Carlos Díez, Pablo Martínez and Pablo Gómez studied Physics together at the University of Cantabria and had known each other since childhood, but their careers as entrepreneurs started unexpectedly. In 2013, Gómez was researching for his doctorate how to improve corrosion measurement in blast furnaces. Thanks to an intuition of his thesis supervisor, who to overcome a technical difficulty suggested that he ask his two friends for his research on the muon —An unknown physical actor that results from solar radiation— the three ended up embarking on a project that aims to find commercial applications for this innocuous cosmic particle.
Muons have a property that promises great benefits: its high capacity to penetrate surfaces, which enables them to “complete measurements that are made with other diagnostic methods,” says Gómez on video call. “And this without coming into conflict with these procedures, because where the muons are effective, they fail, and vice versa. For instance, they are not as accurate as X-rays, but in large and dense industrial equipment they are better, because they drill more ”, he adds. Used for this advantage to solve practical needs for half a century – they were used in the 1960s to locate, without success, hidden cameras in one of the pyramids of Giza – they had proven their effectiveness in areas such as border security or the inspection of nuclear waste when these three entrepreneurs created Muon Systems. “We think that the best way to start was to look for contracts with companies to offer them customized solutions that would solve current market needs and eventually allow us to have our own products,” says Díez, and explains that his decision to start in the metallurgical field was influenced by financial support and making plants available to the Fundación Repsol.
Thanks to three powerful clients in this sector, in 2020 the company had a turnover of 70,000 euros and for this year it expects to at least double its turnover, as projects with these companies move to more advanced phases. They develop so much software What hardware —A pair of detectors that record the trajectories of the muon beams before and after passing through the objects — and Díez argues that his bet will be financially profitable for the client. “Much of the offer in which we work today corresponds to research groups and in them the low price matters less than the precision”.
They do not foresee short-term benefits, but they believe that in 2023 they will have their first solutions on the market, they will have increased equipment (now there are four) and they will increase capital, —they have received half a million, including a grant of 80,000 euros from the CDTI through the program Neotec.