Ceramic Industry

Inside CI: The Heat is On

August 1, 2012

As I write this column, much of the country is dealing with ongoing record-breaking temperatures and overly dry conditions. Crops are suffering, and nearly every yard in town is either completely brown or contains large swaths of dry, brittle grass. I long for the days when I could complain about the lawn needing some type of attention every other day; at this point, we haven’t even had to mow in nearly a month.

The appalling weather naturally reminds me of the economic drought we’ve all been enduring for years. Every now and then, a promising jobs report or an enthusiastic financial forecast will provide a glimpse of relief—like a brief rain shower—but on the whole, the situation can feel stifling and bleak.

Like those who need to spend time outside in this kind of heat, we need to work smarter. Don’t spend too much time, effort and money on markets or projects that are too risky or involve too little reward. Many companies in our industry are finding success by investigating new advanced/technical applications. As Anabela Lelis writes in this issue’s cover story, “The key to obtaining the best results for a given application is to understand what is required.” Learn more about “Ceramic Tube Selection.”

Working smarter also involves streamlining processes and eliminating defects. Bearing balls made of silicon nitride (Si3N4) offer design engineers multiple benefits over steel, but cracking remains a challenge. A new imaging process can help locate miniscule cracks and enable manufacturers to remove the affected balls before they’re used in assembly, thus increasing the reliability of Si3N4 bearing balls in service. “Identifying Defects” has the details.

How is your company weathering the economic drought? Please contact me at suttons@bnpmedia.com or (330) 336-4098 to share your success stories.