Tool changes interrupt production. Since the service lives of past tools was considered insufficient, our companies’ efforts to improve productivity has moved the production of wire rods, tubes, and strips away from steel or carbide and towards ceramics.
The adhesion tendency of steel tools became an issue in processes that must make do with as little cooling lubricants as possible.
High-performance ceramics are another interesting alternative to tool steels and carbides in sheet metal forming for economic and technology reasons. Ceramics reduce the required forming forces while producing an improved surface in many sheet-metal materials.
Thanks to their high wear resistance, the service lives of ceramic tools are a multiple of previous ones.
Ceramics show no issues with tempering effects and the associated loss of tool strength and hardness in hot forging. Silicon nitride can also handle thermal shock loads well.
In addition to its wear resistance, silicon nitride permits electrical insulation and makes it possible to dispense with lubricants.
Example pipe widening: The process of widening pipes by pulling a ball through them is subject to great wear. Ceramics have proven their worth here. Where merely the end of the pipe is to be expanded, an expanding mandrel is used. A tapered pipe end is pressed into a dishing die.
Neben der Verschleißfestigkeit ermöglicht Siliziumnitrid elektrische Isolation und schmiermittelfreies Arbeiten.
Beispiel Rohraufweiten: Das kann erfolgen indem eine Kugel durch das Rohr gezogen wird. Dieser Prozess ist sehr verschleißträchtig. Keramik hat sich hier bewährt. Falls nur das Ende des Rohrs aufgeweitet werden soll, erfolgt das mit einem Aufweitdorn. Falls das Rohrende verjüngt werden soll, drückt man es in ein Kümpelwerkzeug.
Container processors use ceramic tools for products meant for direct food or drinking water contact, since such equipment can be operated without lubricants. This saves the cleaning process required if lubricant is involved.
Since vinegar causes wear on the stainless steel, fish cans are processed with forming rollers of silicon nitride. A few steps upstream in the process, ceramics are outstanding guides for metal sheets moving along the belt.
Our customers also use our flanging rollers when closing beverage cans or tins. These tools develop very low material build-up (pick-up), which allows a great extension of service lives as compared to coated rollers and without requiring maintenance.
Welding rollers from Ceramany find their use in keeping seam flanks together in many facilities for longitudinally welded pipes. Since ceramic welding rollers are non-magnetic and not electrically conductive, they do not influence induction or arc welding.
Some systems also have ceramic guide swords to position the seam flanks in front of the welding unit with low wear.
Ceramany produces ceramic straightening jaws for wire wing straightening machines.
Silicon nitride is ideal for such applications. It can be produced with excellent surface quality and outstanding dimensional stability.
In the field of induction, the use of technical ceramics is very diverse. Silicon nitride is mainly used because this material is wear-resistant, electrically insulating, non-magnetic and also has an enormous thermal shock resistance.
A high resistance to abrasive wear of the medium to be atomized, biocompatibility and good chemical resistance are reasons why ceramic materials are used for the production of nozzles. The fields of application are very diverse.
Examples of applications are the homogenization of milk or creams, the atomisation of lime powder in flue gas sulphurisation plants or the atomisation of air/solid and liquid/solid mixtures (e.g. sandblasting).
Ceramic nozzles are also used in glass bead blasting plants. They are also used in water jet cutting technology, for cutting hard and tough materials. Here, a hard material/water suspension is pressed through the ceramic nozzle at a pressure of more than 4,000 bar. Depending on the suspension, aluminium oxide, silicon nitride or silicon carbide are used.
In addition to its wear resistance, silicon nitride enables electrical insulation and lubricant-free operation.
Example of pipe flaring: This can be done by pulling a ball through the tube. This process is very wear-prone, and ceramics have proven their worth here. If only the end of the tube is to be widened, this is done with an expanding mandrel, if the tube end is to be tapered, it is pressed into a dishing tool.
The food industry uses ceramics in a vast variety of applications. Biocompatibility and food safety are essential arguments here. Ceramic products include dosing slides, dosing units, valve needles, valve seats, guides, grippers, stops, as well as forming tools.
Food is processed in great quantities, leaving behind a corresponding amount of wear. Plants in this industry often run around the clock, and production standstills cause considerable costs.
Products like strawberry jam, coffee, tea, or tobacco are highly abrasive. Ceramics ensure reliable, wear-free processes for them.
Fruit juices are rendered highly aggressive by their fruit acids, marking even stainless steel quickly and severely. Products with high sugar contents cause wear as well. Ceramics resist all of these media, which prevents production losses.
Ceramic plungers are characterized by wear resistance, corrosion resistance, resistance to aggressive media, and low specific weight. Beyond this, their biocompatibility is an important aspect in the food industry and in medical technology alike.
Pistons, cylinders, mechanical seals, and pressure packages are used in addition to plungers.
Summary of requirements for general mechanical engineering:
- Electrical insulation
- Thermal insulation
- Antimagnetic properties
- Technical purity
- Wear resistance
- Process safety