Empowering a Greener Future – Ceramics at the Center
Ceramics Expo returns to Cleveland (May 5-6, 2020) for its sixth annual technology showcase, in the process emphasizing the tremendous influence that ceramics continue to exert on our key industries and on our lives, with the expo organizer leading off with an affirmative tag line ‘Enabling a Clean, Efficient & Electrified Future’.
Over 300 suppliers and manufacturers from 25 countries will combine to deliver the largest and most diverse display to date. More than 3,000 visitors are expected at the show, which again will get underway the evening before opening with a VIP networking reception. There will also be a dedicated space for the B2B Meetings initiative, located on the exhibit floor, bringing all avenues of dialog together in a seamless presentation.
“It’s a core aim every year to introduce added value for all exhibitors, visitors and conference delegates,” says Event Director Danny Scott. “The two-day duration with pre-show networking received overwhelmingly positive reaction when introduced last year and so is clearly the favored format. However, we’ve continued with our policy of coming up with innovative, enhanced elements, and I’m pleased this year we’ll be featuring our new Start-Up and Academia Pavilion. Ceramics Expo is the ideal forum at which to maximize all the exciting opportunities for furthering discussion and cross-fertilization, and for widening perspective.”
Additionally, Ceramics Expo will feature more international groups, among them pavilions from China, Germany, South Korea, and the European Cluster of Ceramics. Below we get a flavor of just some of the products and concepts being lined up by the exhibit groups.
Reliable feedstocks remain vitally important, enhanced R&D being a crucial commitment towards meeting the needs of industries at the forefront of innovating for a cleaner, more energy efficient world.
Visitors will see a relatively new name – though one that actually has more than a century’s experience. Fiven is the result of a recent corporate carve-out of Saint-Gobain's Silicon Carbide business by OpenGate Capital, and is a pioneer in the business of silicon carbide (SiC) grains and powders. While the company has in recent years streamlined and improved its processes to better serve customers in applications such as metallurgy, refractories, and abrasives, crucially it launched new products such as SIKA® TECH for emerging applications in the field of electronics (e.g. process components for the semiconductor industry), and energy-efficient or emissions-control technologies. Fiven also offers ready-to-press granules based on fine powders with specific surface areas typically ranging from 10m²/g to 15 m²/g, sintering additives and temporary binders.
Working at the nanoscale continues to become increasingly important, though it is understood that there are
many complexities surrounding the technology and its effective implementation. A leading exponent, Cerion Nanomaterials, is another first-time exhibitor. It has proved itself an expert in designing, scaling and manufacturing metal, metal oxide and ceramic nanomaterials for companies developing products or systems, and it provides access to this expertise through all phases of the product lifecycle including research, development, scale-up and manufacturing.
Cerion’s manufacturing processes are centered on a robust plant design that supports a variety of product families through Lean Manufacturing principles. Additionally, Cerion employs a ‘Design for Manufacture’ methodology, where its development team works side-by-side with its scientists during all phases of research, ensuring near 100% translation from the lab to the manufacturing plant.
While a variety of technical ceramics are employed in the manufacture of systems central to energy storage, transportation, electronics and electrification, other products in the ceramic family help to ensure that all sorts of materials get the finish that makes them fit for purpose. Here, we find another exhibitor clocking over 100 years’ experience, Günter Effgen, the system supplier for grinding and dressing tools, showing alongside cutting machine tool producer, DMG Mori. Diamond is used for high-performance grinding of glass, carbide, ceramics, etc. Due to its affinity for carbon, diamond is poorly suited to the processing of ferrous materials. For these tasks, cubic boron nitride (CBN) is an ideal grain material. CBN is suitable for machining a wide variety of materials, including high speed steels, steels for hot and cold working, stainless and heat resistant steels, chromium and titanium alloys – all important for components in advanced manufacturing.
Also leading the line in vitrified CBN technology is Noritake Abrasives, which makes the point that CBN grains are the second hardest material in the world. CBN has an outstanding resistance to heat and its sharp structure provides remarkable cutting ability. Noritake CBN wheels have been developed for difficult to process metals such as special steels and alloys with problematic configurations. They are manufactured with high efficiency, high precision and long life. CBN tooling is technologically advanced making it suitable for use in industries such as aerospace, automobile, bearings and others.
Harnessing and Harvesting Energy
A long-time supporter of Ceramics Expo is NASA Glenn Research Center, renowned for its development work in ceramics, ceramic matrix composites (CMCs), and ceramic coatings. This year, discussion will be opened right out with ‘NASA – Special Project’ being a featured session at the conference (Day 2, Track 1, 2.30pm). Visitors will hear how NASA’s work has a positive effect in a wider context for the industry – and how this locks into the expo’s leading 2020 manufacturing and technology themes. NASA’s special project is a session dedicated solely to the advancements and requirements of the space agency in the world of advanced ceramics. NASA is not only heavily involved in the production of CMCs, but also a range of advanced coatings for corrosion and heat resistance and in energy harvesting and storage. These are expected to meet crucial performance requirements going forward.
Wherever we encounter the myriad of raw materials that ultimately result in the masses, granulates, powders and slips required by this industry, these need to be broken down accurately, speedily and efficiently. First-time exhibitor General Kinematics delivers unique solutions incorporating vibratory equipment, rotary equipment, and process systems. The company’s TWO-WAY™ feeders, for instance, open up a wide range of process possibilities. The TWO-WAY unit’s bi-directional conveyance allows the user to alternate material flow for multi-directional product processing, for rejection of bad product, or any other process which may require multi-directional conveyance from a single unit. The unit’s completely horizontal stroke shuffles material with no impact and a significant reduction in noise. These are available in straight and all new bi-directional curved designs.
