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Penryn mathematicians help local magnet company attract international markets

By West Briton  |  Posted: August 07, 2014

  • John Dudding of Hirst Magnetics and Professor Stuart Townley of the ESI.

  • Professor Stuart Townley, of the ESI, and John Dudding, of Hirst Magnetic Instruments.

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A FALMOUTH company is aiming to beat off international competition with the help of mathematicians from the local university.

Hirst Magnetic Instruments Ltd has enlisted the help of experts at University of Exeter's Environment and Sustainability Institute (ESI) at Penryn Campus.

From its base at Falmouth's Tregoniggie Industrial Estate, Hirst designs, develops and manufactures magnetic instruments for national and global markets, particularly China.

Thanks to mathematicians at ESI, the company has developed a more accurate way of characterising its magnets to keep it ahead of the competition.

John Dudding, of Hirst Magnetics, said: "For decades, we have had a concept on how we could solve a fundamental problem in magnetics but we didn't have the mathematical skills to tackle it.

"The ESI team has been extraordinarily dedicated and focused and we are now keen to work with them on solving other issues that could benefit the business.

"In measurement, accuracy is the name of the game and we are now in a different league. By working with the ESI team to solve this problem, we expect to maintain our market lead in China and steal a fundamental technical advantage over our competitors."

Professor Stuart Townley, chairman of the ESI's applied mathematics, said: "Magnets are used in an almost endless range of products and devices, from medical instruments to data storage to food production. Therefore, the benefits of this collaboration could be far-reaching.

"It was very gratifying to see our knowledge of what was essentially a classical mathematical problem being adapted to something that is of real commercial benefit to a local business."

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