Special Report: Global Trends & Innovations

April 1, 2006
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More than 600 companies from 40 countries will showcase their products and services in Munich, Germany, May 16-19 during CERAMITEC 2006. For many companies, CERAMITEC 2006 will provide an opportunity to introduce new products and technologies to the global ceramic industry.

The entrance to the Munich trade fair center for CERAMITEC 2003. Photo by P.G. Loske, courtesy of Messe München International.
More than 600 companies from 40 countries will showcase their products and services in Munich, Germany, May 16-19 during CERAMITEC 2006. The show will be divided into four halls, with Hall A5 focused on refractory materials, kiln furniture, kilns and related equipment; Hall A6 on raw materials, additives, powders, and production materials and aids; Hall B5 on machinery, plants and equipment for brick and heavy ceramic products; and Hall B6 on machinery, plants and equipment for fine, refractory and technical ceramics, as well as powder metallurgy.

New hydraulic presses from Laeis GmbH are designed to achieve levels of uniformity and green density that were previously only possible through isostatic pressing.
For many companies, CERAMITEC 2006 will provide an opportunity to introduce new products and technologies to the global ceramic industry. For example, Laeis GmbH (Hall B6, Stand 303/502) (a SACMI company) will highlight recent advances in hydraulic pressing. The company's equipment is designed to carefully control the flow of materials from the preparation stage to dosing and feeding into the press mold. Volumetric and/or gravimetric feeding systems precisely fill the molds and weigh the pressed products to repeatable specifications, and adapted mold filling systems (both one- and two-component designs) allow for controlled material distribution and uniform densification, even for large or complex parts. Combined with vacuum pressing technology and a separately controlled axis for the active mold, these advances reportedly allow hydraulic presses to achieve levels of uniformity and green density that were previously only possible through isostatic pressing. The systems also provide the ability for near-net-shape manufacturing. Potential applications include large-sized ceramic oxide plates used as sputtering targets, layered sliding gates for the steel industry or other complex structures, curved shapes, fuel cell components, ceramic brake discs, and other high-performance ceramics.

Nabertherm will display a tube furnace for use to 1800ºC (3272ºF), equipped with a 70 mm (3-in.) diameter tube with gas-tight flanges for use with either protective atmospheres or vacuum.
Nabertherm (Hall A5, Stand 305/402) will present several new systems with gases and atmospheres that reflect the changing needs of the advanced materials industry. For example, a tube furnace on display at the show will feature a new safety system for hydrogen or other reactive atmospheres that can be applied to any of Nabertherm's gas-tight furnaces. The new VHT-8, an atmosphere-tight furnace for materials research laboratories, has a modular design that allows it to be configured with different hot zone constructions and gas management systems for use at temperatures up to 3000ºC (5432ºF) and with inert, reactive or high-vacuum atmospheres. The company will also introduce its new NB line of gas-fired furnaces, which are designed for integration into an industrial work cell or for use in pottery production. In addition to these new technologies, Nabertherm will display a range of its standard furnaces for both the industrial ceramics and pottery markets, including tabletop furnaces for laboratory applications, top-loading pottery kilns, front loading kilns with wire elements for use to 1400ºC (2552ºF) and high-temperature kilns for use to 1800ºC (3272ºF).

Riedhammer GmbH (Hall B6, Stand 303/502) (a SACMI company) will also introduce several new technologies at the show. For the tableware market, the company has developed a flexible, modular approach in conjunction with SACMI and its sister companies, SAMA and Gaiotto, that completely automates the manufacturing process, from the initial design to the final grinding. The system uses a number of smaller, interconnected production units, with robots handling operations such as loading and unloading the kilns. The company has also developed a new roller kiln for firing tableware that reportedly provides an energy-efficient alternative to tunnel kilns while offering reduced maintenance requirements and an optimized firing atmosphere compared to earlier roller kiln technologies. For the sanitaryware market, Riedhammer has improved the regulation of the cooling zone in its tunnel kilns and has also expanded its burner system capabilities for its shuttle kilns-including an optimized Fire Lane system (single-burner regulation for large-sized items) and a new pulse burner system. The company has also made advances in its pusher-type kiln for the technical ceramics market.

Other companies will use their exhibits to emphasize existing products and capabilities. For example, Tosoh Europe BV (Hall A6, Stand 318) will highlight its YTZ(r) grinding media, which is supplied as small as 0.05 mm in diameter and is used in the electronics industry in the production of multi-layer ceramic capacitors (MLCCs). Tosoh will also focus on its zirconia powders, which are used in applications such as machine parts, electronic parts and tools, watch cases, precision measurement components and optical connector parts. Additionally, the company's fully yttria-stabilized zirconia powder is used to produce the electrolyte layer in solid oxide fuel cells.

UNIMIN (Hall A6, Stand 305/404) will highlight its fillers, fluxes, clays, custom blends and prepared bodies, all of which are engineered to enhance finished properties, improve production quality and maximize productivity.

Editor's note: The exhibits highlighted in this article represent information submitted by Ceramic Industry advertisers. For more information about CERAMITEC 2006, including a complete list of exhibitors, click the CERAMITEC link below.

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