Metals that are left out in the elements can rust. And rust or corrosion in general can cause critical failures (think structural metal beams, airplanes, and automobiles.)
The air, rain, snow, salt, even pollutants like sulphur dioxide can adversely affect the metal’s look and durability. To avoid, or at least, reduce the deterioration of the metal, fabricators apply various coatings, depending on the customer’s requirements. However, applying coatings to metal is an exact science.
How do metal fabricators verify the specification conformance of their coatings? One way is to use handheld XRF technology. XRF is an acronym for X-ray fluorescence spectroscopy. XRF is a non-destructive analytical technique used to determine the elemental composition of materials. Handheld XRF analyzers work by measuring the fluorescent (or secondary) X-rays emitted from a sample when excited by a primary X-ray source. Each of the elements present in a sample produces a set of characteristic fluorescent X-rays, or “unique fingerprints”. These “fingerprints” are distinct for each element, making handheld XRF analysis an excellent tool for quantitative and qualitative measurements.
Handheld XRF analyzers are an extremely efficient technology for rapid compositional analysis of alloys and coating thickness measurements. Since the analyzers are handheld, they can be utilized to perform spot analysis anywhere in the supply chain, help ensure that expensive coating material isn’t wasted, and enhance process monitoring and quality control.
I’ve outlined below seven reasons to use XRF technology with a coatings mode to analyze metal coatings:
- Ensure goods received match purchase orders by measuring metal grade and composition.
- Reduce production costs by minimizing production errors.
- Coatings that are too thin can result in poor corrosion resistance, high warranty costs and/or product failure.
- Coatings that are too thick give money away by using more product than is necessary.
- Non-destructive analysis means there is no need to cut or damage high-value product
Confirming that coating specifications are met while performing quality control at-line, online or during final product inspection is a necessity. XRF analysis can be the tool that helps ensure those coatings are correct.
- Application Note: Measuring Metal Coating Thickness at Line.