Christmas Wishes 2019

Warmest Christmas Wishes and every happiness in the coming year from the Ceramicx team.

Ceramicx will close for Christmas holidays at 2pm on 20th December

and re-open at 8am 2nd January 2020.

 

We started Christmas celebrations this year with our Christmas party in the West Cork Hotel in Skibbereen.

A bit of friendly competition between our employees ensured many laughs on the night with prizes for:

Ceramicx Best Christmas Jumper prize – Rolf Hammerschmidt

Ceramicx Best Christmas Outfit prize – Agata Torba

For more photos from the night visit our Facebook page!

K 2019 in review

They had an enjoyable week hosting many visitors to the stand from all over the world. Of course, they no doubt missed our presence it seems we were replaced!

This is what Friedr Freek had to say:

“Although we have greatly missed our friends from Ireland, K-show has been a big success. We had more contacts than ever before and among them are many companies which are looking for solutions for specific heat tasks. Furthermore, a new blanket order from our well-established customer Otto Hofstetter AG has been sealed with a handshake and celebrated on our stand together with “Friedrich Otto”, a hotrunner for PET preforms made by Otto Hofstetter AG and equipped with energy efficient nozzle heaters from Friedrich Freek GmbH”

We are happy we could share our stand with “Friedrich Otto” in Düsseldorf for eight days. He was rather quiet but very attractive company.”

If anybody missed their chance to visit the Friedr Freek stand during K, please visit their website https://freek.de/ or email them [email protected] with any queries you may have.

October Festivities

Samhain is a Gaelic festival marking the end of the harvest season and the beginning of winter or the “darker half” of the year. Traditionally, it is celebrated from 31st  October to 1st  November, this also coincides with Halloween so we take this opportunity to remind all our customers and friends that this years October bank holiday is on October 28th and our offices will remain closed until 8am on Tuesday October 29th.

Patsy Bear has been getting in on the action helping set up a festive display in our foyer.

Friedr. Freek at K Show 2019

k-logo

Ceramicx will be represented by our German Distributor Friedr. Freek at this week’s K-Show. This is the first time in many years Ceramicx will not be sharing the stand with Freek. We encourage you to visit their stand and discuss any enquires you may have about infrared heating.

Freek with novelties at K 2019

German-based heating element specialist Friedr. Freek presents three novelties at K-Show from 16. to 23. October in Duesseldorf. Their square cartridge heaters, alternative nozzle heaters as well as their systematic selection and optimization procedure for IR heat work applications convince by numerous mechanical, economic and ecological advantages (hall 11 / A01).

Energy savings through systematically selected infrared heaters and optimized heat work set-ups

Energy efficiency is a particularly important topic for infrared emitters. If an unsuitable emitter is selected, zoning is not appropriate or distance to target material too far a large part of the energy input could easily left untapped, hence be wasted.

To thoroughly understand the significant influence those and other parameters have on the effectiveness of infrared heat work, IR heating specialist and long-term Freek partner Ceramicx back in 2015 developed and utilizes their unique IR test robot HERSCHEL, besides other useful test rigs. How such a selection and optimization procedure is gone through and which further adjusting screws Ceramicx has discovered in their scientifically accompanied IR research and what’s more, how all this found its way into Ceramicx’ products, Freek is happy to show and demonstrate by the example of products and test reports on their K show stand, hall 11, A01.

We wish them a successful and enjoyable exhibition!

Please contact Freek or visit their website for more information on their stand and team.

Website and logo development marks a new chapter for Ceramicx

Ceramicx logo

In the last issue of our in-house magazine, Heatworks 20, we told you all about our newly constructed facilities here at Ceramicx. While they’ll keep us at the forefront of the advancement of infrared heating, our update and expansion plans continue as we get ready to launch our new look website and logo.

Giving a clear identity

Over the last 25 years, our logo has evolved with us, and we’re now ready to add a new version. But as we’ve been working on the website, logo, and general refresh of our online presence, we’ve made the distinction between our customer and market differences.

Ceramicx logos

As our infrared heating solutions become a more prevalent part of our business, we want to share more of our engineering and infrared capabilities, together with case studies of our systems. Just as importantly, we also want to continue to be your one stop shop for all infrared components, parts, and systems well into the future.

