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Patent success for Midlands manufacturer supplying aerospace and automotive giants

Patent success for Midlands manufacturer supplying aerospace and automotive giants

A Midlands manufacturer has secured its first patent for testing equipment it supplies to the world’s leading automotive and aerospace companies.

Ascott Analytical, based in Tamworth, has spent several years developing its MAG-DRIVE, a magnetic drive which powers the salt spray applicator in its range of corrosion test chambers.

Two years after its application, the patent has now been granted. And the company, which has recently won multiple regional and national export awards, is celebrating.

Ascott makes corrosion test chambers for many of the major automotive manufacturers, including Jaguar Land Rover, Tesla, BMW, Volvo and Bentley Motors.

It also supplies aerospace giants like Boeing, Airbus, SAFRAN and BAE Systems, as well as major airlines including Lufthansa and the National Aerospace Laboratories.

Ascott’s patented MAG-DRIVE was borne out of the development of stringent standards by Volvo, Ford and Scania.

Corrosion tests require salt spray to be applied to components for prolonged periods to test their resistance.

These new demanding protocols require the salt spray, which must be applied periodically inside the chamber, to be administered from above in a swaying motion.

Actuation of any spray bar would require an access hole for the drive shaft and, since the salt spray is extremely corrosive, the Ascott team sought another solution.

Enter the MAG-DRIVE - a drive shaft driven entirely by rare earth magnets sitting either side of the fibreglass shell to provide the required oscillation.

“The salt spray used in testing chambers is highly corrosive and rusts everything it comes into contact with,” said Ascott’s Business Development Manager Tim Hearn.

“And what you don’t want to be doing is to be cutting additional holes in the test chamber wall to install a physical drive shaft. So we developed the MAG-DRIVE.”

Such is the attractive force of the magnets that the force between the two drive plates is strong enough to operate through the fibreglass wall of the chamber.

In addition, because there is no direct contact between the drive plates, the MAG-DRIVE operates as a clutch.

Should anything get in the way of the salt spray bar during operation, it will simply stop moving - there’s nothing to break.

“We’re absolutely delighted to have been granted this patent,” said Managing Director Adrian Wain.

“It’s further proof that we’re continually pushing the boundaries of British manufacturing here at Ascott.”                                                                                                                    

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