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How to Determine the Appropriate Mobile or Handheld Metal Analyzer for On-the-Spot Metal Testing Tasks

For metal producers, processors, recyclers, contractors and others, continuous quality control plays a key role in establishing the identity and composition of various metals and alloys from initial melt to finished product or end use. Metals and alloys need to be accurately sorted, identified, and verified at each stage of the process to make certain they meet specific customer and/or industry requirements for physical and chemical composition.

For businesses that perform metal production, processing, recycling, or service contracting, an alloy mix-up at the shipping dock or on the factory floor risks an expensive, inconvenient batch rework or the possibility of a catastrophic loss of business. Fortunately, metal inspection has been made easy, accurate and affordable with the availability of portable, mobile optical emission spectroscopic (OES) metal analyzers and handheld X-ray fluorescence spectrometers.

When it comes to metals specifications, the news is full of reports of mistakes, mismeasurements and other related scandals by a host of industries. It’s increasingly clear that quality-conscious organizations can’t afford to hand off responsibility for metals verification. The inspection of the metal makeup of incoming and outgoing components is a critical quality control (QC) task for companies worldwide.

While the focus of this article is on steels, non-ferrous alloy users are confronted with similar situations and are required to perform similar testing tasks. Some steel products are easy to analyze. For many suppliers and end users, testing with a handheld X-ray fluorescence (XRF) or simple handheld optical emission spectrometry (OES) analyzer is adequate. Their size and relatively low initial costs have created great interest in these handheld analyzers, which produce fast results for on-the-spot alloy identification, grade sorting or verification.

In many cases, the presence or absence of an alloying element in a steel component is critical to its performance but impossible to detect by physically inspecting the item. Positive material identification (PMI) has become accepted practice for the process and equipment supply industries. The industry-standard approach for achieving efficient PMI is via elemental analysis of the materials.

Slag Analyzer presents a uniquely compact and reliable WDXRF platform configured with Thermo Scientific SmartGonio for analysis of slags and pig iron. This small but powerful instrument comes with factory installed calibration for slags using Jernkontoret standards. Its quick start-up, ease of use, and analytical flexibility provide unparalleled value for iron & steel laboratories.

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