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Expert-Approved LIBS Analyzers for Metal Fabrication from Metal Analysis Group



In the realm of metal fabrication, verifying alloy grade and chemistry has become increasingly vital, driven by evolving industry standards and regulations. Positive Material Identification (PMI), initially established in the oil/gas sector under API's Recommended Practice 578, has now expanded its footprint into various industries like midstream oil and gas, power generation, aerospace, and heavy transportation.

With the imminent publication of the "PHMSA Mega Rule" by the Department of Transportation mandating testing of transmission pipeline materials for carbon, manganese content, and carbon equivalents (CE), the need for precise PMI procedures has never been more pressing.

For fabricators handling alloyed materials not requiring carbon content verification or CE, PMI has historically been straightforward, often relying on handheld X-ray guns for analysis. However, challenges arise when analyzing carbon steels and high-grade stainless using these traditional methods.

Herein lies the distinction between handheld XRF and LIBS technologies. While XRF offers simplicity with its "point and shoot" approach, carbon testing poses significant difficulties due to its ubiquitous presence and susceptibility to false readings from residue. Proper sample preparation and operator training become paramount, with SciAps offering lifelong, free training to ensure proficiency with LIBS technology.

Previously, spark Optical Emission Spectroscopy (OES) served as the primary method for in-field carbon analysis until the advent of LIBS in 2017. Spark OES systems, though effective, suffer from portability issues and logistical challenges associated with transporting high-pressure argon tanks, hindering productivity and mobility.

In contrast, LIBS presents a more efficient solution. Its handheld design facilitates easy transportation and maneuverability, allowing operators to seamlessly navigate various work environments, including climbing, crawling, and accessing pipeline ditches. Moreover, LIBS eliminates the need for lengthy recalibration processes, enhancing productivity and minimizing downtime between tests.

Overall, the adoption of LIBS technology represents a significant advancement in PMI procedures, offering unparalleled convenience, accuracy, and efficiency for metal fabricators across diverse industries. Whether testing at a workstation or on the move, LIBS stands as the superior choice, empowering operators to streamline testing operations and uphold stringent quality standards with ease.