Ceramicx Gains Full ISO 9001 Certification

As the world’s leading quality management standard, the ISO 9000 system is used by thousands of businesses and organisations in over 170 countries, whatever their size or sector. By gaining full ISO 9001:2015 certification for our Quality Management System (QMS), Ceramicx can focus on increasing our performance and productivity while taking the next step as infrared industry leaders.

What is ISO?

In a nutshell, the International Organization for Standardisation (ISO), officially formed in 1947, brought together 67 technical committees from around theworld to “develop voluntary, consensus-based, market-relevant international standards that support innovation and provide solutions to global challenges”. Over the last 70 years, ISO has grown to include a membership of national standards bodies from 165 countries. These experts help develop international standards across multiple sectors and industries so every business and organisation can use a level playing field of high-quality standards to the benefit of themselves and their customers.

Since the ISO 9000 series of quality management standards were first introduced in 1987, they’ve seen various updates and iterations. With the latest ISO 9001:2015 version used by over 1m businesses and organisations in 170 countries, the standards now integrate more easily with other management systems standards around the world.

The importance of ISO 9001:2015 for Ceramicx

Ceramicx is no stranger to ISO quality management certification, having previously held the ISO 9001:2000 standard. By gaining the ISO 9001:2015 standard, it’s a further extension of our commitment to aligning quality with our business strategy, as well as our status as industry leaders.

ISO 9001:2015 covers each and every area of our internal processes, from purchasing, design, R&D, and production to marketing, packaging, and goods-in – and everything in between. As an essential business certification, it shows our QMS reaches and maintains high standards at every stage, with full involvement and accountability across the entire business.

It also demonstrates our ability to provide products that meet customer demands, together with any relevant statutory and regulatory requirements. Having this certification can also prove, in many cases, to be an absolutely critical stipulation when working with certain industries such as the aerospace and automotive sectors.

How we achieved it

L-R Ian Backhouse (Quality Manager), Gráinne Wilson (Director), Frank Wilson (Managing Director)

With a quality control team in place, Ian Backhouse joined us as our Head of Quality in June 2019 with the aim of implementing ISO 9001:2015 and to administer ongoing continual improvement in line with it. This would ensure the Ceramicx QMS was ISO 9001:2015 compliant and could be registered with the National Standards Authority of Ireland (NSAi).

Looking to implement the standard within his first 12 months, Ian rose to the challenge with a 3-step process. Beginning with studying the full structure of the company, he followed up by analysing all the supporting documentation that underpinned it. With many revisions from the ISO 2000 standard, the final step was to ensure all documentation and working practices were aligned with the 2015 revision.

Following that process, the NSAi completed our ISO Stage 1 audit in November 2019. Though impressed with their findings, we were given a list of further improvement actions for Ian to carry out and implement.

Full ISO approval

With all outstanding improvements actioned and implemented, our Stage 2 audit in September 2020 (initially planned for June 2020, but COVID restrictions meant it was pushed back) saw Ceramicx pass with flying colours and our ISO 9001:2015 certification was approved on the day. We’ll now be reviewed annually to ensure we continue hitting the mark.

With full credit to Ian and the cooperation and efforts of the entire workforce, Ceramicx now has the QMS and accreditation we need to take us forward and continue leading the infrared industry.

For more information on our ISO 9001:2015 certification and what it means for your business, call our team today on +353 28 37510 or email on [email protected]. We’ll be more than happy to discuss it with you and help you find a heating solution that works for you and your business.

Industrial Infrared Vacuum Forming Ovens – Ceramicx Meets The Demand

Lockdown luxury

During this pandemic, the UK, Europe, and the US have all seen a huge increase in demand for above ground swimming pools and hot tubs. Taking advantage of the hot summer days and now the winter evenings of 2020, these back yard tubs have been something of a lockdown luxury for many families as they spend extended time together.

