Tape casting is a materials process companies use to create dense, flexible ceramic types for use in manufacturing products like capacitors. This technique requires special equipment as well as advanced chemistry skills to make the composition of the tape suitable for the need. Companies may produce ceramic tape for internal use or can produce it on a contract to meet the needs of industrial customers. Such products are generally not available for retail sale, as uses for ceramic tapes are primarily industrial in nature.
The first step in tape casting involves creating a slurry mixture. The slurry contains ceramic particles, polymers to plasticize the final product, and fluid. It pours onto a conveyor belt with a polymer backing that runs through an oven. As it passes through the oven, the fluid evaporates, leaving behind a solid ceramic material. Spools on the other side can wind up the ceramic tape as it emerges.
This process can generate ceramic materials in a variety of widths, with an assortment of properties. Tape casting is a highly flexible process, as companies can easily adjust the slurry for different projects as long as a chemist can accurately compute the needs of a given application. The finished ceramic tape is very heavy, but spooling makes it easy to move. It can be lifted on forklifts or packaged in drums and rolled, depending on the need.
Personnel supervise the tape casting process to make sure it goes as planned. They can control conveyor speeds and make sure the oven is operating at the appropriate temperature. Often it is possible to perform these tasks remotely, allowing staff to stay out of the equipment area. This contributes to safety by eliminating exposure to fumes and potentially hazardous moving parts. While on the floor, it may be necessary to wear face covers and hearing protection to reduce the risk of injuries.
A company with tape casting facilities may be able to handle other ceramic molding and casting tasks as well, and often has a line of products available. It can, for example, also make ceramic resistors and other components for electrical and computer equipment. Materials testing confirms that all products meet basic standards, and the company will stamp its finished ceramics products with information about their origins and rating. It is important to select ceramics with the right capacity ratings for the application to reduce the risks of injuries and other problems.