EuroPM 2017: „Optimising sintering processes for improved Powder Metallurgy properties"

Download hear: http://issuu.com/inovar-communications/docs/magazine-pmr-spring-2018-pdf-single?e=32443561/59659104


Ceramics Expo 2018 in Cleveland USA

Ceramics Expo is the world’s largest annual event for advanced ceramics, bringing together manufacturers and engineers from across the medical, automotive, electronics, aerospace & defense, and energy sectors – to source new materials and technologies, network with like-minded professionals, and discuss the challenges and opportunities in the ceramic industry.

We invite you to visit us at our stand!

You can meet:

  • Peter Gäbelein (Managing Director)
  • Tobias Kessel (Technical Director)

Ceramics Expo 2018 / Booth 347 / May 1 – 3, 2018

International Exposition Center (I-X Center)
East Entrance, One I-X Center Drive,
Cleveland, Ohio



FAST / SPS expert group - 13th meeting at FCT Systeme GmbH

On March 22, 2018, the 13th meeting of FAST / SPS experts took place at FCT Systeme GmbH.

The FAST / SPS experts for Powder Metallurgy Committee of VDI, DGM, DKG, FPM and Stahlinstitut VDEh aims to address industrial and scientific issues in the field of Field Assisted Sintering Technique / Spark Plasma Sintering (FAST / SPS). Another important goal was the initiation of research and development projects and other joint projects of universities, research institutes and industry.

The event offered the following specialist contributions to the 30 participants from Germany, Austria, France and Belgium:

  • Introductory remarks (Olivier Guillon, FZ Jülich)
  • Company profile of FCT Systeme (Peter Gäbelein, CEO of FCT Systeme)
  • Development of FAST/SPS technology at FCT in the last 16 years (Jürgen Hennicke, FCT Systeme)
  • Contact formation and densification during early stages of spark plasma sintering of metal powders ( J. Trapp, B. Kieback, TU Dresden)
  • Rate-controlled  sintering of binderless tungsten carbide (Jürgen Hennicke, FCT Systeme)
  • Tool optimization in field assisted sintering (Alexander Laptev, FZ Jülich)
  • Discussion / Conclusion (Olivier Guillon, FZ Jülich)

The technical points was intensively and vividly discussed. In addition there was an appropriate catering with numerous discussions in small groups, as well as a visit to the technical center and plant assembly of FCT Systems GmbH in Rauenstein / Frankenblick.

Further information about the event and the FAST / SPS expert group can be found at http://www.fast-sps.de.


Expert Group Field Assisted Sintering Technique /
Spark Plasma Sintering (FAST/SPS)

13th meeting on 22th March 2018 in Roedental

FCT Systeme GmbH is this year organizers of the 13th Expert Group for Field Assisted Sintering Technique / Spark Plasma Sintering (FAST / SPS).

More info can be found here: Expert Group Field Assisted Sintering Technique / Spark Plasma Sintering (FAST/SPS)

We look forward to your visit and constructive discussions!



From 10th to 13th April CERAMITEC 2018 will take place in Munich.

You will find us in Hall B6 / Stand 431.

At the ceramitec 2018, our competence team will inform you about our complete production program of our sintering systems and offer you the opportunity to find out more about the wide range of possible uses and applications at the trade fair stand.

We offer systems for spark plasma sintering (also known as field assisted sintering), hot pressing, gas pressure sintering (sintering HIP) and vacuum sintering, covering the entire spectrum from laboratory equipment to highly specialized industrial equipment.

In addition to the traditional high-temperature sintering plants, we will introduce some of our new and innovative hybrid plant concepts.

At our stand, we would like to inform you about the advantages of this latest trend in sintering technology.

We invite you to visit us at our stand!

  •  Heinz Kessel
  • Peter Gäbelein
  • Tobias Kessel
  • Rene Kirchner
  • Bernd Leipold and Marlis Albert will welcome you.

You can also meet our worldwide representatives:

  • China: Beijing AileenVac Furnace Technology Inc.
  • USA und Kanada: EPSI, Inc.
  • Korea: FCT & Consultans
  • Weißrussland, Kasachstan, Russland, Ukraine: Zwick-FCT-Russland
  • Indien: Toshniwal Brothers (SR) Pvt Ltd

For the physical well-being: We serve Thuringian bratwurst and drinks.

