Posts Tagged “linkedin”

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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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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Photo by Optical Illusion on Flickr

Happy New Year Everyone! To kick 2010 off, I’m going to make like David Letterman and publish a few top 10 lists that I think will be useful.

Over the last few weeks, I’ve found myself having the same conversation with a few of my colleagues about some of the productivity programs I use every day that helps my day be more productive. I hope you can be more productive by sharing these with you.

Here is my list, in alphabetical order:

  1. Carbonite: (Backup, $55/year)
    Backing up your PC is one of those things you know you need to do, but people rarely seem to do it. Carbonite makes it dead simple. Install the app, and every time you change a file, it automatically uploads a copy of it to their server. As a bonus, if you’re traveling without your laptop, they now let you access files remotely. $55 a year is cheap insurance against losing all your data if the unthinkable happens. I’ve got subscriptions for my PC, my wife’s computer and my parents’ computer. Mozy is another option I have used in the past. It does a better job if you have multiple machines you want backed up into one account.
  2. Gmail / Google Calendar / Google Reader / Chrome: (Everything, Free to $50/user/year)
    You can say what you want about Google, but they make really good stuff. My day begins and eds with their products. Gmail has been my email program of choice for a number of years, so much so I’ve got a multitude of accounts. If I’ve emailed you, it’s come through Google, as they are the email provider for my domain. If you’re using their email, you may as well use their calendar, since it integrates so nicely. To keep multiple Gmail accounts open at the same time, I use Google’s browser, Chrome. Finally, to keep up on my reading all my daily, I use Google Reader. Occasionally, I’ve contemplated going back to Outlook (so I can get Xobni back), but I find Gmail just works better.
  3. IrfanView: (Image Viewer / Manipulator, Free)
    I’ve been using IrfanView for more than 10 years. It’s a lightweight, fast little program that opens every image file I’ve thrown at it (Including DXF files!), and lets you convert it into a better format, crop it or do a whole mess of other things to it. When you compare it to any other image program out there IrfanView does it faster, more elegantly, and better, and since it’s free software, does it for a lot less money.
  4. KeePass: (Password Manager, Free)
    With so much of my life stored online, having strong, secure passwords is key. The problem is, how do you generate them and keep track of them. KeePass is the solution. It’s a small little program that generates secure passwords for you, and keeps track of the login information and web addresses where you use them. The program is password protected, so prying eyes can’t get at your password file.  They now have an iPhone app so you can sync your database between your PC and phone. I haven’t tried this yet, but it’s on my list to get working this year.
  5. Launchy: (Application Launcher, Free)
    I work with lots of windows open on my PC all the time, and my desktop is completely covered. I also install a lot of software, much of it just to solve one problem, so I don’t use those programs very often. To find them quickly, I run Launchy. It’s a memory-resident program that pops to the front when I press <Alt>+<Spacebar>. It pops up a little text box, and I start typing the name of the program I want to launch, like “Excel” or “Calculator” or “IrfanView”. As soon as Launchy figures out what I’m looking for, it shows me the program’s icon, and I press <Enter>, and the program starts. Very handy.
  6. Notepad++: (Text Editor, Free)
    There are lots of times when you don’t need a word processor to write some text, but you need a few more features than the built-in Notepad. Enter Notepad++. It’s got Syntax highlighting, a spell checker, and tabs, so you can have a bunch of documents open at once.
  7. PDF Creator: (PDF Printer, Free)
    If you want to send out a document these days, a PDF is the way to do it. There are lots of ways to make a PDF, and most of them are expensive and slow. PDF Creator is an open-source program that installs as a printer driver, letting you turn anything you can print into a PDF.
  8. PDF XChange Viewer: (PDF Viewer / Editor, Free to $35)
    You get a PDF, and need to highlight it, put a comment in it, fill it out and return it to someone, or even just look at a document without a reboot required update. Adobe Reader won’t let you do that. So for this, I use Tracker Software’s PDF XChange viewer. I upgraded to the Pro version, which allows you to extract or insert pages into a PDF document, and a few other things that you can’t do other than buying a full Adobe Acrobat license for $300 plus.
  9. (Contact Manager, $5 to $250 /user/month)
    In sales, you need to keep track of what is happening with all your projects and all your clients. There are lots of tools out there, but I find Salesforce works the way I work, and puts the information I need at my fingertips. I use the Group Edition, which meets most of my needs, but will probably upgrade to the Professional Edition soon to get access to the excellent Conga Merge add-on for creating all sorts of custom documents.
  10. Texter: (Text Replacement, Free)
    Texter is one of those little single-use programs that saves you tremendous amounts of time every day after you install it. You define a shortcut that you type, and then the text that you want to have appear after you type it. It’s great for boilerplate emails or documents. I use it to store a number of different situational signatures for my email, and for long links to specific pages on a website. It can even automatically paste the contents of your clipboard into what it replaces, and put your cursor right in the middle of things when it is done. It’s another open-source program, so there’s no charge to use it.

A few other programs I use regularly, but didn’t make it to this list here are: Avast Anti-Virus ($40/year) which again is faster and lighter than the big boy’s stuff. (Just make sure to turn off the sounds for the update announcements). File Hippo Update Checker (Free) to make sure you’ve got the latest and greatest upgrades for all your software, especially the open source stuff. FreshBooks ($20+/month), an alternative to Quickbooks. Instapaper (Free) which lets you bookmark any website to read later. RingCentral ($14/month) who is the provider of my “virtual” toll free number. TeraCopy (Free) which is a faster and more accurate replacement for the default Windows file copy utility. and TripIt (Free) travel organizer: Email it your plans, and it automatically organizes them into an itinerary.

In the interest of full disclosure, I have affiliations with some of these sites which compensate me if you complete a transaction with them.

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From all of us at Pilko Tech!

We wish you and your family a healthy and joy-filled holiday season and a wonderful New Year! Thank you for your business in this difficult year and letting us be a part of your success. We look forward to working with you in the coming year!

Warmest regards,

Chris Pilko

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