PITTSBURGH, March 25, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- FEI (Nasdaq:FEIC) company today announced the new ASPEX CleanCHK™ analyzer – the first fully automated, electron beam-based particulate contamination monitor specifically-designed for automotive applications. The CleanCHK system allows automotive parts manufacturers to improve production line performance and reduce warranty costs. The system is easy to use and rugged enough to install right on the production floor, where it enables operators to react faster to achieve new standards of cleanliness. "The automotive industry is very sensitive to the performance of precision manufactured parts. Often parts fail due to particulate contamination that occurs in the manufacturing process and ends up in the engine," stated Rudy Kellner, vice president of FEI's Industry Group. "Automotive engines are getting smaller with tighter manufacturing tolerances. As a result, cleanliness standards are becoming more rigorous and cleanliness inspections have become a requirement rather than a luxury." CleanCHK is a fully-integrated solution that combines a scanning electron microscope (SEM) for high-resolution imaging and an X-ray spectrometer to determine elemental composition. Advanced software routines automatically detect and count particles and analyze particle size, shape and composition within minutes. Designed for easy use on the production floor by operators with no special training, the CleanCHK analyzer offers automated sample set-up, calibration and analysis; simplified menu-based operation; and the flexibility to report results in several industry standard formats. "The CleanCHK analyzer meets the specific ease-of use and reporting needs of the automotive industry, while at the same time, overcoming many of the limitations of traditional cleanliness monitoring methods, such as gravimetric analysis, optical microscopy, or light scattering," adds Kellner. "With the CleanCHK analyzer, our customers can detect and count particles as small as 0.5 microns, characterize their size and shape, and perhaps most importantly, determine their composition. This provides engineers with information about the source of the contamination, enabling them to determine possible solutions to fix the problem, with the end goal of reduced failure rates, recalls and, of course, costs."