Shuttle kiln burners

A row of pulse-fired, low NOx burners with preheated air, like what will be supplied on the shuttle kiln for this project.

Riedhammer GmbH recently secured two orders from a leading manufacturer of green energy products: A rotary calciner to produce the raw materials and a high temperature batch kiln to sinter those materials into ceramic electrolytes. Both will be operational in the second quarter of 2011. Both of the kilns will be installed at an existing facility that is being repurposed to produce green energy products.

The batch kiln has an internal volume of 12 cubic meters (425 cu. ft.) and fires to 1600°C (2900°F) using natural gas as a fuel. It includes the latest technologies for reduced emissions, energy recovery, and high volume production, while maximizing temperature uniformity and minimizing potential contaminants.

The rotary calciner can process more than 500 kg/hr (1,100 lb/hr) of the raw material. The tube is lined with special, high-purity materials to minimize silica, alkali and transition metal poisoning of the material. The calciner is direct-fired using natural gas.

Riedhammer’s experience, responsiveness and ability to meet the customer’s budget goals without sacrificing quality were the reasons cited by the customer for selecting Riedhammer as the supplier for this equipment. The total value of these two projects is more than US$ 5.3 million.

Riedhammer, based in Nuremberg, Germany has supplied hundreds of kilns for the manufacture of a diverse array of electronic ceramic components including advanced batteries, fuel cells, passive components and sensors. In addition to batch kilns, Riedhammer supplies tunnel, roller, pusher-slab and rotary kilns that may be fuel-fired or electrically heated in sizes from bench-top through to the largest custom-engineered kilns ever delivered. Riedhammer is a part of The Sacmi Group (, manufacturing machines and complete plants for the Ceramics, Beverage & Packaging, Processing and Plastics industries.

PilkoTech represents Riedhammer products to the technical ceramics market. If you are producing electrolytes for fuel cells, advanced batteries or other precision electronic applications, call 877-350-7382 or contact us today!

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The Steinheim Castle at Alfred University by Benjamin D. Esham for the Wikimedia Commons

Alfred University this week announced that they were named in the Princeton Review’s annual college guide, The Best 373 Colleges

As an alum of the Inamori School of Engineering, we already knew this, but it’s good to see it codified again.

Tip o’ the hat to Ceramic Industry.

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In the course of my weekly reading this week, I happened on this great 9-minute video by Randy Nelson (not the same one at Durex Industries), Dean of Pixar University on what they are looking for in an employee at their organization.

The video is embedded here, but if you can’t or don’t like watching videos on your PC, Garr Reynolds puts an excellent summary on his blog, Presentation Zen. (If you share information for a living, dig deep in his archive. You’ll see Garr is has achieved mastery).

How your organization would run with the culture of Pixar?

What if in meetings you had to accept every offer, make the offerer look good, and give your plus one to it? What if you knew everyone else in the room was also working towards that goal?

Are your functional teams merely cooperating on their projects: Staying out of the other person’s way, and assuming everyone is pulling their weight, performing at a level that one person could, if they had enough time? Or is there true collaboration going on – where the output of the team is truly greater than the sum of its parts?

Finally: What have you really achieved mastery in? Do you have “the proof of a portfolio, or are you merely relying on the promise of your resume?”

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Sacmi EKO Kiln with REKO BurnersThe Sacmi group, parent to PilkoTech partners Reidhammer, Laeis, and SAMA will be displaying their new EKO series roller hearth kiln at Tecnargilla, taking place in Rimini Italy from September 27 through October 1, 2010.

The EKO Series Single Layer Roller Hearth is not merely an upgrade to the existing kilns, but a genuine technological revolution which boasts:

  • fume/product heat exchange management;
  • the ability to select which fumes to purify;
  • an energy-efficient design that considerably reduces hourly fume volume; and
  • the opportunity to have a kiln that can alter its length according to production volumes.

EKO consists of a series of thermal modules called “cells” in which the fumes exchange thermal energy with the material in an optimized manner compared to traditional kilns. EKO also reduces the volume of toxic fumes that need to be filtered and, for the first time, it is possible to differentiate fumes, manage small amounts and subject them to “targeted” purification treatment of contaminants, with obvious benefits in terms of a simplified process and respect for the environment.

The use of cells enables the firing curve profile to be better controlled while allowing stable pressures and temperatures to be maintained even when the volume of product in transit varies.  If production is reduced cells that are not required can be deactivated: This is like having having a variable-length kiln.

