Ceramic: Cost Control Points and Its Future Development

Increasing demands are being made to settle the cost of machining, since technical ceramics enter the marketplace with new applications.

The general perception in the industry is that machining costs are too high and are probably the major pullback to ceramic engineering.

In this post, we are going to focus on the following 3 aspects, in order to replace conventional materials with ceramics to improve performance of a component:

1. The high cost of machining is the biggest problem

Just like non-ceramic materials, technical ceramics require machining into a specific component shape and size for application. Most of us find that the high cost of ceramic components directly relates to the cost of machining.

In going from prototype to production quantity, ceramic engineering needs greater innovation.

This is due to the fact that at the current technology level, diamond wheel grinding is the only method for machining technical ceramics, which is generally not cost-effective.

To ensure cost-effectiveness, innovative methods of applying diamond wheel grinding for machining production quantities are really necessary.

2. How to control machining costs?

Several methods can be used to control costs when machining technical ceramics:

  • Allow the least amount of material for machining on near-net shape preforms;
  • Reduce the number of setups required by machining different batches at the same time in a production mode;
  • Use grindability data to optimize and standardize the grinding parameters.

The key that unlocks the understanding of the diamond wheel grinding process will undoubtedly be the key that will restart the engine of success for technical ceramics to become the material of choice.

Machining costs should naturally go down as the volume increases, and further innovation will allow costs to decrease even more.

3. Future developments of ceramics

In this part of the post, let’s talk about the latest achievements and trends in ceramic materials in different fields.

3.1 Ceramic solid-state laser host materials

Polycrystalline ceramic laser materials are gaining importance in the development of novel diode-pumped solid-state lasers.

Compared to single-crystals, ceramic laser materials offer advantages in terms of ease of fabrication, shape, size, and control of dopant concentrations.

Polycrystalline ceramic lasers have enormous potential applications including remote sensing and space exploration research. It is also potentially much less expensive to produce ceramic laser materials compared to their single crystalline counterparts because of the shorter fabrication time and the potential for mass production in large sizes.

3.2 Ceramics in the aerospace industry

Ceramics find use in aerospace because they are lighter than metals enabling faster speeds, reduced fuel consumption, larger payloads, and longer times in space for exploration vehicles.

High temperature resistance allows commercial and military aircraft engines to run hotter, thus reducing emissions, and is critical for domes and radomes used in weapon systems that travel under the harshest conditions.

Electrical insulation is necessary to avoid electromagnetic interference with the instrumentation aboard and the communication system between the pilot and ground control.

Ceramic in aerospace industry.  Image Source: www.aero-mag.com

3.3 Ceramic tiles

The demand for ceramic tiles is due to the growing construction and infrastructure industry. Strong growth of construction industry in emerging economies such as India, China, Brazil and South Asian countries is expected to fuel the growth of ceramic tiles market in the future.

Increasing industrialisation and urbanisation has also resulted in growing demand for commercial as well as residential buildings in the emerging economies.

That is all about the cost issue and developments of ceramics engineering, and we hope it is useful. Don’t hesitate to leave you comment below if you have any questions.

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