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M&I Materials and First Graphene Collaborate to Develop Graphene-enhanced Products

Posted By Terrance Barkan, Thursday, October 8, 2020
Specialist materials manufacturer M&I Materials Ltd and leading graphene raw material supplier, First Graphene Ltd., have agreed to collaborate to develop an extended range of graphene-enhanced products.

Based in Trafford Park in Greater Manchester, M&I Materials boasts a leading portfolio of brands supplying to global industrial and scientific markets. The company counts household names such as Siemens, Boeing, CERN and NASA among its client base who specify its range of engineered materials.

Both companies are partners at Manchester’s Graphene Engineering and Innovation Centre (GEIC), which is a facility dedicated to the commercialisation of graphene.  The GEIC has played a big part in enabling this collaboration and has benefited both parties in terms of the close working relationship at the same location and the extensive facilities and support available on site.

Mark Lashbrook, Technical Director of M&I Materials Ltd, commented: “The GEIC has provided an ideal environment for us to collaborate with First Graphene Ltd, an innovative materials supplier. We have been impressed by First Graphene’s focus on quality and technical excellence which aligns with our own heritage, and we are very excited to find out what can be achieved together.”

Paul Ladislaus, Chief Technology Officer for First Graphene Ltd., said, “M&I Materials are a very innovative supplier of formulated products to specialist markets around the world. As materials scientists, they understand the potential of graphene materials for their product range and we are pleased to be able to support their evaluation of the performance of our PureGRAPH® products in their systems.”

James Baker, Chief Executive Officer of Graphene@Manchester said “This is exactly the type of development that the GEIC is designed to deliver, in terms of enabling two innovative local companies to collaborate together in the graphene space. In these uncertain times I am pleased that the GEIC can support collaborations like these, which I am sure will have a positive impact in our region and the wider United Kingdom.”

David Hilton, Head of Business Development Advanced Manufacturing of MIDAS commented “It’s great to see two locally based SME’s collaborating in Manchester, the hub of Advanced Manufacturing, and home of Graphene. Midas have been delighted to support First Graphene on their journey in Greater Manchester.”

Tags:  David Hilton  engineered materials  First Graphene  Graphene  Graphene Engineering and Innovation Centre  James Baker  M&I Materials  Manchester’s Inward Investment Agency  Mark Lashbrook  Paul Ladislaus 

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First Graphene continues to validate PureGRAPH® Product Quality through National Physical Laboratory (NPL) collaboration

Posted By Graphene Council, Tuesday, September 8, 2020
The assurance of product quality and consistency is vital for the successful adoption of graphene additives by downstream customers. With a strong focus on product quality with its PureGRAPH® graphene product range, First Graphene has made significant progress in this area. Implementing state of the art analytical methods, participating in establishing international standards (ISO/TC229) and use of 6-sigma approaches to control manufacturing processes have all contributed to establishing PureGRAPH® as the leading brand for quality in the industry[i]. First Graphene continues to pursue improved methods for the characterisation of graphene products and has announced a new collaboration with the National Physical Laboratory (NPL), UK a globally acknowledged, independent laboratory.

World-leading measurement solutions are critical to business and government, accelerating research and innovation, improving quality of life and enabling trade. Following the COVID-19 crisis the NPL with the support of National Measurement Laboratory partners launched the Measurement for Recovery (M4R) programme[ii], to support UK companies. First Graphene has successfully secured a place on the programme to study the Specific Surface Area of PureGRAPH® products.

Specific Surface Area is an important parameter of graphene platelets, that may impact dispersion and polymer wetting, and a critical parameter for regulatory authorities to enable them to categorise new substances and compare toxicology and environmental fate profiles. Specific Surface Area of powders is typically characterised by the BET (Brunauer-Emmett-Teller) method which uses nitrogen gas adsorption to characterise the surface area. In recent work by NPL[iii], researchers investigated factors that impact upon BET measurements including the pristine nature of the graphene platelets.

In the collaborative M4R project, NPL researchers will determine the BET specific surface area of a range of PureGRAPH® products and intermediates, to determine the factors that affect the results of BET measurements.  The project is currently underway.

