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Supporting UK Manufacturer in Becoming World Leader

Over the past 3 years our Electron Microscopy Research Technology Platform (EM RTP) has been proud to support the R&D team at Prima Dental, with the company recently becoming the world’s largest carbide bur manufacturer. Access to the skills and technology in the EM RTP has also enabled Prima Dental to expand R&D into the design and manufacture of dental milling tools.

The EM RTP is blessed with a purpose built building and has one of the best suites of microscopes in the UK.

This includes a ultra-high resolution transmission electron microscope (TEM), two workhorse TEMs, two state-of-the-art scanning electron microscopes (SEM), a brand new focused ion beam SEM (FIB-SEM) and two atomic force microscopes (AFM). Over the past four years over £2.3M has been spent on the latest technologies, with ~ £1.0M funded by the EPSRC. But equipment is no use without the skilled technical workforce to fully utilise the capabilities and provide guidance on experimental design. Fortunately, the EM RTP has 3 dedicated technical staff who have even won national awards for the skills and support they provide for the facility. Steve York, Steve Hindmarsh and Yisong Han have experience with a wide range of samples and provide high quality imaging on the timescales industry would expect.

These are the reasons Prima Dental initially approached the team in 2017. Since then, we have helped Prima Dental understand the microstructure and top level material compositions of the carbides their suppliers provide using SEM and energy dispersive x-ray (EDX) imaging, helping them ensure specifications are met and instilling confidence for their clients of a quality product. They have also used us to analyse their competitors’ products in order to differentiate their product portfolio.

In the future, Prima Dental will be working with Warwick to further understand tool coatings using our new FIB-SEM. This is an underexplored area and one that will help them gain further competitive advantage. To learn more about Prima Dental and their relationship with Warwick please visit this site.

To find out more about the EM RTP, or to discuss your requirements please contact Ian Hancox ( and Steve York (


Above, left to right: our SEM, example image taken for Prima Dental (courtesy of Prima Dental) and our FIB-SEM