The monthly roundup from Editor-in-Chief Susan Sutton.
March is generally the time of the year when I’m the most stir-crazy. Spring
hasn’t quite sprung yet, and the wonders of winter have completely lost their
charm. I’m tired of sledding and building snowpeople, and I’ve really had it
with the snow and ice. I’m ready for longer days and warmer temperatures. I
want to be able to get to work in the garden and open the windows.
It would be great if the weather would
follow the rules of the calendar, that spring really would begin on March
20-complete with green grass, lush trees and buds on all of the flowers.
Unfortunately, Mother Nature is generally less than precise. We might not see
any real signs of spring until after the proverbial April showers do their job.
I try to be patient, but the anticipation of the March/April-ish arrival of
spring tends to ramp my cabin fever up a notch.
the name of the game for finishing and machining in
the ceramic industry, however, as markets ranging from electronics and medical
to aerospace and automotive all continue to seek reduced size and weight
opportunities. Dimensions in the micron range are often the norm, shapes are
becoming increasingly complex, and it seems like the tolerances just keep
It’s fortunate that a number of machining methods are available to help
manufacturers meet those requirements. For example, ultrasonic machining
utilizes high-frequency mechanical vibration to precisely machine intricate
shapes in a variety of advanced materials, including glass, engineered
ceramics, composites and piezoceramics (see “Ultrasonic Machining”).
Lasers have long provided an efficient and effective method of machining
ceramic substrates for microelectronic packaging applications. From the early flowing
laser to the sealed, slab discharge
laser and diode-pumped, solid-state laser, “The
Laser Age” discusses laser manufacturers’ continued development of products
that are designed to help improve productivity and profitability.
In addition, a new laser-assisted method of machining silicon carbide ceramic
matrix composites (CMCs) is being developed that maintains the base structure
of the material and helps reduce manufacturing costs. While work is ongoing,
the new technology has the potential to provide a number of benefits for SiC CMC
manufacturers (see “Laser-Assisted CMC Milling”).
For select subscribers, the
third annual Pottery Production Practices Sourcebook
also accompanies this issue. Articles in this edition
include profiles of the ceramic arts programs offered by Alfred University,
the experiences of potter Frank Matranga and business training opportunities
available through the Arts Business Institute. Other features detail common
misconceptions relating to pottery, electric kiln selection advice and pottery
In addition, the Supplier Directory*
provides details regarding each supplier’s product offerings in an easy-to-read
chart format, while the Supplier Index includes contact information for
companies that sell into the pottery market. Be sure to visit the Sourcebook
online at www.ceramicindustry.com
for spec sheets, direct links to supplier websites and more.
If you have suggestions for next year’s PPP
(or regular issues of CI
), please don’t hesitate to
contact me at email@example.com
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or (614) 760-4220.