Though the surge in popularity has been most prolific in the US, it’s left manufacturers and retailers around the world struggling to keep up with demand, with order books filled for the rest of 2020 and a backorder well into 2021. If expected further COVID outbreaks appear and lockdown restrictions come in, it will mean more people being housebound once again, with more time to enjoy their new purchase.

Ceramicx to help meet demand

Processing time on hot tub material manufacture had already become a bottleneck for production, and this recent increase in demand is leaving manufacturers struggling to meet expected lead times.

As we post this, Ceramicx is about to undertake a project for a US-based manufacturer. Looking to us for help, they need the heatwork section of their machine to heat the material in a more productive and time-efficient way. So instead of choosing the costly route of buying a whole new machine, they decided to make even more savings by focusing on heating their material correctly – and in turn cutting their process and labour costs.

As a pre-pandemic example of what we’ve done previously, back in 2017, a similar manufacturer in Canada contacted our distributor in the United States to help them build the heating section of their machine. While in the process of building a machine to mould the main hot tub unit, they wanted us to do the heat work for a relevant section of their vacuum forming machine. You can read more detail on that project in our vacuum forming case study.

Since then, and especially over the last few months, further enquiries have come to us from this company – as well as many others – to help meet the demand in vacuum forming oven heatwork.

The Ceramicx solution

Capable of forming thermoplastics of different thicknesses, Ceramicx infrared vacuum forming ovens provide the energy needed to heat materials to a flexible and malleable state. Our Ceramicx heating engineers can custom-design, configure, and build a vacuum forming oven specified to your exact requirements, helping you increase productivity and performance.

Using Ceramicx industry-standard infrared heating elements, a custom-built vacuum forming oven gives you the speed, efficiency, and infrared heat you need with precision control to heat a range of materials – including specialist hot tub plastics.

Vacuum forming oven key features

While fully customised to suit your specifications, upper and lower heating panels of any vacuum forming oven are built around a durable stainless steel framework. Whether it’s standalone or incorporated into existing machinery, a bespoke-designed vacuum forming system will always give you low ongoing maintenance and running costs.

Trust Ceramicx vacuum forming ovens

At Ceramicx, we have the in-house capabilities to build custom industrial infrared vacuum forming ovens and heating solutions to almost any design and specification. Whatever your requirements, we’ll give you the clarity you need to decide on the infrared heating solution that meets your needs.

For more information email our technical team today on [email protected] or contact any of our global distributors.

Infrared Comfort Heating Helps COVID Restrictions Compliance

Over the summer, we’ve all had to navigate our way through COVID lockdowns, shutdowns, and restrictions, but as the autumn rolls around, things are changing. More of us are getting back to work and we’re all getting out and about again. But with a change in the season comes the need for heat – inside and out. And Ceramicx infrared technology continues to keep customers and workers warm.

As leading manufacturers of infrared ceramic and quartz heating products, we supply to businesses in over 80 countries around the world, building progressive relationships with many of them. One example has seen Ceramicx work with Herschel Infrared on a contract manufacturing basis. Both ceramic and quartz elements from our range go into specific housings which we manufacture for many of their comfort heating products.

Going through the COVID phase, we’ve seen the situation in workplaces and public areas change dramatically. As a result, Herschel’s heaters, together with our infrared elements, are playing a bigger role as the temperature steadily starts to drop.

The advantage of infrared

New COVID guidelines advise on using air ventilation systems in every building. But if one isn’t in place, there should be adequate ventilation from other sources – and that usually means opening windows, whatever the weather or temperature. While this is generally OK in warmer weather, it’s not comfortable as we go into the cooler part of the year.

But infrared is an ideal method of providing heat inside, and its simplicity means targeted heat can be supplied to specific areas effectively and efficiently. So rooms, surfaces, and people can all be heated without having to warm the surrounding air. And that’s a huge advantage over using traditional convected heat which would cost more and/or might be lost through open windows.