We look forward to meeting you in Munich.


You can also visit our Forum lecture at CERAMITEC 2018:

April 11, 2018 | 12:00-12:30 h | Hall A5 Forum

Speaker: Dr. Ing. Jürgen Hennicke (FCT Systems GmbH)

Further information can be found here: Hybrid Sintering - a New Trend for Innovative Material Solutions



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NEU Hochtemperaturanlagen zur Herstellung moderner Hochleistungswerkstoffe

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International Workshop - Pennsylvania State University

We would like to invite you to present your work in the upcoming 2nd International Workshop on “Field Assisted Sintering Technology (FAST)”, The Pennsylvania State University, September 27 and 28, 2017.



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International Workshop - Penn State University

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From Prototypes to Production-Capable Sintering Technology

The combination of a well­ equipped technology center and an experienced team of techni­cians, engineers, and scientists offer ideal prerequisites for developing a production-­cap­able sintering technology within a short time that is precisely matched to the requirements of a ceramic or powder metallur­gical component. Moreover, through practical veri­fication of the specifications that must be satisfied, a high level of investment security is provided for the user. (source: cfi/Ber. DKG 92 (2015) No. 10-11)


FCT ushers in next management generation

The FCT Group of companies (FCT: Fine Ceramics Technology) stems back to KCE Sondermaschinen GmbH, which was founded in 1982 and had the goal of primarily supplying the engineering ceramics industry with market-ready production equipment and process engineering know-how for new ceramic high-performance materials. Today the FCT Group consists of three independent companies. With FCT Systeme, the Group is not only the leading manufacturer of hot presses, gas pressure sintering furnaces, SPS/FAST plants and maximum-temperature vacuum sintering furnaces, but also a competent technology partner, experienced producer of large-size and high-precision components made of engineering ceramics and precision-machiner of super-hard materials. The plant engineering and ceramics activities each contribute 50 % to sales. The merger of expertise areas of the companies FCT Ingenieurkeramik (production, development and services for high-performance ceramics) and FCT Hartbearbeitung (production and precision machining of high-performance ceramics and other hard materials) is set to be realized in the course of 2015. At the end of 2014, the Managing Partner of the FCT Group, Heinz Kessel (HK), retired from operative business and informed us about the new course set for the company.


HYMaCER-Meeting at FCT Systeme GmbH in Rauenstein

On the 10th of September 2014, the international review meeting for the research project "HYMaCER" (HYbrid sintering and advanced Machining of technical CERamics) took place at FCT Systeme GmbH in Rauenstein. The meeting was used to take a positive stock of the now 9 months lasting project work with partners from Belgium, Spain, The Netherlands and Germany. Within the scope of this project a complete process chain for an efficient manufacture of technical nano ceramic components with a complex geometry is developed.

The Hybrid-FAST/SPS technology that was developed by FCT to the point of industrial application proved to be essential for this purpose and enabled the fast and simultaneously homogeneous sintering of high-quality molding blanks made of conductive ceramics with a diameter of up to 400 mm that subsequently obtain their complex final geometry through innovative production processes like EDM (Electrical Discharge Machining), ELID (ELectrolytic In-process Dressing) as well as ultrasonic assisted grinding.  

The project status received an excellent review by the present project advisors and thereby secured further funding by the European Union within the seventh general program "THEME" ([SME-2013-1] [Research for SMEs] - Grant agreement No 606390). For further information please visit www.hymacer.eu

HYMaCER - HYbrid sintering and advanced Machining of technical CERamics
Research funded by the European Commission's 7th Framework THEME
[SME-2013-1] [Research for SMEs] - Grant agreement No 606390


Closing meeting of the research project „SeProFAST“ at FCT Systeme GmbH

On August 29th, 2014 the international closing meeting of the research project „SeProFAST“(Series Production Technology of Faceted Cutting Inserts based on Ceramic Nano-Composites using FAST/SPS Method) took place at FCT Systeme GmbH.

The event represents the successful conclusion of a project that commenced three years ago and included partners from Germany, Italy, Latvia, Russia and the Ukraine.

