Ceramics and glass business news of the weekPublished on March 29th, 2013 | By: Eileen De Guire
Thermo-Calc Software AB announced the release of Thermo-Calc 3.0, which constitutes the third generation of its popular computational thermodynamics software. Thermo-Calc is a powerful software package used to perform thermodynamic and phase diagram calculations for multi-component systems of practical importance. Calculations are based on thermodynamic databases produced using the CALPHAD method. Databases are available for Steels, Ti-, Al-, Mg-, Ni-alloys, multi-component oxides and many other materials. “Our main ambitions for this new version of Thermo-Calc have been to unify the two earlier versions of Thermo-Calc (i.e. Thermo-Calc Classic and Thermo-Calc Windows) into one application, and to create a framework that is suitable for future extension with additional modules and functionality that will integrate more closely with our other software tools such as DICTRA and TC-PRISMA,” says Anders Engström, CEO of Thermo-Calc Software AB.
When Ghrepower, a Shanghai-based manufacturer of small and medium-size wind turbines, decided to set up a subsidiary in Swansea, Wales, in 2011 to tap into the British wind turbine market, it did not realize how much of an impact it would make on the local community. One thing of great help to Ghrepower was the GO Wales Work Placements scheme, created to help Welsh graduates find work. Graduates participating in the scheme work at companies located in Wales for between six to 10 weeks, during which time the Welsh government contributes up to 100 pounds. When the placement period ends, the employers can offer the workers long-term jobs if they wish to. “We expanded overseas because the wind turbine market in China is restricted by China’s immature smart grid system, which is the infrastructure essential for delivering energy generated from wind farms to people’s homes,” Deng says. “As our products are manufactured in China, we have certain cost advantages. For example, a crucial material for the wind turbines battery is a magnet, which in turn relies on rare earth materials. As China produces rare earths, we have a cost advantage,” he says. At the same time, Deng points out that some of its extra functions single it out from its competitors. For example, the wind turbines’ propeller blades can change shape in response to the amount of wind available. “This technology is common for large scale wind turbines, but quite rare for small and medium-scale turbines, and makes us unique.
Cabot Corp. completed an expansion project at its fumed silica facility in Barry, Wales. Production capacity at the site has been increased by 25 percent. The expansion is part of a three-year plan started in 2011 to increase Cabot’s global fumed metal oxide capacity by 35-40 percent. This expansion project is an extension of Cabot’s long-term relationship with Dow Corning. Furthermore, the increased production capacity supports Cabot’s growth in the rising global silicones market. This market is poised to grow at 6-9 percent per year over the coming decade. Through the expansion project, Cabot can now use a wider range of silane raw materials to make a broader portfolio of products to meet silicones and other market needs. Cabot and Dow Corning have worked closely together in Barry since 1991, when Cabot built its fumed silica facility adjacent to Dow Corning’s silicone monomer plant. As part of a highly interdependent and collaborative “fence-line” relationship, Dow Corning provides Cabot with silanes that are converted to fumed silica for Dow Corning’s compounded silicones applications, as well as for other customers and applications including electronics, adhesives, and composites.
Orbite Aluminae Inc. and Veolia Environmental Services signed an exclusive worldwide collaborative agreement for the treatment and recycling of red mud generated by industrial alumina production using the Bayer process. The terms of the partnership include the construction of the first plant to treat red mud using Orbite’s patented process. Red mud often remains stored in situ, which increases the risk of accidental spills. To meet this environmental and complex challenge facing the aluminum industry, Orbite and Veolia Environmental Services endeavour to bring the solution to treat the red mud stockpiled around the world in an economically and socially sustainable manner. These technologies allow for the extraction of smelter-grade alumina and high-purity alumina, as well as other products such as rare earths and rare metals, from various feedstocks including aluminous clay and bauxite, all without producing red mud. Veolia Environmental Services is the only worldwide integrated operator covering the entire value chain of waste management (collection, sanitation, treatment and recovery).
Sacmi has recently added to its long list of innovations for the sanitaryware sector with the introduction of a new brand, Reco2. The machine technical specifications allow for very considerable savings, minimization of energy consumption and reduction of polluting emissions. Sacmi’s system solutions which provide pre-drying stations enabling the energy consumption of the production line to be further reduced while, at the same time, improving health and safety in the workplace. With Sacmi’s plants customers can count on a reduction in production cycle times of 40%, in storage space requirements of 30% and in total energy costs of the complete pre-drying and drying process of up to 50%. Furthermore, the presence in glazing booths of innovative dry filters provides for the elimination of waste water and, therefore, treatment costs.
PPG Industries has launched the PPG Glass Education Center, a comprehensive website to help architects, specifiers, students, and construction industry professionals learn more about designing, specifying and building with glass. Divided into three sections—glass topics, glass FAQs and glossary—the PPG Glass Education Center features a compelling mix of videos, colorful illustrations and educational features that address issues such as preventing thermal glass breakage, specifying IGUs, how low-e glass works, and how heat-treated glass differs from heat-strengthened glass. The Glass Education Center is not designed as a promotional or marketing tool. The site’s existing content is based on the most frequently asked questions PPG fields on its website, during sales calls and through its call center, and new educational material will be added continually. In addition to hosting five short videos (3 to 6 minutes each), the Glass Education Center contains an extensive glossary of industry terms and nearly two dozen frequently asked questions covering low-e glass, glass safety issues and more. Six more videos will be added to the site before July, along with content driven by architects’ questions and input.
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