What do we mean when we talk about quality control? Essentially, it’s a series of checks and balances that we use to either avoid errors or identify them early enough so they can be fixed before they cause problems. Most companies have quality control procedures in place to not only ensure the reliability of the products they sell, but to also help create a culture of safety, and to encourage their staff to work efficiently and profitably. When it comes to steel, quality control is absolutely critical, as many steel products are used in the construction, automotive and aviation industries. Failure of a part in these circumstances is not an option.
Of course, because we’re human, we make mistakes. These are always unintentional, but they need to be corrected. This is why we have quality control systems in place. In the metal industry, checks and inspections of the materials, processes and procedures are essential, as weaknesses can cause a ripple effect of failure. Even major errors in one operation might not be picked up until the following operation has been performed. Faults have to be identified immediately or they will significantly impact the life of the component. This is not only costly, but also has the potential to be extremely dangerous.
This is why Positive Material Identification, or PMI, must be performed at multiple stages throughout the various manufacturing and testing processes.
The Role of PMI In Steel Quality Control
As little as 200 years ago, there were just 12 known metals. Today, there are 86 – and that’s not including alloys and steel types! PMI helps people choose the right materials for their particular application from this vast, and often confusing, market. Essentially, PMI is the process by which metals experts use specific tools to identify the chemical composition of a metal or alloy. This means any discrepancies or errors can be identified on the spot – before expensive mistake occur.
The primary benefit of steel quality control is to ensure that the correct specified material is used for its intended application. Knowing the exact composition and grade of an alloy, for example, means suppliers, plant workers and others can make sure they’re using the alloy that has the properties they require, such as durability, heat resistance and corrosion resistance, among others. Although steel alloys are very similar when it comes to composition, they respond differently to corrosive chemicals and higher temperatures. This is why you must make sure you’re using the correct alloy for the job intended.
At Steelmor’s extensive manufacturing premises in Benoni, Gauteng, we have two Spectro Port PMI Machines, ensuring unmatched accuracy when it comes to steel quality control. These robust tools analyse the composition of most alloys in as little as two seconds, and can identify alloys containing light elements in seven seconds. These machines’ standard calibration captures alloys and precious metals for 16 matrices with 46 elements.
As you can see, we take the quality of our work extremely seriously, so if you’re looking for a reliable, knowledgeable partner for your next project, contact us today.