Ceramic Industry

Executive Overview - Association Update: CerMA

June 1, 2001
The Ceramic Manufacturers Association (CerMA) celebrates its 75th anniversary this year as an incorporated, non-profit trade organization. Formed in June 1925, the Ohio Ceramic Industries Association was officially incorporated in 1926 and served the needs of ceramic producers in the Ohio River Valley for 60 years. In February 1986, the association was reinstated and the name amended (American Association of Ceramic Industries) to more accurately reflect a growing national presence among its membership. The name was changed once more in November 1991 to the Ceramic Manufacturers Association, better reflecting its status as a vital, non-profit service and trade organization ready to assist in all areas of ceramic production.

From its very beginning as the Ohio Ceramic Industries Association, CerMA always comprised a valuable network of industry professionals who shared a common focus. In 1991, the organization comprehensively researched this common bond to determine what needs of the industry could be better addressed. This led to the current mission statement: “To serve as a training and information resource for plant operators, to ensure the viability of the ceramic industries.” From this new mission, CerMA developed annual educational conferences and specialty programs geared specifically toward the manufacturer. These conferences present the latest technological advances in supplies, equipment, services and manufacturing practices to plant personnel directly responsible for the efficient and quality output of materials and products. Conference organizers recruit manufacturer and supplier speakers to present technical, problem-solving, and business information and solutions. Participants have the opportunity to ask questions as well as to network with others in the industry at lunch and a reception, plus explore supplier tabletop exhibits. Plant tours are coordinated with conference topics to give participants the opportunity to experience technology and solutions in use. The economically priced conferences and tours are organized to keep time away from the plant to a minimum, and conferences are held in locations within easy reach of manufacturers.

This year, CerMA will present “Post Forming: From the Dryer to Finished Ware,” September 13-14 at the Holiday Inn in Batavia, N.Y. This conference will emphasize basic elements of the drying process, but will also include sessions on refractories, glazing and decorating. The related plant tour will be at Lapp Insulator in nearby LeRoy, N.Y. Following is an overview of the conference program.

Thursday, September 13

“Understanding the Process of Drying,” by Dr. John Mooney, Consultant
Dr. Mooney will discuss the basic elements of drying, factors influencing drying rates, stages of drying, the effects of drying on the ceramic body and using psychometric charts. Understanding the physics and chemistry of drying is important toward maximizing plant productivity. This presentation will provide basic principles that everyone involved in the drying process should know.

“Characterizing Ceramics During the Drying Process,” by Reed Slevin, Harrop Industries
Learn how the drying of ceramic bodies can be physically analyzed using a technique measuring material weight change and length change as a function of temperature, humidity and atmospheric flow. This paper strongly supports and emphasizes, in a practical sense, the theories discussed earlier by Dr. Mooney.

“Measuring Relative Humidity,” by Robert Meehan, Rotronics
A discussion of the various types of devices used to measure humidity in a dryer. Factors reviewed to facilitate the type of sensor selected include environment, degree of sophistication, cost and maintenance.

“Drying of Gypsum Molds,” by Jim Messer, U.S. Gypsum
Gypsum mold drying techniques after initial forming and during production. Proper drying extends mold life and efficiency.

“Modern Dryers for Ceramics,” by Marco Lora, Progetti srl

“Difficulties Applying Theoretical Drying Principles to the Real World,” by Gary Carnahan, Lapp Insulator

Friday, September 14

“Required Conditions for Fast Single Firing Vitreous Ceramic Whiteware Products—Case Study of a Sanitaryware Casting Body and Plastic Processed Body,” by Ken Bougher, Old Hickory Clay Co.
The demand to increase production yields and economize on costs has encouraged further development of the fast single fire process. This presentation discusses the firing reactions as well as the requirements of the raw materials and formulas. A special emphasis is placed on the glaze demands of fast single firing, and actual case studies are used to illustrate specific points of difficulty in achieving optimum quality for the fast fire process.

“How Various Ceramic Glazes are Rheologically Affected by Common Glaze Additives,” by Glen Stephenson, Ferro Corp.
Changes in glaze viscosity over time are influenced by common glaze additives, such as CMC and Veegum Ton glazes containing various clay types and contents.

“Engineering Advanced Kiln Cars,” by Gary Recktenwald, Vesuvius Refractories
The Vesuvius solution to increase kiln throughput using Drilok™—a low maintenance, low mass, advanced material kiln car system.

“Don’t Fuel Around with Oil, Fire with Natural Gas,” by John Dowdle, Leviton Manufacturing
The rising cost of natural gas may force many companies to review alternate fuel sources for firing their kilns. One relatively cheap source of fuel is oil; however, firing with it can be difficult and, depending on your process, major and/or minor changes may be necessary to obtain good fuel efficiency and good quality product. Leviton used oil in one of its tunnel kilns this past winter with limited success. This paper will take you through the company’s experiences and challenges.

“Maximizing Temperature Uniformity Can be the Key to Successful Firing,” by Ralph Ruark, Ruark Engineering, Inc.
Sometimes the difference between laboratory results and actual production firing can cause serious firing defects. There is no substitute for real world data in the firing process. Included are several case histories of actual firing problems and their solutions.

For More Information

For more information, contact CerMA at 1100-H Brandywine Blvd, PO Box 3388, Zanesville, OH 43702-3388; (740) 452-4541; fax (740) 452-2552; or e-mail cerma.info@offinger.com.