Which PMI Testing Technique Should You Use? LIBS vs. OES vs. XRF

Posted by Chris Carolan on Jun 4, 2020 6:00:00 AM

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.


Work Boots - Lonely Island


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:

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Topics: LIBS, OES, API 578, Masters of PMI, Handheld XRF

Quality PMI Testing: 5 Tips to Ensure Trusted, Consistent Results

Posted by Chris Carolan on May 21, 2020 6:00:00 AM

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.


waynes world head banging metal heads


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.

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Topics: LIBS, XRF, OES, API 578, PMI, Inspection, Masters of PMI, Handheld XRF

Lasers or X-rays: 7 Key Differences of Handheld LIBS vs XRF

Posted by Chris Carolan on May 7, 2020 6:00:00 AM

The Rolling Stones or The Beatles? Spiderman or Batman? iPhone or Android?

Is there a winner in each of these classic match-ups? Maybe.


Beatles or Stones


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.

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Topics: LIBS, Metals Manufacturing, QAQC, PMI, Inspection, Masters of PMI, Handheld XRF

Handheld XRF for PMI Testing: An Honest Review

Posted by Chris Carolan on Apr 9, 2020 6:00:00 AM

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.

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Topics: Metals Manufacturing, QAQC, API 578, PMI, Inspection, Scrap Metal, Masters of PMI, Handheld XRF

What is PMI Testing (Positive Material Identification)?

Posted by Chris Carolan on Mar 5, 2020 6:00:00 AM

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.


via Unsplash

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.

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Topics: LIBS, Metals Manufacturing, QAQC, OES, API 578, PMI, Inspection, Masters of PMI, Handheld XRF

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