Within the scope of this project, an innovative and cost-effective production method to manufacture faceted ceramic cutting materials based on new nano-composite materials was developed. The essential part of this method is the use of the FAST/SPS-sintering technology developed by FCT Systeme GmbH. This technology was enhanced to a super-fast variant called „FAST²“.

The project was funded by the European Union (promotional program: Eurostars, support code: E!6237).


LA NUEVA ESPAÑA, Domingo,13 deabrilde 2014

Las instalaciones del Centro de Nanotecnología en La Florida

El gran horno de materiales especiales de Sotrondio empieza a producir en pruebas

Técnicosde la firma alemana que construyó la máquina pondrán en marcha el sistema la próxima semana y formarán a los investigadores


Challenges and Opportunities for Spark Plasma Sintering: A Key Technology for a New Generation of Materials

1. Introduction

Spark plasma sintering (SPS) or pulsed electric current sintering (PECS) is a sintering technique utilizing uniaxial force and a pulsed (on-off) direct electrical current (DC) under low atmospheric pressure to perform high speed consolidation of the powder. This direct way ofheating allows the application of very high heating and cooling rates, enhancing densification over grain growth promoting diffusion mechanisms (see Fig. 1), allowing maintaining the intrinsic properties of nanopowders in their fully dense products.

More information see pdf:


First publication: INTECH © 2013 Suárez et al.; licensee InTech. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


First publication: Advanced Engineering Materials

Field-Assisted Sintering Technology/ Spark Plasma Sintering: Mechanisms, Materials, and Technology Developments**

By Olivier Guillon,* Jesus Gonzalez-Julian, Benjamin Dargatz, Tobias Kessel, Gabi Schierning,  Jan Räthel and Mathias Herrmann

Field-assisted sintering technology/Spark plasma sintering is a low voltage, direct current (DC) pulsed current activated, pressure-assisted sintering, and synthesis technique, which has been widely applied for materials processing in the recent years. After a description of its working principles and historical background, mechanical, thermal, electrical effects in FAST/SPS are presented along with the role of atmosphere. A selection of successful materials development including refractory materials, nanocrystalline functional ceramics, graded, and non-equilibrium  materials is then discussed. Finally, technological aspects (advanced tool concepts, temperature measurement, finite
element simulations) are covered.

More information see pdf.



FCT Systeme GmbH with its redesigned outdoor facilities

 October 18th, 2013: Tree planting on the occasion of the inauguration of our new outdoor facilities. Managing director Heinz U. Kessel takes matters into his own hands by planting the tree himself.

FCT Systeme has recently received new, expanded parking lots for visitors and employees located directly next to the company building.

We thank the following companies for their support:

  • Fa. Angermüller, Untersiemau (design and execution)
  • Nursery Memmler, Rauenstein (plantation)
October 18th, 2013: Tree planting on the occasion of the inauguration of our new outdoor facilities. Managing director Heinz U. Kessel takes matters into his own hands by planting the tree himself.

VDMA 2013 "Best of German Engineering"




FCT Systeme GmbH develops and manufactures high-temperature sintering equipment such as vacuum hot presses, spark plasma sintering plants, gas-pressure sintering furnaces and vacuum sintering furnaces up to the highest temperature and pressure level, in particular in the fields of powder metallurgy and engineering ceramics. The technologies are mainly used in aviation and aerospace industries, automotive industry, defence technology and materials research. The focus has recently been on the development of spark plasma sintering technology (SPS), a sintering method in which the tool or component is heated in the direct current flow as to enable cycle times of a few
minutes with a significantly lower temperature and/or mould pressure than in conventional hot pressing or sintering.

In the field of R&D, where approx. 30% of the employees work today, an in-house technical centre in the Thuringian town of Frankenblick is available (customer trials, R&D collaboration with Fraunhofer IKTS and the University of Bayreuth, contract manufacturing). The export share is over 60%. Worldwide distribution is handled by the sales department
and sales partners in the USA, Eastern Europe, China, Japan, Korea, India, South America, Portugal and Spain.

In 1982, the predecessor company KCE Sondermaschinen GmbH was founded to mainly supply the ceramic industry with production facilities for special ceramic materials.

