WEMMA
West of England Metals and Materials Association
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Signature Materials - New Technologies to Deter Metal Theft

David Arthur, Project Manager of Signature Materials

Venue: Bath University, Building 8 W Room 2.1 (8W2.1)

Wednesday April 16th, 2014 at 19:30

To reduce the incidence of metal theft Signature Materials® has successfully developed a technique to provide a permanent identity mark to the surface of lead and other metals used in building structures and other applications. Each mark is physically engraved on the metal surface; this provides details of the building name, its post code and a unique reference number, often the English Heritage site reference code. With this information catalogued within a National Database (MaRC®), the Police, Border Control Agency, registered scrap dealers and other regulatory bodies can instantly identify the provenance of the material.

No additional materials are applied to the metal surfaces and, since the mark can be examined by eye, there is no separate requirement for forensic analysis. The marking technique was initially pioneered for use in aerospace and power generation industries and can be customised and consistently applied to suit each user’s needs. Signature Materials has the capability to mark both metals on existing infrastructure and new metals prior to their installation. Patent applications have been filed, and the technology is being actively developed to extend to other product forms and non-metallic materials.

A typical mark, applied to lead sheet for roofing, is shown below; this can be applied with confidence to both rolled and sand-cast lead. The mark is uniformly distributed over the surface to ensure that there is no material change to the structure and that the aesthetics of the building are preserved. Examples of use at larger sites, and across smaller structures, are illustrated.

Members and non-members are welcome.

Applications of anti-theft markers
Security code Application of security code Lead church roof Lead roof


David Arthur qualified with BSc from the then UMIST and a MPhil from Cranfield after which he worked for Davy Mckee (steel), IMI (titanium) and Manganese Bronze (metal powders). Since 1995 he worked for IOM and IOM3 in the Materials Information Service which he ran from 1997 to 2000. In 2000, he took over membership as Head of Member Services following the move of that function from London to Stoke. He handled the day-to-day work involved with the various mergers and all aspects of membership development and processing/admin. He had this role until 2011 when he became Head of Registration, responsible for licenced body activity e.g. Engineering Council, and compliance. In 2012 he returned to a technical role heading up the Signature Materials project for IOM3 as Project Manager. In the last 12 months we have developed this from concept to a proven business idea.

Portable and bench mounted equipment is available from the Signature Materials demonstrator facility at Grantham



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