MMAS Making Material Analysis Simple!, started with an initial customer request to find a convenient method of material analysis for foundry material samples in house. This was while doing other work for that particular customer. The reason was to overcome the issues of delay and therefore cost of awaiting the results of external analysis. The delay time was from a couple of days to a couple of weeks. Essentially, the method must be able to identify the various elements directly, quickly, within minutes, accurately, and with minimal preparation.
The analysis will be on foundry test pieces, batch samples or directly on the castings themselves. This will be undertaken by someone without specialist training, but trained to use the instrument. It was later realised that the application could be widened. Now the method 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! Therefore MMAS, Making Material Analysis Simple!
After looking around on the market, there was nothing suitable that met all the requirements described above that could be recommended to the customer. 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.
Overview of the Solution
It is based on low vacuum X-Ray technology as illustrated below, where the instrument is mobile (handheld). A patent has been filed and pending.
The instrument will be able to read most elements, from atomic number 3 to 83 and therefore useful to anybody that requires an on the spot material analysis. An important point is that it will operate below 30kV, so there is no need to notify, register, or get consent from HSE for use.