How to Cut Costs for Your Ceramics Business

Whether you’re an industrial ceramics supplier or a clay artist, one of the biggest costs for your business will be energy. The process of turning the raw goods of ceramics into forced, durable pieces takes a lot of water and time, but it also takes a lot of heat.

What’s a Refractory Coating?

A refractory coating lines the inside of a firing tool, such as a kiln, a forge, or an oven. Refractory coatings have terrific flow when liquid, so they coat surfaces completely and maintain good cling when they are fired onto the inside of the firing tool. Once the tools you use in your ceramics business are properly coated, you’ll find that your tools are much more energy-efficient and consistent in the temperature they reach and the consistency of time it takes to heat up and cool down.

Hobbyists and Artists

Working with the tools of a clay artist means turning and shaping, and both of these require electricity and water. Once these items are ready for their first round of heat, also referred to as bisque firing involves taking clay up to 1730 degrees Fahrenheit and cooling it slowly. Without highly efficient tools, the slow heating, extremely high temperatures and slow cooling will be very costly.

Industrial Ceramics

When setting up industrial ceramic tool configurations, the addition of a forge coating to boost heat buildup and promote slow cooling can mean the difference between profit and loss. As you configure the flow of raw ceramic pieces from moldable product into hardened material, be aware that your

  • ceramic tools, such as forges, and
  • metal tools

will not only function more efficiently and at less cost to you over time but will also last longer. The ability to reflect heat will reduce the risk that a ceramic liner will begin to break down over time.

Heat Variation Concerns

Moisture build-up in the first firing stages can have an impact on the metal components of forges and ovens. With the right coating, we can help you protect your heating tools so that every run of product is consistent and there are fewer surprises at the end of the process. As the steam leaves the raw clay, pressure, and moisture inside your tools can lead to a worrying mix. With the right coating, you can both measure and prepare for steam pressure and corrosion risk.

Depending on the ceramics you’re attempting to glaze, the heat being reflected can vary tremendously. To ensure the proper temperature for full coating and color consistency, a coated oven and kiln are good for your bottom line.

Prepping to Coat

For our coatings to function effectively, it’s a good idea to apply a new coating every six months. Empty out the kiln, and be sure to sweep out any existing dust and brush down the walls of the interior for best cling.

If you have metal tools that need a coating, sweeping and brushing are a good start. You’ll also want to wipe down the walls and check for any corrosive bubbling of the existing coating. If there is no existing coating and no rust is visible, follow the manufacturer’s instructions to properly prepare the surface for good adhesion of the refractory coating.

More Than Just Ceramics

Consistent, efficient heat can be a boon for many businesses. For example, there are many industries that recapture methane from trash to generate heat, which is turned into power. As the gas escaping these facilities comes from a very inconsistent source, the burn time, water content, and heat capture will be extremely inconsistent as well. With a burning chamber that has a quality refractory seal, the energy captured from the burn will be much more consistent over time.

No matter the size of your ceramics business, your kilns, ovens, and forges will take a lot of energy to heat up and keep at a consistent temperature. If you can coat the inside of these tools with a coating that will not only contain heat but allow a much more consistent heating up and cooling down, your business will maintain a much more reliable and sustainable output. Knowing what you’re going to face when you open the kiln door is key to business success.

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