The materials testing you do today to meet external regulations and your own internal quality policies is likely to need to change in the near future. If your analysis equipment is just good enough now, it may well be out-of-date in 12 months.
So how can you make sure you invest in equipment that’s going to be up to the job for several years?
None of us can predict the future, but we can look at trends in the wider landscape that are driving the need for new regulations and stringent in-house testing procedures.
The fear of using the wrong material and difficulties in pin-pointing the original source of materials is leading to more companies adopting a 100% PMI strategy. To cope with this level of testing, you’ll need equipment that’s truly portable with fast testing times. The software should be upgradable to keep up with new types of alloy once they become commercially available.
The list of substances that are harmful to the environment, or to human and animal life, is already very long. Research into the effects of substances on food-chains and water-courses is ongoing. The trend here is that acceptable limits of hazardous substances are likely to get lower.
A good example of this is the imminent IMO2020 regulation for marine fuel where a 0.5% sulfur cap will apply to fuel from January 2020 globally. To comply, ship owners and port authorities may have to test fuel to check for sulfur content at these low concentrations.
Ensuring the equipment you purchase has the lowest possible detection limits will help to ensure you can screen for trace elements at low concentrations.
Many other steps are being taken that have a knock-on effect on the testing you are likely to do in-house. For example, the aviation and automotive industries are looking for lightweight components to reduce fuel consumption and carbon emissions. This results in a movement towards lighter-weight alloys and new alloy chemistries that promise increased strength at smaller cross-sections.
The ability to correctly identify and check the composition of complex alloys relies on the capability and accuracy of your analyser. Choosing an instrument that is capable of detecting a wide range of elements at high accuracy will help you keep up with new material innovation.
To demonstrate compliance to each regulation, strict data management is essential, and with an increasing amount of readings being taken, a robust data management system is needed.
If you’re taking field measurements for soil analysis, or permanent structures such as pipelines, recording the precise location via GPS is essential too. Ensuring your analyser can fully integrate into a cloud-based data management system will help you cope with large data sets. Easy access to stored records from a secure cloud-based system will help at audit time.
Highly accurate instruments within a robust casing, they offer the lowest possible detection limits possible for the specific analysis method. They are also upgradable, in terms of software and hardware, ensuring your instrument stays up to date.
Our range of handheld instruments include integration with our ExTOPE Connect data management system. This allows you to store your results safely, share data instantly and access data in real-time from any computer. It also includes a GPS location coordinates for measurements, so you can record the precise location where every measurement was made. This is invaluable when working in the field or on-site.
In many cases, getting the most from your equipment now and in the future is about choosing the right type of analyser for your application. Talk to our experts today and we’ll help you make the right decision.