Syalon in Aluminium Industry

The Use of Sialon in the Aluminum Industry

Aluminum (Al) is the second-most industrially consumed metal worldwide. The global aluminum market produces over 50-million tons of aluminum each year, chiefly through the refinement of bauxite ore at sites in North America, Russia, China, and more. At these sites, industrially viable alumina (Al2O3) is refined from bauxite through the Bayer process, which involves crushing and heating the metal in a pressure vessel with a sodium hydroxide solution at temperatures of up to 200°C. The extracted alumina is then smelted at refractory temperatures of up to 980°C in molten cryolite (Na3AlF6), to produce pure aluminum for use in an enormous range of commercial and industrial sectors.

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Gillian - Finance Manager

Finance Manager Appointment

International Syalons are pleased to announce the appointment of Gillian Bradley as Finance Manager, effective from 1st March 2018.

Gillian is a long-standing and valued member of the International Syalons administrative team, having been responsible for the accounts and payroll for over 14 years, as well as being a member of the Association of Accounting Technicians (MAAT).

The Board have every confidence in Gillian as the latest key member of our management team and expects her addition to further the ongoing success of the business.

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Syalon 050 alpha-beta Micrograph

Introduction to SiAlON Ceramics

SiAlON ceramics are innovative refractory materials based on the chemical composition of silicon nitride (Si3N4). They can compete with the strongest and most durable refractory materials currently available, due to their unique mechanical and thermal properties, with wide-reaching applications in metallurgical, petrochemical, and other high-temperature industries.

 

SiAlONs were designed to have crystal lattice structures which are isostructural with silicon oxynitride, but with broader cell dimensions, to allow for a denser refractory ceramic product. They are compounded from atoms of silicon (Si), aluminum (Al), oxygen (O), and nitrogen (N), which display short, high-strength intra-structural covalent bonds after sintering, creating a rigid atomic structure with high strength and high thermal efficiency.

International Syalons manufactures a range of SiAlON ceramics which utilize both beta (β) and alpha (α) SiAlON crystalline phases. Each of these phases has different physical properties and production requirements, with varying industrial applications. This article will explore these ceramics in more detail:

 

 

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Long Service Awards

This year has so far seen 4 employees reach their 25 years' long service anniversary with ISN. Operations Director Ian Denton, Development Manager Simon Taylor, Senior CNC Operator Alan Stephenson and Bisque Machine Shop Foreman John Brown have all recently reached this milestone.

Chairman Tony Mitchell says "We are immensely proud of the skills, experience and devotion to quality shown by our employees and are delighted to recognise the long service, teamwork and dedication to the Company given by Ian, Simon, Alan and John."

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Management Changes at ISN

Effective from 30th April 2017 Nick Fecitt is resigning his position as Technical Director at ISN. We are extremely grateful for Nick’s contributions to the company and wish him the very best in his future endeavors.

Nick will be replaced by Ben Melrose as Technical Manager. Ben is a material science graduate who has worked closely with Nick as his assistant for the past four years. Ben is now well experienced in the processing and properties of nitride and oxide ceramics and has been a key driver in pursuing our ambitious research projects including E.U. funded partnerships. We are fortunate that through our policy of succession planning we have someone who can step into the role vacated by Nick’s resignation.

In addition, Mick Bell has been promoted to the position of Operations Manager, again as part of our succession planning. The Board have every confidence in Mick and Ben as key members of our management team and expect to improve still further our commitment to innovation, quality and performance.

ISN at the Hannover Fair 2017

ISN have a small display at the Hannover Fair from 24th to 28th April, 2017 as part of the Ceramic Applications stand. This will be located in Hall 6, Stand B16. The display will feature a selection of components and brochures featuring our high performance silicon nitride and sialons and zirconia materials, including parts fabricated by 3D printing which are currently attracting a lot of interest.

Our Sales Manager Simon Dodd and Technical Manager Ben Melrose will be attending the Fair on Tuesday 25th April and will be available to meet. Please contact them if you would like to meet to find out more about our materials.

3D-Printed Silicon Nitride


International Syalons are now halfway through the 3 year ToMax project and are working closely alongside consortium partners Lithoz to develop lithographic additive manufacturing technology (L-AMT) for silicon nitride materials.

The EU funded Horizon 2020 project has united industrial know-how from across Europe in the fields of software development, photopolymers and ceramics, high performance light-sources, system integration, life cycle analysis, industrial exploitation and rewarding end-user applications, with the end goal of producing 3D-printers with high throughput and outstanding materials and energy efficiency.

The ToMax consortium is taking innovative, resource-efficient manufacturing processes to develop energy-efficient L-AMT machinery, with a focus on manufacturing of alumina, silicon nitride and cermet parts with high shape complexity for aerospace and automotive engineering, medical devices, and energy efficient lighting applications.

Results so far have been ground-breaking as the project has already produced fully dense, extremely complex Syalon 101 and 050 grade parts with excellent surface quality, and initial testing indicates the same mechanical properties as conventionally fabricated Syalon 101, as shown in the table below.

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ISN Celebrates 21st Anniversary

The Board are pleased to announce that ISN have recently celebrated our 21st Anniversary as an independent company. Prior to August 1994 we were part of the multinational company Cookson Group and were essentially a small R&D company looking at developing silicon nitride based ceramics and composites. In 1994 Cookson Group decided to divest its interest in advanced ceramics and in August of that year we had a management buyout and became International Syalons (Newcastle) limited.

We were convinced of the excellent potential of the materials we had been developing but had the challenge of changing the company from one focusing on R&D to one focusing on manufacturing and building a broad customer base. There have been many challenges over the last 21 years but we are now established as the leading producer of advanced silicon nitride based Syalon ceramics in the UK and sell our materials to customers all around the world. In addition we have now expanded our portfolio of materials and also offer aluminazirconia and silicon carbide ceramics.

We look forward to providing our customers with high quality advanced ceramics for the next 21 years!