The products made with kilns vary from industrial to high-end artistic—pottery, glass fusing, jewelry. ”Ashlock came to Paragon from the aircraft industry.Though kilns are far removed from airplanes, there are similarities. High-speed aircraft deal with expansion of parts just like kilns. “Air on the leading edge of the wings heats up,” Ashlock explained. “You’re also dealing with sheet metal, fasteners, and basic design concepts in both aircraft and kilns.”
Ashlock approaches kiln design from a user standpoint. “I try to think about the end user and what will make it simpler for them.” Ashlock places special emphasis on kiln aesthetics, from the mounting position of the Paragon logo to the way the ventilation slots in the switch box line up with the slots in the kiln case. So far Ashlock’s designs include kilns with cordierite element rods, elements encased in quartz tubes, and furnaces for the industrial markets.
Bud Ashlock enjoys aircraft history. He looks forward to seeing the World War II aircraft at the Cavanaugh Flight Museum in Addison, Texas, and visiting the British Flying School Museum at the Terrell, Texas airfield, which is a few miles from Paragon's Mesquite factory.