13-02-2020 high-tech systems & materials

Demcon invests in Alia Instruments: ‘From nuclear to non-nuclear’


The dream of safe, radiation-free measuring has come closer for sectors such as the dredging industry, tunnel construction, mining and metal recycling, due to an investment by Demcon. In these sectors, radioactive radiation traditionally provides the basis for densimeters used to measure slurries. A slurry is an abrasive material, such as sand, pebbles, gravel or ore, to which water has been added for transport. Alia Instruments has developed an alternative; a non-nuclear densimeter that is more reliable and safer for people and the environment. Demcon, a technology development and production company, recently acquired a share in this company. This helps Alia Instruments in further developing the radiation-free sensor towards production, and marketing it on the international market. “We are part of the transition from nuclear to non-nuclear.”

Measuring the density of slurries is a requirement for increasing efficiency and determining yields. Nuclear density measurement entails safety risks, makes daily operations more difficult and is not very reliable. The new densimeter addresses all of these objections. Jan Peters, who is active in the dredging sector with his company Imotec, founded Alia Instruments for this purpose. He found a home in Demcon’s incubator in Enschede and asked Demcon’s engineers for assistance in developing the new electro-mechanic measuring principle. “The hardware is as simple and robust as possible, with due consideration to load as a result of the highly demanding applications. The software for processing the measuring signals is what makes this device unique. This allows us to fine-tune the meter for specific customer applications.

The biggest advantage is that the new meter does not operate on the basis of radiation. But there are other benefits as well, says Director Jan Peters. “We immediately calculate the density and our measurement is more reliable, even for densities exceeding 3 kilograms per liter. The meter can easily be inserted into a pipeline and connected to the customer’s process control system.” Alia Instruments has already sold the first meters to the dredging industry and to one of the world’s largest mining companies. Today the company stands at the threshold of a breakthrough. “We form part of the transition from nuclear to non-nuclear. We help customers make their production more efficient with the help of better measurements and contribute to achieving the UN objectives for sustainable development. What comes to mind here is improving safety and reducing nuclear waste and water and fuel consumption.”

New investment
Demcon has strengthened Alia Instruments’ ambition with a new investment. Jan Peters is happy about this. “Demcon has made a major contribution to the development of the meter and we would like to keep them onboard for production, which they are now going to professionalize for us. We like to make use of their engineering and production knowledge and expertise.”

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The investment is consistent with Demcon’s vision of corporate social responsibility, explains Investment Director Jemy Pauwels. “We invest a great deal in technology that has the potential of providing solutions to social problems. We do this with capital, but above all, also with people, facilities and accommodation. Demcon is investing in Alia with cash, broad expertise, support and accommodation in the new Demcon Technology Centre.

About Demcon
Demcon (700 employees) develops, produces and supplies technology and innovative products and systems that offer solutions for societal challenges.

Demcon feels a sense of responsibility for helping society make further progress. Creating Shared Value together. Value for the company, its employees, customers, society and the world. The focus areas are high-tech systems, medical systems and robotic systems. Demcon has branches in Enschede, Best, Delft, Groningen, Münster (Germany) and Singapore.

Also see www.aliainstruments.com.