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Micro Materials Ltd, a market leader in nanomechanical instrumentation, say they are in a stronger position to win work from American Space Agency, NASA, after a flying visit by an astronaut.
Former NASA astronaut Scott ‘Doc' Horowitz met staff from Micro Materials earlier this month as part of a push by International Business Wales, the Welsh Assembly Government's trade and investment arm, to increase hi-tech exports to the United States ahead of a huge Welsh trade mission to Washington in June. Colonel Horowitz served as a commander and pilot on four space shuttle missions and later led NASA's effort to develop the new family of spacecraft that will return man to the moon by 2020.
Denise Hoban, International Business Development Manager of Micro Materials, believed the company was well placed to win extra work from NASA as a result of Colonel Horowitz's visit:
"It's not everyday you get to meet an Astronaut, so his visit created a great buzz around the site. He was very easy going, with a strong scientific understanding and interest in our technologies, which was great to hear.
"Colonel Horowitz was not only able to expand upon the ideas we had in relation to the application of nanomechanical measurement in the aerospace industry but due to his extensive knowledge of the sector, he was able to provide us with excellent feedback on the potential of our cutting edge NanoTestTM system. From a commercial point of view this sort of visit is invaluable as Colonel Horowitz will provide a useful interface between ourselves and NASA in identifying what their needs and expectations are."
Micro Materials NanoTestTM system tests the mechanical properties of materials on the nanoscale, thereby allowing individual component parts to be tested rather than having a material tested in bulk. For example, Micro Materials tests carbon materials, which are lightweight materials used in the aerospace industry, and are composed of individual carbon fibres embedded in a carbon matrix. While these materials are desirable due to their low weight, they also need to be strong. Micro Materials therefore looks at the bonding strength between these individual components and how it may be optimised using a range of complex surface treatments.
Later this month, Micro Materials, is set to travel over to Washington to be part of Wales' biggest ever trade mission. The mission will include a meeting between a number of Welsh companies and NASA officials to explore the opportunities to supply products and services to the space agency - whose budget for the next financial year is close to $20bn (£13.5bn).
Mr Ellison added:
"We hope to build on the excellent insight offered by Colonel Horowitz by joining this Welsh trade mission in the US next month, which will give us the opportunity to share our capabilities with the relevant interested persons in the Aerospace industry.
"Despite the current economic downturn, success in export markets will always play a crucial part in our future development. I have no doubt there will be follow up meetings to this visit, although it is possibly too early to say whether anything by way of contracts will result. Due to our unique testing capability at high temperature, plus our other unique features, the future is very exciting for Micro Materials and after carrying out a range of preliminary studies on our capability and speaking to Colonel Horowitz at great length, I am confident we can have a major impact in the US."
About Micro Materials Ltd
Micro Materials Ltd (MML) is based in Wrexham in the UK.
Micro Materials was established in 1988, with the aim of becoming the world leader in the development, manufacture and marketing of nanomechanical testing instruments for research and quality assurance. They provide innovative, versatile nanomechanical test instrumentation, and respond to developments in applications in response to customer and market requirements.
The modern day NanoTestTM is a highly evolved system, which employs a unique pendulum system, which is based on a prototype, which was first developed at the University of Lancaster.
Research and Development programs over the lifetime of the company have seen the NanoTestTM evolve into the current, fully-automated, highly versatile instrument it is today.
Micro Materials Ltd pioneering approach has led to three recent world-firsts:
· The first commercial nanoscale impact tester, for erosive wear, toughness and contact fatigue.
· The first commercial high temperature nanoindentation stage, capable of reaching temperatures up to 750°C
· The first liquid cell, allowing the testing of samples which are fully immersed in a fluid
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Michael Erskine at MGB PR on 01792 460200 or alternatively email
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