Articles by Ralph Ruark

Kiln Connection: Used Kiln Economics

March 1, 2006
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.
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Investing in Ceramics: New Refractories for Weight Loss

February 28, 2006
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.
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Case Study: Rolling with the Changes

November 1, 2005
A willingness to adapt to market demands has enabled Akron Porcelain & Plastics Co. to remain a successful family-owned business for more than a century.
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Kiln Connecton: Energy Crisis 101

October 1, 2005
Columnist Ralph Ruark offers new energy saving tools and strategies to combat rising natural gas costs.
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Kiln Connection: Investing in Energy Savings

August 1, 2005
Invest in energy conservation now, and get an advantage that will provide a continuous cost savings.
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KILN CONNECTION: Focus on Temperature Uniformity

May 1, 2005
Poor temperature uniformity is rarely the result of one factor-many elements contribute to firing consistency.
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KILN CONNECTION: Conservation is Key

January 1, 2005
Columnist Ralph Ruark offers some ideas on how to avoid running out of energy in the current global fuel market.
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BRICK & CLAY RECORD: Innovation Matters

May 1, 2004
Superior Clay Corp. has found a successful new niche by reinventing its product line and manufacturing process
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KILN CONNECTION: Interpreting Data Logger Results

April 1, 2004
Data loggers that produce the true thermal history of the firing process are effective consulting tools. However, to fully take advantage of this technology, we have to set up the hardware and software so the diagnosis of problems becomes easier.
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KILN CONNECTION: Energy Considerations-Part 2

February 1, 2004
This month: we review an energy-saving combustion system investment
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