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 LIBS for Positive Material Identification: Better Than XRF?

Posted by Chris Carolan on Apr 23, 2020 6:00:00 AM

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.

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Topics: Aluminum, LIBS, Metals Manufacturing, QAQC, API 578, PMI, Inspection, Scrap Metal, Masters of PMI

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

Top 5 Reasons You Should Trade-In Your Handheld XRF

Posted by Chris Carolan on Feb 28, 2020 9:15:00 AM

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 

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Topics: Aluminum, Trade-In, LIBS, Metals Manufacturing, XRF, PMI, Inspection, Scrap Metal

Top 5 Ways You Will Profit Using Handheld LIBS for Scrap Metal Sorting

Posted by Colt Carolan on Feb 26, 2020 11:38:50 AM

Handheld LIBS has been around for the better part of a decade but there are still many scrappers out there that either don't know what it is or don't believe in the benefits.

For starters, LIBS guns use a laser, instead of x-ray radiation, for scrap metal sorting.

But I get it. Handheld XRF has been around awhile and is a tried-and-true technology. It's the safe play when the new, laser-based option rolls into the yard promising you the world.

I am not here to promise you the world. Handheld XRF still has its place in some yards, but we are seeing more and more customers see great results after using Handheld LIBS for Scrap Metal Sorting. So what keeps them happy when it comes to LIBS? Utility, Safety, and Profitability.

For that reason, I urge you to consider adding it to your metal testing toolbox so you can reap these 5 benefits:

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Topics: Aluminum, KT-100S, LIBS, Scrap Metal

Metal Analysis Group Sets PMI Testing Standard: Offers First Ever Qualification & Certification Program for Positive Material Identification

Posted by Quan Collins on Dec 6, 2019 12:45:00 PM


The MAG Industrial Training Institute will provide PMI Training Program to support void in PMI Qualification & Certification

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Topics: LIBS, Metals Manufacturing, QAQC, XRF, OES, Training, PMI, Inspection

Bridging the Industrial Skills Gap: New Training Institute for Technical Training

Posted by Erika Pfeiffer on Nov 1, 2019 5:03:33 PM

The MAG Industrial Training Institute will provide Technical Training to support growing demand for Personnel Certification

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Topics: LIBS, Metals Manufacturing, QAQC, XRF, OES, Training, API 578, PMI

WESTEC 2019 Recap: LIBS in Long Beach

Posted by Chris Carolan on Oct 4, 2019 6:14:57 AM


This was my first time at this event. A much larger event than I am used to attending, I walked into the large event space at the Long Beach Convention Center on Monday morning with my MAG colleague, Troy Robertson. The Rigaku Analytical Devices (RAD) booth is simple, clean, and easy to set up. It took us about 15 minutes or so to setup. Lucky us :)

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Topics: News, KT-100S, LIBS, Metals Manufacturing, QAQC