Ceramic Industry

ceramitec 2000: A Show To Remember

January 3, 2001
ceramitec 2000, held October 17-21, 2000, in Munich, Germany, set a new record in visitor and exhibitor statistics. Following is a glimpse of what visitors to ceramitec saw as they walked the show floor.

ceramitec 2000, held October 17-21, 2000, in Munich, Germany, set a new record in visitor and exhibitor statistics. Around 29,000 visitors—5% more than in 1997—from over 90 countries came to find out about the products and services of 828 exhibitors from 40 countries. The proportion of visitors from abroad rose from 43 to 52%, making ceramitec the most international exhibition in the industry. An exhibitor survey revealed that 99% of exhibitors had visitors from abroad at their stands—the majority coming from Italy, Spain, France, Turkey, Great Britain, the Czech Republic, the U.S., the Netherlands, Austria and Switzerland.

According to fair organizers Messe München International, an important factor in the resounding success of ceramitec 2000, which takes place on a three-year cycle, was the fact that it celebrated its premiere at the New Munich Trade Fair Centre in Munich-Riem.

A survey of both visitors and exhibitors showed that the mood in the industry has considerably improved compared to 1997. Approximately 71% of visitors and 72% of exhibitors said they regarded the current situation of the industry as “excellent to good,” compared to just 57% and 47%, respectively, who felt that way in 1997. Additionally, more than 80% of both visitors and exhibitors thought the situation would remain the same or would improve still further in the near future.

According to Eugen Egetenmeir, director of Business Unit Capital Goods of Messe München GmbH, worldwide sales generated by ceramic products are estimated at around $98 billion—an increase of around 40% compared with 1990. However, more than one-third of total sales is generated by technical ceramics, which continue to increase in importance. Other fields such as decorative ceramics, sanitaryware and tableware are struggling with continued global competition. Southeast Asia is becoming an imposing figure in the field of traditional ceramics, but has also become a major market for U.S. and European machine manufacturers and suppliers. ceramitec 2000 was a demonstration of just how international the market and competition have become.

For those who were unable to attend the event, Ceramic Industry compiled a review of some of the stands. Following is a glimpse of what visitors to ceramitec saw as they walked the show floor.

Machinery

CERAM Technology Ltd., Stoke-on-Trent, U.K., launched a thermal transfer decal printing system—a computerized system that produces ceramic decals “to order.” During printing, a ribbon, which has thermoplastic ink coated onto a thin polyester film, and the substrate to be printed pass under the print head. The head consists of tiny heated pins, which melt the thermoplastic ink and allow transfer from the ribbon to the substrate. The decal is then soaked in water, applied in reverse and fired the same way as a conventional waterslide decal. The system is designed for short, specialized production runs where current decal systems are unsuitable.

Ceric, Paris, France, displayed equipment for manufacturing clay building materials, fine and technical ceramics, concrete building materials, raw material processing, automatic handling and industrial data processing. The company offers tile presses with up to four molds and pressing cycles perfectly calibrated for each material, fitting presses with up to 30-cm strokes, hydraulic presses with controlled pressure for special fittings or stiff clay, demolding and vertical setting machines, indexing conveyor belts, and molds for large-format and reduced-thickness tile. The company also provides loaders and unloaders for dryers, car setting and dehacking machines, a variety of robotics for use in the plant, and car handling equipment and position monitoring. Dryers and kilns were also on display at the company’s stand.

Eirich, Hardheim, Germany, presented its Evactherm® technology, which homogenizes, granulates, dries and cools ceramic bodies in a single unit. The machine offers a compact, space-saving design; reduced operating costs; excellent preparation quality; and production of a granulated full grain without secondary drying. The company also showcased its MaxxMill®, a new generation of agitated media mills for dry and wet grinding processes. The unit features a rotating grinding pan and eccentric agitator to produce a very high size reduction ratio and a high throughput rate.

Eriez Magnetics Europe Ltd., Caerphilly, U.K., presented a line of high-intensity magnetic purification systems for ceramic raw materials, slips and glazes. The Eriez Ceramic Magnetic Trap (CMT) uses Megastrength™ rare earth magnetic tubes to capture all free iron on the tube surface. The product ensures that no ferrous metal can be wiped off by further product flow once it has been captured on the tube’s surface. Additionally, a demonstration unit in the stand showed the strength of the company’s High Intensity (HI) magnetic filters, in which very high magnetic fields are generated to remove fine and weakly magnetic particles from slips and glazes.

