Thermic Edge Company Story

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Ceramisis Ltd (now Thermic Edge) was started by me, Bob Burgess, in 2003 and was initially started as a trading company supplying high density graphite and technical ceramic products. This was drawing on my many years of experience as Technical Graphite salesman and subsequent involvement in the design and building of PVD vacuum deposition systems and hot stages, for thin film deposition.

Due to my knowledge of in vacuum sample heating, Ceramisis very quickly became involved in the design and manufacture of bespoke sample heaters and heater stages. Working closely with top European OEM thin film deposition system builders, such as Kurt J Lesker, Moorfield and Leybold GmbH, we produced universal 800c and 1000c hot stages with sample heating, rotation, RF bias and sample transfer. The stages were suitable for use in high vacuum, inert atmospheres and a version produced for O2 Oxygen environments, using NiCr and SiC coated graphite heating elements.

Ceramisis very quickly gained a very good reputation for supplying bespoke in vacuum sample heating solutions, and working closely with our customers, our designs evolved to be very robust and reliable, with good performance. To produce our heaters, Ceramisis has always had very close links with our sister company Hivac Engineering. Paul Lennard the MD of Hivac is also a director of Ceramisis, and has been actively involved with our heater and furnace designs and production.

Hivac are specialists in the manufacture of vacuum chambers and vacuum components, with a sophisticated machine shop including chamber baking, cleaning, leak checking, mass spec analysis facilities, located in Hastings, England. For the first 10 years Ceramisis had its offices in the Hivac factory, with Hivac producing all the metalwork for our heaters and heater stages.

Ceramisis grew steadily over the next 10 years, increasing our product range to include heaters used in every application, 2000c laboratory furnaces, rotary feedthroughs and complex heater stages. We added more staff and an agent in Japan. By the end of 2013, Ceramisis had grown so much that it needed its own independent factory, and so in January 2014 we moved to our new factory in St Leonards on Sea.

We are now concentrating on standardising our vast range of heaters, heater stages, furnaces and vacuum components. For many years, we have just made bespoke products, but now we are putting all our efforts into producing standard heater ranges, to cover the majority of in vacuum heating applications. Our new Versatile Heater range will be launched very shortly, which offers a standard heater range from dia 2” to 6”, with a common design, but the versatility to be able to select from a range of body materials and element types, to cover virtually any heating application. These standard heaters can also be used on our range of rotation hot stages, for PVD deposition systems.

We will also maintain our support for bespoke heating solutions. We will always be happy to design special bespoke heaters, for in vacuum sample heating, to satisfy applications where our standard heaters are not suitable.

As we are now looking to push our range of standard heaters, furnaces and hot stages worldwide, we decided it was also time to rebrand Ceramisis. We had been receiving negative comments about the “ISIS” at the end of Ceramisis, and Ceramisis had evolved from a ceramic and graphite company to an in-vacuum heating company. The name no longer reflected our products, and also wishing to lose the “isis” content, we decided to change our company name to Thermic Edge Ltd. This now represents our thermal cutting edge products that we produce, and our logo is of one of our heating elements.

One of our main areas of expertise is heating to high temperatures (up to 1200C+) in O2 environments. To achieve this, we use SiC coated graphite elements, which we previously bought from companies in the USA and Europe. Supply of these products has always been problematic, with us having to endure high prices and long lead times, from these foreign suppliers. In January this year, we opened our own SiC coating facility in Scotland, called Thermic Edge Coatings Ltd. We can now produce our own SiC coated graphite elements, and offer SiC coated graphite components, such as elements, susceptors and wafer holders.

Our aim is to be the number one heater supplier in the world, for in vacuum sample heating. The launch of our new versatile heater range, will enable us to take this position with a standard product range. This range will have the best performance, for the most cost effective price, with a short lead time and superb customer support. The Thermic Edge Journey continues…