In 2005, Dr Anthony Pick began a project to develop an improved ceramic material for high performance kiln furniture and engineering applications. After initial trials, there were indications that this product could also have potential as body armour.
In 2008 he teamed up with Dr Hywel Jones, a materials scientist from Sheffield Hallam University, whose experience in the field of “sialon” ceramics was complimentary to the project. The objective of the project was to develop a novel material which would be lighter and stronger than ceramics currently being used and be easily moulded into complex shapes for both engineering and personal armour applications.
Drs Pick and Jones’s early work at Sheffield Hallam University developed an improved Sialon based bond for the silicon carbide. They then secured 3 MOD contracts between 2009 and 2011 to further develop components made in this material for ballistic protection against a number of threat types including armour piercing rounds.
Materials from these early developments were assessed by MOD’s DSTL and the results encouraged further investment and research into the materials.
In 2011, the founders were awarded the Venture Prize from The Worshipful Company of Armourers and Brasiers as part of their annual competition to identify materials science technologies with commercial potential. As a result of this and the promising ballistic results, XeraCarb was incorporated as a spin-out company and initial funding was obtained from Finance Yorkshire Seed Corn Fund in early 2012.
In late 2012, Finance Yorkshire and independent investors further funded XeraCarb to allow it to set up a production scale facility in South Yorkshire incorporating a custom built kiln. The large kiln and other equipment were delivered and commissioned by mid 2013. The plant is in production and supplying parts for kiln furniture, engineering products and personal body armour as well as continued product development for existing and new applications.
February 1st, 2017 marked a new milestone in the history of XeraCarb with the company becoming part of Capital Refractories Limited, a company with a strong worldwide presence in the manufacture of technical ceramics and refractories. Their range of technical ceramics are used for melting and pouring in investment casting, injected ceramic cores for aerospace and Industrial gas turbine applications, super alloy laundering and distribution, aluminium production, metal flow control and kiln furniture.
The acquisition involved CRG acquiring the business and assets of XeraCarb Limited effective from 1st February 2017. XeraCarb will become a division of CRG. The legal entity XeraCarb Limited will cease to trade and, in future, commercial relations will be directly with CRG. All employees will continue to work for the XeraCarb division and manufacturing will remain at XeraCarb’s site at Darton near Barnsley, UK.