Gasbarre Products Inc., Dubois, Pa., showcased its powder compacting presses and furnaces, including high speed and high precision powder compacting presses, robotic parts loaders and other products for the powder compacting industry manufactured by PTX-Pentronix Inc. in Lincoln Park, Mich.

GE.TECH,Fiorano, Italy, displayed its ATM line, a range of machines for the production of third-firing tiles and trim pieces. The company also designs complete glazing and decoration lines for ceramic products, such as its DMP series brushing machine, which achieves a brushing effect on single and double-fired ceramic tiles.

Hoge-Warren-Zimmerman Co., Cincinnati, Ohio, displayed its continuous mixer for cement, plaster and other slurries. The mixer automatically proportions wet and dry ingredients for assured quality control.

Laeis Bucher GmbH, Trier, Germany, demonstrated a variety of developments in hydraulic presses, kilns, mixers, automation systems and complete plants. The company introduced the HPF III630 R, a press designed to be used in the refractories industry as well as in new applications. It combines the features of the company’s HPF double-pressure pressing system and the active mold wall with state-of-the-art electronic and hydraulic components. The company also introduced a new tile press to its Omega series. The new Omega 2100 incorporates state-of-the-art hydraulic and electronic systems and a unique mechanical design to provide optimum pressing technology and energy savings of up to 25%. The press can also be used for technical ceramics and building materials.

A new vision system combined with robot automation was also on display at Laeis Bucher’s stand. The vision system serves as a position detector (2D layer detection) and also stacks unsorted refractory brick. Different shaped brick on a pallet can be unstacked and sorted using this robot without the use of any mechanical auxiliaries. This results in a reduction of downtime, reduction of manual labor and optimization of cycle times. Other products and services highlighted by Laeis Bucher at ceramitec included the LX 40 mixer, a variety of high-temperature kilns, and the company’s ability to serve as a system partner for designing both complete and sectional plants.

RAM Products Inc., Columbus, Ohio, highlighted its hydraulic presses and other equipment for the ceramics industry. In addition to a standard line of equipment, the company designs and builds systems, machines and components to meet manufacturers’ needs.

SITI, Ticino, Italy, highlighted its capability to provide plants for extruded flat tiles, sanitaryware, tableware, roofing tile and sanitary fittings. The company’s extruded flat tile plants allow companies to produce tiles in a similar process to pressing while keeping the rough characteristics necessary for rustic and klinker products. Its sanitaryware plants are designed to suit specific customer requirements through the use of advanced technology, engineering and experience. The company’s tableware plants are highly automated, from body preparation and casting lines to pressing lines, firing and finishing. And its plants for roofing tiles and sanitary fittings include modern machinery and advanced technology. SITI also displayed a series of spray dryers that can be used to transform ceramic body slip into powder with a grain size and moisture content suitable for pressing. The units provide variable moisture content from 0.5 to 8% by controlling the temperature of the outgoing air from the diffuser.

Skutt Ceramic Products, Portland, Ore., displayed its new KM1627 Oval kiln. The kiln was designed with three main objectives: make it powerful enough to handle heavy loads, make it durable enough to withstand the rigorous demands of high volume production, and make it easy to operate and maintain. The company also offers the EnviroVent and other kiln accessories.

Technology & Service for Ceramic Industry (TSC), Fiorano, Italy, displayed its DEA Dual Print silk-screen printing machine. The unit can work independently on two rows, thus enabling the manufacturer to achieve high single- and double-fired outputs. It resembles the proven TSC flat silk-screen printing machines in its transport and centering through side-shifting and silk-screen printing with the use of two squeegee-holding carriages with independent control. The machine can operate using one double screen or two single, independent screens.

Thuringia Netzsch, Selb, Germany, presented an automatic sorting line that permits manufacturers to replace the labor-intensive process of flatware sorting by machine. The machine features a capacity of up to 1000 pieces per hour and the ability to define precise, repeatable quality standards. The company also launched a new one-mold pressure-casting machine for sanitaryware, which features increased movement capacity and fully automatic operation. The positions and clamping forces of all hydraulic cylinders can be preselected, and the sequence of movements is programmable.

