Here is what we are hearing:

Unifrax announces acquisition deal

Unifrax, the Niagara Falls, N.Y.,-based manufacturer of ceramic fiber insulation products, announced today that it has acquired Lauscha Fiber International (LFI) from Bürger Glass- und Fasertechnik GmbH and JLR Holding W.L.L. Bahrain. LFI develops, manufactures and sells innovative, glass microfibers to a global customer base. LFI fibers are used by their customers to produce products utilized in a variety of end-user applications primarily in the filtration and battery separator markets. The LFI business is headquartered in Lauscha, Germany, where its largest manufacturing operation is also located. It also has manufacturing locations in Summerville, S.C.; Sudogda, Russia; and the Kingdom of Bahrain. The business has approximately 250 employees, who are now members of the worldwide Unifrax team.

AVX’s new AEC-Q200-qualified Skycap capacitors: Ideal for high-voltage automotive applications

AVX Corp., a leading manufacturer of advanced passive components and interconnect solutions, has developed a unique new series of high-voltage, conformally coated, radial leaded MLC capacitors for automotive applications. An extension of its successful Skycap Series, AVX’s new X7R dielectric High Voltage AR Series capacitors feature a working voltage range of 1000-3000V, are AEC-Q200 qualified, and are readily available in two popular sizes, AR21 and AR30; additional sizes are available upon request. The new capacitors possess the robust construction, excellent vibration characteristics, considerable thermal resistance, and high quality for which the Skycap Series is known. Capacitance values for the AR Series range from 470-68,000pf and its tolerance values are ±5 percent, ±10 percent, ±20 percent and +80-20 percent.

Rubicon to showcase very large sapphire windows at Photonics West 2013

Rubicon Technology Inc., a leading provider of sapphire substrates and products to the LED, semiconductor, and optical markets, today announced that it will showcase its line of optical products for use in defense and aerospace, instrumentation and analytical processing, sensors and detectors, semiconductor process equipment, and medical and laser applications at the Photonics West Exhibition, February 5-7 at The Moscone Center in San Francisco, Calif. The company will showcase a very large 12-inch sapphire window. Sapphire is a desirable material for high-performance applications due to its hardness and strength, transparency in the visible and IR spectrum, thermal conductivity, thermal shock resistance, abrasion resistance, high melting point, and chemical inertness. As a result, it is ideally suited for extreme environments where material durability is just as important as optical clarity. In addition to its 12-inch sapphire window, the company will display its line of optical products including 85 kg boule, sapphire tubes and rods, one small dome, and sapphire ingots at Photonics West.

IPG introduces new generation of kilowatt fiber lasers at Photonics West 2013

IPG Photonics Corporation, the world leader in high-power fiber lasers, announced at Photonics West a new generation of kilowatt-class low-mode ytterbium fiber lasers offering lower cost-per-watt of laser power, operating expenses and service requirements. Leveraging its experience from delivering thousands of kilowatt fiber lasers to commercial customers over a decade of time, the improved 1060 nanometer laser from IPG offers customers exceptionally simple operation and extends the range of applications for fiber lasers. “Drawing from our deep experience from more than 5,000 Kilowatt class fiber lasers in demanding industrial applications, our new generation of fiber lasers improves upon IPG’s industry-leading product performance, reliability and low cost of ownership,” says Valentin P. Gapontsev, CEO of IPG Photonics and inventor of the high power fiber laser.

Aggressive Grinding appoints Tom Shearer general manager

Aggressive Grinding Service Inc., a North American leader in precision carbide grinding and advanced ceramic finishing, has hired Tom Shearer to be responsible for the company’s daily business operations, as well as sales and marketing. Shearer is a mechanical engineer by training who comes to Aggressive Grinding from General Carbide, where he was director of marketing, business development, and managing director of the General Carbide UK plant. In that capacity, he led a branding campaign which increased market share and resulted in substantial revenue gains. Earlier in his career, Shearer held a variety of engineering and management positions with Kennametal Inc., Sandvik, Norton Materials, and Leybold Vacuum Products. Shearer also is the author of The Designer’s Guide to tungsten carbide, a reference guide specifically targeted to help engineers, designers, fabricators, and end users better utilize tungsten carbide materials. He has also written numerous technical articles. Aggressive Grinding offers a wide range of grinding, honing, EDM, and rotary tooling services for industrial wear, flow control and metal forming, and metal cutting applications in the aerospace, industrial, mining & construction, oil and gas, and transportation markets.

Plasma-sprayed ceramics enable use of composites in high-temperature environments on Aston Martin One-77

The ceramic-based material that originally allowed F1 teams to exploit the “blown diffuser” aerodynamic advantage has made its road car debut on Aston Martin’s One-77. Developed by Oxfordshire-based Zircotec, the ThermoHold for composites material is applied to both the car’s diffuser and underbonnet air intakes, enabling Aston Martin’s designers to specify lightweight and aesthetic materials for high-temperature environments. Zircotec’s coating can lower composite surface temperatures by more than 125°C, creating opportunities to use composites under the bonnet. “Our discreet ceramic coating protects the One-77 composites components and in the case of the diffuser, enables exhaust gases to pass through, just as they did in F1,” says Terry Graham, Zircotec’s managing director. “Our coating not only protects the composite induction system from heat but also ensures that the air intake temperature is lower. Moreover, a decrease in this temperature creates a denser charge and is a feature relied upon by many Le Mans racing teams we supply.”

Advanced Monolythic Ceramics announces Aug. 31 shutdown

(Olean Times Herald) Later this summer, an electronics manufacturer in Olean, N.Y., is slated to shut down permanently. In a filing with the New York state Department of Labor, Advanced Monolythic Ceramics (AMC) is slated to close on Aug. 31. The closing will leave 65 unemployed. In the filing, officials with Johanson Dielectrics, a Sylmar, Calif.-based corporation, which owns AMC, said the shutdown is part of efforts to consolidate resources. The Constitution Avenue plant’s operations will be moved to a facility in California. According to its website, the electronics manufacturer has provided services for the “aerospace, biomedical, military, satellite, industrial, and communication electronics industries since 1994.” The company specializes in electronic devices, primarily ceramic planar array and discoidal capacitor filters.

Glass maestro Tagliapietra receives Phoenix Award

Lino Tagliapietra, Italian glass maestro and glass artist from Murano was given the distinguished 2012 Phoenix Award at the 42nd gala banquet held in Venice. In recognition of his contribution to the glass industry in the field of glass art, many of Tagliapietra’s family and close friends attended the Phoenix Award ceremony. Unlike many of the awards past winners, Tagliapietra is not directly associated with large scale industrial glass production, but dedicated his life to exploring the artistic possibility of handmade glass and the teaching of some of the World’s most talented glass blowers and artists.