Is that really stainless steel? But I see rust! How is possible that it has corroded? This is one of the questions regularly received by Philips' Material Analysis lab.
Materials do not always respond as expected. Their behavior may depend on the quality of the material, the environment, the interaction with other materials and many other factors. The Material Analysis lab, part of Philips Innovation labs, has more than 35 analysis techniques to investigate your issue.
What is material analysis?
Ben Broers explains this using a simple example. He is responsible for Business Development of the Material Analysis lab. "A product engineer visits us with an LED, a display or an electric toothbrush that does not function properly anymore. We investigate the reason of the failure and the underlying root-cause." This sounds very simple, but in many cases it is by no means trivial. To illustrate this, Ingrid Snijkers-Hendrickx, group leader of the Material Analysis lab, adds more complex examples. "Corrosion often occurs. We investigate the type of corrosion and degradation of the material by environmental factors. A common problem is pollution of products by volatile components or very small particles that are released into the air. This contamination can be detrimental to the functioning of the product or the yield of a production process. Companies want to avoid poor product performance. Thus, they contact us to have these issues investigated. "
What kind of materials do you investigate?
“We analyze solids, fluids and organic and inorganic gasses. To name some examples of materials: glass, ceramics, composites, metals, alloys, plastics, water, exhaled air ... and even baby couch”, Broers and Snijkers add smiling.
What kind of companies come to you for material analysis?
"This varies from small independent enterprises to large OEM’s (Original Equipment Manufacturer)," says Broers. Especially high tech companies and entrepreneurs engaged in innovations use the analytical capabilities of the lab. This is not strange, being located at the High Tech Campus in Eindhoven. "We are especially active for companies in the region, but we are getting questions from all over the world."
What is the throughput time of a material analysis investigation?
"It varies from one hour to, for example, a year. It depends on the issue." Snijkers says. "This makes us an easy-access organization, allowing also small business owners to ask for our support. They do not have to be afraid that they have to wait three months for a quotation. We always start with a brief intake. What is the essence of the problem? Together with the customer we then decide what we are going to do, which deadline has to be met and what the costs are. We like to react quickly, even if we cannot help the customer ourselves."
What kind of expertise has the Material Analysis lab in house?
Broers: "About 40 experts conduct the investigations. A large number of employees have 30 years of experience in specific application areas. They know exactly how the materials behave. In addition, we have available as many as 35 different techniques. These techniques in combination with our people's experience make us unique. We are not a high-volume organization. We focus on specific and complex questions. We work according to the principle "By you, With you, For you." The customer can carry out the research himself and, in certain circumstances, can use our facilities or we do it together with the customer or we conduct the entire research for the customer. Our cooperation with Brainport Industries, High Tech Platform and institutes like TU Eindhoven, Philips Research and our Reliability lab is in a number of cases very important."
How can companies get in contact with the Material Analysis lab?