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).
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.
The MAG Industrial Training Institute will provide API RP 578 Training to Regional Refining Communities Across the USA and Worldwide
The MAG Industrial Training Institute will provide PMI Training Program to support void in PMI Qualification & Certification
The MAG Industrial Training Institute will provide Technical Training to support growing demand for Personnel Certification
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 :)