MMAS - Making Material Analysis Simple! started with a customer request. That was to find a quick and easy method of material analysis for foundry samples in house.
The samples had to be sent out for testing. It was taking between a couple of days to a couple of weeks. During this time the castings in a batch could not be used till that batch sample was tested, and passed the test. The reason for the request was to overcome the delay. The delay meant cost and slow progress.
What was devised must be able to identify the various elements directly, within minutes, accurately, and with minimal surface preparation. It will be used on test pieces, batch samples and individual castings. This will be undertaken by someone without specialist knowledge and training. But the person will be trained to use the instrument. It was also to be handheld. This has meant it can be used anywhere with in the factory. It can also be used outside of the factory.
It was later realised that the application could be widened. Now the request included bar stock and components in the rest of the factory. To sum up, it can be used on anything where the material composition needed to be known!
There was nothing suitable found that met all the requirements described. So I started the journey the company is now on, working with the University of Huddersfield to create a solution and ultimately a usable product. Therefore MMAS - Making Material Analysis Simple!
Overview of the Solution
It is based on low vacuum X-Ray technology as illustrated below. A patent has been filed and pending.
The instrument will be able to read most elements. It will operate below 30kV, so there is no need to notify, register, or get consent from HSE for use.