Top 5 metal analysis predictions for 2020

Technological innovations continue to drive the high-tech analysis solutions market. We now expect more from our analyzers but equally as analyzer manufacturers, we’re constantly developing our instruments to ensure they continue to deliver in the field, whether it’s to comply with new regulations, manage complex supply chains or meet new specifications.

For metals analysis, below are five predictions that will shake up the landscape in 2020:

1. The rise of affordable high-performance OES analysis

Tightening of industry regulations, complex supply chains and increased use of scrap as a base material means it’s crucial for foundries and metals manufacturers to control tramp and trace elements in the lowest ppm range. Historically, OES analysis at this level was out of reach for many businesses. But we’ve changed that this year. We introduced the OE750, the new ground-breaking optical emission spectrometer recently that’s actually affordable.

Equally if you are struggling to achieve top accuracy, especially with your optical emission spectrometer (OES), then Type Standardisation might be what you need. And we’ve got you covered with our quick how to guide to consistently achieve top accuracy.

However, if you aren’t familiar with OES technology – watch our Product Business Development Manager for OES, Wilhelm Sanders, explain it to you:


2. Metals quality control continues to be high on the agenda

The focus on quality, especially for 100% PMI in metal manufacturing, will continue in our view and our published articles around metal quality analysis have been the most popular. Our article on what is positive material identification (PMI) and why is it so important is a good starting point if you are new to materials analysis or looking to invest in an instrument. Ultimately, whatever the industry, the quest for product quality is universal.

With many analyzer options to choose from, we know that many companies are looking closely at the different analytical techniques available – LIBS, OES and XRF – and what they deliver. With demand for metal on the rise, we know as we move into 2020, the start of the budget year means many will be looking for new metal analyzers.

Equally in many countries, like the U.S, there are tax break advantages for small to medium businesses so be sure to take advantage of these opportunities. And if you need help, our experts are more than happy to have a chat with you.


3. The LIBS vs OES debate

We’ve seen a move for handheld laser technology, LIBS, being convenient for on-site PMI testing as light-weight, with analysers are capable of measuring carbon content in 2019.

In our experience however, handheld LIBS doesn’t give you the level of accuracy you need to be able to identify and sort your low-carbon steel with confidence in demanding environments. We’re starting to see customers revert to OES because handheld LIBS cannot meet the specs for API 5L for elements like phosphorous and sulfur to the right levels – less than 150ppm – which is critical to avoid incidents in safety critical environments.

This year we’ve talked about LIBS vs mobile OES and  what you need to consider if you’re thinking of buying a handheld LIBS analyser that can do carbon to help you make the right choice for your organisation.


4. The rise of LIBS technology

The latest of the three technologies, the rise of laser analyzers (laser induced breakdown spectroscopy) will play a bigger role in metal analysis.  Choosing a laser analyser over your trusted XRF analyser, might actually save you money as well as bring you instant productivity gains.

Most handheld LIBS analysers are used for fast sorting of alloys in scrap yards, incoming inspection, 100% PMI and alloy identification and analysis in various applications within the metals industry.

If you want to learn more about LIBS, watch our popular technology overview video or take our quiz to find out which technology is right for you.


5. Big data will play an important role

We’ve seen data emerge as a key resource for businesses in the last decade, and the metals industry is no different. Whilst investment has been made into process control and optimization, the industry has for many years lagged behind the likes of banking and media in its adoption of new digital technologies.

The pace is picking up though – with innovations in analytics, mobile solutions and automation delivering significant gains.


Our experts are always happy to help you and answer any questions you may have. Over the years, we’ve built up a wealth of knowledge that we share on our blog so you can improve your knowledge, but equally, do contact us if you’d want to talk to one of our experts.

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Date: 23 December 2019

Author: Laura Phimister, Global Marketing Communications Manager and EMEA Marketing Lead

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