Services & Capabilities

Precision Ceramics and Glass

At GBC Advanced Materials, we are a precision manufacturer of glass and ceramic components from miniature to 1 cubic foot and larger.

Our Materials

Ceramics
  • Aluminum Oxide (Al2O3)
  • Zirconium Oxide (ZrO2)
  • Aluminum Nitride (AlN)
  • Silicon Nitride (SiN)
  • Boron Nitride (BN)
  • Silicon Carbide (SiC)
  • Macor
  • Shapel
  • Steatite
  • Mullite & Cordierite
Glass
  • Fused Quartz
  • Fused Silica
  • Sapphire
  • ULE / Zerodure (low CTE glasses)
  • Silicon
  • BK7 (optical glass)
  • Borosilicate
  • Germanium

ISO-PRESSING

Mechanical Pressing utilizes steel or carbide tooling that creates a "net or near net" shape. By filling the tool with powder and applying uniaxial pressures to compress the powder.

Cold Isostatic Pressing is a method of compacting powdered materials into a solid homogeneous mass before machining or sintering. Sometimes referred to as hydrostatic pressing, it is a very simple process capable of producing high-integrity billets or preforms that exhibit little distortion or cracking when fired.

Hot Isostatic Pressing (HIP). This process is available through one of our trusted vendors. Benefits of ISO-PRESSING include:

GREEN MACHINING

The machining of a ceramic in the unfired state is called Green Machining. This is done in ceramics whenever possible as a method of attaining closer near net dimensions thus reducing the amount of post fired/diamond grinding costs resulting in shorter lead-times. Typical as-fired tolerances are +/-.005” or +/-1% of a dimension whichever is greater.

The CNC machining centers used are very similar to those found in many machine shops with custom improvements for working in soft ceramics. Due to the extremely abrasive nature of ceramics, they can only be green machined efficiently using carbide and PCD tools and abrasive wheels. The softer nature of green ceramics dictates a less aggressive approach to cutting and work holding methods.


SINTERING

Sintering is a heat treatment applied to a powder compact in order to impart strength, integrity and densification. The temperature used for sintering is below the melting point of the major constituent of the ceramic powder material.

After compaction, neighboring powder particles are held together by cold welds, which give the compact sufficient “green strength” to be handled and green machined. At sintering temperature, diffusion processes cause necks to form and grow at these contact points.

There are two necessary precursors before this “solid state sintering” mechanism can take place:

  • Removal of the pressing lubricant by evaporation and burning of the vapors (organic binders)
  • Reduction of the surface oxides from the powder particles in the compact.

Control Shrink

Control of temperature is very important to the sintering process, since grain-boundary diffusion and volume diffusion rely heavily upon temperature, the size and distribution of particles of the material, the materials composition, and often the sintering environment or atmosphere.

Solid State Sintering is associated with a remarkable shrinkage of the material because glass phases flow once their transition temperature is reached and start consolidating the powdery structure and considerably reducing the porosity of the material.


PRECISION HARD GRIND

CNC & Conventional and Hard Grinding is the removal of material from a part either to reduce it to a suitable size, to remove large irregularities from the surface, to induce a certain surface finish condition and/or to hold a dimensional tolerance tighter than what can be held when firing ceramics that shrink between 15% and 28% during sintering.

Grinding is a process that needs to consider speeds, feeds, cutting abrasives and the coolants used to minimize amount of heat being generated so as not to cause deep subsurface damage in ceramic and glass materials.

EXTRUSION

In the extrusion process, a highly viscous plastic mix of ceramic powder with additives is forced through a shaped die using high force. This is similar to squeezing a mixture with the consistency of potters clay through a shaped tube like a cake decorator squeezes frosting from a bag.

Our state-of-the-art vertical hydraulic piston extruder makes rods and tubs in a variety of sizes, shapes, and tolerances. This method allows for rods from .025" to .400" solid, single-hole or multi-hole - with significantly longer lengths than you can get with a pressing process.

We are producing rods in high purity Alumina and Steatite, widely used in medical, aerospace and electronic applications. The extrusion process delivers a high volume of intricate parts in a short lead time that is extremely cost-effective compared to components produced by traditional machining.

LAPPING/POLISHING

Lapping and Polishing is the fine removal of material with and abrasive compound or slurry to produce very smooth and flat surfaces.

These processes are used to produce dimensionally accurate specimens to high surface roughness and flatness requirements. At GBC, we offer both double-side lapping and single-sided polishing.

WHY CHOOSE GBC ADVANCED MATERIALS

  • Uniform Strength in all directions: The pressure used to compact the powder is applied equally in all directions.
  • Uniform Density: The resulting compacted piece will have uniform shrinkage during sintering with little or no warpage.
  • Shape Flexibility: Isostatic pressing makes it practical to produce shapes and dimensions that are difficult or impossible to produce by other methods.
  • Component Size: Wide range of component sizes can be made.
  • Larger Parts: Part sizes are limited only by the size of the isostatic pressure chamber.
  • Low Tooling Cost: For short or prototype production runs, the tooling cost is low in comparison to other manufacturing methods.
  • Reduced Lead Times: Complex shapes can be economically made from prototype to production quantities with significantly reduced lead times versus other methods.
  • Lower Material and Machining Costs: Near net shape parts can be fabricated, greatly reducing material and machining costs.

GBC Materials Delivers the Solutions You Need

  • Our new ISO-Static Pressing and Green Machining provide larger component capability.
  • Post-fired Precision CNC and Conventional Grinding.
  • Surface finishing such as Lapping/Polishing and Honing, important for holding tighter tolerances and improved surface finish requirements.
  • Surface Treatments such as Metalizing, Plating and Component Assembly; capabilities currently under evaluation for adding in-house or collaborative capabilities from approved vendors.

Call us today at 724-537-7791. Take advantage of our team’s 30 year+ experience in machining engineered ceramics and specialty materials. Visit our Contact Us page. We’re ready to help.


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