M-Ray technology based on radio waves

The M-Ray technology – based on electromagnetic millimeter waves – support fast and accurate measurements. The waves are not more than the waves coming from your cell phone, your WiFi system or the satellite navigation system. M-Rays are perceived as an innovative alternative to conventional radioactive and nuclear measurement technologies. As opposed to these typically unclean and high-total-cost-of-ownership (TCO) technologies, the M-Ray based measurement systems of Hammer-IMS require no emission licenses whatsoever. The concept is behind the technology is simple, an 'M-Ray' is transmitted from a top sensor head. The wave passes through the material which is to be measured after which it is received by another sensor head at the bottom of the material. Our M-Ray-supported measurement systems count how long it takes for the waves to pass through the material. This enables us to get information about the physical state of the material, e.g. thickness or basis-weight.

The concept of the M-Ray technology makes our solutions clean, robust, scalable, long-lasting and future proof. The high dynamics of the M-Rays support fast, accurate and high-standoff measurements. The latter stands for a scratch-free customer's product, enables very thick materials to be measured, and prevents the sensor from getting dammaged by fluttering production lines or overheated materials. The M-Ray technology can be used as part of a turnkey measuring solution integrating a single or multiple sensors. It has been developed to measure thickness, basis-weight and anomalies of flat non-metallic structures including non-wovens, coated textiles, plastic films & sheets, synthetic foams, mineral wools, rubber...

The purely electronic nature of M-Ray technology

M-Rays offer unmatched cost versus performance ratios

Compared to competing technologies, which are often based on nuclear technology, Hammer-IMS is not tied to expensive and rare earth materials. With our electronics-based M-Ray technology, we benefit from the size and performance advances described in Moore’s law. Moreover, the pure electronic nature of the technology ensures that Hammer-IMS measuring solutions are future proof, offering unmatched cost versus performance ratios.

Thanks to the scaling laws of the aforementioned electronics and the modular design of the M-Ray-featuring measurement equipment of Hammer-IMS, multi-sensor-head measurement systems have become available by Hammer-IMS under the brand name of Marveloc-CURTAIN. The multi-sensor head ability of the M-Ray technology enables applications where high material coverage is required.

This revolutionary M-Rays measuring technology is based on 8 years of research at KU Leuven university (ESAT - MICAS research group), conducted by general manager dr. N. Deferm (Noël) and technical manager dr. T. Redant (Tom). Noël specialized in the high-frequency technology itself. Tom developed methods to retrieve useful dimensional information from the environment. Noël and Tom elaborated the concept that the electromagnetic waves slow down when penetrating materials such as paper and plastic. The longer their travel time the thicker or heavier the material. Through accurate time measurements, they succeeded in accurately measuring the thickness or the basis-weight of a range of materials. Multi-disciplinary engineering excellence enabled Noël and Tom to realize economically-viable precision and robustness levels for their M-Ray millimeter wave technology.

Back in the days at KU Leuven, the founders decided to partially publish the M-Ray technology in a leading industrial journal. A few months after moving to the Corda Campus in Hasselt, Belgium, Hammer-IMS has been featured as a news item on the business TV channel ‘Kanaal Z’, showing some insights in the technology.

At the highly anticipated ITMA 2023 Fair, Hammer-IMS, renowned innovator in inline measurement and inspection systems, showcased its latest marvel: the revolutionary 2D-scanner designed for unparalleled 100% inspection and measurement of basis-weights. This remarkable technology has set a new industry benchmark, reinforcing Hammer-IMS' commitment to pushing the boundaries of quality control processes. Customers and interested companies where invited to bring their sample materials so they could witness the machine in action. Our M-Ray Sensor technology is able to detect subtle differences in material grammage; each system is custom-developed to ensure effortless integration into any existing production line.

The M-Ray technology is available in our integrated scanning solutions among which our popular Marveloc-CURTAIN. Furthermore, we also have an OEM-module for machine builders or sensor integrators. The picture below gives you a quick visual overview on our products.