Ceramicx logos

As such, we’re launching two new websites with new logos and fresh straplines, giving both a clear identity: Ceramicx infrared for industry with its green logo, and Ceramicx infrared industrial solutions with its red counterpart.

Brand evolution

The site and logo changes now give a clear distinction between the core areas of our business. But they also show our brand evolution and growth as a company and underline our commitment to giving customer satisfaction in every area.

Of course, we couldn’t have done it all on our own. Working alongside our in-house design and marketing team, the team at D2 Creative design agency did a fantastic job for us. Together with the websites, you’ll also see all the new branding online and offline in our advertising, packaging, and everything Ceramicx related over the next few months.

The main purpose for this post is to tell you about the new changes, so you won’t be too surprised when the websites look a little different on your browser. We’re really pleased with the results and we hope you like them as much as we do.

Ceramicx logos

How heat work changes lives and makes a real difference

Dr Tony Robinson

Dr Tony RobinsonWith our continued close connections to Trinity College Dublin (TCD) – and the engineering work of Professor Tony Robinson in particular – we’ve been reminded recently of some of Tony’s pro-bono heat work.

A number of years ago, Tony’s small engineering research team designed and developed an inexpensive, simple, and robust biomass cookstove. Made specifically for the people of rural Malawi – where most of the population live without access to electricity – the technology behind it allowed for a small portion of its heat to be converted into usable electric power.

More efficient than traditional open fires being used, it also slows down deforestation and CO2 production, and improves people’s health and safety. Locally made, the now branded ‘µPower (pronounced ‘empower’) Cookstove’ has become a valuable asset, allowing the Malawi people to charge mobile phones, LED lanterns, and radios – all while preparing daily meals.

We also recalled that our own Herschel test instrument – a now integral part of the Ceramicx Centre for Infrared Innovation – was developed and engineered by the TCD team in the same test rooms as Tony’s innovative Cookstove.

Taking positive action

But as many of us are involved in the day-to-day business of commerce and manufacturing, we can often become indifferent to the general good that our products and services can provide to the wider world.

All it takes is a small shift in perception which can lead to positive action being taken – and suddenly the world is improved. Exemplary pro bono activities such as Tony’s prove that clear and simple heat science can change lives and whole communities for the better – and sometimes radically.

We still take great encouragement from Tony’s project and from all serious innovation in infrared energy and heat work. At Ceramicx, we firmly believe that our work with infrared energy can make a positive difference to the world – and for the general good.

Infrared business is environmental business and now, when saving resources and energy for a sustainable, low-carbon future, it’s more important than ever.

Innovative Infrared Technology For The Future

Ceramicx Vector Drape Former

You may recall our pioneering work with Belfast Metropolitan from some time ago when we developed a new type of drape forming machine for the global composites industry. Today, the Ceramicx Vector Drape Former is complete and fully operational, providing a working solution for out-of-autoclave production.

Following a soft launch at the triennial plastics exhibition, K 2016, in Düsseldorf, the Vector Drape Former achieved its global launch at JEC World in 2017, the leading show for the composites industry.

Much as Ceramicx is familiar with the issues involved in core thermoforming plastic production processes, it was at JEC 2017 – in the heartland of composites technology – that the Vector Drape Former would be judged on its potential success.

Ceramicx Vector Drape Former

Innovation when it’s needed

In thermoforming, the need for composite materials to be produced with greater process speed, efficiency, and decreased energy consumption is now more apparent than ever. The Vector Drape Former comprehensively answers those needs and is benefits many manufacturing sections in the automotive, aerospace, transport and construction industries.

Looking at the innovation and technology behind the Vector Drape Former, we’re reminded of the maxim ‘make what you can sell, don’t sell what you can make’. In essence, at Ceramicx we have no business being ahead of our time.

From day one, Ceramicx has kept a steady eye on the horizon, not only for the composites technology used in the Vector Drape Former, but for where infrared technology is headed for the next decade or more.

True innovation answers the needs of the present moment. Those needs, for the composites manufacturing sector at least, are clear for all to see.