Increased outdoor use

While Herschel’s comfort heaters can be used in indoor commercial or public environments – overcoming any issues of traditional ‘difficult to install or expensive to run’ heating methods – they’re also used to great effect in outdoor environments too. And while businesses in almost every sector are adapting to changing COVID guidelines for their staff and customers, it’s the hospitality industry that’s seen more change than most.

Being in the fresh air helps lessen the spread of the COVID virus, so over the summer restaurants and bars opened their doors to accommodate more customers outside. Providing quicker, greener, and more energy-efficient warmth for outdoor drinking and dining, the use of infrared has increased with outdoor heaters giving a more effective way to keep customers happy – and spending more.

Infrared for every industry

Whether Herschel’s heaters are being used inside a factory or warehouse, in indoor public spaces or offices, or out in the open air, it’s the Ceramicx infrared heating elements used inside them that are perfectly matched to suit the requirement of the heater and its environment.

Herschel heaters such as the Pulsar, with its sleek and contemporary style for indoor rooms and offices, and the Aspect, with its more conventional design for indoor or covered outdoor use, both use our zero light-emitting, ceramic infrared elements. While Vulcan models, perfectly suited to heat larger, industrial warehouses or factories, use our Quartz Tungsten or Halogen tube emitters.

As more businesses adopt this method of heating, both indoors and out, they’re already seeing the cost-effective and energy-efficient benefits in infrared heat for both staff and customers. Not only that, but it highlights that our range of Ceramicx infrared elements and components really can be used for every industry, in more ways than one.

For more information on the entire range of comfort heaters, to buy direct, or to discuss your own requirements, visit the Herschel Infrared website.

Ceramicx Continues Green Packaging Improvements

In our previous blog & video we outlined the initial set of packaging changes we made to be as eco-friendly as possible without compromising on quality or protection. These included:

1.) Calling time on polystyrene

2.) Water-based adhesive packing tape

3.) Clearer branding and handling instructions

Now that these changes are in circulation, we are delighted to say we were able to make further improvements: These include:

4.) Reduced Box Height

With the reduced depth of packaging needed to safely deliver our products, we were able to reduce the box height by 24mm in height.

5.) From Waste to Packing material

Another procedure we’ve added to our packing process is the ability to use our own waste cardboard and recycle it in-house. By investing in a simple perforating machine, each sheet of excess cardboard can now be used as padding mats or padded filling inside every shipping box.

We can also use it to give additional, shock-absorbing protection to heavy, larger, or more fragile products. By adjusting the cushioning volume of the cardboard to suit, we can ensure maximum product safety and security during the shipping journey.

The Future

The changes have been received positively by our customers so far. It’s important for Ceramicx to always be improving our products and how they are delivered all around the world. We hope our customers go on to re-use or re-purpose as much of the packaging as they can, continuing the circular economy routine we have adapted.

Ceramicx partner GSAE attend the 26th China Composites Expo

Showing at Booth 2525 GSAE displayed Ceramic, Quartz and Quartz tungsten / Quartz Halogen on their stand along with the Ceramicx Portable Test Stand. Videos, posters and infographic’s showed some of the many infrared projects GSAE and Ceramicx have completed recently. Taking place at the Shanghai World Expo Exhibition & Convention Center, the expo aims to meet the needs of the market in China, a demand that is ever increasing.

GSAE & Ceramicx Composite Heating Systems

Ceramicx and GSAE have developed and completed a number of composite curing machines in the past 2 years. Appropriate for many composite forming and curing processes a custom-designed composite oven can be developed to meet your own specifications and integration requirements. Eliminating slow and expensive autoclaves and focusing on OOA composites, as well as offering solutions for in-line vacuum forming and specialist composite thermoforming processes.

Every material type has unique absorption characteristics which can also vary depending on colour and thickness. Using the Portable Infrared Test Stand, any composite material can quickly be tested under each infrared heating type in order to determine which wavelength band provides optimal results.

Built for superior durability and reliability, an infrared composite oven will give you a complete and specialist composite heating solution. All infrared and system parameters are adjusted for optimum energy efficiency, precision temperature control, and even heat distribution through the thickness of material, a key area where we’ve completed extensive research and development.

