Technical Ceramic Solutions at Ceramics Expo 2019
Design engineers will have multiple opportunities at Ceramics Expo to discover next-generation ceramic solutions.
Ceramics Expo returns to Cleveland’s I-X Center from April 30-May 1 with the promise of an invigorated and extended program and a virtually booked exhibit hall. Show organizers are expecting over 3,000 visitors to this fifth edition of the show. Awaiting their arrival will be over 300 exhibitors from North, Central and South America; Europe; Asia; Africa; and Australasia.
“The industry is booming, and we are very excited,” said Mark Wolf, vice president of Fine Ceramics for Kyocera. “Every year, this expo gets bigger and bigger, so we are big fans of the show.”
While still free to attend, the most notable change to the format this year is that the event will be two days rather than three, and with extended hours. “This means a shorter span of time out of the office and, of course, a reduced accommodation spend,” said Danny Scott, event director. “However, we’ll be packing more exhibits, conference sessions and networking opportunities into two longer, more productive days.”
The whole event will get under way with an evening welcome reception and networking event for exhibitors and VIPs, beginning at 5 p.m. on Monday, April 29. Once the show goes full steam ahead on Tuesday morning, attendees will have the opportunity to experience a full suite of services specially designed to maximize face time and facilitate useful technical briefings, business conversations, and exchanges of views.
One great way to get informed quickly and to hear from the developers themselves is via the Product Showcase initiative. Here, potential buyers can gain peace of mind before investing by seeing live product demonstrations on the exhibit floor.
Another handy aid is the B2B Matchmaking service. Available to all attendees, this service makes it possible to book meetings with suppliers in advance, helping save time and making it easier to accurately target individual booth visits.
Delegates will also be able to optimize their production processes by discovering in a more hands-on way the latest technology and materials through Ceramic Expo’s Innovation Trail. This useful pointer directs attendees to a number of emerging techniques and associated chemistries that push the boundaries of ceramic manufacturing.
“I love the energy level here, the passion,” said Patty Mishic, chief commercial officer at CoorsTek. “It is a very intimate community within ceramics; people have so many years of experience that I can’t imagine ever learning as much as them. And so this is why it is the best place to be. You want to be sat next to someone who can teach you something.”
Of course, the Ceramics Expo Conference will once again play an important part in the event proceedings. The sessions, all free of charge to attend, have been specifically tailored to the needs of engineers and decision makers from OEMs and Tier 1s from across the industrial landscape.
Attendees will gain a 360° view of the ceramic materials market, with emphasis on new material formulations, future material requirements of end-user markets, and material challenges while at the same time finding solutions to technology development and implementation, cost reduction opportunities, and important aspects such as scale-up. (For additional insights into the conference, see “Dig In: Ceramics Expo Conference” in this issue.)
Industries whose activities, and ultimately success, underpin the wider manufacturing economy send representatives from across product development, R&D, technical group, and senior management to Ceramics Expo. In this context, technical ceramics have had a massive impact and are front and center at this exhibition. The unique set of characteristics on offer, as well as the associated advanced fabrication methods, means that more and more novel, high-performance, precisely engineered components are becoming available and will be fully showcased in Cleveland.
These products are proving invaluable in many sectors, including healthcare/medical, defense, telecommunications, energy, machining and heat treatment. Also at the forefront of the end-user cohort of industries are three that are closely interlinked and are continually driving forward innovation in the world of technical ceramics: electronics, aerospace, and automotive.
Finished products in electronics go on to be used in many larger electrical, thermal and mechanical systems across a broad range of end-user areas. The need for excellent thermal performance, lighter weight, compact size, very tight manufacturing tolerances, durability, competitive cost and sometimes complex geometries has meant an increasingly bright future for technical ceramics in this product domain.
If we consider just one sub-sector, multilayer ceramic capacitors (MLCCs), then rising demand, especially in consumer devices and the automotive market, indicates healthy growth in the years ahead. A recent report stated that the global MLCC market was valued at over $5.3 billion in 2017 and is currently projected to surpass $7.8 billion as early as 2024—not far short of a 50% increase in such a short span of time.
