Manufacturing Today - Volume 18, Issue 2 - 55

Seneca Ceramics

xclusive feature

"you never know where the customer will come
from. we're good at coming up with solutions
that nobody else can make and at a very
affordable price." - Chad Sheckler

founder and president chad sheckler
takes pride in seneca's ability to
develop custom, high-definition
forms and shapes.

surface chemistry that is tightly controlled and tailored to specific performance requirements. It also promises
faster and lower-cost product-development cycles.

Oxide Ceramics
Some of Seneca Ceramics' repeat customers include those in the dental implant industry. The company supplies
refractory ceramics, materials that
can withstand very high temperatures
without degrading or softening and
are nonreactive to its customer's finished product.
These materials include ceramic
containers and trays that are used in
furnaces to make dental implants.
"We make what is called 'furniture,'"
Sheckler says. "It's a broad industry
term for the containers with components that will protect their parts
[dental implants]."
Aside from furnaces, refractory materials are used in kilns, incinerators
and reactors, he notes. The oxide of
aluminum, silicon and magnesium
are the most common materials used
in refractory materials.
"We specialize in oxide ceramics,"
Sheckler says. "Aluminum oxide is
a high-temperature material that's
non-reactive with many other materials. The electronics industry uses

high purity aluminum oxide in refractory applications."
A majority of Seneca Ceramics' projects include controlled pore ceramics,
which contain open-cell structures
that allow the free flow of liquid or
gas. Porous ceramics offer a variety of
desirable characteristics ranging from
an increased surface area, to permeability, to the control of heat transport
within the structure and the maximization of the strength/density ratio.
"We are designing the porous structure in the ceramic," Sheckler says.
"A lot of engineering goes into that."
Some of these porous ceramics include filters, diffusers and spargers.
"Our product is used in many infrastructure applications," he adds.

per year," Sheckler explains. "I'm expecting this year to be a good year as
we have several new products that
are maturing."
On a typical year, Seneca Ceramics gains two to three long-term customers. "It's a lot of work to bring on
a customer for these technical products," he adds.
"From first request by the customer to full production it can take three
years or more." Seneca Ceramics has
customers that order five to ten pieces a year while others purchase tens
of thousands of pieces per year.
The company has a 30,000-squarefoot facility at its headquarters in
Phelps. It operates mainly in the
United States but it also has a number of overseas clients. mt

Growing Up
Founded in 1999, Seneca Ceramics
started out as a company that sold ceramics giftware and handcrafted porcelain products. But Sheckler's vision
for the company has always been on
the technical end.
"I was the director of R&D for a
technical ceramics company," he
says. "When I left to start my company, I could not move into their market
for the first five years so we only did
giftware ceramics. But during that
time I was working on developing
new technology."
Sheckler's passion for research and
development and exploring new territories has helped grow his company
during the past two decades. He refers to it as a small company that does
roughly $1 million in sales.
"We grow at about 10 to 15 percent
VOLUME 18, ISSUE 2 manufacturing-today.com

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http://www.manufacturing-today.com

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Manufacturing Today - Volume 18, Issue 2

Contents
Manufacturing Today - Volume 18, Issue 2 - Cover1
Manufacturing Today - Volume 18, Issue 2 - Cover2
Manufacturing Today - Volume 18, Issue 2 - 1
Manufacturing Today - Volume 18, Issue 2 - Contents
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