At the wire & tube trade fair, Secopta is going to present its new LIBS system which, for the first time, enables fully automatic inline Positive Material Identification (PMI) testing of long steel products in black condition. With more than 99.9 percent reliability, the system identifies material whose chemical composition is not as specified and removes it from the production process. Thus, the system can be used to prevent that the wrong semi-finished products are selected for a downstream process.
For bright steel products, fully automatic Positive Material Identification (PMI) testing has already become an established process in many mills. With its FiberLIBS black bar system, Secopta now applies its range of inline LIBS systems for the first time also to black steel products. The laser-based system dramatically reduces the manual effort so far involved in material identification processes, very often even making separate mechanical sample preparation unnecessary.
Increasingly important: reliable material identification
Secopta has adapted the sample preparation system integrated in their analyzers to the needs of black steel testing. Surface contamination are removed fully automatically. This makes it possible to analyze steel in black condition without having to grind the samples beforehand.
Given the rising demand for smaller production lots and the constantly growing number of steel grades, reliable material identification along the entire process chain becomes increasingly important in steel production.
For Dr. Christian Bohling, one of the Managing Directors of Secopta analytics GmbH, laser-optical material analysis is the solution here: “Many processes in a rolling mill are automated. The automation systems work very reliably. Therefore, the risk of material mix-ups is very low. But as soon as humans are involved, it’s a different story. Some manual activities may easily lead to material mix-ups, for example, when picking input or semi-finished material from the store or charging a reheating furnace. Particularly, when safety-critical components are concerned, a mix-up can have catastrophic consequences.“
Other fields where LIBS systems are used include steel bath and incoming scrap analyses, and PMI of steel billets before reheating. In all these applications, LIBS ensures that no mix-up of material goes undetected and no products with wrong material properties are delivered to the customer.