.

Ceradyne’s ESK Ceramics acquires interest in Chemtrix B.V.

Ceradyne Inc. announced that its German-based subsidiary, ESK Ceramics GmbH, has acquired a minority interest in Chemtrix, based in Netherlands, for an undisclosed amount. Chemtrix develops and sells equipment and services based on the concept of executing R&D and process development in revolutionary microreactors with a direct scale-to-larger-quantity production in mid-size reactors. ESK is a supplier of flow-chemistry reactors suitable to produce on an industrial scale. With this cooperation, the companies are able to offer a complete product portfolio of scalable flow-chemistry equipment and services to the pharmaceutical and fine-chemical industry. Thomas Jüngling, president of ESK and VP of Ceradyne, says, “As a leader in ceramic products we see considerable growth potential for industrial-flow reactors. We expect that the combination of flow-chemistry knowledge and R&D laboratory equipment at Chemtrix and our industrial reactor manufacturing know-how will accelerate the adoption of this technology.”

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