Q&A /// Interview With An Industry Insider

Featured in Thermal Processing Magazine

By Thermal Processing Staff – July 2020

“By limiting the scope of products on graphiteinsulation.com, we can focus on some of the more technical aspects of insulating a graphite hot zone.”
Tell us about GraphiteInsulation.com?

GraphiteInsulation.com is a vehicle for us to narrow our focus to graphite insulating products, mostly used for vacuum heat treatment inside graphite hot zones. By focusing on this product category, the site allows engineers, maintenance managers, and procurement personnel to research and directly purchase a selection of materials and parts for graphite hot zones. We are certainly not the first company to offer these materials, but our mission was to curate the most user-friendly website in the industry, and I believe we accomplished that. With our simple user interface, visitors can easily navigate through the site, purchase materials, request custom RFQs, download SDS sheets and technical documents all without needing to interact with a customer-service department. We wanted to empower customers by providing a low-friction platform to research and purchase these materials, so they can focus immediately on the task as hand.

What prompted the development of a specialized website?

We identified a need in the thermal-processing industry for a site dedicated exclusively to those utilizing graphite insulation along with the ancillary products commonly utilized with graphite insulation such as graphite foil, carbon composite channels, graphite adhesives, graphite coatings, and machined graphite components. Often times, a customer can be overwhelmed with the breadth of our material offering on our primary website www.ceramaterials.com. By limiting the scope of products on graphiteinsulation.com, we can focus on some of the more technical aspects of insulating a graphite hot zone. There are many ways to maximize the performance of a furnace, and choosing the correct insulation package is critical to maximizing processing efficiency. There are times when we find that customers are using a more expensive option when they could achieve the same performance with a lower-cost graphite insulation. If you are only reaching temperatures of 2,000℃, for instance, you probably do not need to use a Rayon based material. Rebuilding a hot zone carries a significant price tag, and we want to help our customer base save costs wherever possible. The website also makes us easier to find in the crowded arena of high-temperature insulation providers.

What does Graphite Insulation offer the industry?

We stock and distribute a wide range of graphite-based insulating solutions, with both PAN and Rayon fiber precursors in a range of purities and processing temperatures. In addition to rigid and soft-graphite insulation, we offer furnace components made from “hard” graphite. Common furnace parts we make include hearth rails, heating elements, element connectors and supports, plates, nozzles, and fasteners. We offer a proprietary selection of graphite adhesives, coatings, and graphite-treatment options. Additionally, we stock a broad selection of CFC U Channels, L Channels, and fasteners in both metric and imperial options. We also offer reverse engineering and drafting services. Customers can mail us the physical parts they need made, and we will reverse engineer them. We then provide a completed CAD drawing for their records should the need them made again; this is especially useful for maintenance managers. Our carbon cordage is available in two different weave patterns: standard weave and tight weave. We also design and produce monolithic furnace liners and susceptor supports.

What sets Graphite Insulation apart from its competition?

The amount of material options we offer in this space in unparalleled; very rarely does a company offer both PAN and Rayon-based material. The number of “off the shelf” products we stock in our warehouse is another way we differentiate ourselves. Most of the items we list on our website carry a two- to three-day lead time, while other companies have a four- to five-week lead time on these same items. This includes rolls of soft carbon and graphite insulation, rigid boards with and without foil facing, and the aforementioned line of adhesives, coatings, and fasteners. We allow for easy access to technical information, shoot our own high-quality product photos, and have partnerships with manufacturing facilities here in the U.S., as well as abroad. The flexibility in our supply chain allows us constant access to inventory and faster response times than our competition. Our sales team responds to incoming inquiries expeditiously, and our pricing is among the most competitive in the country.

How will Graphite Insulation advance the heat-treat industry?

The website never closes, and our team processes orders in real time, ensuring first-rate service and short lead times. As the industry continues towards a digital environment, we will be a steady presence.

How do you see Graphite Insulation growing in the coming years?

We continue to stay up-to-date with industry trends and innovate through technical prowess. We are developing a mirror site to serve the market in Mexico. Our ties to aerospace, defense, and medical industries position us to grow as these industries grow.


Jeff Opitz, President