Also introduced by Thuringia Netzsch was a new thermal application machine designed for automatic application of heat-release decals onto plates and tiles. The decal is transferred using a silicone printing pad, which is adapted to the shape of the piece. The piece can be immediately fired after the transferring process. Additionally, the company displayed a prototype unit on which different ceramic and glass articles can be coated electrostatically with glaze or decoration powders. The company planned to install this system in its laboratory in Selb after the show.

Materials

Aluminum Pechiney Gardanne, Cedex, France, showcased its standard calcined alumina, hydrated aluminas, very low soda aluminas and easy sintering aluminas.

Bekaert Dymonics, a joint venture between ART Inc., N.V. Bekaert S.A. and Vito, located in Zwevegem, Belgium, highlighted its diamond-like carbon and nanocomposite coatings, as well as non-oxide ceramic powders—including nitrides, borides and carbides—manufactured by ART.

CeramicSources.com displayed its one-of-a-kind website, which provides a neutral exchange where industry professionals can buy or sell goods and services anywhere in the worldwide ceramics and glass market. The website offers complete end-to-end transaction services, including auctions, RFQ, payment and shipping. Users can also access the latest news and event information, forums, a materials glossary, currency converter and more.

dmc2 Degussa Metals Catalysts Cerdec AG, Frankfurt, Germany, highlighted its decorating colors, precious metals preparations, decorating auxiliaries, glass colors, stains, glazes and glaze frits, as well as metal oxides and glasses (performance materials) for technical applications.

G-P Gypsum Corp., Atlanta, Ga., showcased its pottery and industrial tooling plasters. All G-P Gypsum plasters are produced from 99%+ pure resources in carefully controlled conditions, the company reports. The mined gypsum is calcined and treated to ensure proper characteristics. In addition, it is precision-ground to ensure optimum particle size. The company’s plasters can be used in a variety of applications, including dinnerware, sanitaryware, dental plasters and investment casting.

Imerys, Paris, France, highlighted its kaolins, ball clays, red body stain, ceramic bodies and glazes, and other raw materials and minerals. The company’s ECC International operation mines 17 kaolin pits throughout Cornwall and Devon, U.K. The company also mines ball clays in North Devon, South Devon and Dorset. Through its Cesar operation, the company supplies Grès de Thiviers, a red stain used in the manufacture of porcelain or granito tiles. Imerys also supplies ceramic bodies, glazes and other raw materials to the tableware and sanitaryware industries through member companies such as Cétéra, Spica, MRD-ECC and Dry Branch Kaolin.

Johnson Matthey plc, Colours & Coatings, Stoke-on-Trent, U.K., displayed its body and glaze materials, frits, glazes, decorative colors, decorative precious metals and decals. Sharing the stand were Johnson Matthey B.V., Maastricht, the Netherlands; Johnson Matthey Italia S.p.A., Spezzano, Italy; Johnson Matthey Cer

Quality Control

Bruker AXS Advanced X-ray Solutions GmbH, Karlsruhe, Germany, showcased its X-ray analytical systems, which are used in a broad range of industry, research and development for nondestructive multi-element and structure analysis. Three different methods—X-ray fluorescence (XRF) analysis, X-ray diffraction (XRD) and single crystal diffraction (SCD)—are used in a range of applications.

Carbolite GmbH, Ubstadt-Weiher, Germany, displayed its laboratory ovens and furnaces. The company offers range of models for research and production with maximum operating temperatures up to 2000°C (3632°F). The company also has the capability and flexibility to design and manufacture custom built units to solve individual customer problems.

CICS Ltd., Stoke-on-Trent, U.K., had representatives on hand to discuss its certification service for the ceramics and related industries. The company offers ISO 9000, ISO 14000, QS 9000 and product certification, and also has provisional approval for CE marking under the Construction Products Directive.

Netzsch-Gerätebau GmbH, Selb, Germany, displayed a number of thermal analysis instruments for the ceramic industry, including dilatometers, differential scanning calorimeters, simultaneous thermal analyzers, and pulse thermal analyzers. New for 2000 is the STA 409 PC Luxx®, which measures mass changes (thermogravimetry), characteristic temperatures and enthalpy changes (differential scanning calorimetry) on one sample in one measurement; and the dilatometer DIL 402 E, which provides exact knowledge of the thermal expansion and sintering behavior of a material, as well as information on reactions and phase transitions.

Surface Inspection Ltd., Bristol, U.K., showcased its new fully automatic tile inspection systems—the Flawmaster® 3000. The first 11 such systems are scheduled to be operational in a Graniti Fiandre plant by April 2001, and another 10 systems will follow. These units are used to inspect structured, decorated and polished porcelain tiles.

