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New Technology Supports Railroads' Predictive Maintenance

April 20, 2006

Material Technologies' electrochemical sensor enables metal fatigue detection, measurement, and monitoring.


LOS ANGELES, Calif. /MARKET WIRE/ -- Material Technologies, Inc. (MATECH) announced that it has received strong interest from worldwide railroad organizations concerning its patented Electrochemical Fatigue Sensor (EFS) system.

Railroads, both domestic and international, are always challenged to maintain assets that are constantly subjected to heavy fatigue loads. Repeated loadings can cause cracking in essential metal components. The EFS system can detect actively growing cracks as small as 0.01 in.—faults much smaller than those detected by any other practical inspection system. These EFS attributes make it desirable for railroad applications.

MATECH will be demonstrating its EFS system at the Association of American Railroads Transportation Technology Center, Inc. (TTCI) in Pueblo, CO in early May 2006. The demonstration, which will showcase EFS capabilities to both domestic and international railroads, will provide a unique opportunity for all parties involved. Dr. Brent Phares, MATECH's Director of Marketing, said, "TTCI has unique testing facilities that will allow us to clearly show the capabilities of the EFS. We are excited for the opportunity because of the interest that this demonstration has brought together."

The EFS is the only nondestructive testing technology that can find growing cracks in metals and cracks below the surface as small as 0.010 in. This critical information will allow engineers to fix the problems in most need of repair and verify that repairs are effective in halting further fatigue crack growth. By being able to prioritize needed repairs using EFS, significant cost savings can be realized.

Interest in MATECH's EFS system has been spurred by the recent $286 billion Federal Transportation Bill, which allocated $5 million to help states evaluate nondestructive methods, such as EFS, to test growing fatigue cracks in steel bridges. The nation's aging bridge infrastructure is a major cause for concern, with more than 100,000 of the 200,000 steel bridges in the U.S. classified as structurally deficient or functionally obsolete, according to the Federal Highway Administration.

MATECH (MATECH@att.net) is engaged in the research and development of metal fatigue detection, measurement, and monitoring technologies. As such, the company has developed a suite of devices for the nondestructive testing of metal fatigue and monitoring of structural integrity. These technologies can be applied in virtually any industry in which metal is a significant structural component (i.e., bridges, aerospace, railroad, oil and gas, construction, and shipping).


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