How the rise in commodity prices has increased the importance of materials analysis in India

Over the past 50 years, industrial commodities like energy and metals have witnessed more upheavals and pronounced synchronization of prices than other commodities. Commodity prices have been volatile in the past 12 months, globally driven by a combination of factors including pickup in travel, China’s economic recovery and the Ukraine war. However, in the second quarter of 2022 inflationary pressure has brought commodity prices down whilst the world stares at a possible recession.

Prices of metals like copper, aluminum and zinc had shot up to record levels but have now dropped considerably. This pricing oscillation brings about too much uncertainty both at micro and macro levels, especially in the manufacturing scenario where metals either derived from primary or secondary sources, and wastage is not affordable or acceptable. Manufacturers place utmost importance on their materials testing program, striving to get it right the first time.

The market gurus predict that the looming recession might be good for the Indian economy as recession would mean easing commodity and oil prices. Factors like a robust infrastructure pipeline and the production-linked incentives (PLI) in strategic industry segments like auto components, electronics and pharma are helping the businesses in India as India is rising significantly in the global rankings to become a favored investment and manufacturing destination. Manufacturing companies are adding capacities due to robust returns and as number of foreign companies are moving areas of manufacturing to India.

India’s electronics manufacturing segment tightens its quality control processes

The electronics manufacturing hub is elevating demand for metals like copper, lithium, tin, silver, gold, nickel, and aluminum for use in the electrical and electronics manufacturing supply chains. Incoming quality inspection is crucial in this competitive industry to avoid costly reworks. The manufacturers also need to comply with stringent regulations of Restriction of Hazardous Substances (RoHS) needed for export and maintaining the global standards of quality and coatings thickness measurements are critical in production. Our X-ray fluorescence (XRF) analyzers like the handheld X-MET8000 and benchtop EA1000 series enable manufacturers to screen raw materials and final products for RoHS compliance.  

Domestic infrastructure boom spells increased importance on quality

Steel and steel products will be in high demand since there is emphasis on developing infrastructure all over India for executing these construction projects. In the construction segment, these structures are usually made up of different grades of steel and the chemical composition of the alloying elements needs to be verified to avoid cracks or failures of these structures resulting in safety incidents with the public.

As we know, quantities of elements in alloys have significant impacts – for example when steel is used for load-bearing structures, if too much boron is present, it segregates from the steel and settles in the grain boundaries, which lowers hardenability, reducing toughness and causing it to be brittle. This is where the boron, due to its low melting point, congregates in the center of the weld while cooling and causes a segregation crack.

In the past, boron has been relatively difficult to analyze. However with optical emission spectroscopy (OES), analysis is relatively simple by allowing measurement of steel directly without extensive preparation or the use of harsh chemicals. The OE750 is ideal for measuring boron in carbon steel. State of the art semiconductor detectors and a new 

optical concept give a limit of detection of just 1ppm for boron, ensuring your incoming steel meets the grade you need for your application.

Using XRF and OES for scrap metal analysis

Recently, India has become the third-largest auto market and ICRA expects the Indian automotive industry to remain steady. When we talk about the automotive industry, the introduction of vehicle scrappage policy acts as a link to achieve the circular economy of waste to wealth and in the years to come the benefits will be visible. The scrappage facilities will focus on metal sorting and maximize raw material extraction and repurpose into the manufacturing ecosystem.

This scrap needs to be carefully analyzed – for example using scrap materials high in zinc content (from let’s say a coated car body) can contaminate the melt or scrap materials while excessive sulfur can damage the furnace, leading to costly reworks and quality issues during production. Whilst our stationary spark OES spectrometers like FOUNDRY-MASTER Smart is used to ensure the correct composition of ingots as per the needed melt recipe, our handheld X-MET8000 checks incoming scrap to provide non-destructive analysis and laboratory quality results.

Our easy to use and robust analyzers combined with technical expertise and experience enable customers to make the correct choice for their facilities and businesses and to keep pace with the evolving local and global trends in manufacturing, environment, and economics.

To book a demo or speak to us about a quote, please get in touch.

Share this blog

Date: 23 February 2023

Author: Dhaval Rathod, Regional Sales Manager - OES, India

Share this blog


Case Study: LIBS for efficient stainless steel analysis at Wiedemann Technic

Read More
Micro details: Revealing microscopic insights in polymers

Micro details: Revealing microscopic insights in polymers

Read More

Small Parts, Big Impact: The role of consumables in material inspection

Read More