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KEYENCE digital microscope helps propel Roxel UK to new commercial heights

KEYENCE has grown to become a world leader in the development of automation and quality assurance solutions since its inception, in 1974. The company’s extensive line card includes sensing, vision and measurement products, as well as laser markers and microscopes. KEYENCE products are specifically designed to add value to the manufacturing and research practices of its customers, regardless of geographical location.

Innovation has long been embedded in the company’s DNA. This means KEYENCE products are engineered to be versatile, and they can be used in just about every industry for a wide variety of applications – no matter how demanding. Are you looking for a high-end example of this? Look no further than Roxel UK, a leader in the design and manufacturing of solid rocket propulsion systems for land, sea and air defence systems. Roxel has proven capabilities and decades of expertise in the chemistry of energetic materials and mechanical fields.

Roxel UK’s know-how includes the design, development and manufacture of solid propulsion systems and related equipment for a range of rockets and missiles. This is a tough, uncompromising market where failure is never an option. With tightening health and safety requirements, as well as ever-changing legislation, the Worcestershire-based rocket specialist often has to review legacy propellants and re-qualify them with nonrestricted materials. This could require, for instance, a phase of research & development followed by stringent testing and further evaluation.

And it is precisely to assist with such rigorous testing that Roxel UK acquired a VHX Series Digital Microscope from KEYENCE recently. According to procurement staff based in the United Kingdom, it was not the most difficult decision to make.

“Due to the wide range and various levels of technical knowledge and experience amongst the team, it was crucial that we acquired a system everyone within the organisation could use with ease” explained Poppy Jones, Propellant Chemist at Roxel UK. “Of all the options that were considered, we found the KEYENCE solution very easy to set up and use on a daily basis, whilst not compromising the microscope’s capability.” Naturally, no such compromise would ever be acceptable to a company like Roxel, whose propulsion systems and motors are used in a large range of missiles and rockets.

Time and again, KEYENCE products are praised for their design ingenuity. With a VHX Series Digital Microscope, for example, real-time depth composition is achieved without the need to actually adjust the focus of device. The product delivers images of unprecedented clarity and texture, thanks to a high resolution HDR offering 256 times the information of a normal 8-bit digital image. Balancing out brightness levels and improving contrast simultaneously is key to delivering outstanding viewing results.

Beyond clever product design and simplicity, two additional factors came into play, according to Jones. “The excellent quality and customer service were also factors we considered when selecting the microscope” she said. Indeed, the technically trained direct sales force from KEYENCE is always ready to solve issues and answer technical questions about the company’s products. Fast shipping to customers also comes as standard, to speed up process improvements as quickly as possible. It just shows the extent to which KEYENCE is dedicated to adding value to its customers by combining superior technology with unparalleled support.

The VHX Series Digital Microscope has been incredibly useful to Roxel UK staff as a ‘quick check’ tool, added Poppy Jones. It has also been used to confirm the presence (or indeed absence) of defects or weaknesses in a variety of key components manufactured by Roxel. The overall quality and reliability of bondlines, cleavage planes and the propellants themselves have all been impacted positively by the strategic acquisition of this particular device.

“This microscope proved an invaluable examination tool to us and it helped with several key investigations” Jones concluded. “The flexibility of having a KEYENCE microscope on site at Roxel UK results in faster, more efficient investigations.”