EKO is equipped with REKO self-recuperative burners which extract the hot fumes from the kiln chamber and use them to preheat the combustion air up to 700°C or 1300°F for immediate energy savings. These may be fitted onto shuttle kilns in addition to the EKO roller hearth kiln.

The EKO Series compliments the H.E.R.O. — High Efficiency Resource Optimizer — kilns that SACMI introduced at the last Tecnargilla, two years ago. SACMI will have three sample modules on display in their booth at this year’s Tecnargilla.

If you would like more information on energy-efficient kilns from SACMI, or are looking for complimentary admission to Tecnargilla, please contact us by email or phone.

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Durex LogoDurex Industries, a leading North American designer and manufacturer of heaters, temperature sensors, controls and systems, recently announced its QIXSHIP Program for electric immersion and circulation heaters. Standard catalog tubular heater elements, immersion heater and circulation heater assemblies can be shipped same day, or within a 2 to 5 day window, depending on design, optional configurations, and quantity ordered.

QIXSHIP is a new program that shows our commitment to making standard and custom configured heater products available for quick delivery. We provide standard catalog items as well as custom volt, watt and immersion length configurations without significantly impacting lead times… which is a huge benefit for our customers striving to keep inventories low and flexibility high.

— Randy Nelson, General Manager of Durex Industries

Durex Industries has responded to the realities of the New Economy after the Great Recession. Companies demand high levels of customer support, fast response to their needs, and quick deliveries…all at a competitive price. Durex will continue to expand this program through all of its business lines to further position it as a preferred source for electric heaters, temperature sensors, control and systems.

About Durex Industries

Durex Industries is a vertically integrated, lean enterprise advancing the state of the art in industrial electric heating, temperature sensing and control. Headquartered in a 100,000 sq. ft. manufacturing facility in Cary, Illinois, Durex Industries serves the semiconductor, analytical, medical, food equipment, plastics, packaging, process industries and general industrial markets.

Pilko Tech represents Durex Industries in Eastern Pennsylvania, Delaware and Maryland. Contact Us today or call 877-350-7382 to get a quote on any Durex Industries product.

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Adam Savage from Mythbusters gave this talk at Maker Faire in San Francisco earlier this year where he describes his approach to problem solving. One of my “amen” moments on this was his comment: “If you don’t know how the piece of the problem fits into the bigger picture, you’re probably going to solve the wrong problem.”

If you want to jump to the good stuff, follow this link to the site, where they have a chapter navigation feature.

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Ceramic Industry April 2010 CoverHot off the (digital) presses: An article I co-published with Hartmut Weber of Riedhammer in the April 2010 Ceramic Industry magazine.

In it, we talk about the newly developed Low Oxygen binder burnout system available from Riedhammer. With the proper controls, this binder burnout system can remove binders from a ceramic part with less energy, fewer defects, and more safely than it can be done using classical technologies.

The photo on the cover is a Riedhammer kiln too.

[Ceramic Industry Digital Edition.]

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See my guest posting at Ceramic Industry magazine: Ceramics in Bloom.

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I found this nugget of truth today in my daily review of online newsletters. This is from the mission statement of Los Angeles based kinetic artist Karl Lautmann

The power and ubiquity of technology has bred complacency among those who use it regularly (i.e. virtually everyone in the developed world). While most would agree that we should not place too much faith in machines, in reality we can’t help taking for granted that the light will go on when we flip the switch, the car will start when we turn the key, the plane won’t fall from the sky, …. Yet the capacity of machines to misbehave is endless.

In fact, it’s their nature. While this is a consequence of the laws of thermodynamics, it should be obvious that the engineer, the programmer, the operator, the maintenance person, all must work to coax the assemblage of metal, plastic, and electrons into performing the desired function, and keep performing it. Tossing the components of a personal computer into a bag and shaking won’t yield a personal computer. Normal use, however, (of a PC, a drill press, a blender), will lead to erratic behavior and, ultimately, failure.

I’m fascinated by this tension between what we want, and expect, a machine to do, and what the machine “wants” to do. I call it “machine tension.” via Geeky Gadgets

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DS Fibertech furnaces on 60 Minutes

DS Fibertech furnaces on 60 Minutes

This weekend’s 60 Minutes had a long piece about Bloom Energy, the Sunnyvale CA manufacturer of fuel cell systems that plans to change the world.

About 3/4 of the way through the video shows the shot above, of a line of DS Fibertech furnaces used for one of the manufacturing steps on this process.

CBS News via Ceramic Tech Today

More coverage of the Bloom Box can be seen at:



Venture Beat

Huffington Post


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