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QA/QC of Metal Alloys in Fabrication/Machine Shops

QA/QC of Metal Alloys in Fabrication/Machine ShopsPositive Material Identification or PMI is vital to a company’s QA/QC process.  Whatever the industry, whatever the component, verifying the identification of a metal alloy can save a company’s reputation and can save lives.  The wrong metal alloy used in the wrong application or installation can cause either immediate issues or long-term risk.  It has been widely reported that a significant amount of rogue material will make its way into mission critical applications due to a number of factors: 

  • Producer applies the incorrect material stamp to a material
  • Fabricator uses unmarked, unknown material
  • Material traceability is not maintained during fabrication
  • Warehouse stocks inventory in the wrong location
  • Material is marked or tagged incorrectly 
  • Component is not properly verified and documented 

When it comes to the material being utilized in a critical application, even a single wrong piece can be one too many!  A customer asking their fabrication or machine shop to verify batches of all metal alloy material of any shape and size can seem a daunting task.  An aerospace or petrochemical customer will demand the shop verifies 100% of the material being fabricated. 

PMI is a great option for confirming the alloy of large batches of material, testing finished components, re-certifying materials, and evaluating materials that cannot be destroyed or shipped to a lab.  

Handheld analyzers for PMI are not new.  For decades, manufacturers have attempted to satisfy the specific needs of inspectors, managers, and incoming QA/QC personnel with tools that appeared at first glance, to be safe and easy to use, but were actually complicated and required more user interference than expected.

QA/QC of Metal Alloys in Fabrication/Machine ShopsWith those limitations in mind, Rigaku launched the KT Series to satisfy these unique metal verification requirements.  Equipped with a laser instead of an X-ray tube, the KT-100S LIBS analyzer gives metal fabricators and machine shops a safe and easy to use alternative to incumbent technologies.   

Anatomy of a Handheld Analyzer for PMI testing:

  1. Single-handed operation.  
    1. Quick keys allow you the functionality you need to operate and evaluate results with one hand.
  2. Single Trigger pull to results
    1. No guesswork or training need for as to how long to hold the trigger for or whether or not the analyzer beeped. Pull the trigger, let go and get a result.  Your SOP can be that simple!
  3. Multiple data entry capabilities
    1. Virtual keypad, populated pulldown menus, barcode reader and macro camera for easily entering key information needed for proving verification.
  4. USB, Wifi connectivity
    1. Remotely access data anywhere over the Wifi network to get verification reports.  No waiting to connect analyzer to download data, no waiting to release material
  5. On-board system verification
    1. System check utilizing the provided stainless steel 316 enables daily documentation of your analyzer’s performance.