The Expo is the grand annual event for one of China’s biggest composite manufacturers, Composites Group Corporation Ltd (CCGC). CCGC is one of the top three turbine blade manufacturers in China, they mainly specialize in the manufacture and marketing of composites, glass, glass fiber, ceramics and other non-metal material products. CCGC also owns China’s biggest FRP pipe & tank production base.

The exhibitors are mainly composite material producers, product producers and machine producers. Due to Covid-19, visitors were down about 30% to previous years. Upon entering the exhibition, visitor names were recorded. Most of the exhibition visitors came from the Yangzte river delta area with almost no international visitors.

 

If you have a composite material you would like to test or find out more about, please email [email protected]

The Potential Of Infrared Clamshell Ovens

Among all the infrared radiant oven and heat systems Ceramicx produces, one of the most versatile is the clamshell oven. From their capability of producing 360° uniform heat across a wide range of low or high temperatures to their portable or large-scale, integrated size attributes, there’s big potential in using clamshell ovens as effective utilisation of infrared.

360° temperature control

With a clamshell temperature range capable of running from ∼200°C up to ∼1560°C, it’s that range that’s important in achieving the consistency of energy and heat transfer needed for any drying and curing applications – and how it can be created.

Thanks to the 360° circular construction of a clamshell oven and its ability to have either a top or side lift opening, it means the entire surface area of your material can be heated accurately – and evenly. With the infrared heat being radiated onto the material from all angles, the design provides an equal level of heat which can be achieved more consistently to create a homogeneity of even energy from both sides.

The variation of the infrared heating element that can be used to heat your materials is also accommodated. Your material can be suited to heat absorption from ceramic elements, the medium intensity of quartz heaters, or the high-intensity heat of halogen elements. Described and tested in Ceramicx, we’re able to measure the value of heat flux, plus material absorption.

The design advantage

Aside from the versatility of heat options, clamshell ovens also give you the chance to control the surrounding environment in which the radiant heat from each element is applied. Through horizontal or vertical mounting, you can achieve this in any of three ways.

Firstly, you could create an atmosphere of inert gasses helping to reduce oxidisation. Secondly, if your material is producing a gas output, further convective air can be pushed through the system. Thirdly, the possibility of creating a vent in the clamshell arrangement so you can deal with any gasses generated. There’s also the possibility that clamshells can be used in a vacuum environment to increase the performance level of the radiant heat by up to 30%.

So with the significant advantages that come with the circumferential design of 360° radiant heat, the clamshell has enormous potential in different areas that value optimisation of the heatwork process.

The Ceramicx heat solution

With so many ways in which radiation can be applied to create the necessary heatwork, the mechanical construction of any clamshell oven is always dependent on the industrial application used for each process. And Ceramicx has designed and built clamshell ovens for every application and purpose.

From smaller, portable ovens – using the tiniest ID diameter which could be down to less than a 30mm internal diameter for the fabric or tube that needs to go through the heatwork process – to larger ovens for the purpose of desiccating or destroying medical waste. Greater internal access for more control of the product for maintenance purposes is also a key feature with clamshell ovens.

Whatever your process or application, infrared clamshell ovens can provide the temperature-controlled, precision, and uniform heat you need. By talking with us here at Ceramicx, we can advise you on how to use any of these situations to your advantage and use best practice to design and build a custom industrial clamshell oven to your own specifications and requirements.

Call our technical team today on +353 28 37510 or email on [email protected].

We’ll be more than happy to discuss a solution that works for you and answer your questions.

Summer Shutdown 2020

Ceramicx Annual shut down will take place from July 31st to August 18th, 2020.

Unlike other years our maintenance programme this year will have taken place during July prior to shut down but keeping Covid-19 prevention in mind we are taking measures to have our full factory and offices deep cleaned and vacated for these two weeks. There will be no operation on site during this time except for security.

