In manufacturing operations, material mix-ups, lost (or even forged) certificates and stamps are an unfortunate reality. PMI (positive material identification) testing means that often from a batch of 500 incoming materials, only around five are tested. But this is changing.
Modern manufacturers are not just ‘makers’ according to the 2019 Manufacturing Trends Report, they are the glue that connects the entire lifecycle of a product. In order to thrive in this modern environment, they must rely upon technology increasingly more, to drive more intelligent operations and power breakthrough innovations.
The introduction of new technology for material analysis means more intelligent operations which permit productivity gains and increases in material and certification mix-ups, it is normal to test all 500 samples in a batch. This method is termed ‘100% PMI’ and within some manufacturing industries, such as automotive and aerospace, it is already common practice.
How to Implement 100% PMI
100% PMI is moving on from testing a few samples to carrying out hundreds or even thousands of measurements each day. On occasion, the materials are tested throughout manufacture on the factory floor in addition to raw material testing at goods-in. This results in two challenges: how to physically undertake the testing and how to ensure the results of the tests are recorded and stored correctly.
This could be deemed too costly because of the extra people and time that you would need to add to the production process. However, instead of increasing a workforce, simply changing the analyzer could be the solution.
For example, recent developments in laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy (LIBS), mean that the measurement times are as low as a second, with no concern for X-rays, so the sample can be held in hand, meaning the whole process is much quicker than compared to a handheld XRF (X-ray fluorescence) analyzer.
The main features to look for in an analyzer supporting 100% PMI:
- Accurate readings can be taken in seconds by non-technical operators
- Automatic recording and storage of large numbers of readings
- Fast response service agreement from the supplier to minimize downtime
- Low cost of ownership
- Connectivity for fast data transfer
- Portable device that can be taken to the material for testing, rather than the other way round
- Robust design suitable for a production environment that’s reliable
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.