Here’s what we are hearing:

Ceradyne acquires interest in Graphite Machining Services and Innovations

Ceradyne Inc. nnounced that it has acquired a minority interest with an option to acquire all of Tempe, Arizona-based Graphite Machining Services and Innovations. GMSI has developed a proprietary method of applying a chemical vapor deposited silicon carbide ceramic coating on precision machined graphite shapes. The resultant product is used in the manufacture of Light Emitting Diodes for the rapidly growing solid state lighting market. GMSI’s expertise and technology have been focused on the precision machining of ultra-high-quality graphite shapes since its founding in 1984. The demand for state-of-the-art components for use in the Metal Organic Chemical Vapor Deposition process in the manufacturing of LEDs has led to GMSI’s shift in technology and manufacturing capacity to serve the LED and other semiconductor markets. David Reed, president of Ceradyne’s North American Operations, says GMSI “fits very well with our diversification strategy, coupled with our interest in building out Ceradyne’s advanced technical ceramics portfolio. Furthermore, the market for efficient, environmentally friendly LED lighting systems is expected to grow very rapidly over the next ten years.”

Plibrico’s refractories expand to the Pacific Northwest

Plibrico Co. is pleased to announce the appointment of E.J. Bartells Co. to Plibrico’s exclusive network of refractory contractors. Headquartered in Renton, Wa., E.J. Bartells is a premier provider of refractory products and installation services. It will be the exclusive Plibrico PliPartner for the states of Washington, Oregon, Colorado and Alaska. “Bartells brings decades of refractory material and installation expertise to our network of exclusive partners,” states James Eckert, president of Plibrico. “Its range of experience, from small furnace repair to multimillion dollar refinery turnarounds, will be a valuable addition to our organization. The synergy created from this partnership will benefit many of our customers in the Pacific Northwest.” Plibrico Company LLC is a leading manufacturer and installer of superior aluminosilicate and high alumina monolithic refractories used in a variety of demanding thermal applications.

Robert Bosch GmbH becomes the first automotive sector company to join the AVX “Solutions for Hope” project

AVX Corp., a leading manufacturer of advanced passive components and interconnect solutions, has announced that major automotive supplier Robert Bosch GmbH has joined the AVX “Solutions for Hope” Project. “We are very pleased to have Bosch, one of the world’s premier electronics suppliers to the automotive sector participate in our project,” says Peter Collis, vice president of AVX tantalum products. The project, established in July 2011, works with leading OEMs such as Motorola Solutions, Intel, and HP to deliver a “closed-pipe” process for delivering conflict-free tantalum material from the Democratic Republic of Congo in accordance with the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development’s due diligence guidelines and incorporating the independently-validated Electronic Industry Code of Conduct and the Global e-Sustainability initiative conflict-free smelter program. It remains the only project to exclusively use EICC/GeSI-validated conflict-free smelters for processing tantalum ore into capacitor-grade materials. AVX is the first in its industry to validate a closed tantalum pipe process, assuring all products contain only conflict-free tantalum in accordance with the principles of the Dodd-Frank legislation and the current OECD guidelines.

Plug Power announces Q2 2012 financial results

Plug Power Inc., a leader in providing clean, reliable energy solutions, has reported its financial results for the second quarter of 2012. Net loss for the second quarter of 2012 was $6.5 million, or $0.17 per share on a basic and diluted basis. This compares with a net loss of $6.8 million, or $0.41 per share, for the second quarter of 2011. Total revenue for the second quarter of 2012 was $7.7 million, comprised of $7.2 million for product and service revenue and $0.5 million for research and development (R&D) contract revenue. This compares to total revenue of $4.3 million in the second quarter of 2011, which was comprised of $2.6 million for product and service revenue, $1.5 million for R&D contract revenue, and $0.2 million for licensed technology revenue. The quarter’s GenDrive orders included units for Lowe’s, Sysco, Walmart and Mercedes Benz, representing approximately $6.5 million in orders. The order for Mercedes was received in early April 2012, and all 72 of the GenDrive units were installed and operational by early July. This is the quickest cycle time to date between receiving an order and deployment at a site requiring a new hydrogen fueling station.

Rubicon develops new sapphire growth platform to manufacture large optical-grade windows

Rubicon Technology Inc., a leading provider of sapphire substrates and products to the LED, semiconductor, and optical industries, announced a ground-breaking project, dubbed Large-Area Net-shape Crystal Extraction (LANCE), developed to produce large-form sapphire windows of optical quality for military sensing applications. The project is supported by a grant from the Air Force Research Laboratory, with a total value of $4.7 million over three years. Production will be scaled to meet the current and future requirements of the Air Force, beginning with intermediate sizes and progressing to windows as large as 36 x 18 x 0.8 inches. These sapphire windows will meet a variety of needs in both government and private sector applications. Existing growth technologies that produce large-area sapphire crystals are incapable of generating the thickness required for demanding defense applications. Rubicon’s new technological platform will grow panels approximately two-inches-thick, which can be cut into multiple windows of varying thickness to meet the needs of the industry. The platform developed through the LANCE project is distinct from Rubicon’s ES2 crystal growth technology, which will remain the platform for Rubicon’s C-plane sapphire used in the LED industry and R-plane sapphire for silicon-on-sapphire RFIC applications.

PPG introduces new glass, Sungate 600, for commercial buildings

PPG Industries has introduced Sungate 600 glass, a multifunctional, low-emissivity glass that can enhance the insulating performance of buildings in a variety of climates and applications. In moderate climates, where heat gain is desired, the low-e glass can function as a traditional high-performing, passive glass. The coating of Sungate 600 glass reduces heat loss and provides a U-value of 0.33 while maintaining ample levels of heat and visible light transmittance. For colder climate zones, where even higher insulating values are desired, the coating of Sungate 600 glass can face the building interior and can yield a 20 percent net gain in U-value without the need for triple-glazing. When paired with a tinted or reflective glass from Sungate 600 glass can improve U-values by up to 30 percent when the coating is placed on the No. 3 surface of a 1-inch insulating glass unit.

Jiangxi Rare Earth Group and H.C. Starck expand tungsten business in China

Jiangxi Rare Metals Tungsten Group Holding Co., one of China’s largest tungsten mine operators, and H.C. Starck, one of the world’s leading manufacturers of technology metals, celebrated the groundbreaking ceremony for their tungsten joint venture in Ganzhou City, Jiangxi Province, China. Starting in late 2013, this plant will be producing tungsten metal powders and carbides exclusively for the Chinese market. Along with representatives of the two joint venture partners, more than 500 guests from politics and business including representatives of the Jiangxi Provincial Government and the city of Ganzhou attended the groundbreaking ceremony. “This joint venture is our largest project to date in China and the core of our growth strategy in Asia,” said Andreas Meier, president and CEO of the H.C. Starck. “We will primarily supply the products of our joint venture to the hard metal manufacturers for the automotive and engineering industries as well as to suppliers for the mining and energy industry in China.”