Freezing technology at DoCeram

November 1999 | Witte: High-performance ceramics held with Ice-Vice
In prototype and series production, forever higher demands in quality are made in the materials used. Metals, plastics or glass cannot withstand these demands, such as for example heat resistance or wear and tear.
In many product areas, ceramic materials therefore gain more and more importance.
The automobile, food, and chemical industry as well as textile machines and laser systems are only some examples for which ceramics parts are used and that have a positive influence on their functioning. High-performance ceramics are extremely hard, durable, heat resistant and therefore last longer in their daily use compared to any other materials.
Do Ceram a company from Dortmund (Germany) that specialises in the production of high tech ceramic products for industry makes prototypes for small series production as well as for single one off products for special uses at high temperatures, electronics or in welding.
At Do Ceram, prototypes were tried and tested until ready for use in production. At the High End plant small and middle series with small tolerances and high precision can be manufactured. To be able to produce at a bigger scale, Do Ceram built a production line in China. Consequently, an affordable complete solution could be developed even for the most unusual wishes expressed by a customer.

In high temperature ovens, the raw unbaked forms are transformed into high-performance ceramics.
High performance Ceramic is however only the final material, with it’s positive qualities such as durability, heat resistance, consistent acidity and strength that can only be achieved by a costly treatment. Different ceramics are used for different areas according to the use that is required with the respective qualities. Mechanical ceramic, light ceramic and high-performance ceramics can all be found at Do Ceram.
During the pressing of the raw material into the raw moulds and milling to the final dimensions, the raw moulds already have their final size and contour. These sensitive raw moulds must be treated with utmost caution since the raw material is extremely brittle and breaks easily. Any mistakes in handling will show up later and can make the part useless. It is the subsequent sinterung that gives the material it’s final qualities. During this process, the material condenses; the prefabricated part shrinks by 18-20 percent and any scratches or marks will show more evidently. In the worst case are cracks that come to the fore after sintering, and are caused mainly by the clamping process and make the workpiece worthless.

The clamping method is crucial
To clamp this raw soft chalk like ceramic material, and to avoid any damage, Do Ceram have been successfuly using the Ice-Vice clamping system from the Witte company in Bleckede (Germany) for the past one and a half years.The parts are placed on a chuck sprayed with water and frozen to the chuck, which is kept at –10C°.
Pressure points or any other damage is reduced to a minimum “ since we use Ice-Vice clamping the amount of rejects has been greatly reduced. As Ice-Vice uses very little force on the ceramic material”, explains company manager Klaus Wölk, who has experience with many other clamping methods. Considering that any damage caused by clamping can only be seen after sintering, Do Ceram is pleased to have found the best way to clamp their material.
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