Steel is an alloy composed mostly of iron and carbon, with small quantities of other elements. Steel doesn’t exist in nature but is manufactured from a variety of raw materials including recycled scrap metal. The growth of metal recycling, combined with the trend toward global sourcing of materials, is resulting in an increasing amount of metal of questionable or unknown quality. Production control laboratories must perform accurate, reproducible elemental analysis using optical emission spectrometry (OES) or x-ray fluorescence (XRF) to meet increasingly stringent steel specifications so that their customers can be sure that their products are composed of the right kinds of material in the correct percentages.
At the same time, competitive pressures for increased efficiency and lower production costs are driving the adoption of automated lab technologies to increase sample turnaround, reduce manual errors, eliminate delays and keep up with QA demands, all while keeping costs in check. Because manual sample preparation and analysis is such an important but time consuming process, labs are turning to automation as a key step in improving response times and eliminating variables to fully exploit the analytical capabilities of OES and XRF spectrometers.
See how a robotics-based automation system makes elemental analysis even more efficient in production control laboratories.