The following article is from Hitachi Analytical Instruments, author Hitachi Analytical Instruments.
Since the new coronavirus pneumonia escalated into a global pandemic, the scale of the outbreak that has not been encountered for decades has disrupted our daily lives. In an effort to alleviate and control the new crown epidemic, we must change our way of life. For this reason, we have suspended visits to relatives and friends, work outside the home, and ensuring business continuity. Everything that was once taken for granted.
In terms of manufacturing, the global supply chain has suffered unprecedented disruptions. Some mining and manufacturing activities have completely stopped. As companies make adjustments to adapt to very different needs and working conditions, many companies have to find new suppliers to meet the needs of the production line, or produce new products to meet market needs.
We have previously discussed the costs incurred by using the wrong materials in production, but in the current situation, we need to focus on ensuring that the wrong materials are not accidentally entered into the product in the busy manufacturing plant. Establishing the correct incoming inspection process for raw materials and components can help you avoid wasting money and time on rework, production interruption and material scrap. In the long run, it also helps you avoid customer return costs and potential contract losses that can damage your bottom line and reputation.
Manufacturing’s response to supply disruptions
In the short term, each manufacturer only needs to ensure that it survives during the epidemic and minimizes losses, and then carefully plans to resume normal business. It is important to complete these tasks as quickly as possible at the lowest cost.
Recognizing that the current global supply chain is fragile, many manufacturers may seek a “new normal”, that is, restructuring the supply chain to purchase parts from more diverse suppliers. For example, China buys raw materials from the United States to supply a wide range of manufacturing activities. In turn, the United States also depends on China’s basic product manufacturing activities (such as medical supplies suppliers). Perhaps in the future, this situation must change.
As manufacturers resume normal operations, they will have a keen insight into costs. Waste and rework must be minimized, so “one-time success” and “zero defect” strategies will be more important than ever.
Material analysis plays a vital role in manufacturing reconstruction
In short, the more tests performed on raw materials or components, the greater the freedom of material selection (because you can test all materials before production).
1. If you stop production completely
Your first task is to check all inventory.
But if your analyzer has been turned off for several weeks before performing this task, please read our guide to learn how to ensure optimal instrument performance when you increase production again.
The rapid increase in production and the resumption of production are important causes of confusion in materials and the entry of wrong parts into the finished product. Material analyzers such as XRF or LIBS can help you quickly determine stock materials and work-in-progress. Repeated inspections of finished products can be made to ensure that no compensation is incurred for the use of wrong parts in production. As long as you ensure that you use the right material/metal grade for the right product, you can significantly reduce internal rework.
If you have to change suppliers when the current supply chain is not delivering, you also need to check the purchased raw materials and parts. Similarly, analytical techniques such as XRF can help you verify the composition of everything from stainless steel to petroleum. This type of analysis method is extremely fast, which means that you can immediately start using the materials provided by the new supplier, or simply reject the supplier. Since you no longer have unverified inventory materials, this will help you ensure cash flow and on-time delivery.
2. If you have to change suppliers during the production process
Many recent reports indicate that (especially in the personal protective equipment industry), in order to ensure that demand is met, companies have to change suppliers during the production process, but it turns out that the delivered products are far from meeting the specifications. In the manufacturing or manufacturing process, it is relatively easy to take corresponding measures to control your own process. However, because you are part of the supply chain, any mistakes made by your suppliers may cause you quality and money problems unless you take steps to verify the incoming materials.
When it comes to raw materials or metal parts, material properties become critical. Sometimes you must be able to analyze all alloys, processing elements, trace elements, residual elements and impurity elements (especially in steel, iron and aluminum applications). For many cast irons, steels and aluminum with different grades, a quick analysis will help ensure that your raw materials or parts meet the alloy grade specifications.
The use of the analyzer will have an important impact
Internal analysis means that when it comes to material verification, you will have all the initiative and room to try and accept/reject new suppliers. However, the analyzer itself must have some specific characteristics to accomplish this task:
Efficiency: You need to test a large number of materials (perhaps 100% PMI), a fast and efficient portable analyzer allows you to test hundreds of parts in a day.
Low operating costs: During this period, no parties have sufficient cash. The cost saved by the analyzer should be sufficient to cover the purchase cost, and the operating cost is low and the efficiency is high.
Accurate and reliable: When using new production technology, you will need a reliable analyzer to provide you with reliable results time after time.
Data management: With the generation of large amounts of test data, you will need a tool that can capture, store, and transfer information for reference and real-time decision-making.
Strong service agreement: not just the analyzer itself. Provide fast, cost-effective support when needed to help you keep your production running.
Our metal analyzer toolbox
Our series of metal analyzers can help you quickly increase production while minimizing errors.
One of the fastest laser metal analyzers in the world, the measurement time is only one second. Ideal for use during incoming inspection and manufacturing processes, you can even hold the sample in your hand while measuring it.
A handheld X-ray analyzer used by thousands of companies around the world. Because this analyzer can provide complete non-destructive analysis, it is an ideal choice for finished product analysis and incoming inspection.
OES product series
The direct reading spectrometer series has the highest measurement accuracy among the three measurement techniques. If you need to perform low-level detection of boron, carbon (including low-level carbon), nitrogen, sulfur, and phosphorus in steel, you will need a mobile or stationary OES spectrometer.
ExTOPE Connect is ideal for managing large amounts of data, recording and capturing images of measured parts and materials. All data is stored in a safe and centralized location, and data can be accessed from any computer anytime, anywhere.