As industrial labs strive to maintain the quality of their products, they typically perform failure analysis on a high volume of samples. And as they investigate different components, one of the key considerations in purchasing a scanning electron microscope (SEM) is its versatility. To be efficient, lab managers need a flexible SEM that can efficiently handle a wide range of sample types and shapes.
SEM analysis in the automotive industry
Take the automobile industry, for example. To assure the quality of their products, manufacturers need to characterize a number of small components such as evaluating wear on ball bearings. In the same lab, they may need to investigate wear or corrosion on larger, awkwardly shaped samples such as pistons, gears and brake pad assemblies. An SEM that enables them to easily accommodate and efficiently analyze both sets of sample types can dramatically improve their efficiency.
Challenges of SEM analysis in industry
Unfortunately, most SEMs on the market don’t provide the flexibility today’s high-volume, industrial labs need. To compensate, researchers must prepare large or especially heavy samples, trimming them down to the areas of interest that can fit within the microscope chamber or decreases the mass enough to allow the SEM stage to move. Not only is this inefficient, but the large amount of sample prep can harm the sample, making it difficult to tell whether the damage to the component was caused during sample prep or by a specific defect or mechanical wear.
Benefits of a flexible SEM for industrial failure analysis
With a flexible SEM, busy industrial labs could easily explore all their samples, from small, everyday components to large, heavy, awkwardly shaped parts. Not only would this improve production times, but it would increase confidence in their analyses—giving industrial manufacturers the reliable and accurate information they need to boost their quality control efforts.
Our new Axia ChemiSEM is flexible enough to handle all your samples. Learn more here.
Eric Goergen is a product marketing manager at Thermo Fisher Scientific.
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