Celebrate World Quality Day in Metal-Related Operations

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World Quality Day is an annual event held on the second Thursday of November to recognise the contributions of quality professionals across the globe. Various sources report that it was started by The Chartered Quality Institute (CQI), a global professional body advancing the practice of quality management in all sectors.

To help celebrate the day, Thermo Fisher Scientific has gathered their top ten blog articles about technology that helps ensure quality in the steel, fabrication, jewellery, and other metal-related industries:

1. Adjusting Rolling Speed and Thickness to Help Ensure Metal Strip Quality
Because it is used in so many different products and industries, sheet metal endures cutting, bending,  drilling of holes for screws and bolts, welding, riveting, and soldering.  Not only does the ‘recipe’ of the material need to be correct, but the thickness of the metal strip must be exact as well. Many believe that metal strip quality begins in the meltshop, and that is not far from the truth. Controlling the chemistry and thermal history of the steel not only assures the grade produced will meet the mechanical properties desired of the final product, but that the strip will handle the tons of pressure and tensions of the high speed rolling process.

2. Maintaining Dimensional Quality in the Hot Strip Mill
Consistent mill processes are necessary for efficiently producing the highest quality steel. Optimising mill operations requires analysing volumes of data from a number of process variables. If there are any questions regarding the final quality of the supplied product, modern data archiving allows producers to review recorded process parameters starting from its origins in the liquid phase to its final pass in the cold mill. Any dimensional abnormalities in the rolling process can be traced upstream ultimately to the hot strip mill. The hot strip steel mill is universally considered one of the harshest environments for process instrumentation and sensors but as the material speed and temperature increases, so does the importance of the measurement values.

3. VIDEO: How Do You Check the Quality of A Large Outdoor Metal Tank
Watch this 2-minute video, to see how a large processing tank manufacturer helps ensure the tanks they have manufactured are made of the appropriate metal or alloy. Using a handheld XRF analyser throughout their manufacturing process as well as in their outdoor holding area, you can watch a representative quality check a Stainless Steel 304 tank jacket before it gets to the customer.

4. Can Contaminants in Silver Adversely Affect the Quality of Jewellery?
Sterling silver is the standard of quality for articles containing 92.5% silver and 7.5% copper (and/or other alloys).  However, recycled silver may contain other metals that are detrimental to the finished piece. The possible origins of the recycled silver could be photographic wastes, films, dental alloys, spent catalysts, and electronics. With the help of portable x-ray fluorescence (XRF) analysis, these and many other elements can be identified and quantified at the various stages of jewellery production steps (from raw material acceptance, to characterization of the re-melts, and final product quality control).

5. Raw Materials Quality Control for Steel Manufacturing
Precise feeding of process materials is critical to maintaining product quality in steelmaking but measuring and ensuring steel raw material quality control can be challenging. To overcome some of these challenges, there are technologies that help monitor raw material feed with conveyor belt scale systems, weighbelt feeders, and online elemental analysers to analyse the raw material process stream, and moisture online analysers to help optimize blast furnace performance.

6. XPS Helps Manufacturers Maintain the Quality of High Performance Materials
Material integrity is of particular importance in stainless steel products. If inferior metals are used in the manufacture of airplane parts, for example, costly or even catastrophic consequences may result. A critical factor to consider is the corrosion resistance of the steel. The surface chemistry of stainless steel is strongly influenced by the chemical or mechanical processing of that surface.  Corrosion prevention is a major goal of any steel manufacturing process. This is often achieved through passivation, the process of coating a metal with a protective oxide. This process is critical to the performance of the metal and if performed incorrectly can actually induce corrosion.

7. Quality of Galvanised Steel Might Depend on Zinc Coating Weight
The final quality of galvanised steel strip depends on various aspects such as material surface, zinc adhesion, and uniform coating weight.  Proper substrate cleaning and strip temperature control govern the first two parameters, but the third, coating weight, is often measured too late in the process to correct. In fact, many producers verify hot dip zinc coating weight after the coil exits the mill.  At this point, if the results are unacceptable the entire coil must be downgraded or scrapped — causing delays, wasted raw materials, and expense.

8. XRF Provides Quality Assurance of Critical Fasteners
In critical applications such as aerospace manufacturing, fasteners made with the wrong alloy can result in costly or even catastrophic consequences, as evidenced in documented cases of counterfeit fasteners in industry. If fasteners used in critical applications such as in the manufacture of airplane parts are not made with the precise alloy required, they cannot support the weight and stresses they are designed to bear. Inspection and verification of metal alloys used in fasteners can be quickly and easily accomplished using handheld x-ray fluorescence (XRF) analysers. Advances in handheld XRF technology have expanded to the point that today’s analysers are capable of distinguishing alloy grades that are nearly identical in composition to one another.

9. Optical Emission Spectrometry Provides Quality Control in Lead-Acid Battery Manufacturing
Lead is often alloyed with other metals depending on its specific use. Lead-acid car batteries are made from alloys containing either calcium or antimony which must be combined in exact percentages to produce the desired qualities in the finish product. Elemental analysis instrumentation is a critical part of lead-acid battery manufacturing to be certain that the appropriate alloy content and quality standards are being met. Furthermore, with so much lead coming from recycled sources, it is also important to verify the composition of recycled lead and rule out the presence of contaminants.

10. Understanding the Material Integrity is Paramount for a Long-Lasting Pipe Repair
What would you do if you were a petrochemical company and had a 2,000 lb. steel elbow on a pipeline that needed to be repaired, but you didn’t know the exact chemistry and grade of the metal? The metal’s properties such as weld-ability and heat or corrosion resistance depend on the carbon content in steel. Carbon works as a hardening agent. Increasing carbon content increases hardness and strength, but increases brittleness. Powered by laser induced breakdown spectroscopy, handheld LIBS analysers specialise in carbon analysis for grading various material types. They are especially useful for verifying the composition of piping, valves, and reaction vessels in seconds, with the lowest LODs available, and for calculating carbon equivalency to determine the weld-ability of piping materials.

American engineer and quality expert W. Edwards Deming is quoted as saying: “It is not enough to do your best; you must know what to do, and then do your best.”  Hopefully these articles can further your knowledge as to what to do, in order to produce the best quality products.

Blog, Metals, XRF