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Morgan Advanced Materials’ UK Innovation Hub is utilising a JCM-6000 Neoscope benchtop scanning electron microscope (SEM) from Nikon Metrology to support applications ranging from cancer treatment to pump technology.

Technologies such as ceramic injection moulding have allowed Morgan to produce a commercially available high-precision ceramic tip for microwave ablation of tissues to remove tumours. The extremely fine structure of the material imparts high strength and toughness, which are critical for the demanding application. Due to the material’s small grain size, its microstructure cannot be analysed using the company’s standard 50x optical microscope, so SEM techniques were required.

Morgan’s Stourport facility is also a supplier of high-precision components to pump manufacturers. A new friction material has been developed for hard-wearing pump seal applications in demanding industrial and petrochemical processing environments. The material has a composite structure, which has enabled Morgan’s materials scientists to tailor its friction performance for use in harsh field conditions.

The JCM-6000, with its energy dispersive spectrometry (EDS) capability, played a key role in the development of the material, enabling the company to tailor its elemental composition and composite structure using both the SEM’s back-scattered electron detector and elemental mapping feature.

Key benefits of product application

Medical material

  • Dr Tim Clipsham, technical manager at Morgan Advanced Materials, said that the JCM-6000 was essential to enable its scientists to develop a material with advanced properties to suit this medical customer’s specification.
  • Having the benchtop SEM on site at Morgan Advanced Materials has ensured greater control over the equipment and outcome from the analyses. Material scientists are able to optimise and focus the analysis to requirements better than the microscopists at subcontract companies.
  • With the JCM-6000, sample preparation time is minimal compared with that required for more traditional SEMs or even optical microscopes.
  • Electrically resistant materials can be analysed using the Nikon benchtop SEM without applying a conductive coating to the surface. This allows non-destructive tests on ceramic components to be performed quickly.
  • The depth of field on an SEM is much greater than on most optical instruments, facilitating analysis on the surface and also on raised features or cavities of samples, allowing Morgan to gather a greater amount of information.

Pump material

  • Clipsham said: ‘Elemental mapping within a sample, analysed in the SEM by measuring the energy and intensity distribution of X-ray signals generated by focusing an electron beam on the specimen surface, yields a wealth of information that was previously unavailable to us using optical inspection.’
  • He added that materials development and structure tailoring is much easier as a result.

General

  • Clipsham said that Morgan’s quality and production engineers are finding new uses for the equipment all the time. He added that now the microscope is in place they would all find it very difficult to do without it.
  • Morgan opted for a benchtop SEM because the equipment better suited its business needs due to the microscope’s versatility and ease of operation.
  • The Nikon JCM-6000 was chosen thanks to its superior image quality and the availability of an EDS attachment for chemical analysis.
  • Clipsham concluded: ‘Such instruments can be used at ambient room temperature and are easy to operate. It took just a few hours to learn how to use all the functions of the JCM-6000. The 60,000x magnification covers practically all of our applications. In the rare event that we need to go above that, we would subcontract the analysis — but the need has not arisen since the JCM-6000 was installed.’

Nikon Metrology yields the most complete and innovative metrology offering. Our reliable and innovative metrology solutions respond to the advanced and time-restricted inspection requirements of manufacturers active in consumer, automotive, aerospace, electronics, medical and other industries.

The following products lines are now available in the portfolio:

Co-ordinate measuring machines (CMMs)

Designed and manufactured with a heritage of more than 45 years’ experience and expertise, LK CMM’s deliver the ability to perform dimensional, positional and surface measurement in one system. Combined with a range of contact and non-contact sensors, Nikon Metrology CMMs have multi-sensor capability.

Portable arms and optical CMM

Combining Nikon’s ModelMaker scanner with a seven-axis MCAx articulated measuring arm results in a powerful measuring system that’s easy to use.

To inspect larger parts, K-Scan MMDx with optical CMM allows the operator to freely walk around and scan as desired.

Laser scanning

Laser scanners capture the entire part geometry for inspection or reverse-engineering purposes, covering both freeform surfaces and geometric features. Laser scanners are used with CMMs, articulated arms, optical CMMs or even robots.

X-ray and computed tomography (CT)

Nikon Metrology’s X-ray and CT inspection systems provide detailed insight into the internal structure of parts. Typically used for inspection of loaded PCBs, compact castings and plastics, these imaging systems facilitate detection of connectivity failures, material defects and assembly issues.

Our UK X-Ray Centre of Excellence offers a contract inspection service. This comprehensive bureau service is bookable by the hour, day or scan for radiographic and CT imaging

Vision systems

Nikon’s CNC video measuring systems cover precision optical and digital imaging systems for inspection and non-contact surface inspection.

Microscopes/optical inspection systems

Measuring microscopes focus on industrial measuring and image analysis, designed for complete digital control for maximum measuring accuracy. Nikon’s industrial microscopes serve a wide range of visual inspection applications. Our microscope portfolio includes the portable ShuttlePix, which allows users to pick it up and take images and measurements anywhere needed.

Large-scale measuring/positioning

The Laser Radar is a large-scale system that performs fully automated, non-contact measurement and inspection up to 60m.

The iGPS is a modular, large-volume tracking system used in manufacturing and assembly, enabling factory-wide localisation of multiple objects with metrology accuracy.

Nikon Metrology also provides a full range of software solutions for CMM and point-cloud-based inspection and reverse-engineering applications.

The product portfolio is completed with comprehensive support, metrology and integration services.

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