Paul Ladislaus, CTO of First Graphene says, “This study will provide further understanding of the surface area of our products, enabling us to provide world-class information to our customers and regulatory authorities.”

Keith Paton, Senior Research Scientist at NPL says “The M4R programme supports projects with UK companies, such as First Graphene, to enable innovation through measurement and this study will provide important insights into how the BET method can be effectively deployed by the graphene industry.”

Tags:  additives  First Graphene  Graphene  Keith Paton  National Physical Laboratory  Paul Ladislaus 

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First Graphene appoints Andy Goodwin as non-executive director

Posted By Graphene Council, Thursday, July 2, 2020
Advanced materials company First Graphene has appointed Andy Goodwin as non-executive director and senior scientific advisor, and Paul Ladislaus as chief technology officer. Dr  Goodwin joined First Graphene in 2017, initially as a technical advisor before becoming chief technology officer in September 2018. 

Mr  Ladislaus joined the company in November 2018 as senior process engineer and has since led manufacturing process upgrades, product quality programmes and R&D projects in rubber, plastics and supercapacitor technologies.

Tags:  Andy Goodwin  First Graphene  Graphene  Paul Ladislaus 

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Leading the Industry in Graphene Product Quality

Posted By Graphene Council, Tuesday, May 26, 2020
Updated: Tuesday, May 26, 2020

First Graphene Ltd. is a graphene manufacturing company that leads the industry in product quality measurement and process control. The company is determined to provide its customers with the high-performing and high-quality raw materials that their products demand.

If you are a formulator, a plastics extruder or rubber compounder who uses a raw material, we believe we know what is important to you…….an answer to the simple question “what’s in the bag or shipping container?” You want to know the material adds the performance you require and most importantly that a tonne purchased in, say, October performs exactly the same as the tonne you purchased in January. At First Graphene Ltd. we understand this.

Our customers also recognise our focus on quality.  One of our customers, a European based multi-national materials company says, “We have purchased multiple batches of First Graphene’s PureGRAPH® products and have been very pleased with the repeatability and consistency of these materials.”

 Since the isolation of graphene at the University of Manchester in 2004, much effort has been put into developing characterisation methods for the new generation of 2-D materials. This was initially led by academic researchers, who developed new techniques to determine the chemical make-up, size and shape of 2D materials. These techniques have since been adopted by graphene manufacturers and are currently being formalised through the ISO Nanotechnologies Technical Committee (ISO/TC229). Following discussions with Denis Koltsov, chairperson of the ISO 229 committee, Dr. Andy Goodwin of First Graphene Ltd. has agreed to join the BSI and ISO/TC229 working groups for the development of graphene characterisation standards. Ensuring alignment of the company’s quality processes with the emerging international standards.

Denis Koltsov, chairperson ISO 229 committee, says “We are very pleased to see First Graphene joining UK (BSI/NTI/1) and international standards working groups (ISO/TC229) to advance the development of Graphene related standards. Direct involvement of industry players is critical to the development of technical standards. It demonstrates the maturity of industry. It also highlights direct relevance of the standardisation work at ISO/TC229, which currently have 36 standards under development 4 of which are in the Graphene area”.

 As an early adopter in the use of scientific approaches to measurement of graphene materials, First Graphene has pioneered these methods to assure the quality of their PureGRAPH® products. First Graphene’s production and technical team have over 100 years’ experience in the manufacture and supply of high quality speciality chemical products and have used this experience to implement state of the art quality improvement tools such as LEAN and Six Sigma to implement a simple 4 step approach to develop and deliver a consistent and reliable supply to our customers.

4-step approach to high-quality PureGRAPH® products:

1. Representative sampling – whenever possible at-line and quality assurance testing is carried out directly on large aliquots of graphene powder product.
2. At-line and factory laboratory tests have been chosen that are simple and robust but also relate to fundamental material parameters.
3. Statistical process control tools are used to record and monitor all batch data – ensuring full understanding and control of the manufacturing process.
4. Communication to customers – Customer needs are translated into product specifications, with every shipment being accompanied by a certificate of analysis (CoA).

