Ceramic Industry Magazine Interview with Doug Thurman
Celebrating its 10th anniversary this year, Sunrock Ceramics is based in Chicago, Ill. The company produces high-purity alumina refractories, including specialty shapes such as kiln furniture for technical ceramics manufacturers and other industries that deal with intense thermal processing environments.
Though Sunrock has grown rapidly over the past decade, it continues to be very customer driven and determined to produce high-quality products with short lead times. “We focus on making the right product for each individual customer, at the right time, every time,” says Doug Thurman, president.
According to Thurman, the company’s flexible manufacturing process enables it to tailor products to meet very specific individual customer needs. “We really put a lot of focus on the particular needs of the customer and the critical criteria for a given application, and work backward from that,” he explains.
Brian Gold, vice president and director of engineering and innovation at Superior Technical Ceramics Corp., nominated Sunrock for the Supplier of the Year Award. “Sunrock provides a very critical piece of furniture that we use to hold our products when they go into the furnace,” says Gold. “That is an extraordinarily important part of our process because everything we do invariably goes into a piece of this furniture and goes into a furnace and gets fired at a very, very high temperature. The accuracy of these pieces of furniture, the cleanliness, the purity, the workmanship on these things all reflect highly on the resulting product that I get from the kiln.
“There are very few companies out there that can provide the refractory we need that will withstand the time, temperature and weight without cracking, bending, melting or sticking. Sunrock has managed to provide us a very high-quality product that has allowed us to move forward with our business without any concerns for that particular aspect of our process.”