The Importance of an OES in Quality Control of Metal Production

Steel production on average is responsible for around 4 to 5% of the total energy consumption of countries found internationally.

Disruptions to the melting process can quickly result in increasing costs and decreasing outputs, even if new processes and technologies in steel making are reducing energy costs. The effects of failing equipment can result in days of delays, particularly if a company is reliant on a single optical emission spectrometer (OES) for production control.

Don’t Let Analytical Equipment Become a Bottleneck

Having a high-quality instrument as a backup ensures that productivity is not lost even where the regular instrument is unavailable for some time. While this seems obvious from an operational standpoint, the costs involved can commonly be seen as an issue.

Hitachi High-Tech’s OES instruments solve this challenge by providing metal and steel production companies the reliability and performance they need at a cost effective price.

The FOUNDRY-MASTER Smart and FM EXPERT are the ideal additions to any metal production operation, performing with great accuracy without the expense of a high-end OES instrument.

Reasons You Need a Backup

Most companies are reliant upon a large photo tube detector equipped OES as their main metal analysis instruments and are unsure whether to adopt smaller devices with charge-coupled device (CCD) technology into their operations.

There are several reasons for this. Firstly, smaller, but still efficient, instruments like the FOUNDRY-MASTER Smart and FM EXPERT have just become available in the past few years.

Secondly, most operators still think that smaller devices cannot match the 20 year life span of the bigger photo tube devices. While it is certainly true that in the past, CCD devices could only promise a lifetime of 10 years, more recent devices like the FOUNDRY-MASTER Smart and FM EXPERT are manufactured to be reliable and rugged long-term investments that create value through their lifecycle.

This article describes the main reasons that a mid-range spark spectrometer can be beneficial as an analysis backup:

Maintenance on Larger Devices Can Take Days

Fixing a larger device so that it is back up and running normally takes one or two days, as the maintenance of these machines can be complicated.

Even where a bigger-scale furnace or steel plant has more than one large photo tube unit, it is not likely that the units left behind will be able to absorb all the additional work of a broken unit alone. A  backup that is simple to use can help to reduce expensive bottlenecks in these events.

Smaller Devices are More Versatile

The versatile and lightweight features of smaller CCD instruments enables them to slot conveniently into any step within the production process and provide results that are of a high quality.

Whether there is a need to verify if the correct chemical composition has been achieved or whether additional alloying agents need to be included, or there is a need for an instrument to give the final quality control check, smaller instruments can perform these tasks just as efficiently as large photo tube units.

Smaller devices can also be utilized for various other tasks, where larger instruments cannot. Other uses include avoiding mix ups prior to delivery, inspecting delivered materials from suppliers, sorting items for damage analysis or disposal and making sure that process analytics are performed on furnaces.

The Results are High Quality

Once the FOUNDRY-MASTER Smart and FM EXPERT have been configured and tested for accuracy with a few control samples, they are ready to begin working.

A common set up of steel plant laboratories is to have a main laboratory for all special tasks and final samples, and smaller laboratories for the process control at the production sites near furnaces and converters. Frequently, each site is equipped with large photo tube OES instruments.

Certain German electric arc furnace steel plants with this common laboratory set up have tested Hitachi High-Tech CCD instruments to provide back-up process control. They even faced a hot test scenario during this process, where the main analyzer was fully out of operation.

Samples analyzed by Hitachi’s instrument were also analyzed by their existing large instrument in the main laboratory. The results from the two instruments were highly similar.

Entry Level Prices, High Level Performance

Ensuring that clients from around the world are working in the most efficient and productive way possible means providing them with various options when it comes to high quality and accurate metals analysis.

The FOUNDRY-MASTER Smart and FM EXPERT are versatile enough to benefit any step of the metal production process, allowing companies to limit the risk of unnecessary disruption and downtime.

With over 40 years of experience in providing effective analysis solutions, Hitachi has always focused on delivering solutions that benefit day-to-day operations the most. Having a backup that can easily fit into operations without decreasing resources ensures confidence in the operations.

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.

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