Heating Composites for Aerospace

Heating Composites for Aerospace

As an independent, national centre for the world-class design and manufacture of composites, our latest client’s testing production capabilities were already meeting multi-sector demands. With the growth of dry fabric infusion in the aerospace industry, they now needed an innovative solution to increase composite testing, offer significant savings, and set new industry benchmarks.

Heating Composites for Aerospace

In the industry, there has been a move away from traditional prepreg and autoclaves, to dry fabric infusion. An essential step in infusing dry fabrics is ‘pre-forming’ – a process using heat to activate a binder in the dry fabric to produce a semi-structural ‘pre-form’. This method has seen increasing growth in aerospace structures, specifically in the manufacture of stringers, the structural supports within an aircraft wing that prevents buckling and bending under compression.

As an industry leader in the design and manufacture of infrared heating systems, Ceramicx have developed an extensive knowledge of the aerospace industry, with the necessary experience of heating composite products, including the curing of thermoset resins. We custom-built the IR oven with its own 12-zone heat control system–optimising the oven for efficiency and appropriate processing parameters.

Heating Composites for Aerospace

Fast-response, quartz halogen heaters were chosen for their emitter type due to the extensive data generated with them for heating carbon composite materials. Their geometric and relative arrangement was based on extensive R&D of heating composites to give the best performance. By easily selecting and deselecting relevant zones, the oven provides adjustability for different stringer shapes and lengths.

Click here to read more about this carbon fiber heating system. 

Ceramicx launches new IR heating test services for China

Following the success of Ceramicx at Chinaplas 2018, we have great pleasure in reporting that GSAE is now offering a full suite of IR heating services to our customers in China.

This move will complement our work in sales of elements into China. It will also assist GSAE to fully demonstrate Ceramicx products in a way that will give confidence and data to builders of machines and IR heating systems in China.

The newly built test room at GSAE China is now ready for launch and utilization. The new room at GSAE currently contain a total of three types of heater, Ceramicx IR componentry, data and other IR heating resources.

Pride of place is given to a new Ceramicx test oven, which can be equipped with three different interchangeable IR sources – short, medium and long wave. This oven also uses PLC control and is mainly used to heat test a variety of different target materials under differences of temperature, power and distance from the heat source.

A tube heating based oven and a closed IR heating oven are also provided by GSAE for further test work on behalf of GSAE’s Ceramicx customers.

The Chinaplas 2018 exhibition confirmed a trend that China is increasingly eyeing the build of turnkey systems – including the creation and supply of complete ovens and platens. Ceramicx intends that our company hardware and IR know-how become integral to that drive.

Ceramic infrared test oven and control system

GSAE’s new test centre will further assist us in our ambitions to service the industry and will also help Ceramicx with ambitions to offer even more care and know-how to their customers. Every company that visits the GSAE test centre will be given a full set of test data together with tailored-made GSAE suggestions and recommendations for the improvement of their heat work.

In short, Ceramicx is delighted to celebrate another landmark in our Chinese marketplace. We send congratulations to our distributor, GSAE, and to our commercial agent Xu Shan in making this happen.

PVC Pipes heating system

The customer knew they wanted a frame with infrared elements mounted inside in a fixed position. This frame would encase the pipes. The critical part however was ensuring that PVC didn’t melt. This created a challenge because the PVC pipes were different thicknesses and were 100mm in diameter size. They ranged in thickness from 4 to 10mm and would also be rolling at the same time the heating elements would be operational.

Ceramicx combined all the customer’s variances and produced one heating system that could work on all the variations of PVC pipe. Temperature sensors were put into each of the 10 heating zones allowing the customer to ramp the heaters up or down based on the PVC thickness., An additional 100mm heating zone was added to adjust for larger PVC pipe lengths.  Our infrared HTE heaters targeted the PVC pipes to ensure that they could soften prior to the next process.

See Case Study – Ceramic Infrared Heating System for PVC pipes

As well as solving your heating problems Ceramicx are happy to take the specifications you provide and build a system with minimal design work on our part. Many of our customers simply request a replacement system for exactly what they have already.

Internal Curing of Aircraft Stringers using the RAT System

The RAT

Background

Stringers are widely used in aerospace to increase stiffness in thin structures such as wings and fuselages while keeping weight to a minimum. An ‘omega’ or ‘hat’ is a common shape used in stringer design, seen in Figure 1.

