Welcome to the January 2020 edition of CeramicsNews, a round-up of ceramics news that has caught our eye this month.

HarbisonWalker CEO Elected World Refractory Association President

In a move that sees its first North American and first female in the role, the World Refractory Association (WRA) has elected Carol Jackson, Chairman and CEO of HarbisonWalker International (HWI), as the incoming president. Ms Jackson succeeds Stefan Borgas, CEO of RHI Magnesita. “As the global voice of the refractory industry, it is imperative for us to unify and advance the common interests of this trade association, as we promote the value and criticality of refractory in manufacturing to all our stakeholders,” commented Ms Jackson.  Discover more here.


Improving Boron Carbide Body Armour

Researchers at Texas A&M University have formulated a new recipe that can prevent weaknesses in body armour. By adding a tiny amount of silicon to boron carbide, they discovered that bullet-resistant gear could be made substantially more resilient to high-speed impacts. “Boron carbide is really good at stopping bullets travelling below 900m/s, and so it can block bullets from most handguns quite effectively,” said Kelvin Xie, Assistant Professor in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering. “But above this critical speed, boron carbide suddenly loses its ballistic performance and is not as effective.”  Read more.


Cabot Corp to Acquire Shenzhen Sanshun Nano New Materials

Cabot China Limited, a wholly owned subsidiary of Cabot Corporation, has agreed to purchase Shenzhen Sanshun Nano New Materials Co Ltd (SUSN), a leading carbon nanotube (CNT) producer in China, for approximately $115 million in enterprise value that includes liabilities and contingent payments. As the second largest producer of CNTs globally, SUSN has the capability to manufacture both dry powder CNTs and dispersions and has a proven track record of commercial success in the lithium-ion battery market.  Find out more.


Kyocera and 24M Develop World’s First SemiSolid Lithium-ion Battery System

Kyocera Corp and 24M have launched their residential energy storage system, Enerezza, the world’s first system built using 24M’s novel SemiSolid electrode manufacturing process. In addition, Kyocera has extended its commitment to 24M’s unique manufacturing platform with plans to start full-scale mass production in autumn this year. 24M’s innovative manufacturing process delivers market-leading price-performance. SemiSolid electrodes use no binder, mixing electrolyte with active materials to form a clay-like slurry with unique attributes. The process eliminates the need for a significant amount of inactive materials and capital-intensive processes such as drying and electrolyte filling, thus dramatically reducing manufacturing costs.  Discover more.


Effective Heat Management in Hybrid/EVs

Managing heat more efficiently and effectively is paramount for next generation hybrid and electric vehicles. Morgan Advanced Materials has posted an explanatory article showing how it is taking industry-leading products and expertise in developing thermal management systems (which have transformed gas and diesel-powered trains to electrified trains) and is now applying that capability to the automotive sector. A variety of the group’s ceramic solutions are assessed.  More details here.


SGL Carbon’s New Production Hall for Graphite-based Automotive Components

SGL Carbon has inaugurated its new production hall for automotive components in Bonn. Over the past three years, it has invested a total of around €25 million in the modernisation and expansion of its production capacities for specialty graphite automotive components in Bonn. Besides the installation of partly new production facilities and a modernised production set-up, construction of a new, 2,000m2 large hall for parts production was implemented in the course of the expansion project.  Read more.


Lucideon to run Refractories Training Courses during Ceramics Expo Week

Following the success of last year’s courses, Lucideon, the materials and processes consultancy, will be running two of their Refractories training modules on the day before and the two days after Ceramics Expo in Cleveland, Ohio, in May 2020.  ‘An Introduction to Refractories and Refractories Testing’ will run on Monday 4 May and the two-day course, ‘Refractories for the Glass Industry’ will take place on Thursday 7 and Friday 8 May.  Find out more here.


John Coors Retires From CoorsTek Inc

Dr John Coors has decided to retire as Chairman of the Board of CoorsTek Inc, but will remain involved in Coors family businesses. John was integral in leading CoorsTek’s growth in both size and geographic reach. He oversaw a broad expansion of oxide, nitride and carbide ceramic offerings and is credited for executing more than 20 national and international acquisitions. Two key strategic acquisitions, Saint Gobain Advanced Ceramics (2010) and Covalent Materials (2014), gave CoorsTek the local footprint it needed to be close to its customers and position the company for long-term growth.  Discover more.


Ceramic Innovation Network (CIN) Event: Firing up the Ceramics Industry and Exploring Sintering

Free-to-attend, this event that takes place on 1 April in Stoke-on-Trent, UK, will bring together academics and industrialists from all subsectors of the ceramic industry to explore the development and innovation opportunities of sintering and firing in the ceramics industry and Professor Jingzhe Pan, Leicester University and Dr. Russell Hall and Dr. Stuart Bradley, Warwick Manufacturing Group. The event will conclude with an optional tour of Lucideon's facilities. More information and booking here.


Ultra-light Carbon Fibre Composite Landing Gear for Air Taxis

SGL Carbon will begin serial production of landing gear made from braided carbon fibre material early this year. The landing skids will be installed in around 500 air taxis worldwide over the next two years. The air taxis will be powered by several electric motors. To optimize the range of the taxis, every single gram counts. Measuring about 2m long and 1.5m wide, the ultra-light landing skid will weigh less than 3kg, making it about 15% lighter than a similar component made from aluminium.  Discover more.


Portmeirion Confirms Positive Overall Revenues

Portmeirion Group has announced that it expects revenue and profit before tax for the year to 31 December 2019 to be in line with revised market expectations. Revenue for the past year will be at least £92 million (2018: £89.6 million), representing an increase of 3% over the previous year. This includes the positive effect of the Nambé acquisition in July 2019.  Further details.


If you have anything you'd like us to include in February's issue of CeramicsNews, send to Mandy Rymill and we'll consider it for inclusion.

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