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Ceramic Processing

Vertically integrated, ceramic processing and engineering expertise for the production of planar and tubular ceramic structures.

Ceramatec is a leading technology company tasked with the development of critical enabling materials for commercial and governmental applications. Ceramatec has 40 years of tape casting, featuring, and laminating experience on a broad variety of ceramic materials. These materials have included advanced ceramics such as ionic conducting membranes, SiC heat exchangers and oxygen generating LSCo structures, as well as zirconia, alumina, and mullite.

Micro-channel catalytic membrane reactor.

Sodium Ion conducting membranes.

Invented in the late 1940’s for the production of multilayered capacitors, the tape casting process is used to form thin, green sheets of ceramic. The sheets are typically produced by depositing a ceramic/thermoplastic binder/organic solvent slip onto the surface of a moving carrier. The cast thickness of the flexible ceramic tape produced in this manner is controlled by a doctor blade. Once dried, the tape can be punched/lasered/laminated into the desired shape, and sintered. Tapes as thin as 5 microns and as thick as 2500 microns are routinely produced by this method. Ceramatec specializes in applying resident expertise and existing tape casting processing capabilities to solve challenging customer ceramic requirements.

CAPABILITIES

CERAMATEC'S VERTICALLY INTEGRATED TAPE CASTING PROCESS FLOW

Slip Formulation - Tape Casting - Tape Punching - Tape Featuring - Tape Lamination - Firing

Slip Formulation

One of Ceramatec's core strengths is the ability to formulate slip for successful tape casting, based on powder characteristics. Through in-house laboratory measurement of key powder attributes, Ceramatec employs the best-fit combination of solvents, binders and slip processing techniques to yield a castable material.

Tape Casting

Three manufacturing-scale casters and one prototype-scale caster are employed at Ceramatec (see Table). Machine selection is based on the casting thickness and width (up to 18 inches), desired output volume, and specific needs of the binder system employed. To assure product performance and high levels of quality control, all casting is performed in a Class 10,000 clean room.

Tape Caster Green Casting Thickness Capabilities Drying Oven Length Notes
ELIT (HYMC Fabricated) 8 mils – 47 mils
(203 μm – 1,219 μm)
50 ft Atmospheric (air-flow) Control
Atmospheric Temperature Control
HED International
(203 µm – 1,219 µm)
2 mils to 10 mils
(51 µm – 254 µm)
40 ft. Tape Carrier Temperature Control
Atmospheric Temperature Control
AJ Carsten
(Harrop Industries)
2 mils to 25 mils
(51 μm – 635 μm)
32 ft. N/A
BUGG-O 3 mils to 40 mils
(76 μm – 1,016 μm)
N/A Used for slip property development and formulation optimization

Tape Punching

The output of the casting procedure is typically a roll or sheet of tape. Essentially a ceramic-filled polymer, the tape can cut or punched to the desired geometry. Typical methods employed to perform this operation include appropriately tooled mechanical punch presses, lasers, or specialized CNC punches/cutters. Ceramatec has three presses and the ability to design tools for the mechanical punching of tape.

Tape Featuring

Ceramatec employs three CO2 LASERS for precision location green featuring. The LASER allows for the cutting of channels and holes down to 0.006” wide, with tolerance capability of 0.001”. The use of these features in laminated structures enable technologies such as three dimensional electrical traces and cross-flow structures for active cooling applications.

Manufacturing Scale Tape Casters in Class 10,000 Clean Room.
4.7 Ton Tape Punching Press.
Comma Coater Head on atmosphere controlled tape caster.
Ceramatec's employee operating large iso-static press.

Tape Lamination

One of the benefits of tape cast systems utilizing thermoplastic binders is the ability to stack layers of tape in registry and laminate them together to form a green structure. This lamination process is performed under uniform time/temperature/pressure conditions to assure complete and intimate lamination, while at the same time avoiding distortion of the designed structure. Ceramatec employs 10, 75 and 200 Ton lamination presses with heated plattens to perform this critical operation.

Presses

Ceramatec has several hydraulic presses of varying capabilities (2 Tons, 6 Tons, and 40 Tons) for the compaction and forming of almost any ceramic powder into green bodies of a desired configuration based upon program and customer requirements. Coupled with a cold isostatic press, which also adds tubular membranes into the repertoire of green part forming capabilities, Ceramatec can provide almost any green-forming solution.

Firing

As with all other green ceramic structures, the product must ultimately be fired. Ceramatec has extensive thermal processing capabilities that are specifically designed for the sintering of these unique, high-binder systems. They have the capability to fire in both air and controlled atmospheres, with temperature capabilities up to 2200 C. The development of specific firing profiles is dictated by the high volume percentage binder loading in tape systems. Given their 40-year history of working with these systems, Ceramatec excels in this area.

Materials

Ceramatec has the capability to tape cast most ceramic powders. Utilizing the vertically-integrated process detailed above, Ceramatec has successfully cast the following materials: ZrO2, Al2O3, SiO2, Mullite, CaO, MgO, CeO2, BaCeO3 AlN, YSZ, NiO / YSZ, ScSZ, YYbSZ, SiC, AlSiC, Ti3SiC2 Si3N4, LSCo, LSCF, LCM, LSGM, LaFeO3, SiAlON, Rare Earth Oxides, NaSICON, LiSICON, Stainless Steel, Al metal, Graphite, Cellulose.

Ceramatec employees in charge of processing various ceramic materials.
  • Ceramic processing experience in a broad range of materials
  • Vertically integrated tape casting, featuring, lamination and firing capabilities
  • Slip formulation and optimization
  • Rapid prototype turn-around
  • Operation with standardized work procedures and Visual Process Maps (VPM)
  • Well-equipped analytical lab (e.g., SEM, EDAX, DTA/TGA, SSA, PSD)

What can we do for you?

Together with our material scientists, chemical and mechanical engineers, and electrochemists, we can help you solve problems and unleash the potential of technologies in the commercial marketplace.

Phone: 801-972-2455
Email: info@ceramatec.com