Accurate metal alloy identification is critical throughout the lifecycle of metals-based products. As technology and materials continue to evolve, quality assurance (QA/QC) is increasingly imperative in industrial applications. Alloying elements provide the foundation of a metal’s composition and determine the physical and mechanical properties. Therefore, accurate metal alloy identification is essential to any industry involved with manufacturing, integration or the recycling or reuse of metal-based products.
Metal Alloy Identification in Scrap Metal Recycling
Alloy scrap recycling is a major industry with a large global economic and environmental impact as documented by the rise and fall of metals prices and diminishing natural resources required for metals production. Scrap recycling centers are most often the primary source for metal recycling efforts. Scrap yards accept metal-based products and components from a variety of sources. For maximum profit, recyclers must verify elemental composition in order to accurately separate scrap by alloy grade before it is resold to a foundry or steel mill. This type of operation is known as alloy scrap sorting.
Metal Alloy Verification as Part of a QA/QC Program
Numerous industries require accurate metal alloy verification. In industries where safety is mission critical, the elemental composition of all metal-based materials, products, or components must be verified before being released for production or assembly. Regulatory and company safety policies often require reverification of the alloy grades after a product or component has been fabricated, is installed or has been in place for a period of time to ensure that the specific elemental composition has not changed due to industrial processes or environmental factors. Examples of such industries are:
- Fabrication / Machine Shops
- Power Generation
The Need for Metal Alloy Verification
Positive 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 immediate issues or long-term risk. It is reported that as much as 3% of rogue material will make its way into critical process equipment due to a number of factors.
PMI with an handheld analyzer is a great option for confirming the alloy or type of large batches of material, testing finished components, re-certifying materials, and evaluating materials that cannot be destroyed or shipped to a lab.
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.
With 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 the QA/QC market a safe and easy to use alternative to incumbent technologies.
Anatomy of handheld for PMI testing:
- Single-handed operation.
- Quick keys allow you the functionality you need to operate and evaluate results with one hand.
- Single Trigger pull to results
- No guesswork or training need for as to how long to hold the trigger for. Pull the trigger, let go and get a result.
- Multiple data entry capabilities
- Virtual keypad, populated pulldown menus, barcode reader and macro camera for easily entering key information needed for proving verification.
- USB, Wifi connectivity
- Remotely access data anywhere over the Wifi network to get verification report. No waiting to connect analyzer to download data, no waiting to release material
- On-board system verification
- System check and stainless steel 316 provided to enable daily documentation of your analyzer’s performance.