Hence, over time, several companies emerged, including FCT Systeme GmbH (1997), which operates independently in the
market and is owner-managed by Heinz Kessel.


cfi/Ber. DKG 90 (2013) No. 8-9

Field Assisted Sintering (FAST): Hybrid Technology Enables Breakthrough in the Manufacture of Large-format Components



At the facility in Frankenblick/Rauenstein FCT Systeme GmbH started the manufacturing of a new kind of Spark Plasma Sintering system (SPS) for the production of large-sized components made of nano-structured ceramics and composite materials.

The new system with 400 tons pressing force shall be mainly applied for R&D use for developing components for the electronic as well as for the aerospace industry. The system has a maximum capacity of 1200 kW and deals with component diameters up to 500 mm. So it is the largest system world-wide which can sinter large-sized components with finest-grained microstructure in nanosized range via FAST/SPS-Hybrid-technology.

For FCT Systeme GmbH this is the consequent further development of a technology with which we act on the market more than 10 years very successful. In our own opinion FCT Systeme GmbH is one of only two companies world-wide that are able at all to produce FAST/SPS systems for the industrial standard production of large-sized components made of finest-structured materials. Since 2005 FCT Systeme GmbH has delivered more than 80 FAST/SPS-systems to customers all over the world.

The sintering in the FAST/SPS-process, which can be compared with the hot pressing process, happens via pulsed direct current directly through the inner of the sinter. Thus extremely quick and smooth sintering results are possible.

Additionally this system will be equipped with a hybrid heating system (inductive) in order to meet especially the high demands to temperature homogeneity of these large components.

FCT Systeme GmbH gets involved with this project as we are committed to the technological and economical capability of this process and as we give high priority to this process for securing our own technological advance.

More Information and watch video



Exhibitors showcase: FCT Systeme GmbH - Efficient Sintering Equipment for the Production

Efficient Sintering Equipment for the Production of Engineering Ceramics


In most cases sintering always is the process step with the highest energy consumption in the value-added chain. It contributes substantially to the fact that a major part (approx. 68 %!) of energy consumedin industry is used for processing heat. Moreover the technology required for sintering is frequently complex and expensive, especially in the field of engineering ceramics. The above-mentioned influencing factors show that the efficiency of a sintering facility depends critically on how carefully the sintering technology is selected and how precisely its design is matched to the respective application. This selection and matching are forming the basis of the company strategy at FCT Systeme GmbH. Here for nearly 30 years now sintering facilities for engineering ceramics and powder metallurgy are not only built, but very earlyduring project planning, technological development is performed in close collaboration with the customers and with the use of the company's own well-equipped pilot plant lab.


New address

Please note our new company address due to a local government reform :

FCT Systeme GmbH
Gewerbepark 16
96528 Frankenblick

Phone +49 36766 824-0
Fax +49 36766 824-150 

Former address (GPS): "96528 Effelder-Rauenstein" 


Reprint from CFI 07-2011:

Efficient Sintering Equipment for the Production of Engineering Ceramics

Based on an integrated definition of “efficiency”, this article explains concepts and principles useful for the realization and improvement of high-efficiency sintering equipment. Real industrial applications and plants are cited for further clarification. In addition, a report is given on the most important ongoing developments that will lead to continuing progress in the efficiency of modern sintering technology.


In ceramic technology, the process step “sintering” effects the consolidation of powdered material, generating a solid body with properties that are influenced significantly by this process step. Hence the product quality is affected by sintering to a large extent. But in most cases sintering is also the process step with the highest energy consumption in the value-added chain [1]. It contributes substantially to the fact that a major part (approx. 68 %!) of energy consumed in industry is usedf or processing heat [2]. Moreover the technology required for sintering is frequently complex and expensive, especially in the field of engineering ceramics. These brief considerations already indicate the huge relevance of the efficient design of the process step “sintering”. But what is “efficient sintering”?

More see PDF-file...


