When leading furnace manufacturer OneJoon needs a partner to deliver the right electric heating system for its kilns and furnaces, it turns to division Kanthal at Alleima. The two have been collaborating for decades across a broad range of industries. Next up, OneJoon has its sights set on the lithium-ion sector.
“The partnership between OneJoon and Kanthal is like a diamond wedding,” said Peter Vervoort, Vice President Process Development and Technology at OneJoon, a company that has worked with Kanthal for more than 50 years in Germany, and for 15 years in South Korea.
“With Kanthal, we know what we’re getting, and we know the customer will be satisfied. Once we’ve settled on a design, we can always trust the consistency of the quality.”
OneJoon GmbH is a thermal processing equipment manufacturer based in Germany. Its parent company, OneJoon Co. Ltd, headquartered in South Korea, is a mechanical engineering company whose primary market is the production of high-temperature furnace systems for the lithium-ion industry.
“OneJoon is a furnace builder that produces high-quality, innovative, and reliable solutions that give our customers a leading edge,” Vervoort says. “When it comes to developing heating systems for new applications, we cooperate very closely with Kanthal.” He added that this is especially true for new projects, where customers are involved at an early stage.
So, how important is the heating technology for the performance of a kiln or furnace?
“It’s essential,” Vervoort said. “Without good heating, there’s no kiln. The heating performance impacts everything – from efficiency to reliability, material losses and total cost of ownership.”
Effectively testing a heating solution requires collaboration between the furnace producer and the heating element supplier. Both parties need to see the application in the field, understand the needs and analyze the data to come up with the best solution for the customer. In any new development project, the engineers from the two companies work closely together during the development process to ensure OneJoon’s kilns and furnaces and Kanthal’s heating elements work together perfectly. “The benefit for our customers when using Kanthal heating elements is not only that they get extended lifetime but they also have a modern solution that helps them save energy, reduce maintenance costs and improve product quality through better homogeneity,” says Vervoort. “I’m convinced that the combination of OneJoon and Kanthal has the best solution on the market,” he emphasizes.
Vervoort explains that the process of developing new markets and finding new potential customers is a joint venture.
“OneJoon usually identifies new customers, but sometimes Kanthal comes to us with a new solution, and we look for the right customer application,” he said. “In the end it’s a 50-50 cooperation.”
Over the decades, Kanthal and OneJoon have seen the market for their combined products evolve considerably. However, as Vervoot points out, customer demands on heating solutions have not changed in the ways one might expect. “Customers have always wanted longer lifetime, good efficiency and lower costs, but nowadays what they want from us is faster development,” he says, adding that time to market is more important than ever – especially in the fast-growing battery technology segment.
The lithium-ion industry is a major focus for OneJoon. The primary market for its South Korean operations is the production of high-temperature furnace systems including the required material handling and process technology for the treatment of cathode and anode material in lithium-ion batteries.
“In the rapidly developing battery business, upscaling is the biggest challenge we face. In our pilot projects, the solution that has helped us achieve the temperature accuracy we need in large-scale furnaces is Fibrothal® from Kanthal,” Vervoort said.
Fibrothal® is Kanthal’s flagship heating module product that combines insulation and heating elements in one innovative system. Delivering both excellent insulation and a custom-made heating solution, it is quick to install, while its modular setup makes it easy to tailor to specific customer needs.
“We use the Fibrothal® because it works!” exclaimed Vervoort. “We wouldn’t want to change to anything else.”
“Fibrothal® is going to be a game changer for the battery business in the coming years,” added Vervoort, who has already witnessed the potential of Kanthal’s heating modules across many different industries and applications.
“We have used Fibrothal® elements in many of our applications, and every time they have amazed us,” he continued. “For example, in the carbon fiber business, they have allowed us to reach much better temperature accuracy in our low-temperature carbonizing furnaces. The same goes for our batch furnaces, which are very important to battery technology.”
For Kanthal and OneJoon, working closely together delivers significant advantages to both companies as well as to the end users. While OneJoon and its customers benefit from using the most effective electric heating systems on the market, Kanthal is able to use constant feedback from the field to continuously optimize its products.
In Peter Vervoort’s words, it is a “win-win situation.”