Synopsis: OZARK Technical Ceramics was founded in 1986 by Kelly Meares and Greg Lawrence. Prior to that, they performed R&D for a company that specialized in nuclear and electronic materials. The corporate mission was to develop new technologies in Ceramic manufacturing and efforts were made in both Oxide and non-Oxide materials. Many technologies and materials were investigated in the area of technical or advanced ceramics. This technical background from a Scientific and Laboratory environment helps to distinguish OZARK from a typical manufacturing environment with production origins. Product is made with a culture of quality and a goal realized by the end use and performance, not just the measurable characteristics defined by the drawings and specifications.
OUR ROOTS This is a timeline about our company and how we became OZARK Technical Ceramics, Inc.
• Scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratories working on the Manhattan Project during WW II identify MgO as the only material suitable for containment of the World’s first Plutonium. No fabricated shapes exist.
• MgO crucibles are fabricated exclusively at Los Alamos or by authorized Government contractors until commercial suppliers are sought in the mid 1970’s in a technology transfer initiative.
• An Oklahoma company making nuclear, semi-conductor, and isotopically enriched materials participates in the MgO crucible outsourcing program. Boron research led to complementary technology which also expands into MgO, ZrO2, Al2O3, HfO2 and other technical oxide products.
• Kelly Meares and Greg Lawrence establish or refine core technologies in slip casting, extrusion, and pressing of oxide and non-oxide products for nuclear, military, and industrial use. The Oklahoma company decides to focus on the non-oxide materials and to discontinue the Oxide ceramic programs. Upon which….
OZARK TECHNICAL CERAMICS is founded in 1986 by Meares and Lawrence to continue advances in oxide ceramic technology and to make MgO shapes commercially available outside the limited areas of military applications and academia.
Because of our roots in nuclear and semi-conductor materials technology, OZARK’s core approach utilizes a “top-down” strategy of forging production processes from high tech principles instead of the other way around.
OUR GROWTH MILESTONES Plant facilities
● New 10,000 sq. ft. production facility built in Webb City, MO, 1986.
● Located on 5 acres in Webb City Industrial Park
● Expansions in 1999, 2001, and 2008 to 20,000 sq. ft.
● Acquisition of four additional Extrusion Presses from 2000 to 2008 Concurrent increases in :
● Powder processing
● Mud Mixing
● Drying and Firing capacity
● Kiln room upgrades in 2012 and 150% increase of capacity from all new furnaces
Extrusion production milestones
● 1 million feet extrusions and 60 MT product in 2003
● 3 million feet extrusions and 200 MT product in 2008
● Expansions of Extrusion capacity in 2000, 2002, 2006, and 2008
Product and Material milestones
● 1980 – Future OZARK team establishes an enduring corporate relationship with TATEHO Industries, the premier source of quality fused MgO materials.
● 1987 to 1990 – OZARK offers high quality extruded Hafnium Oxide (HfO2) ceramics just in time to replace dangerous legacy Beryllia (BeO) materials for ultra-high temperature measurement applications.
● 1986 to 2000 – There is much buzz for the promise of high temperature ceramic superconductor production,particularly the 123 Yttrium/Barium/Copper Oxide based compositions. These aggressive oxides utilize MgO ware to preserve their unique properties.
● 1990 – OZARK works with early pioneers in Geology Laboratories to produce ceramics for high pressure test cells. These tests achieve pressures of Earth’s mantle up to 4 GPa (500,000 psi). Similar parts are used for production of synthetic diamonds.
● 1997 – Some OZARK MgO products are test marketed for high performance heater market using alternate MgO suppliers. Project is limited by available MgO powders.
● 1999 – OZARK diversifies into MgO heater product market, and establishes close alliances with Muscle Shoals Minerals, the prime innovator of electrical MgO powders for high performance demands. This product area expands to make a natural complement to the high purity temperature sensing products.
● 1999 – Companion MgO spacers for heater market are made by extrusion instead of dry pressing, in order to complement the MgO wind core products.
● 2000 – 2006 – OZARK products are used by heater customers for all MgO based designs.
● 2003 – TATEHO creates special MgO grade for OZARK’s high purity MgO demands, which is designated as grade CSM.
● 2009 – New Materials offered for customer development
○ Crushable Spinel (Mg2AlO4) ○ Crushable fused Silica (SiO2) ○ Alternate MgO powders including dead burned varieties.
● 2014 – Production Screening Capacity added to permit more options for designer Particle Size Manipulation.
Other Business milestones
● 1990 – Berlin Wall falls and slip cast MgO crucible demand falls. Company shifts emphasis to Extruded products.
● 1995 – OZARK sales double as rebound from loss of crucible business is complete.
● 1999 – Cyberspace! Email capabilities and proto web site established. OZARK sales double again from 1995 levels.
● 2002 – Web site fully established (redone in 2014).
● 2002 – 2008 – Expansions of Extrusion capacity in 2000, 2002, 2006, and 2008
● 2002 – 2005 – Asian market established for heater grade materials and cooperation with Far East Alloy developed.
● 2006 – Additional Extrusion capacity and strong global economy result in another doubling of growth from 1999.
● 2007 – Opening of OZARK EUROPE sister office based in Netherlands
● 2008 – ISO 9001 certification acquired on first try with flying colors.
● 2009 – Global recession crisis not wasted as OZARK completes new product developments for Spinel, Fused Silica, and Amorphous MgO R&D.
● 2013 – Mars Rover Curiosity lands with ARi furnished sensor built with OZARK MgO
● 2015 – Tateho Chemical Industries acquires OZARK and establishes Tateho Ozark Technical Ceramics (TOTC)! All of the experienced staff remains to teach and learn from Sister company (TateCera) in Une, Japan where highest quality MgO powders are produced and manufactured into Ceramics.
● 2016 –TOTC, TateCera, and TCI participate in Ceramics USA Exposition in Cleveland, Ohio in April.