Firms are tightening their quality assurance (QA) processes using materials analyzers following the mis-certification scandals across the world.
News of companies providing false certification in various fields, from metal grading through to emissions testing, has recently shaken the industry. In cases where suppliers have supplied mislabeled products, this only resulted in emphasizing the significance of positive material identification (PMI) as part of a robust QA policy to prevent catastrophic results such as reputation loss, penalties, and finally even human fatality.
That does not mean that suppliers shouldn’t be trusted, but a trust-but-verify approach for incoming inspection of goods and stock control is one that will safeguard the company and its reputation, irrespective of what other firms might do.
If manufacturers and OEMs use handheld analyzers such as Hitachi High-Tech’s X-MET8000 or Vulcan, it could save them a lot of issues, as well as the cost of recalls and the associated damage to brands when mislabeled raw materials are used. Shipments which bear the incorrect certification or grade information could be rapidly identified with handheld analyzers.
A Choice of Technologies
Different technology is used by X-MET8000 and Vulcan to quickly analyze metal samples.
Vulcan — the laser induced breakdown spectrometry (LIBS) analyzer — is very fast, delivering a reading for most metals in just one second. Although Vulcan is very robust, with a low cost of ownership, it leaves a small mark on the sample where the test was taken.
The handheld analyzer X-MET8000 has a similar profile like Vulcan, but it identifies materials using X-ray fluorescence (XRF). It is more accurate, non-destructive, and can also detect an extensive range of alloys and elements. Since both are similarly priced, the choice of analyzer depends on key requirements.
In order to achieve 100% PMI, companies are introducing an X-MET8000 or a Vulcan analyzer to their quality assurance processes.
Managing Risk and Cost
Eventually, these companies are safeguarding themselves from potentially serious outcomes. For instance, GT Factors is a company that makes ratchet straps for the freight industry. When they tested their samples with a Vulcan analyzer, they found out that a supplier had sent them stainless steel samples that were labeled incorrectly. If they had used a product that was weaker and more susceptible to corrosion, it could have been disastrous both for their customers and the company’s reputation.
Although purchasing a Vulcan or an X-MET8000 instrument involves some up-front cost, many companies find that the analyzers quickly pay their way. They provide reassurance and eliminate the need to depend on a third-party testing company, and the cost and time associated with that. The analyzers are lightweight, compact and rugged, and deliver accurate results quickly. They also have a battery life that lasts all day. Both Vulcan and X-MET8000 are user-friendly and require very little training. In addition, Wi-Fi connectivity makes it easy to upload, store, and use the results in QC reporting systems.
This makes the X-MET8000 or Vulcan handheld analyzers an ideal tool to help users enhance their PMI procedures.
This information has been sourced, reviewed and adapted from materials provided by Hitachi High-Tech Analytical Science.
For more information on this source, please visit Hitachi High-Tech Analytical Science.