SETARAM, Mt. Laurel, N.J., displayed its line of SETSYS instruments, thermal analyzers for use in research centers and laboratories. The instruments are capable of just about every type of thermal analysis, including DTA, DSC, TGA, TGA-DTA, TGA-DSC and TMA, and cover a temperature range from -150 to 2400°C. The company’s DSC 141 provides high resolution with the use of a power-compensation principle. Its TGA features a design in which the sample is suspended from the balance to obtain optimum measurement sensitivity, and its TMA has a vertical construction that permits working under very low loads (from approximately 2 grams) without applying any force on the sample. The company also displayed its symmetrical thermogravimetric analyzer, which performs multiple measurements with very low weight variations.

Refractories and Insulation

BNZ Materials Inc., Zelienople, Pa., exhibited its insulating firebrick (IFB), structural insulation, silica brick and mortar. The company produces thirteen types of IFB for use in applications from 2000°F (1093°C) to 3200°F (1760°C). Each type is formulated to meet specific thermal and physical requirements and after firing is machined to precise tolerances. The company’s structural insulation is monolithic, incombustible and non-asbestos, and is available in thicknesses ranging from 0.25 to 3 in.

Dyson Ceramic Systems, Stoke-on-Trent, U.K., a combination of Acme Marls, Diamond Gimson and Hewitt Kiln Furniture, showcased its lightweight, fuel-efficient and cost-effective kiln furniture systems. The company’s product line includes kiln furniture for bone china, earthenware china, hotelware, giftware, sanitaryware, heavy clay, and powdered metals and electronics. The company’s products are up to 40% lighter than standard materials, provide improved thermal shock properties and allow for shorter firing cycles.

The Ceramic Systems business of Saint-Gobain Ceramics and Plastics, Worcester, Mass., exhibited under the name AnnaWerk. The company displayed its pusher plates for P/M and MIM sintering furnaces; stacking plates for ferrites, P/M and MIM; insulation brick for H2; atmosphere sintering furnaces; insulators for the production of thermocouple cables; setters and saggers for electronic ceramics/capacitors; and tubes for glass/quartz/crystals and labware.

Schunk Ingenieurkeramik GmbH, Willich-Münchheide, Germany, displayed a range of kiln furniture, including beams, profiles, rollers and batts. The company also highlighted its radiant-flame tubes and recuperator burners made of SiSiC, along with wear-resistant linings for conduits, hydro-cyclones, charging and dosing equipment.

Unifrax Corp., Niagara Falls, N.Y., showcased numerous insulation products that provide heat management solutions in various applications and industries, including ceramic and glass. The company’s new Isofrax™ thermal insulation uses patented silica-magnesia chemistry to solve a variety of demanding high-temperature application problems. The fiber has the high-performance characteristics required in many applications at temperatures up to 1260°C, is rapidly dissolved and removed from the lung if inhaled, and is in compliance with European regulatory requirements.

The Vesuvius Group, Grossalmerode, Germany, presented numerous refractory products through its various subsidiaries. Goebel-Werk GmbH exhibited low thermal mass kiln furniture systems, including the lightweight Lego-System, which provides the user a high setting volume and energy savings; and the Tooth Support System, which can be supplied in cordierite and sillimanite as solid or perforated batts. Vesuvius-VGT-DYKO GmbH showcased refractory material for high and ultra-high temperatures, such as sillimanite, mullite and alumina materials with an Al2O3 content over 99%; insulating materials in the form of fibers, castables and lightweight bricks for temperatures up to 1800°C; and system solutions for lining periodic and continuous furnaces with bricks and fiber material. Additionally, Premier Refractories (France) S.A. offered an alternative range of refractory products from 1000 to 1850°C, including Pyrobul, light cordierite and Drilok systems for kiln cars.

Editor’s Note

Unfortunately, there wasn’t room to include a review of every stand at ceramitec. Suppliers who exhibited at ceramitec are welcome to submit information on their new equipment and processes to run in CI’s What’s New section in future issues. To submit a press release for publication, contact Susan Sutton at (614) 798-1881; fax (614) 760-5922; or e-mail sesuttonci@aol.com.

COMING IN FEBRUARY:
“The Kiln Community at ceramitec,” a special report by Senior Technical Editor Ralph Ruark.