Inside CI: About This Issue

January 1, 2004
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If you're looking for in-depth information about the raw and manufactured materials used in all aspects of the ceramic, glass and related industries, you've come to the right place. Ceramic Industry's 2004 Materials Handbook, which starts on page 18 in this issue, is the most comprehensive ceramic materials reference resource in the industry. To find a particular material, simply flip to that section of the Materials Handbook, using the page headings as your guide. There, you'll find a detailed description of that material, including the chemical formula, common forms and information on how the material is used. In many cases, you'll also find a list of suppliers (supplier listings indicate paid advertising) for that material immediately following the definition so that you can easily obtain samples or production quantities. You can also find a fully searchable version of the 2004 Materials Handbook on our website at,2772,,00.html.

If you're looking for business- and market-related information, this issue contains that as well. My annual "Materials Review & Forecast" article (see,2708,115641,00.html) provides a snapshot of recent trends and future predictions for several key materials-including abrasives, boron, clays and zirconium-used in the ceramic and related industries. The data contains some surprising figures-including significant increases in material consumption in several sectors-that could indicate a more positive outlook for the years ahead. Data on imports, prices and available supply are also highlighted to give you an idea of how the materials supply is shifting and what changes you can expect in the future.

Looking for practical information on day-to-day manufacturing issues? We've got that, too. An article on "Selecting Free Abrasives" (see a href=",2710,115676,00.html">,2710,115676,00.html) gives you some basic guidelines for choosing an abrasive material that is tailored to your specific application so that you can achieve high-quality results.

If you'd like to get involved in a heated debate, turn to our new interactive "Up for Discussion" column (see,2710,115622,00.html). The topic for this issue is "free trade," and I encourage you to post your opinion online by following the link in the column. You can also submit your thoughts on other industry topics for an "Up for Discussion" column in a future issue-the column is open to anyone in the industry. How frequently we run the column depends on you, so be sure to participate!

And for those of you who are in the brick and structural clay industry and didn't get a chance to attend the 49th International Brick Plant Operator's Forum in Clemson, S.C., be sure to check out our review of the forum highlights (see,2710,115401,00.html).

In short, this issue is packed with information that can help you make sound purchasing decisions and improve your manufacturing operations. From all of us here at Ceramic Industry, we wish you a happy, prosperous New Year.

P.S. If you know of any materials that should be added to the Materials Handbook, or any definitions that should be revised or updated, please let us know. Send all additions or revisions to me at (248) 366-2504 (fax) or You can also submit your suggestions on our website at,2794,,00.html. As always, we welcome your feedback.

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