Working with industry

New opportunity

Thanks to PEMC's experience of working with industry for the last 30 years, we are proud to confirm that in 2017, we were successful in securing further funding from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) to purchase a FIB-SEM (focused ion beam, scanning electron microscope), which will bring 3D capability to PEMC's existing facilities.

Plymouth Materials Characterisation Project

This project, which runs from January 2018 until mid-2020, will give over 40 Devon businesses the opportunity to see how FIB-SEM can benefit their company and work with our technical and academic staff to develop new products for their companies, by investigating the materials and processes used. This opportunity is funded by ERDF and therefore free for Devon businesses who meet the eligibility criteria (including; less than 250 employees, turnover of less than 40m Euros).

We took possession of the FIB-SEM at the beginning of January and formally launched the Plymouth Materials Characterisation Project on Friday 9 February 2018, with an opening by Professor Jerry Roberts and guest speakers Keith Dicks from Oxford Instruments and John Whiteman from Plessey Semiconductors; the first Devon business to trial the FIB-SEM. Read the news release for full details.

Commercial Customers

PEMC has a commercial user group spanning a range of sectors from aerospace to manufacturing, engineering to textiles, microelectronics, biomedical and other sectors, we provide expert, local access to imaging and analysis instrumentation; supporting a diverse range of activities including:

  • analysis of defects and or failure in components
  • analysis of the properties of materials
  • confirmation of a product’s quality/ consistency
  • bio-imaging
  • mineralogical analysis.

Have a look at the University's Enterprise Solutions pages for details of some of the companies that we have worked with in just the last six years.

PEMC has strong links with other departments within the University, so can offer a full analytical service in addition to electron microscopy data capture, including composites, metallurgy, engineering and food science.

Our industry customers have benefited from using electron microscopy in terms of:

  • improved products and processes
  • improved quality control
  • reduction of waste (and therefore cost)
  • new product development
  • promotional images for web and printed materials.

PEMC is continuously updating facilities, equipment and instrumentation to enhance capability and create new opportunities for collaboration – see our facilities page for details of the current range or for an initial discussion about what we could do for your company, please contact Claire on +44 1752 588908 or

How European Funding supported SMEs in the South West, using Electron Microscopy from 2010–2015

Thanks to funding ERDF (European Regional Development Fund), we were able to give 121 companies 12 hours of free support in PEMC. Companies varied from Peter Day Precision Engineering Ltd (to verify the precision thickness of their platings for their customers) to Langage Farm LLP (examining the micro-structure of their quarg and yoghurt, leading to new product development), to BB Photonics Ltd (precision measurement to support new product development) – our customers came from Devon, Somerset, Dorset, Wiltshire and Gloucestershire. 

A number of these companies have now come back to work with PEMC regularly, demonstrating the real value of our service to businesses of any size. In fact, Langage Farm LLP embarked on a Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) with the University, as a result of their initial work with PEMC.

The three reports shown below (produced by the Heart of the SW Local Enterprise Partnership (HOTSW LEP)CaSE and the National Centre for Universities and Business) mention the impact of PEMC's work with industry.

For examples of companies we worked with, and the benefits they enjoyed, please visit the University's Enterprise Solutions case studies page.