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.
Today, we turn the pre-show spotlight to Zircoa and talk to the company’s sales and marketing manager Tim Leitzel.
|Zircoa, Booth 131|
Zircoa, a manufacturer and innovator of zirconia ceramics, was founded in response to a call from industry to push the limits of existing technology, which they have continued doing for over 60 years. Their refractories, technical ceramics, and granular products provide solutions to keep you at the leading edge.
Q: How did your company get its start?
A: Zircoa was founded in 1952 to commercialize a new thermochemical process for extracting zirconia from zircon sand and to respond to the need for a refractory that would operate at higher temperature. That zirconia powder remains a significant part of our product offering today, and industry’s requirement for higher temperature continues to be a driving force for innovation.
Q: How have technology and innovation changed the nature of your business?
A: As industrial process technologies advance, the bar is raised for materials required to support those processes, and that changes our business. Here are some examples: Advances in steel manufacturing required improved flow-control technology. Progressive improvements in zirconia nozzles supported those demands with improved performance and life. Precision investment castings must support the increasing performance demands for jet aircraft and other turbine engines. Super-clean zirconia crucibles support those demands. Sapphire growers and carbon black manufacturers require refractory linings that provide insulation and long life at temperatures exceeding 2000°C. As processes are pushed to higher temperature for improved yield, quality, and energy efficiency, design and application of zirconia refractories are an enabling technology. For components requiring high wear resistance, such as milling media, extrusion dies, and mud pump liners, fine grain engineered zirconia provides the strength, toughness, low friction coefficient, and other characteristics needed. Results can include higher yield, less wear on other components, and even reduction in energy consumption.
Industrial processes push limits to run longer, run faster, run hotter, consume less energy, and have less environmental impact. Zirconia is very unique in its wide range of material properties that can be tailored for extreme conditions. The nature of our business is to partner with industry, to understand their challenges and opportunities, and to tailor the solution. We must understand the risks of being at the leading edge of innovation, and then find revolutionary ways to offer solutions that involve not only materials, but also design, application, and delivery.
Q: What’s the biggest challenge facing industry today?
A: I believe the biggest challenge is sustainability. We must be very forward looking. Technology changes rapidly. Products that support those technologies must change. What the world wants changes. How will technology and industry support social, economic, and environmental needs? The key is to be very in tune with what matters to the world and how industry follows that lead.
Q: Tell us one thing most people don’t know or understand about your business.
A: Our business is not about just making and selling products. Our primary goal is to help customers solve problems and overcome technical barriers. Zirconia has astounding performance potential when the right product is applied in the right application in the right way.
Q: What are you most looking forward to at Ceramics Expo? Why is CEX so important to industry?
A: I have always enjoyed forums where people of common interest gather. I’ve spent my career in ceramics, so this is a place to meet friends, customers, and suppliers from the present and past. It’s a great forum to meet face-to-face, exchange ideas, and learn about new opportunities. We need a gathering place to meet familiar faces and new, where we can see examples of current and emerging technologies, exchange challenges and ideas, and gain a sense of our identity and place in industry.
|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?