Composite stringer
Figure 1 – A number of approaches can be taken to cure the composite stringer (black) and the composite skin (grey for differentiation) but all require a tool (gold) to form the shape of the stringer.

In composite structures, carbon fibre and epoxy resin are typically laid onto a male stringer cure tool, many of which are made from invar and then subjected to heat. There are a number of ways to achieve this finished structure:

  • Stringer and skin cured in one shot
  • Stringer cured separately and ‘co-cured’ to skin when skin is being cured
  • Skin cured separately and ‘co-cured’ to stringer when stringer is being cured
  • Skin and stringer cured separately and ‘co-bonded’ afterwards

As could be envisaged, there are advantages and disadvantages of all approaches but from the perspective of reducing cycle time, manufacturing everything in one shot is the most favourable option. One complexity arising in pursuit of this approach is even heating. Autoclaves or out-of-autoclave (OOA) ovens that use convective heat are standard for this. However, if we analyse such a structure, it can be seen that geometrical thickness can vary considerably in locations; for example, in the unsupported region, there is just the skin itself and around the stringer, there is the skin thickness + stringer thickness. If such a product is being placed in a convection oven at a set temperature, it is very clear that there will be considerable variation in the temperature profile at areas of differing thickness. As the cure creates the physical properties of the finished part, even heating is essential.

The RAT Internal Curing System

Ceramicx’s RAT is a range of products that travel up inside enclosed structures and heat them from the inside out. It can drive or be pulled through curved profiles and although it’s potential across many industries is widespread, the RAT was developed primarily for out of autoclave (OOA) curing of composite stringers. The RAT is a low-profile InfraRed (IR) emitter, with specially designed reflectors that travels up inside the stringer tool and cures the stringer from the inside out, as seen in Figure 2.

The RAT

The RAT
Figure 2 – The RAT internal curing system uses ceramic elements with pyrometric control to heat the inside of a stringer tool. Elements can be made at various lengths to heat custom geometries.

The development of the RAT means that even heating of the stringer and skin can now be achieved in one curing operation. The drawbacks of curing in a conventional oven have been documented extensively in the past but can be greatly reduced with this approach. When combined with Ceramicx’s under-tool heating systems in traditional egg-box tool designs or with bespoke overhead IR curing systems, the potential benefits are significant. The system can also be modified for use with resin infusion and for consolidation of thermoplastic composites.

For approaches where stringers are cured separately from the skin, (see Figure 3) the RAT offers the potential for no tool movement to curing ovens, no excessive energy usage from convection curing systems and no potential bottlenecks associated with the oven thus considerably reducing cost.

The RAT
Figure 3 – The RAT can cure stringers without the need for movement to a separate oven. This approach is used by one of Ceramicx’s customers.

Further Applications

Although primarily for curing of stringers, the RAT can also be used for curing of filament wound vessels and tubes, curing of underground drainage liners and forming of thermoplastic composites.

Custom Drying and Curing Heaters

FAST IR systems offer optimum efficiency which is achieved by highly polished aluminium steel reflection and rear mounted axial flow fans, which eliminate rear convection losses and keep the reflectors cool for better directional quality on the infrared output.

The external body which is manufactured from aluminium can be maintained at “touch safe” temperature.

Standard Range:

Fast IR 500

Suitable for the fitting of 6 or 7 x 2000W Quartz tungsten/halogen heaters (QTL/QHL)

Fast IR 305

Suitable for the fitting of 4 or 5 x 1000W Quartz tungsten/halogen heaters (QTM/QHM)

Please note other configurations are avaliable on request

These quartz tungsten / quartz halogen heaters are useful in many wyas:

  • The heaters have an almost instant heat up time.
  • The light given off from the heaters creates a soft glow and is a visual indicator the heaters are operational.
  • The unit can be mounted vertically or at an angle to a wall or mounted horizontally facing downward.
  • Any quantity or individual sizes may be ordered from Ceramicx.

Applications include:

  • Drying applications
  • Curing of concrete
  • White goods manufacture

Read More – BM Anlagenbau Case Study