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Fine Ceramics, sometimes referred to as "advanced ceramics," are engineered materials that support the development of cutting-edge technology.

Fine Ceramics Production Process

A Series of Complex Production Processes Are Used to Make Fine Ceramic Products

Precisely controlled raw materials are converted into products with exceptional functional characteristics.

The raw materials used in making Fine Ceramics (also known as "advanced ceramics") include inorganic solid powders with precisely controlled purity, particle size and distribution. These raw materials are formulated for specific properties and functionality, then mixed with a binding agent or binder. Afterward, they are shaped and cut to precise requirements and fired at extreme heat in temperature-controlled kilns.
Firing removes the moisture and binders. With additional firing, powder particles are sintered together and the products shrink due to reduced porosity. This process results in products of extreme density and hardness.

Fine Ceramic Production Process (example)

figure:fingerClick on photos for details.

figure:Fine Ceramic Production Process (example)

figure:Fine Ceramic Production Process (example)

The term "Fine Ceramics" is interchangeable with "advanced ceramics," "technical ceramics" and "engineered ceramics." Use varies by region and industry.

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Milling / Mixing

photo: Milling / Mixing

figure: Milling / MixingRaw material milling and mixing are important processes in the production of Fine Ceramics (also known as "advanced ceramics") that determine the material properties, quality and stability of finished products.

Raw powder and solvating media (such as water) are fed into a mill with ceramic balls. This ball mill is then rotated or shaken to create a uniform mixture (called a slurry), with evenly distributed particles of various sizes.
Adjustments are made by adding raw powder and binder dispersants throughout this process.

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Spraying / Drying

photo:Spraying / Drying
photo:Spraying / Drying image

A slurry adjusted through raw material milling and mixing is sprayed and dried in a hot-air spray dryer to form a granulated powder of spherical bodies. Enhancing the spherical composition of the raw material helps facilitate the next process: filling the forming dies.

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Cold Isostatic Press

photo:Cold Isostatic Press

Raw material powders poured into a rubber mold are formed in a high-pressure container by adding hydraulic pressure.

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Dry Pressing

photo:Dry Pressing

This forming method involves filling a die with dried and granulated raw materials, and pressing them into a shape close to that of the finished product.
Granulated raw materials fill a metallic mold, and pressure is applied from the top and bottom (uniaxial press) to achieve highly dense compaction. This method is ideal for mass-producing semi-complex machinery parts which require high levels of dimensional accuracy.

figure:Dry Pressing

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This is a forming method in which dried and granulated raw materials are mixed with water, binder, a plasticizing agent and a dispersing agent. The resulting clay-like, plastic body is then extruded into the desired shape under pressure.
This method is ideal for long products with continuous and unchanging cross-sections.


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Injection / Casting

photo:Injection Molding

This is a forming method in which dried and granulated raw materials are mixed with additives to provide a degree of fluidity. The raw material is then pressure-filled into a forming die that gives it a shape close to that of the finished product.
In the injection molding process, raw materials are mixed with resin in order to provide the necessary degree of fluidity, and then injected into the molding die. The mold is then cooled to harden the binder and produce a "green" compact part (also known as an unsintered powder compact).
In the casting process, mixed raw materials are combined with solvating media and a dispersant, and then fed into an absorbent die. The materials are then dehydrated and solidified to make a compact.
Both methods are suitable for complex, three-dimensionally shaped products requiring high levels of dimensional accuracy.

Injection / Casting

Injection Molding

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Because ceramics are very hard, cutting them after they have been sintered requires considerable energy and specialized tools such as diamond wheels. Considering this, engineers strive to cut or process ceramics into a shape as close to the finished shape as possible before sintering, which involves estimating the degree of shrinkage that will take place during the sintering process. Super hard tools and drills are used in this process.

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Hot Pressing

photo:Hot Pressing

This forming method involves applying pressure at high temperatures in order to reduce porosity (voids) and produce dense sintered bodies.
A carbon mold is filled with raw powder, which is then heated and pressurized simultaneously from the top and bottom to make a sintered body. This method yields ceramic bodies of simple shapes.

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In the firing process, raw materials that are compression-molded (volumetric filling rate: approx. 60%) are heated at temperatures below their melting points to sinter powder and create density. Ceramic powder particles induce mass transfer at high temperatures through contact points between particles, combining in a manner similar to water droplets. Depending on the intended application, a variety of sintering methods may be used — such as vacuum sintering, atmosphere sintering and sintering in non-oxidizing atmospheres.

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Hot Isostatic Press (HIP)

photo:Hot Isostatic Press (HIP)

In this process, gas pressure is applied isostatically at high temperatures to enhance sintering and produce dense bodies. After materials are pre-sintered, and their density is increased to almost 95 percent of the theoretical density, they are placed in a pressure container equipped with a furnace. Gas pressure is then applied isostatically at 1,000 to 2,000 atmospheres while being heated.

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Grinding / Polishing

photo:Grinding / Polishing

This important process is designed to fabricate products with high levels of dimensional accuracy and mirror-finished surfaces. It is generally performed using a diamond wheel.
Because ceramics are extremely hard, it is necessary to use diamond — the hardest material in the world — for the grinding and polishing process.

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Metallization refers to the process of affixing a metallic layer to the surface of a sintered body to form conductive patterns or provide hermetic sealing.
One method involves coating the ceramic surface with a paste containing metallic powder, and then applying high temperatures to burn this metallic layer onto the surface of the ceramic. A related method involves applying metallic layers through an electroplating process.

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This is an important and value-adding process for joining multiple ceramic products, or joining ceramic products to metallic or resin materials.
Several methods may be employed to combine these items, including mechanical joining or other processes using adhesives, glass or wax.

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Products are delivered after rigorous inspection. This inspection ensures that all products are tested to perform at the highest level and allows customers to use them with confidence.

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Fine Ceramic Products

photo:Fine Ceramic Products

Behind the scenes, Fine Ceramics (also known as "advanced ceramics") play some of the most important roles in our daily lives.

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Tape Casting

This method is used to produce continuous thin compacts using slurries composed of raw powder, binder and solvating media.
The tape casting process generally employs a "doctor blade" to spread the slurry into a thin film. This process is ideal for preparing the "green" (unfired ceramic) tape used in manufacturing multilayer ceramic integrated circuit packages and ceramic chip capacitors.

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