We are excited to announce two new distribution partnerships to further our support for industrial professionals in the metals supply chain.
Boots are best for working outside. Tennis shoes are best for the gym. Sandals are best for the beach.
Sometimes, though, footwear styles overlap each other. Maybe you need tennis shoes for working outside or sandals in the gym’s locker room. It all depends on the application.
The same can be said about positive material identification (PMI) testing techniques. There are three primary technologies you can use to carry out PMI testing. Test methods for PMI include:
We are excited to announce the launch of our MAG Premier Equipment Access service to support the replacement of capital expenditure purchasing models (CAPEX) with multi-year subscription agreements managed as operating expenses (OPEX).
If only life had 5 tips for quality results like PMI testing does; we would all be killing it!
Fortunately, for us metal heads, there are 5 clear-cut solutions to producing quality PMI testing results.
Positive Material Identification (PMI) testing is the analysis of materials to determine the chemical composition of a metal or alloy during alloy manufacturing, fabrication, installation or in-process inspection.
The Rolling Stones or The Beatles? Spiderman or Batman? iPhone or Android?
Is there a winner in each of these classic match-ups? Maybe.
What we know for sure, though, is there are differences. There’s a time and place for the Stones, just as there’s a time and place for Paul, John, George, and Ringo.
The same goes for the handheld Laser-Induced Breakdown Spectrometer (LIBS) and handheld X-ray Fluorescence (XRF). Yes, both technologies are used for positive material identification (PMI). But, in certain circumstances, one is better to use over the other. You have to be familiar with the strengths and weaknesses of each.
If you’re a metal maniac like me, I’m assuming you know about handheld XRF and what a staple it is in Positive Material Identification (and if not, here’s a handy article about that).
But there is another method that is perfectly capable of doing many PMI testing applications for metal identification, and it is, without doubt, a super cost-effective option.
RIgaku KT-100S handheld LIBS analyzer
Is it better than XRF? Like everything else in life, it depends. Read on and make the call for yourself.
There have been a handful of truly revolutionary inventions throughout history.
Fire. The wheel. Electricity. Donuts. The handheld XRF. No, I’m not over-exaggerating!
In all reality, the handheld XRF really has done a lot for positive material identification (PMI). That’s why I feel it’s important for manufacturers to understand how it works and why we use it.
Olympus Vanta Element Handheld XRF
The big question I’m setting out to answer today is…
What is handheld XRF and why is it so popular for positive material identification (PMI)? Handheld X-ray fluorescence (XRF) is a widespread technique used to determine the elemental composition of a material, normally a metallic alloy. Compared to previously available techniques, the lower cost, speed, handheld design, and flexibility of testing led handheld XRF analysis to quick and widespread adoption for PMI testing.
There’s the “quick” answer. But, of course, there’s a little more to it.
The manufacturing industry has little to no tolerance for error. That means suppliers often need to know the exact composition of the metallic alloys they’re dealing with.
Portable optical emission spectrometers (OES) have gained popularity in PMI testing. This is likely due to their portability and ability to provide the full chemistry of a metal including true carbon measurement.
QLX1 Portable LIBS Laser OES from QuantoLux
In this post, we’ll cover questions around portable OES including:
What is an optical emission spectrometer (OES)? An optical emission spectrometer, or OES, is a spark- or laser-based system designed to accurately determine the elemental composition of metals by burning the metal surface and measuring the light wave emissions coming from the plasma created.
And specifically for portable OES:
- History of portable optical emission spectrometers
- Pros and cons of using portable optical emission spectrometers for PMI
- Costs of using portable optical emission spectrometers for PMI
- Mistakes to avoid when using a portable optical emission spectrometer
- Portable optical emission spectrometer brands
It’s tough for me to hear about accidents in the news caused by faulty parts and materials.
Take, for example, the most recent SpaceX dilemma that caused Elon Musk’s rocket company to cut ties with PMI Industries. Because of falsified metal tests, faulty parts were shipped to SpaceX in order to build their Falcon 9 and other Falcon Heavy rockets.
"Failure to comply with quality control measures undermines the integrity of essential equipment and technology." - U.S. Attorney James P. Kennedy, Jr.
It’s possible that as many as 10 of SpaceX’s government missions have been impacted by the defective materials, including those with NASA, the Air Force, and NOAA.
That’s a preventable blunder with a huge impact. PMI Industries is now out of business.
Luckily, SpaceX had multiple points in the supply chain where PMI testing took place. They were able to identify at 76 individual parts that were rejected before making it to the final mission. Well done, SpaceX.
With the right positive material identification (PMI) testing in place, fatal disasters can be avoided.
That’s why I’ve dedicated this series of The Manufacturing Show to #MastersofPMI.
Today I want to share the Top 5 Reasons you should trade-in your handheld XRF.
1. Avoid Costly Repairs and Lower the Cost of Ownership
If you have ever had to pay for a repair to your handheld XRF, you know exactly what I am talking about. With expensive, fragile components like X-ray tubes & detectors, repairs can cost upwards of