AMI supplies two large segments of the ceramics industry. Slip casting is a technique for the mass-production of ceramic bodies, especially for complex shapes. A liquid clay body slip (usually mixed in a blunger) is poured into plaster molds and allowed to form a layer, the cast, on the inside cavity of the mold. In a solid cast mold, ceramic objects are surrounded by plaster on all sides with a reservoir for slip. For a hollow cast mold, once the plaster has absorbed most of the liquid from the outside layer of clay the remaining slip is poured off for later use. The cast piece is removed from the mold, trimmed and allowed to dry. This produces a greenware piece which is then dried before firing. The technique is suited to the production of complex shapes, and is commonly used for sanitary ware, such as toilets and basins.
Kaolin clay (commonly called China clay) is the primary source of clay used in this process and AMI is a global supplier to this market with bulk rail and export shipping container deliveries from its Gordon, Georgia processing plant. Kaolin is used in sanitary ware for its whiteness, chemical inertness, fine uniform particle size, plasticity and absence of coarse impurities. In addition to kaolin, AMI’s patented product, ACTI-GEL, an ultra pure magnesium aluminum silicate, is used in ceramic tile glazes as a reinforcing agent and processing aid.