Karlheinz Martin joins FCT Systeme GmbH

Karlheinz Martin joins FCT Systeme GmbH

At his own request, Karlheinz Martin, longstanding CEO of the Sonneberg-based FCT Anlagenbau GmbH, quitted his activities to move to FCT Systeme GmbH, on 1st May. Martin, who has been managing shareholder of FCT Anlagenbau since its partial sales to the Systec-Group in 2001, is a close friend of the FCT-group’s founder, Heinz Kessel. So, as last steps were taken to sell the remaining shares in FCT Anlagenbau to Systec as well, and FCT Systeme was looking for an experienced professional to manage its area of “Future-orientated Special Furnace Concepts”, Mr. Martin made his decision to switch.

From June 2011 on he will take over this strategically important area, which is believed to be one of the company’s core areas of competence. FCT Systeme GmbH has committed itself to the conception and realization of high-temperature furnaces for the fabrication of novel ceramic, PM- and composite materials, and has earned the reputation of being one of the best in this particular niche.


2010 Hagen Symposium Reports:


cfi/Ber. DKG 87 (2010) No. 10

Abstract This article discusses the advantages of reduced sintering times, deducing the motivation for the development of new short-time sintering techniques in line with the conventional sintering methods. An introduction is given into various short-time sintering techniques highlighting their benefits and possibilities as well as their limitations. Finally the most important development trends are presented, which are expected to facilitate further progress in terms of cost and resource efficient production and material development.

New hybrid system on the market

Based on ten years successful marketing of FCT HP D equipment which is well-known as Spark Plasma Sintering (SPS) or Field Assisted Sintering (FAST) for sintering by direct current passage, FCT now realized a technologically advanced concept on equipment HHP D.

Beside heating by pulsed direct current passage, the material can be heated additionally and/or exclusively by induction/resistance heating. Certain disadvantages of the standard SPS/FAST technology can be eliminated such as radial thermal gradient by thermal drain to the outside or non-heating of the material by too small electrical conductivity.

Significant increase of sintering activity for certain materials by hybrid heating (combination of SPS/FAST technology + resistance/induction heating) could be proved. This will result in considerably shorter cycle time and production time.

Today, FCT offers the following hybrid systems:



Pressing force


Heating power




HHP D 25 250 80/64 100
HHP D125 1250 40/180 150
HHP D 400 4000 400/400 500

cfi/Ber. DKG 87 (2010) No. 1-2

Bayreuth - Ofenanlage von FCT in Betrieb genommen! Die Fraunhofer Projektgruppe Keramische Verbundsstrukturen hat ihre neue Technikumshalle in Bayreuth in Betrieb genommen. Herzstück ist eine Hochtemperatur-Ofenanlage zur Herstellung faserverstärkter Bauteile. Prof. Dr.-Ing. Walter Krenkel, Leiter der Fraunhofer Projektgruppe Keramische Verbundstrukturen sieht in dem neuen Technikum einen Meilenstein: „Unser mittelfristiges Ziel ist es zu wachsen und eine eigenständige Organisationseinheit aufzubauen.“ Die Voraussetzungen dafür sind am Standort der Projektgruppe in Bayreuth, der neben der HT-Ofenanlage Labors und Maschinen zur Herstellung und Auslegung von faserkeramischen Bauteilen umfasst, sehr gut. Über EUR 1 Mio. hat der von der Firma FCT in Rauenstein hergestellte und jetzt in Betrieb genommene Ofen gekostet, der ein Nutzvolumen von 385 l hat und es auf eine Maximaltemperatur von 2400 °C bringt. Finanziert wurde das Gerät aus Mitteln des Landes, der Europäischen Union und aus Drittmitteln, die die Forscher selbst eingeworben hatten. Die Fraunhofer Projektgruppe Keramische Verbundstrukturen wurde im Jahr 2006 mit Unterstützung des Bayerischen Wirtschaftsministeriums gegründet. In enger Zusammenarbeit zwischen dem Lehrstuhl Keramische Werkstoffe der Universität Bayreuth und dem Fraunhofer Institut ISC in Würzburg wird im Gebäude der Neue Materialien Bayreuth GmbH in Bayreuth eine geschlossene Prozesskette zur Auslegung, Herstellung und Prüfung von Bauteilen aus keramischen Verbundwerkstoffen aufgebaut. info.bayreuth@isc.fraunhofer.de

cfi/Ber. DKG 86 (2009)

Sintered Materials on the Way to Production by Means of Modern SPS Technologies / Heinz U. Kessel, CEO FCT Systeme GmbH