I have talked about energy conservation in this column many times over the past several years. For those of you who are tired of my litany of energy tips, directions and summaries, you will be pleased to know that this installment is not about my work in that area. Instead, it is a report about the success of a hard-working manager in a plant I visited early this year.
Many used kilns are on the market today, due to the number of plant closings that have occurred in the past few years, and their selling prices often seem very low. Whether it is a wise choice to purchase a used kiln depends, like all things, on the specific details pertaining to how the new-to-you kiln will fit and perform in your facility.
The used option can be a great buy, but sometimes it's a poor investment. Here's how to evaluate the value of this possibility for periodic kilns.
Anyone involved in kiln operation and management knows that lightweight materials for kiln furniture and setting decks can save significant energy dollars. Likewise, all kiln designers are aware that using low-mass refractory linings can save considerable amounts of energy.
Now, imagine a lightweight product with use temperatures as high as 3200 degrees F that could be used to replace some high-density kiln furniture, regardless of processing temperatures. Consider the impact on energy consumption if such materials could be used for designing or rebuilding a high-temperature kiln without the difficulties of fibrous materials. These products are available today from Cellaris, a young company based in Israel that has developed an innovative technology for ceramic foam production.