Manufacturing with Ceramics
The show unites four distinct areas of manufacturing—National Industrial Enterprise IT, National Industrial Automation, National Plant Engineering MRO & Management, and National Design Engineering. The Design Engineering area, which addresses the needs of the $770 billion design engineering market, is especially key for manufacturers of ceramic products.
Promoting Ceramic ProductsOver 1000 exhibitors—including a number of ceramic manufacturers—will gather at the Design Engineering show to promote the latest tools, components and materials used in mechanical and electromechanical design and product development. (See sidebar, “Ceramic/Glass Exhibitors,” for a list of ceramic-related companies exhibiting at this year’s show.)
According to John Mangels, director of Sales and Marketing at Ceradyne, Inc., the Design Engineering show gives ceramic manufacturers a unique opportunity to position their products in the market. “It gives us a chance to show design engineers the types of parts that can successfully be produced with ceramics, while also helping Ceradyne develop name recognition among design engineers, who are potential customers,” he said.
Most of the ceramic and glass manufacturers will be exhibiting together in what has commonly been known as the “ceramic pavilion.” According to Frank W. Gorman, manager of the Advanced Ceramics Division at Astro Met, Inc., grouping ceramic-related companies together “provides the attendees an opportunity to view numerous ceramic companies without walking the entire show floor. It’s a benefit to the attendees in terms of time management.” Gorman also noted that the bigger the ceramic pavilion, the better. “Having additional ceramic manufacturers exhibiting in the ceramics pavilion would enable the pavilion to grow in size and would position the ceramic industry as an industry of increasing importance to the design engineering community,” he said.
However, not everyone agrees with that assessment. “I don’t think it’s important for all ceramic-related companies to be grouped together, as many ceramic companies specialize in a particular product, material and/or application. It would make more sense to group companies by product or application focus rather than by ‘material’ or industry classification,” Deurloo said.
Regardless of where ceramic companies are located in the exhibit hall, everyone agrees that the show provides an important marketing benefit. “It’s a good opportunity for ceramic manufacturers who are interested in selling components into structural applications,” said Mangels.
Exhibiting New TechnologiesWhile the slow economy has caused several ceramic-related exhibitors to trim back the size of their exhibits and/or the number of people they are sending to the show, most exhibitors will be displaying new products and applications this year.
For example, Astro Met, Inc., will display its new AmAlOx 68, a high-purity, 99.8% aluminum oxide ceramic that has been developed and optimized for maximum wear and corrosion resistance in a wide range of industrial applications, including chemical process equipment, paper products, automotive, medical, aerospace, semiconductors and robotics. New silicon nitride components for bearing and automotive applications will be on display at Ceradyne’s booth; CeramTec will exhibit its new enhanced piezo-actuators; and Saint-Gobain will showcase a variety of new applications for its CERBEC ceramic balls.
Vesuvius McDanel will exhibit an assortment of finished products, ranging from high density, high purity aluminum oxide to zirconia, mullite and SiAlON crucibles. The company will also display Vesuvius Hi-Tech’s line of reticulated (porous) ceramics, made from alumina and zirconia materials, for applications ranging from molten metal filtration to low thermal mass kiln furniture.
Other products that will be on display include custom-manufactured, technical ceramic components from CoorsTek and Superior Technical Ceramics Corp.; ceramics for heat and electrical insulation from Du-Co Ceramics Co.; Al2O3, ZrO2, and ZTA bodies for electronic and industrial applications from Heany Industries; and specialty graphites and silicon carbide materials from Poco Graphite Inc.
Many companies will also use this year’s show as chance to identify promising new markets. “The Design Engineering show is a unique opportunity to seek out new and developing technologies that might have a potential need for our engineered ceramic materials,” said Brian Vernon, regional account manager for Vesuvius McDanel.