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Commercially Relevant Processes

Commercially Relevant Processes

Ceramic Welding Backing | Ceramic Backing Welding| Ceramic Backing Taps

In development, the requirements for process requirements such as material uniformity, significant
gas phase exchanges, and rapid heating/cooling of the material can often be facilitated by the
relatively small size of the furnace, low loading of products and containers, and control of the depth
of the reactant powder bed. Typically, the first round of scale-up of such a process is to increase the
size of the furnace and introduce multiple containers of material.
The success of this strategy is quickly limited by the distribution of the containers relative to the
heating elements; larger production rates can lead to reduced product uniformity. Options for
mitigating this problem, such as further reductions in bed depth, extending process time, etc.,
typically lead to increases in processing cost. At some point in development, the synthesis process
must evolve into a continuous process in order to maintain product quality, increase throughput and
reduce processing costs.
The most obvious and easiest method for scaling these types of reactions is to transport powder
through an established thermal profile by some form of conveyance. For more traditional ceramics,
the temperature and environmental conditions required for processing allow for a number of different
designs that provide this conveyance. For higher temperature processes, particularly non-oxide
processes, equipment options quickly converge to pusher-style furnaces.
By using large area containers and uniform, moderately thick reactant beds, and a furnace design with
heating elements above and below the boats, bed heating can be relatively fast and very uniform.
Pusher furnaces are used throughout the industry for these types of applications, and they are quite
effective in supporting the commercial production of a variety of materials.
In many cases, pusher furnaces provide a suitable means of producing a product at the fully
commercialized state. However, in some cases, limitations related to throughput, product uniformity
and power efficiency may require an alternate solution to satisfy the needs for further scale-up.
Thermal processes that agitate the product bed while transporting it through the heating profile often
provide the necessary additional performance.

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