Silicon nitride is an extremely resilient high-performance ceramic with extraordinary properties. These include low density, high fracture toughness, high wear resistance and very good thermal shock resistance. For requirements such as corrosion resistance in combination with low weight and high temperature stability, silicon nitride is the ideal material. One of the particular advantages is that silicon nitride has one of the highest strengths among engineering ceramic materials.
Ceramdis, a Swiss manufacturer of engineering ceramic components, has specialized in this material. From the shaping of the green body to the ground end product, the entire production is done in our own company. "Small parts are our speciality" says Dominic Siegenthaler, Head of Thermoforming.
The silicon nitride products are mainly used in measurement and analysis technology, medical technology, mechanical engineering and in rolling bearing technology. Ceramdis also supplies silicon carbide ceramic products to the semiconductor industry, which is strategically important for them. They are used for example in guide systems for chip production.
The special extrusion process of Ceramdis allows an economic production of thin and long components with a diameter of 0.5 to 16mm with a length of max. 700 mm and is therefore ideally suited for rods, capillaries, multi-hole tubes as well as flat profiles. Even geometrically complex components can be realized by green machining.
Ceramdis sees a particularly promising field of application in the manufacture of needles & rollers for roller bearing technology.
Compared to conventional bearing materials, needles made of silicon nitride have the advantage of low weight as well as superior hardness and toughness properties.
Si3N4 is also a popular material in the semiconductor industry. It is suitable for use in vacuum and can increase accuracy in guide elements such as linear guides as rollers and rails due to its insensitivity to temperature fluctuations.
The effort required to sinter silicon nitride ceramics is comparatively high: they cannot be produced under atmospheric conditions; a sintering plant is required that can implement the sintering process under high nitrogen working pressure.
The pressure sintering plants available on the market for such applications are of vertical design, as the combination of pressure and the temperature required here is difficult to implement in a horizontal design. However, components such as needles, capillaries and long, thin rods cannot be introduced into the furnace standing or hanging - they have to be placed on charge support plates. The most suitable pressure sintering plant for the desired application therefore builds horizontally - which also improves the loading for all other types of sintered products.
Ceramdis became aware of PVA Industrial Vacuum Systems, a subsidiary of PVA TePla, through a reference from the German ceramic industry. The German specialist for high temperature vacuum systems does not only rely on its extensive experience in the construction of horizontal pressure sintering systems for the hard metal industry, but has also already completed many successful projects with large and small systems for the sintering of engineering ceramics. Thus, PVA Industrial Vacuum Systems was able to offer and supply Ceramdis with exactly the system they were looking for.
For almost two years now, Ceramdis has been convinced by its mature technology, the quality of its design, its well thought-out concept, its ease of service and its user-friendly handling. And above all, of course, by the faultlessness and reproducibility of the products manufactured in it.