General Kinematics’ VIBRA-DRUM® grinding mills are proven in dozens of milling applications. Grinding processors are said to be achieving impressive energy savings (35%–50%), thanks to a unique rotational material motion that is more efficient than conventional ball or rotary mills. Exceptional grinding performance and energy savings result from what is known as the unit‘s ‘natural frequency’ design. A sub-resonant, two-mass drive and spring system alternately stores and releases grinding power. Once in motion, energy is only needed to move the grinding media as a fluid mass, and to overcome frictional losses.
Hand in hand with materials preparation goes testing and analysis, fundamental to achieving fit-for-purpose production and something that has been a strong feature of the expo since its inception. Stable Micro Systems, alongside its exclusive North American distributor of texture analyzers Texture Technologies Corp, will show – with the inclusion of live demos during the show – how goals in this area can be met.
The TA.XTplusC is Stable Micro Systems' flagship texture analysis instrument, capable of measuring virtually any physical product characteristic such as hardness, fracturability, adhesiveness, gel strength, extensibility, and so on. It is commonly employed to measure and quantify fundamental, empirical and imitative tests in both compression and tension, covering those relating to texture analysis, materials properties as well as effects of rheology of solid, semi-solid, viscous liquid, powder and granulate materials. It presents a small portable solution for texture analysis testing measuring up to 50kg in force.
There is also the TA.HDplusC, offering a maximum force capacity of 750kg (7.5kN), and a family of intelligent, factory-calibrated load cells down to 0.5kg. It can perform precision testing to a few grams without compromising accuracy, whilst providing the required rigidity to accommodate measurements of considerably higher force for heavy duty applications. The greater testing bed area and height range offer the ability to test much larger samples within a twin-column frame. The team also offers the TA.XTExpressC, an entry-level and QC-based texture analysis option offering cost effective portable analysis for a wide range of low force (up to 10kg) applications.
Conference Offers Mutual Benefits
The Ceramics Expo 2020 Conference is once again a free-to-attend event – the only one of such standing in North America – and already there are confirmed top-level speakers from leading organizations such as Tesla, Argonne National Laboratory, Moog Aerospace, DuPont, GE Aviation, Toshiba Electronics, ASTM, Kent State Uni, Saint-Gobain, Alfred Uni, and Honeywell Aerospace. It is a unique opportunity for all stakeholders to thoroughly consider mainstream ceramic issues; however, by also addressing the new imperatives the whole ethos and approach will capture the imagination of all this year’s delegates by exploring, for example, electronic packaging and assembly, energy storage and harvesting, and technical and industrial coatings.
These wider topics will be at the center of the opening keynote speech and Plenary Panel – don’t be late, it kicks off at 9.20am on May 5! Responding to the plenary theme, Fulfilling Market Requirements by Enabling a Clean, Electrified and Efficient Future, we’ll see how advanced ceramics are a key material in this transition. The latest in solar power harvesting, solid state batteries and energy storage, emission control, efficient sensors and the miniaturization of electronics are all innovations that rely on advanced ceramic components. In this context, the plenary panel will examine the latest trends and challenges facing the ceramics supply chain and how as an industry we can best prepare for the transition to greener technology.
Matching the production and technical demands of a multi-billion dollar industry is something that will be reviewed in Maximising Advanced Ceramic Materials as the Disruptive Technology for Electronic Packaging and Assembly (Day 1, Track 1, 10.45am). Electronic circuitry is an excellent growth area for technical ceramics, though there are challenges in expanding their production. Advanced ceramic materials are still relatively expensive when compared to their non-ceramic counterparts and take more time and expertise to produce. Speakers will address the versatility of ceramic materials and outline ideas for maximizing their usage in electronic circuitry. This will also allow electronic packaging manufacturers already using ceramics in their products to outline the benefits for those who have not yet begun integration. Ceramic substrates are relatively new materials in PCBs, yet there are several application areas including memory modules, receiving/transmission modules and multi-layer interconnect boards. The benefits of ceramic components in these applications include a low coefficient of thermal expansion, thermal conductivity management, good mechanical intensity and resistance to chemical erosion.
Great interest will attend Powering a Mobile Future: The Role of Ceramics in Taking Solid State Batteries from Theory to Practice and Improving Lithium Ion Models (Day 2, Track 1, 10.45am). Speakers will examine prospective applications for solid state batteries and the benefits that accompany their integration, such as improved safety standards and higher energy density. Also examined will be the biggest challenges facing solid state battery manufacture – cost, testing and material supply. Speakers will discuss key challenges in the testing, characterization and development of advanced ceramics and glass in solid state batteries, scope for energy density improvements, thermal management, and addressing possible fragility of ceramic and glass cathodes.
This is just a snapshot of what both the exhibit hall and conference tracks have to offer everyone in 2020, but the bigger picture is sure to be as exciting as ever. “The Ceramics Expo brand has been boosted by engagement from a number of modern powerhouse manufacturing industries,” commented Danny Scott. “These are industries that are innovating at a tremendous pace and on which the more traditional sectors increasingly rely. We will draw all these strands together in Cleveland to present a cohesive, forward-looking forum for all our valued attendees.”
Ceramics Expo will take place in Cleveland, OH, from the 5-6 of May 2020. Register for your free pass here.