Representative tests have been developed that can be delivered at-line or in a factory quality assurance laboratory – these are directly related to the fundamental properties of the PureGRAPH® products. An example is the implementation of a Raman spectroscopy test method that is unique to First Graphene, using a remote sampling probe to enable representative sampling of product in bulk powder form, meaning that rapid and robust characterisation is available. This method was developed by First Graphene in collaboration with B&W-Tek an equipment supplier and has been accepted for publication in the Spectroscopy journal.

Use of Statistical Process Control Techniques to understand the voice of our process

PureGRAPH® graphene products are currently supplied to global customers from the company’s manufacturing site in Henderson, Western Australia. Minitab® software is routinely used to analyse manufacturing data and produce process control charts at the facility.  The company is manufacturing graphene at tonnage scales and multiple batches of PureGRAPH® products have been analysed. This enables “voice of our process” understanding through process control charts such as those shown below demonstrating a stable production platform, delivering a consistent product.

Figure 1 shows the mean particle size of our PureGRAPH® 10 product, measured using a Malvern 3000 Mastersizer. It’s a clear example of how industry-leading analytical equipment can be combined with Six Sigma concepts to monitor and control product quality.

Figure 2 below shows the Raman data for PureGRAPH® 10 product. A novel at-line Raman measurement technique provides immediate analysis of the quality of PureGRAPH® products.  The statistical analysis again shows consistent product across multiple batches.

Paul Ladislaus, Senior Process Engineer at First Graphene Ltd said: “We have implemented well established quality improvement tools and techniques to ensure we can consistently deliver a high-quality product to our customers.”

Paul Ladislaus added that: “Our process is robust and we can use these tools and techniques throughout our supply chain to reassure our customers that we are capable of reliably delivering the quality of graphene materials that they require.”

First Graphene intends to stay at the leading edge in terms of controlling the quality of graphene related products. The company continues to invest in its processing capability through measurement and automation and is a Tier 1 Member of the Graphene Engineering Innovation Centre at the University of Manchester with direct access to world-class analytical equipment and techniques and supporting expertise.  The company will continue to invest in analytical methods and process tools to ensure world-leading PureGRAPH® product quality for our customers.

Tags:  2D Materials  Denis Koltsov  First Graphene  Graphene  ISO Nanotechnologies  Paul Ladislaus 

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First Graphene to Participate in Global Graphene Industrial Events

Posted By Graphene Council, The Graphene Council, Friday, April 5, 2019
Updated: Thursday, April 4, 2019

First Graphene, is pleased to announce it will be attending key industry events in April and May, including the IDTechEx Show in Berlin on 10th and 11th April 2019 and the American Graphene Summit in Washington DC on 21st and 22nd May 2019. Attendance of these conferences is integral to the marketing campaign elevating the Company’s presence and underlining its ability to supply industry with high quality PureGRAPH™ in tonnage volumes. 

First Graphene will showcase their industry-leading range of PureGRAPH™ graphene products and demonstrate the progress made with industrial-scale customers in composite and elastomer applications. 

IDTechEx Show, 10-11 April 2019, Berlin 

Dr Andy Goodwin (Chief Technology Officer) and Paul Ladislaus (Senior Process Engineer) will attend the exhibition. Andy Goodwin will also give a presentation at the conference titled “Delivering the Graphene Revolution”.

First Graphene will provide an update on the characterisation of PureGRAPH™ which confirms the excellent quality of these low defect, high aspect ratio, few layer graphene products and how these technical features enhance the properties of polymer composites. The latest examples of commercially adopted applications will be reviewed together with an update on the regulatory status of the PureGRAPH™ product range. The Company will also display table top examples of graphene adoption in industrial applications. 

The IDTechEx Show covers a number of high-growth emerging technologies, providing insight on the applications and latest technical and market progress of each. 

Craig McGuckin, Managing Director First Graphene Ltd commented “Attending these events is part of our ongoing programme to introduce First Graphene to target markets and in the case of the Graphene Summit to support the global growth of the graphene

Tags:  Andy Goodwin  Craig McGuckin  First Graphene  Graphene  Neil Armstrong  Paul Ladislaus 

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