We apologise in advance for any inconvenience, we are doing our best to secure uninterrupted supply to our valued customers for the months ahead. Please continue to email us your queries and orders and we will respond immediately on our return. Again, we apologise for any delay this may cause.

Hungarian Distributor Continues Growth

Just over a year ago Ceramicx welcomed the team from Szinimpex to Ireland for a visit. – See Blog

Based in Kecskemét, Szinimpex began selling our products in 2016 and made it their mission to continue to grow sales of our products in Hungary and surrounding countries. Since their visit we have seen increased product orders and enquires. There has been an increase in engineering enquires also in the past year from large international companies with offices in Hungary.

Szinimpex have been working on upgrading their current website https://futoszalak.hu/ and doing the translation for a new site… (drum roll)

 

Szinimpex are pleased to have reached a new milestone last week as they launched https://ceramicx.hu/

Based on the same template ceramicx.com but it will be run by the team in Hungary keeping you updated with all things infrared in Hungary.

We wish them the best with the site and look forward to the next year of business with Szinimpex.

New Eco-Friendly Packaging As Ceramicx Goes Green

With a global distribution network and customers all around the world, the safe shipping of our range of infrared heating components is a key process in Ceramicx’ operations. Of course, this involves a large amount of packaging, so we’ve made a series of small changes to our packaging materials so we can be as eco-friendly as possible without compromising on quality or protection.

 

Our green new deal

In shipping almost 7,000 boxes of infrared elements and components every year, each containing anywhere up to 60 individual packages, it means we depend on strong and durable packaging to ensure their safe delivery, wherever their destination is in the world. To help us lessen our environmental impact and improve our packaging overall, here are a few of the investments we’ve made to help us go greener and better.

 

1). Calling time on polystyrene

In all our shipping box packaging, we’ve relied heavily on the use of polystyrene as a top and base layer, as well as a packing void filler for maximum protection. Based on our volume of shipping boxes, we can use around 12,000 sheets of 600 x 400 x 18 mm (approx.) of expanded polystyrene a year for all packaging.

While polystyrene is effective, it’s also largely non-biodegradable and takes many decades to decompose effectively, if at all. Therefore, the majority of it ends up in landfill after use. But, given its weight and composition, it also causes pollution as it finds its way into oceans and rivers, while its production is also a huge contributor to global warming.

So we’ve called time on polystyrene and eliminated it from our processes for good. As a replacement, we now use reinforced card for all top and base packing layers, and have moved to starch-based void fill ‘peanuts’ which are fully biodegradable and even dissolvable in water.

 

2.) Water-based adhesive packing tape

Another small but significant change has been a move to new packaging tape with water-based adhesive. Featuring our new logo, this new tape uses an environmentally-friendly formula for its glue that contains no volatile organic compounds (VOCs) so it’s not harmful to people or the environment.

Matching the high standards of our old tape, this type of adhesive gives us the strong level of tack we need as well as excellent flexibility and heat and water resistance, so every shipping package remains tightly closed and secure on its journey.

 

3). Clearer branding and handling instructions

This isn’t so much a ‘green’ initiative, more just a concerted effort to tie in with our recent Ceramicx rebrand. All our new outer shipping boxes (100% recyclable reinforced cardboard) now feature all-new Ceramicx branding, as well as clear handling instructions using the international packing symbols for ‘handle with care’ and ‘this way up’.

We’ve also taken the opportunity to rebrand and refresh the packing boxes for all our infrared elements and components as well. Again featuring our new logo, they also show clear and easy to read information on their contents, such as naming and product codes.

 

Small changes for a global view

While all our packaging can now be recycled or repurposed effectively, we’ve also sought to ensure as much of it as possible is sourced from Ireland in an effort to reduce our carbon footprint as much as possible.

As a global business, it’s important for Ceramicx to be as green as possible in every aspect of our production and delivery. We’re proud of the changes we’ve made so far and we’ll continue to look for new ways to lessen our carbon footprint and be responsible in this climate emergency.

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