Inside CI: The Big Picture

Editor Kristi Grahl's monthly roundup.

A person I interviewed for one of the articles in this issue made an interesting comment. He said that in his experience dealing with ceramic component suppliers, it has been very difficult to find a company that could consistently provide both high quality and a fast turnaround. Now, it's quite possible-probable, even-that he simply wasn't dealing with the right companies. He's since found a supplier that has exceeded his expectations, and we all know that there are other companies capable of doing the same. But what struck me is that he had had so many bad experiences with ceramic suppliers in the past. And this isn't the first time I've heard that complaint. Other individuals I've talked to have also commented that one of the main barriers to more widespread use of ceramics is that there is often a disconnect between what's needed in the field and what a ceramic supplier provides. In an era where the competitive stakes are getting higher all the time, the ceramic industry appears to be falling short. But why? And what can be done to change the situation?

Some in the industry have speculated that a lack of education is to blame. Designing with ceramics is not taught to mechanical engineering students, and few resources are available on the subject for those who seek information on their own. (This is one of the reasons Ceramic Industry recently launched our new Ceramic Components Directory)

But perhaps another reason is that many companies in the ceramic industry have focused too narrowly on their specialty. After all, designing and manufacturing ceramic products is challenging enough. It simply isn't reasonable for ceramic manufacturers to also be knowledgeable about all of the end uses for their products.

Or is it?

In fact, this might be exactly the solution that's needed. According to Thomas Hinman, vice president and general manager of Corning Diesel Technologies, ceramics are often just part of a much larger system or technology. "In the right technologies for the right needs, there are roles for ceramics," he says. "But companies need to really look at these opportunities, take a more holistic systems kind of approach to the applications, and then drive their value into the customers' hands based on that holistic approach." (See A Clean Air Initiative for more information on how Corning is benefiting from this approach in the automotive industry. The article on Ceradyne's new Wixom Vehicle Armor Systems facility, A Safer Ride is another good example.)

Precisely because there are few education and information resources on ceramics, end users are increasingly turning to ceramic manufacturers to provide solutions, rather than products. For manufacturers that are willing and able to step up to the plate, opportunities abound.

Did you enjoy this article? Click here to subscribe to Ceramic Industry Magazine.

Recent Articles by Christine Grahl

You must login or register in order to post a comment.



Image Galleries

2015 Ceramics Expo

Snapshots from the 2015 Ceramics Expo, April 28-30, Cleveland, Ohio. Posted: May 14, 2015.


Ceramics Expo podcast
Editor Susan Sutton discusses the upcoming Ceramics Expo with event director Adam Moore.
More Podcasts

Ceramic Industry Magazine

June 2015 ceramic industry

2015 June

This issue features our first annual Supplier of the Year Awards. Be sure to check it out!
Table Of Contents Subscribe

Daily News

We know where you find the latest ceramic industry news (ahem), but where do you catch up on the rest of your daily news?
View Results Poll Archive


M:\General Shared\__AEC Store Katie Z\AEC Store\Images\Ceramics Industry\handbook of advanced ceramics.gif
Handbook of Advanced Ceramics Machining

Ceramics, with their unique properties and diverse applications, hold the potential to revolutionize many industries, including automotive and semiconductors.

More Products

Clear Seas Research

Clear Seas ResearchWith access to over one million professionals and more than 60 industry-specific publications,Clear Seas Research offers relevant insights from those who know your industry best. Let us customize a market research solution that exceeds your marketing goals.


facebook_40px twitter_40px  youtube_40pxlinkedin_40google+ icon 40px


CI Data Book July 2012

Ceramic Industry's Directories including Components, Equipment Digest, Services, Data Book & Buyers Guide, Materials Handbook and much more!