Kiln Furniture

Published - Dec 2003| Analyst - Banerjee Subrata| Code - AVM045A
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Report Highlights

  • The total worldwide market for kiln furniture will grow from $186 million in 2002 to $211 million in 2007.
  • The market is likely to grow a modest 3.8% annually on average in the U.S., and 2.5% worldwide.
  • The U.S. market currently represents 23% of the total market.
  • Cordierite kiln furniture use has increased rapidly in the Far East, including Taiwan, South Korea, the Philippines and India.
  • South Korea has greatly increased its consumption of high-alumina kiln furniture.


INTRODUCTION

The kiln furniture industry plays an important role in today's economy by providing the way to fire not only materials for manufacturing crockery and heavy porcelain articles like washbasins and commodes, but also a variety of ceramic components, the number of which has grown with the expansion of electronic ceramics and computers. These components not only include spark plugs for the automotive industry but sophisticated electronic components like capacitors and insulators.

The market for kiln furniture is sizable. Low-temperature firing (with cordierite composition) provides the maximum volume for firing ceramic tableware and the like, while the automobile industry largely dictates the market for high-alumina kiln furniture for the manufacture of spark plugs. Both silicon carbide and recrystallized silicon carbide provide the main support for strength, and are used at high -temperature primarily in an inert atmosphere. The use of stabilized zirconia is not very common (because of its inherent thermal stability problem), and has come into use only recently.

To play its vital role as a support medium for firing, it is essential that kiln furniture be stable and neutral towards the materials fired in the kiln. It also should be able to perform repetitive firing with minimum damage due to thermal cycling. Also, because it has been found, in general, that the energy needed to fire kiln furniture is higher than materials fired on the kiln furniture, a recent trend has been to manufacture lighter weight kiln furniture that consumes less heat and, hence, is more fuelefficient. In addition, new kiln furniture formulations also were created to enable firing various compositions that recently have entered the market. All of this makes it imperative that a thorough study of the kiln furniture industry be made to provide a comprehensive idea of the materials, processes and economics of the trade

This BCC report provides information on the different types of kiln furniture currently used in the market, along with their improvements and modifications. It also reviews their manufacturing processes and profiles leading manufacturers, along with an analysis of the current status and future prospects of the market.

SCOPE OF STUDY

The report covers:

  • Classification of kiln furniture
  • Properties of kiln furniture
  • Materials and manufacturing methods
  • Selection of kiln furniture for specific use
  • Current and future markets for different types of kiln furniture
  • Future prospects of presently used and new types of kiln furniture.

METHODOLOGY AND INFORMATION SOURCES

Market information has been acquired from the manufacturers and users of kiln furniture. The available information gotten directly from these sources will be compiled and then put into proper perspective from the makers and users of kiln furniture. The importance of kiln furniture has become increased because of the significant growth of the electronic ceramic industry in the past several years.

The report is written from the acquired knowledge of the author from personal experience and from the literature. It is also written directly from dialogue with the makers and users of kiln furniture to give an overall perspective of the industry.

ANALYST CREDENTIALS

Analyst has a direct knowledge of kiln furniture. While working for a manufacturing company as the Director and Vice President of R&D, he formulated, directed and guided the manufacture of high alumina and silicon carbide based kiln furniture. The high alumina based kiln furniture was used primarily for firing spark plugs, and silicon carbide kiln furniture was used as base plates and supports for the kiln. He has a B.S. in Chemistry, an M.S. (Tech) in Chemical Technology and a Ph.D. in Material Science (Sheffield University, U.K.). He has served in the refractories industry for over 32 years: directly working for companies for 25 years and as a consultant for the past 7 years. He has published and presented more than 75 technical papers and has 26 domestic and international patents to his credit. He has authored a monogram, "Monolithic Refractories" (1998), co-edited the book "Microstructure and Properties of Refractories" (1995) and contributed a chapter in "Handbook of Refractories" (to be published). He has also authored four marketing reports.

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