industry perspectives

Doug Thurman

Doug Thurman

Guest columnist

AACCM: Expanding the market for manufactured ceramic components

The ceramics industry has seen a lot of changes over the last 30 years, with many new applications for advanced ceramics driving extensive market growth since the early 1990s. This steady stream of new applications has served to counter the impact of increasing international competition.

The Association of American Ceramic Component Manufacturers (AACCM) was formed in 1992 by 18 charter member companies to expand the market for manufactured ceramic components. They aimed to achieve this goal by enhancing the processes and product quality of advanced ceramics, as well as by increasing public and industry education and awareness of ceramic applications.


Most of these initial member companies were manufacturers with a primary focus on engineered or advanced ceramics, and that remains the case today. Additionally, much like today, the original members ranged in size from small, closely held companies to very large conglomerates within the ceramics industry.

I believe AACCM has played a role in industry growth and in the competitive strength of U.S. manufacturers, in large part by providing a noncompetitive forum for industry peers to discuss and address common challenges. Importantly, many of the companies send operational personnel to AACCM meetings, in addition to senior executives and technical directors. This format provides a unique opportunity for operational leaders to network because these team members are not typically part of most professional society meetings.

Today’s AACCM membership consists of 18 companies, the same as at the Association’s inception. However, while several of the original founding member companies remain active in AACCM and continue as stand-alone entities, many of the founding member companies have since been acquired or are otherwise not around anymore. Instead, several early-stage entities bring an entrepreneurial perspective with a desire to use the organization to stay closer to the front edge of technological innovation in both materials and applications.

The activities of AACCM shifted somewhat in recent years. This shift is driven in part by the present composition of the organization but also by all that is happening in technical development right now. With new applications for ceramics in areas such as energy, medical technology, transportation, and defense, AACCM responded by creating and strengthening relationships and tie-ins with leading U.S. materials science universities. The goal is to facilitate technology adoption and improve talent recruitment for member companies. This goal is in addition to the day-to-day membership benefits of referring businesses to each other, discussing and mitigating common threats to the industry, and combining marketing resources at trade shows.

I believe there is no question that AACCM members benefit most from our live meetings and conferences, which we do every year at either a major U.S. research university or national laboratory. This format is desirable not just because of what we learn from the faculty presentations but also from the interactive aspects of the day.

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For instance, beginning a few years ago, AACCM added a component where each member company gives a brief presentation to the students, highlighting what they do and the interesting markets they serve, often with large societal benefit. This portion of the day not only provides a great recruiting forum but also helps build interest in materials science in general and ceramics in particular. This initiative dovetails nicely with similar programs at The American Ceramic Society focused on the middle school and high school levels.

In the last two years, AACCM worked to get back on its feet following the hiatus in live meetings in 2020 and 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. We started back up with conferences in the spring of 2022 at Clemson University’s Advanced Materials Research Lab. Most recently, in the fall of 2023, we had another interesting and informative program put on by Alfred University, in concert with Alfred’s Center for Advanced Ceramic Technology. In 2024, we have another great program in the works, with more details on location and agenda being announced ahead of our meeting at the Ceramics Expo this April in Novi, Mich.

Learn more about AACCM and the work being done by its member companies.

About the author:
Doug Thurman is past president (2022–2023) of AACCM and president of Sunrock Ceramics Company (Broadview, Ill.). Contact Thurman at

In memory of Jeffery Brundage, AACCM president

Jeffery (Jeff) Brundage, current president of AACCM as of January 2024, died peacefully early in the morning of Feb. 10, 2024, at the age of 71. He was a member of AACCM since its inception and long-time ACerS member.

Brundage supported the ceramics industry in past positions with ILC Space Systems (Clearlake, Texas); General Ceramics National Beryllia Division, now American Beryllia Inc. (Haskel, N.J.); and Superior Technical Ceramics (St. Albans, Vt.). He started his own business, Critical Services LLC (Swanton, Vt.), and served as CEO of Lamda Advanced Materials LLC (Alfred, N.Y.) at the time of his death.

Brundage made many dear friends during his 40 years solving challenges within the ceramics industry. He will be deeply missed.