Crucial to future projects will be the further development of materials such as silicon carbide, silicon nitride, aluminum nitride, high-purity alumina, boron carbide, ceria-stabilized zirconia (CSZ) and zero-expansion ceramic materials, as well as the precise way they are finished. Ceramics Expo exhibitors, including Cactus Materials, Skyworks/Trans-Tech, Oasis Materials, PremaTech and STC, are at the forefront of this important work. The products and technologies these and other companies showcase in Cleveland will impact their customers’ future success and will be instrumental in opening up new and exciting markets.
The fields of commercial and defense aerospace and space exploration and transportation have created a multitude of both challenges and opportunities for the technical ceramics community. Representatives from the world’s leading companies and research organizations will attend Ceramics Expo to get an in-depth understanding of the results emanating from all the work undertaken.
This specialized area of manufacture has seen a rapidly growing uptake of technical ceramics. Ceramics can often still be more expensive than their metal or alloy counterparts, but their total-life cost has to be considered, as well as the fact that an array of characteristics makes them high-performance engineering components. Key properties include extreme erosion, corrosion, wear and chemical resistance; low specific weight; the ability to withstand ultra-high in-service temperatures; high mechanical strength; and low coefficient of thermal expansion.
The materials typically chosen include non-oxides, ceramic matrix composites (CMCs), oxides and glass-ceramics. These main groups have featured strongly at Ceramics Expo from the very beginning back in 2015, with the available lines and points of application widening all the time.
Technical ceramics (including ultra-high-temperature) are being used as gas shrouds in the fabricating process, as well as being used to make products such as: combustion liners; blades, vanes and nozzles; thermal management systems; exhaust parts; thermal protection shields; windshields, panels and mirrors; seals, brakes and bearings; optical and acoustic components; coatings; cooling devices; turbine sensor and igniter systems; and even hypersonic vehicle parts. Some of the companies mentioned already also have expertise in particular aspects of this industry; additional leaders that will be on hand at the show include Ceramco, NASA Glenn Research Center, CFOAM, Elcon Precision, POCO, Creatz3D, Aerospace Testing & Pyrometry, and others.
Demanding conditions also prevail in the automotive industry (in both conventional and electric powertrains), and technical ceramics find applications across the full array of cars, trucks, buses, and specialized vehicles such as automated guided vehicles (AGVs). Compared to metals and plastics, ceramics can bring together critical characteristics and answer full vehicle and component producers’ calls for superior thermal and electrical properties, excellent corrosion and wear resistance, low friction coefficient, thermal shock resistance, great dimensional stability, light weight, and increased range of forming techniques for a number of complex components.
The auto giants send a variety of people to check out the very latest offerings at Ceramics Expo while also showing great enthusiasm for getting involved in the conference. The investments in recent years have been substantial, and the signs are that the uptake of ceramics in automotive manufacture will continue the upward trend. According to a 2018 report on the automotive ceramics market, sales reached almost $1.6 billion in 2017 and are projected to top $2 billion by 2022, a near 30% leap in that particular five-year timeframe.
Names both new and old to Cleveland will line up to demonstrate what ceramics offer in terms of improving vehicle performance and keeping costs down. These include Mo-Sci, Boca Bearings, Axiom Materials, CERIX, Applied Ceramics, Ningbo Cathay Pacific Ceramics, FineWay Ceramics, and many more. Also participating are some of the giants of the industry, including Saint-Gobain, CoorsTek, Morgan Advanced Materials, CeramTec, Kyocera, Corning, Johnson Matthey, SCHOTT, Ferro and Materion, to name just a few—all pushing boundaries for applications across the board in electronics, aerospace, and automotive.
Technical ceramics sit at the very heart of manufacturing advancement, and they hold the key to groundbreaking developments as we move forward. Ceramics Expo 2019 will provide invaluable information for those interested in advancing manufacturing materials, designs and technologies.
For registration and additional details, visit www.ceramicsexpousa.com.
Editor’s note: Photos courtesy of Ceramics Expo.