The Pulsed Field Group in the physics department of the KU Leuven is developing state of the art technology to delivering strong magnetic fields for research applications. At that time, strong magnetic fields were an ideal tool for the study of low dimensional systems, nano particles and new superconductors. The Pulsed Field Group participated in an European collaboration aimed at generating fields of 100 T.
Two scientist from the Pulsed Field Group - Dr. Alain De Keyser and Dr. Luc Van Bockstal - decided to leverage the technology and know-how related to pulsed magnetic fields by founding the spin-off company Metis Instruments. The Company was endorsed by the Gemma Frisius venture capital fund of the KU Leuven.
The initial focus of the Company was to leverage to the know-how around pulsed field systems by providing solutions to the research world.
The Company first broadened its focus by utilizing pulsed field technology in industrial applications. The most common use there is in the magnetisation process where magnets are made magnetic only in the last stages of production. This because the new magnets based on NdFeB are so strong that they are difficult to handle once magnetized.
The company could really leverage it’s know-how by - in contrast to most other established companies - using advanced modelling (including finite element modelling) to adequately model and control the magnetisation process. Very soon, we were able to use the label ‘energy-efficient’ as often we could deliver the same solution by reducing the energy demand by a factor 3 to 5.
On the fair of Electronica 2005, the Company introduced its flagship measurement system for characterising permanent magnets: the HyMPulse. The measurement system dwelled on the company’s know-how to develop pulsed field measurement systems and the market need for characterising advanced permanent magnets of the new NdFeB and SmCo generation. By eliminating the pole shoes for the generation of the magnetic field, and the use of a patented sensor, the measurement system is also capable of measuring free-form samples. This opened a lot of capabilities, as users are suddenly capable of measuring the real end-product instead of relying on a reference sample (that in most cases didn’t undergo the same production steps).
The first lead users in Europe and Middle East recognised the potential of the system, and gradually the system is becoming accepted as a standard means.
The HyMPulse continues to be the flagship measurement system. It's being challenged and accepted on different sides of the world -in particular Europe and China- by various end-users (manufacturers of rotating machines in automation and drives as well as automotive, by suppliers and value added resellers of permanent magnets, for incoming as well as outgoing inspection ..)
For magnetizing equipment, the company remains renowned for the capability of dealing with large parts weighing several tons, but also for the challenging work on small and precise parts.