Since its founding in 1898 by brick manufacturers who saw a need to apply scientific methods and insights to manufacturing, The American Ceramic Society has served as a unique meeting point for manufacturers, suppliers, vendors, researchers, professionals, and students to exchange ideas, solve common problems, and build business relationships. ACerS is a proud founding partner of Ceramics Expo, which comes to Cleveland, Ohio, April 28–30. Presented by Smarter Shows (Brighton, U.K.), the inaugural trade show includes a free-to-attend exhibition and two-track conference, providing a “one-stop” marketplace for all of the raw materials, equipment, machinery, and technology used within the ceramic manufacturing supply chain.
Over the next weeks leading up the expo and conference, we will preview a handful of the 150-plus manufacturers and suppliers who have signed on for the first Ceramics Expo (CEX).
Today, we turn the pre-show spotlight to Harper International and talk to the company’s marketing coordinator Courteney Scribner.
|Harper International, Booth 326|
Harper International is a global leader in the design of complete thermal processing solutions and technical services for the production of advanced materials, including custom designed rotary, pusher and belt conveyor furnaces. Their experience spans a range of engineering ceramics, including designing for the production of silicon nitride, tungsten carbide, boron nitride and aluminas. Harper kilns are widely used to calcine powders and sinter components such as thermistors, varistors and monolithic and multi-layer capacitors. Harpers focus is enabling their customers with furnace technologies that incorporate improved flexibility, operating efficiencies, and equipment control to help scale up production rates successfully.
Q: How did your company get its start?
A: Harper traces its name back to John L. Harper, who patented the first electric kilns and furnaces in the early 1900’s. At that time, Harper saw an opportunity with materials processing companies who operated combustion-heated furnaces that were incapable of providing the controlled atmosphere required to process advanced new materials. Determined to find a solution, a young engineer and an electric company executive conceived a better heating method – an electric-resistance-heated furnace capable of meeting the stringent new process requirements. Offering precise control of atmosphere and temperature, Harper furnaces quickly became a quality standard among materials processors and the forerunner of many innovations to come.
In 1989, the company was formed by private investors to acquire the patents and know-how from John Harper’s company. Since that time, the company has grown into an internationally recognized leader in providing thermal processing solutions for its customers. Today, Harper International is a trusted leader in the thermal processing solutions for the growing carbon fiber market and is the only thermal systems provider in the world which has successfully installed a complete process line.
Q: How have technology and innovation changed the nature of your business?
A: Material innovations are enabling new advancements for thermal processing as well, pushing the limits with high temperature requirements, more intricate atmospheres, and complex chemical reactions. We really enjoy the challenges it brings when customers are developing materials with high purity and quality requirements or demanding process requirements. We center our business on and really enjoy those kinds of projects.
Q: What’s the biggest challenge facing industry today?
A: We see the biggest challenge through the lens of the biggest opportunity—getting these new advanced ceramics materials to commercialization. It is a long process that involves many years of development, de-risking and optimization, and the more efficiently the market can scale up their new materials, the sooner we can bring these exciting developments to the world.
Q: Tell us one thing most people don’t know or understand about your business.
A: Some might perceive Harper as a furnace builder, but really we love material science and our business is built around enabling companies in the development of advanced materials, from the lab to full commercialization, helping make their innovations a reality. Through our Ignite™ program, our technical experts work side by side with the customer on thermal processing regime development, scale up planning and process optimization. As customers ramp up their operations, Harper offers a range of solutions in technologies beyond what others can, including furnaces and oxidation ovens in lab scale and pilot scale sizes.
Q: What are you most looking forward to at Ceramics Expo? Why is Ceramics Expo so important to industry?
A: Ceramics Expo should be a good gathering of technology experts and the industry supporting the technology development. Many events don’t bring both together so we look forward to this expo being more comprehensive in its audience.
|Want to be a part of the first Ceramics Expo?|
Make plans to attend now by registering for your free pass.
|Can’t be in Cleveland?